Railways with Julie Walters/Judi
Dench: My Passion For Trees
(2017/both Via Vision PAL Import DVDs)/Putin's
With Picasso (1946, 1949,
2009/both Icarus DVDs)
C+ Sound: C+ Extras: D/D/C+/C Main Programs: B-/C+/B-/B-
Import DVDs are now only available from our friends at Via Vision in
Australia, can only play on 4K, DVD and Blu-ray players that can
handle the PAL format and be ordered from the links below.
for out latest selection of documentary and special interest
start with Coastal
Railways with Julie Walters
(2017) featuring the veteran actress best known for the Harry Potter
films and later comedy/dramas from the late, great Director Lewis
Gilbert. Presented in four episodes, she covers a huge amount of
areas, trying out all kinds of train transportation, old and new.
Finds lines that are gone, one that is being revived and others that
are many fun and hilarious moments, while the new footage looks great
often and even goes beyond the trains. It is a great addition to an
often unrecognized cycle of train videos that keep getting made, but
rarely addressed or given the credit they deserve. I was very
impressed and though a few parts are not as strong as others, it is
the kind of change-of-pace programming we do not get enough of, so
see it if you can and you will not be disappointed.
are no extras.
Dench: My Passion For Trees
(2017) is a short 51-minutes program about how trees have played a
larger part in her life than many, something that started decades ago
at the beginning of her last marriage and built on a huge tree in the
backyard of their home, then moved onto many other spaces planting
new ones. However, that is only the beginning as she talks about her
history, life, living and then, they get into the actual trees.
became much more interesting as it went on in ways I had not
expected. Dench is for real in all of her many acting performances
over the decades and not enough off screen, as this program shows.
If you are interested, it is definitely worth a look.
are no extras.
(2018) is the as-timely-as-ever documentary about how Russian
President Putin, now responsible for a horrific invasion of Ukraine
and so much more, we see the slow process of how Russia had a chance
to be a democracy of some sort for a small period of time (H. Ross
Perot turned out to be correct about that window of opportunity, but
no one wanted to admit he was correct) and it started at the end of
1999 when former KGB agent Putin rose to power so quickly, he was
able to easily succeed a declining Boris Yeltsin.
there and ever since, over 21.5 years and counting as we post, how he
very slowly but surely and definitely methodically, took over to turn
the country back to something as authoritarian as the USSR/Soviet
Union, then worse. Add our recent coverage of the Mikhail Gorbachev
interview we just reviewed and you get a fuller picture on how
nationalism and shrewd propaganda brought Russia into the now-awful
position it is in today.
genocide, destruction and now-dangerous bombing of a nuclear plant
(after doing some dangerously insane things at Chernobyl) means this
is going to all get worse before it gets better. That's why this
documentary is so very valuable to catch up with.
Rakhimanova's documentary How
Putin Came To Power
is the only extra and a great companion with the main program.
but not least is Summers
(1946, 1949, 2009) which includes two main programs about the circles
of often talented and well-off friends the great artist spent time
with in the French Riviera, consisting of the very strong On
The French Riviera with Man Ray and Picasso,
then the more personal Picasso
and Sima, Antibes 1946.
course, we are lucky that the many paintings and sculptures that they
made at the time survived, exist and are often each worth a fortune,
but being who they were, they also took a large number of still
pictures and even shot movie film, including in early Kodak color!
The result is a priceless record of their lives, works and life at
that time that would have otherwise not been captured. Yes, other
records definitely exist, but not like this. Definitely impressive
throughout and highly recommended.
it is only 14 minutes long, Guercina
(1951,) co-directed by the late, great master filmmaker Alain Resnais
and Robert Hessens, is the only extra, but a solid one as the film
takes a rich look at Picasso's works. The Nazis surprise-bombed the
town in 1937 and Picasso responded to the horrors as only he could.
for playback performance. The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image
on all four discs, despite varying in the sources they are shot on
(HD, HD with low def, photochemical film) look as good as they can in
the format and even the black and white 1.33 X 1 Guercina
looks pretty good, so these all play as well as they can in this
older format. They all also offer lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo as
their soundtracks, save Guercina, in lossy Dolby Digital 2.0
Mono, yet they all sound about as good as they can in the older,
order either of the Via Vision DVDs, go to the following links: