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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Biography > Music > Family > Industry > Pop > Disco > Europe > Depression > Harassment > Bullyin > ABBA Forever: The Winner Takes It All (2019/MVD/Weinerworld DVD)/Tell My Story (2021/Cinema Libre DVD)/World Series Champions 2021: Atlanta Braves (Shout! Factory Blu-ray Set)

ABBA Forever: The Winner Takes It All (2019/MVD/Weinerworld DVD)/Tell My Story (2021/Cinema Libre DVD)/World Series Champions 2021: Atlanta Braves (Shout! Factory Blu-ray Set)

Picture: C+/C+/B- Sound: C+/C+/B- Extras: D/C+/C Main Programs: B-/B-/B+

Now for some recent documentary releases...

We'll start with the hour-long ABBA Forever: The Winner Takes It All (2019) that was made to celebrate the band as they reunite to cut their first new singles in decades and celebrate 50 years of existence. The footage, old and sometimes new, is usually very high quality and has plenty of their original music throughout, so this is not some 'unauthorized' B-grade garbage. Though it has to sacrifice details on the making and success of their many hits, it is surprising thorough and accurate with some good interview moments. I just wish it had been longer.

Mocked for being 'too happy' or 'too positive' or 'too cheerful' like other music of the time (like The Bee Gees, et al) as if there is somehow something wrong with such music (there is not, unless you are out of your mind) shows how success was not as instant for the band as many think, even when they broke up by 1982, they were one of the biggest-selling bands of all time behind The Beatles despite limited U.S. success and still are all these decades later. Having a great label like A&M Records did not hurt that cause at all.

Many video programs have been issued on the band, but several are duds and some others the label handled need upgraded now. Many bands are having their music videos retransferred and if on actual film (16mm or 35mm as most ABBA clips were,) scanned for 2K and 4K. Fans should note that the classic filmed videos have had the tops and bottoms slightly cropped (one PAL videotape appearance in Euro TV is actually stretched!) and diehard fans might not like that. Of course, they are in their original block style 1.33 X 1 framing on the old ABBA: Gold DVD, which means fans ought to push for a Blu-ray (or even 4K disc?) edition with the songs in new 5.1 or 12-track (DTS: X and/or Dolby Atmos) mixes. The fan base still buying their vinyl would certain buy that up.

Give or take COVID, the band plans a reunion tour in 2022, so the band is back. This is a good way to catch up with them.

There are sadly no extras.

David Freid's Tell My Story (2021) tells the sad, ugly and continuing for others story of on-line bullying and how this keeps leading to record child suicide and no one (including the authorities or lawmakers who mostly seem to care less) and plays into larger, continuing issues of parents and families not being able to see warning signs of depression and potential threats and harassment.

This can happen to anyone, no matter how rich or educated or successful (Tina Turner even recently noted the pure-depression causes she missed when this happened to her son, long before the arrival of the Internet. In a time that has only become uglier and more hateful since this program was completed, it is a too-rare, too-vital look at a national (even international) crisis that points to even huger issues we are now suffering in our society, without making lite or taking away from what is happening here.

The father of the child lost here has done what he could after the shock of his life and why parents of all ages need to quickly understand that the world we were even in 10 years ago is gone and immediate action and total awareness of how out of control this all is. Now more than ever, we are losing a better future by losing such children who need more protection, help and care. I wish this were even longer than its 109 minutes and definitely hope we see more such programs very soon. The national media need to get behind this far more than they are.

Extended interviews and a trailer are the only extras, plus you can get updates at...


Finally, we have the 8-Blu-ray collectable set World Series Champions 2021: Atlanta Braves baseball set in the long-running series Major League Baseball has had on going for decades and it is as thorough as the previous editions with the full-length presentations of all the games up to the final pennant winner beat the Milwaukee Brewers after some interesting ups and downs. More than just for the winning team, these sets go the long way as the many we have covered before on this site.

The Braves (controversy over their name and logo notwithstanding) continue to be one of the most popular teams in the history of the game and this set manages to convey that love and energy. Another archival winner, it is a set worth getting while you can.

Extras include a booklet with statistics.

The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers on Atlanta can be a little lite since each disc contains so much image and audio data, but this looks as good as any previous set and all the previous such sets we've looked at over the years, while the multiple audio options (including one in Spanish and several radio play-by-plays) sound even a little better than in previous sets and all are here in DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Stereo lossless mixes.

The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on both DVDs look as good as they can in the format, though Story might have a few shots that are darker or a little more off than expected, while both offer lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo sound that is sufficient for the programs. The ABBA songs sound like they are from new audio masters, so too bad they are not here in at least 5.1 mixes.

- Nicholas Sheffo


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