The First Amendment Project is a collection of 3 short documentary films which deal with the theme of “freedom of speech”. The first film, and the best one, is “Fox vs. Franken”. Comedy writer, left wing activist, and Stuart Smalley himself (you know…“You’re good enough, you’re smart enough, and doggone it, people like you”), Al Franken, is the target of a lawsuit filed by Fox News. The documentary follows the lawsuit, and it reveals two important things: Franken is still a funny guy and Fox is an idiotic …rganization. “Poetic License”, directed by Mario Van Peebles, is a short documentary about the Poet Laureate Amiri Baraka. Interviews include the pros and cons on the work of this controversial artist. “Some Assembly Required” follows the story of a group of protesters at the 2004 Republican National Convention. An interesting premise, but the documentary doesn’t really deliver on the dramatic potential.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 mix is fine for these films. Slight rear speaker activity for music, but mostly this is a front heavy track. Interviews are clear and audible. Can’t ask for much more.
Films are presented in 1.33:1 full frame format. The quality of the visual presentation, for all films, is more or less the same. Generally, these are clean transfers. Hardly any print damage or digital artifacts detected.
There is a different set of extras for each film. On “Fox vs. Franken” there are PDF files you can read on your computer. On “Poetic License” there are outtakes from Van Peebles and Baraka (including a reading by Baraka). PDF files are also included. On “ Some Assembly Required” there is an “Alternative Photo Gallery” from the RNC as well as a deleted scene.
The First Amendment Project is a nice collection of short docs. For the politically minded, it makes for a good DVD night. The audio and video are fine, and the extras make for interesting watching and reading. Well worth a look. Freedom of speech is an issue that seems to be more at risk every day. This DVD is a gentle reminder.
Special Features List
- PDF files
- Deleted Scene
- Photo Gallery