• Forum
  • Archive for the ‘Documentary’ Category

    Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on June 1st, 2015

    One thing one can be sure of is that there wasn’t before him an Orson, and there’ll never be a second.”

    This year (May 6, to be exact) marks what would’ve been Orson Welles’ 100th birthday. To celebrate, filmmaker Chuck Workman has made a charming documentary with a title as grandiose as its subject. Magician: The Astonishing Life & Work of Orson Welles is a thoroughly entertaining — if somewhat superficial — survey of one of the 20th century’s greatest showmen.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    CommentComments (0)

    Where Was God? Stories of Hope After the Storm

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on May 28th, 2015

    “There are some rough spots in His plan.”

    I’m not the only person who’s reflexively rolled his eyes after an athlete or entertainer has thanked God for helping them win the Super Bowl or a Grammy. I personally don’t mean it as blasphemy; I just don’t believe God has a vested interest in the outcome of a football game. Following that logic, it seems silly to think He also roots *against* certain people. And if anybody has a right to feel like God is “against” them, it’s people like the real-life tornado survivors who appear in this admirable documentary, which illustrates how one can rise above anger and staggering loss.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    CommentComments (1)

    The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on January 26th, 2015

    Hello, please allow me to observe you working.”

    A sign bearing those words hangs inside Studio Ghibli, the Japanese animation factory responsible for films like Grave of the Fireflies and My Neighbor Totoro. It’s one of many polite directives that adorn the airy workspace, but it also describes the mission of The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness. The movie gives fans an unprecedented look inside the world (and walls) of Studio Ghibli, and watching the creative process is alternately fascinating, frustrating, and exciting. However, the documentary also surprisingly turns out to be an elegy for a dying art form.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    CommentComments (0)

    Dinosaur 13 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on January 9th, 2015

    Even though in this documentary we may not get to experience T-Rexes chasing after unfortunate paleontologists while running amuck in a theme park, Dinosaur 13 still manages to be an engaging adventure from start to finish.  This is a film that reaches out to all the young kids inside all of us who while growing up dreamed about what life was like when dinosaurs once ruled the world.  It taps into that adventurous bug that was once inside all of us as kids about exploring and discovering worlds that have not yet been discovered and creatures that now can only survive in our imaginations
    Read the rest of this entry »

    CommentComments (0)

    Edith Wharton: The Sense of Harmony

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on December 23rd, 2014

    “Life is always a tightrope or a featherbed. Give me the tightrope.”

    Edith Wharton was born into the “featherbeds” of New York’s high society, and some of her most famous books — “The Age of Innocence”, “The House of Mirth” — are set among the well-to-do elite. But this dry, informative documentary — which focuses on her work as a designer, world traveler, and philanthropist — makes the case that Wharton chose the “tightrope.”
    Read the rest of this entry »

    CommentComments (0)

    The Dog (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on November 18th, 2014

    “If anybody gets up, they’re dead. Anybody moves, they’re dead. Anybody makes a sound before I leave this movie, …”

    You get the idea. These are the words of one John Wojtowicz, better known as The Dog. On August 22, 1972 he attempted to rob a Chase Manhattan bank in order to finance his male lover’s sex change operation so that he could become a woman. The heist was about as amateur as the come and went horribly wrong from the start. In a matter of minutes the bank was surrounded by a swarm of police units and a growing mob of bystanders.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    CommentComments (0)

    Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on October 29th, 2014

    “It was the gang that ran amok. You have people who were being extorted, who talked of having a shotgun barrel stuck in their mouths or machine guns pointed at their groin. Body bags were shown by Bulger as he shakes them down. It was absolute terror.”

    It amazes me that I really had very little idea who James J. Bulger was before I watched this film by director Joe Berlinger. How could I have missed this guy? On the run for over 16 years, Bulger was once #2 on the FBI’s most wanted list. Who was #1? That was Osama Bin Laden. So who was this man that came in second only to the world’s most infamous terrorist?
    Read the rest of this entry »

    CommentComments (0)

    Ancient Aliens: Season 6 – Vol 1 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on October 8th, 2014

    “Millions of people around the world believe we have been visited in the past by extraterrestrial beings. What if it were true?

    Ever since Eric von Daniken released his speculative book and its subsequent 1970 film Chariots of the Gods, there has been an entire field of study created around something commonly called Ancient Astronaut Theory. The idea is that extraterrestrials have visited many of our ancient civilizations. The theory continues that these visitors had a hand in shaping our development, whether it be through technology or even manipulation of our very DNA.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    CommentComments (0)

    “31 Nights of Terror” The Paranormal Diaries: Clophill

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on October 2nd, 2014

    Despite its found-footage conceit and similar-sounding title, The Paranormal Diaries: Clophill is somewhat of a different demon animal than a certain recent horror franchise. Given that found-footage fatigue seems to be setting in among critics and audiences, any sort of deviation from the norm should be welcome. The problem is this film ultimately doesn’t deviate far enough and hedges its bets with a climax that seems transplanted in from a handful of other movies. More importantly, viewers will probably be too bored to even care by the time movie gets around to being scary.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    CommentComments (0)

    The World Wars (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on September 11th, 2014

    “One must regard the 30 years of strife, turmoil and suffering in Europe as part of one story. One story of a 30 years war.” – Winston Churchill

    He was exactly correct, and one of only a few people of the time who had the vision to understand that concept. Before the end of World War II the first world war was known as The Great War. The idea of two separate world wars came later.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    CommentComments (0)

    Richard Lewis: Bundle of Nerves

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on September 11th, 2014

    Some of the most iconic stand-up comics of all time have famously wrestled with personal demons while simultaneously mining them for material on stage. Few have done so more successfully — and for a longer period of time — than Richard Lewis. His neurotic, self-flagellating act earned Lewis his “Prince of Pain” nickname, but his longevity is just as impressive. The fact is a lot of great comics don’t last as long as Lewis because they lose that battle with their demons too soon. So it’s great to see that, at age 67, Lewis finally gets his due with a DVD set that covers some of his most seminal work.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    CommentComments (0)

    Aerial America: Southeast Collection (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on August 25th, 2014

    One of the miracles of modern technology is its ability to shrink the world down so you can practically (well, proverbially) hold it in the palm of your hand. The cheerily square Smithsonian Channel series Aerial America goes the other way. In fact, the best thing about the show is how it uses technology to fill every inch of your screen with some of the most famous — along with some of the more underappreciated — U.S. landmarks, employing a larger-than-life/bird’s-eye point of view most of us wouldn’t otherwise be able to enjoy. Now, Smithsonian Channel and Inception Media Group have released another batch of episodes on Blu-ray.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    CommentComments (0)

    Project Wild Thing

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on August 20th, 2014

    “The generational shift to an indoor existence has been strongly linked to a sharp decline in children’s well-being.”

    That’s just a fancier, more eloquent version of the familiar lament that (these darn) “kids today just don’t play outside anymore!” It’s also the jumping-off point for Project Wild Thing, an inventive and engaging documentary that explores the apparent disconnect between today’s youth and the natural world they seem intent on ignoring.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    CommentComments (0)

    Disneynature: Bears (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on August 11th, 2014

    “Hi, little guys.”

    There was a time, decades ago when Walt Disney Studios was doing quality documentaries on a pretty regular schedule. Many of them appeared on the television show The Wonderful World Of Disney, and more than a few were released as feature films. And while that tradition has continued somewhat, it’s been a while since I was truly impressed by a Disney documentary. That all changes with the release of Bears.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    CommentComments (0)

    Aerial America: Southwest Collection (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on July 24th, 2014

    One of the miracles of modern technology is its ability to shrink the world down so you can practically (well, proverbially) hold it in the palm of your hand. The cheerily square Smithsonian Channel series Aerial America goes the other way. In fact, the best thing about the show is how it uses technology to fill every inch of your screen with some of the most famous — along with some of the more underappreciated — U.S. landmarks, employing a larger-than-life/bird’s-eye point of view most of us wouldn’t otherwise be able to enjoy.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    CommentComments (0)

    Watermark (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on July 8th, 2014

    Anyone who ever sat through an elementary school science class knows that about 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered in water. We’ve all heard the spiel, but I don’t imagine most of us spend much time contemplating how truly staggering that figure really is. Watermark seeks to convey the many different ways humans and the planet’s water supply affect one another. The documentary is maddeningly scattered, but it also manages to capture and convey a small part of the world’s awe-inspiring bigness.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    CommentComments (0)

    Civil War 360

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on May 26th, 2014

    I’m as excited as you are to (finally!) have a three-day weekend. But between scarfing down hot dogs or hopping from one pool party to the next, it can’t hurt to take a few moments to acknowledge why we observe Memorial Day in the first place. You probably know the annual holiday pays tribute to the men and women who have died while serving in the U.S Armed Forces. What you may not know is that Memorial Day originated shortly after the U.S. Civil War. This three-part documentary miniseries strives to examine “America’s Bloodiest War” from every angle.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    CommentComments (0)

    Whoopi Goldberg Presents Moms Mabley

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on May 22nd, 2014

    Jackie Mabley, the trailblazing subject of this HBO Films documentary, earned plenty of superlatives during a comedy career that spanned more than 50 years. She was touted as “the funniest woman in the world.” The DVD cover art crowns her as “the Original Queen of Comedy”, and one of the film’s interview subjects calls her “the original cougar” thanks to her on-stage predilection toward younger men. Of course, Mabley would probably prefer it if you just called her “Moms.”
    Read the rest of this entry »

    CommentComments (0)

    Generation Iron

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on May 15th, 2014

    Bodybuilders present a series of fascinating contradictions. They objectively embody the ideal physical form, but there are also people who can’t even stand looking at them. They’re in tip-top shape, but instead of running, jumping or hitting each other, their competitions involve…posing. Pumping Iron, the 1977 documentary that turned Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno into stars, was the first film to shine a light on the world of bodybuilding. Generation Iron stylishly and thoughtfully explores how the sport — and its participants — have grown immensely in the ensuing decades despite remaining a somewhat peculiar part of popular culture.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    CommentComments (0)

    One Direction: Reaching for the Stars Part 2 — The Next Chapter

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on May 15th, 2014

    As soon as you saw the title of this review or caught a glimpse of the DVD cover art to the right of this paragraph, chances are you either rolled your eyes or squealed with delight. In less than five years, One Direction has become a worldwide boy band behemoth. The group’s devoted fans call themselves “Directioners” and serve as a helpful reminder that “fan” is short for “fanatic.” This DVD is purportedly aimed at those same fans, but I imagine there’s not much here a true Directioner hasn’t already seen on Twitter or YouTube.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    CommentComments (0)

    Cocaine Cowboys: Reloaded (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on April 10th, 2014

    Today, Miami is considered one of the most glamorous cities in the world. But long before it became the place where some of the biggest stars in sports and entertainment took their talents, Miami was dubbed the drug, murder, and cash capital of the United States. (Resulting in a drastically different “Big 3” than what locals are accustomed to these days.) Cocaine Cowboys already chronicled this shockingly violent stretch of the city’s history and featured recollections from some of the people who helped Miami achieve its dubious status. Now an extended version of Billy Corben’s 2006 documentary arrives on Blu-ray.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    CommentComments (1)

    Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on January 28th, 2014

    “One … two… Freddy’s coming for you, three… four… better lock the door, five… six… grab your crucifix, seven… eight better stay up late, nine….ten … Never Sleep Again.”

    Freddy is one of the more memorable monsters from the slasher era that also brought us the Halloween and Jason films. Freddy might have been born in the mind of Wes Craven, but he grew and developed in the knife-wielding hands of Robert Englund. Granted, not all of these films are equal in quality. The first and third are the best story-wise, while the last might be the most unpredictable and original.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    CommentComments (0)

    Murph: The Protector (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Jeremy Butler on January 10th, 2014

    “Put it this way– Mikey was the best officer I ever knew; An iron-souled warrior of colossal and almost unbelievable courage in the face of the enemy.”

    That is a direct quote from the novel Lone Survivor and redelivered from the lips of the former president of the United States of America, George Bush. Lt. Michael P. Murphy: that is a name that has been heard more and more with the passing weeks. Surely by now we all have a moderate idea (though I hope it is more than moderate) of the man behind the name. If not, allow me the privilege of enlightening you a bit.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    CommentComments (1)

    Good Ol’ Freda (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on December 4th, 2013

    We’re about 50 years removed from the Beatles taking the entire world by storm, so you’d be forgiven for thinking that everything anyone could possibly say about the Fab Four has already been said. Fortunately, the success of Good Ol’ Freda — a Beatles documentary that doubles as a loving tribute to its subject and the famous band she adored — doesn’t hinge on any heretofore unknown/shocking revelations. In other words, the film’s charm doesn’t so much come from what Freda Kelly says; instead, it comes from the delighted, no-fuss way she recounts her time with, arguably, the most famous band of all time.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    CommentComments (0)

    Galactic Adventures Double Feature: 3D Sun / Mars 3D (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on December 4th, 2013

    Galactic Adventures from Image Entertainment is a nifty little collection of two Solar System IMAX films both running just under a half hour. The two short documentaries off a 3D ride to both the Sun and Mars. The films were produced in 2007 with 3D Sun opening at The Smithsonian’s Air & Space Museum. Both films have made the circuit of science museums throughout the country and come to you now through the modern milestone of home 3D for the first time ever
    Read the rest of this entry »

    CommentComments (0)
    CSS Template by RamblingSoul | Tomodachi theme by Theme Lab