Corinth Films’ PBS Doc Presentation Is A Mostly Successful Offering

Courtesy: Corinth Films

Franklin D. Roosevelt’s famous New Deal Program is one of the most pivotal government efforts in America’s history.  The program puts thousands of Americans who were left jobless and penniless due to the Great Depression back to work.  As a result, it led to one the nation’s greatest economic recoveries if not the greatest.  Fro all that the program did to benefit Americans and the nation, there are parts of the program that are lesser-known than those infrastructure jobs, etc.  One of those programs, the Works Progress Administration, helped put just as many to work as it addressed the arts.  Thanks to Corinth Films, the documentary, which originally aired on PBS in April 1981 received renewed attention in July with a first-ever DVD release.  The story that makes up the 90-minute program is the presentation’s heart.  It will be examined shortly.  The booklet that accompanies the DVD adds some interest to the presentation, too and will be discussed a little later.  The DVD’s pricing is its own important element, content considered.  It will also be addressed later.  Each item noted is its own important part of the whole here.  All things considered, they make the DVD an interesting addition to this year’s field of new documentaries.

Corinth Films’ presentation of the vintage PBS documentary, The New Deal for Artists is an intriguing presentation.  Despite what its title infers, the documentary will appeal to more than just artists and people with any interest in art.  That is because of its story.  The story, which is narrated by famed actor Orson Welles, explains how FDR’s New Deal Program aided not jut the nation’s infrastructure, but its culture, too.  It points out that the program and its WPA Arts Project put artists and photographers back to work as well as actors.  They were put back to work as the program created for instance, the model for what would have otherwise become the first federal theater program.  It also led to artists creating murals and paintings that mirrored the nation’s people at the time.  What’s more, it also balked at segregation, so to speak, as it even gave African-Americans work in theater on stage and behind the scenes of so many plays.

As the program progresses, it delves even deeper in its second half.  Audiences learn along the way, that politics (specifically conservatives) led to the eventual demise of the short-lived WPA Art Programs.  That is due in part to the fact that said conservatives did not like that many of the pictures, murals, and plays crafted through the programs were very socially conscious.  Additionally, some of those who were put back to work through the programs admitted through archived interviews that, yes, they were Communist sympathizers, which played right into the hands of congressional members who were already looking for any reason to cut the programs since their products made them so uncomfortable.  That duality exhibited here – the efforts by Roosevelt to preserve the arts and the efforts by his Conservative detractors to shut down the programs just because they hated him – and the way in which it is all presented makes the story in whole fully engaging and entertaining.  Keeping all of that in mind, the story featured in this documentary is itself surprisingly interesting.  It is just too bad that the doc’s title is so misleading, which is very likely to deter many from otherwise watching.

While there is no denying that the title of The New Deal for Artists is problematic, it is not enough to make the presentation a complete failure.  That is proven through the program, as audiences will see when they actually give the documentary a chance.  Once audiences realize just how surprisingly intriguing the documentary’s story is, the next thing they will appreciate is the information provided in the documentary’s companion booklet.  That information in question comes through a pair of essays written separately by Armond White and Ed Rampell.  The essays are for all intents and purposes really just two other reviews of the documentary.  What makes them stand out is the additional background that they put into the mix along with their personal opinions.  White for instance, explains how the WAP Arts Programs benefited Americans and the nation because it helped improve Americans’ morale.  Additionally, he points out Welles’ role as narrator, and its importance even though he is that third person observing it all.

Rampell meanwhile, points out how many people in the nation’s arts community were put back to work.  On the surface, the thousands noted seems like it is not much.  When that number is considered along with the other thousands returned to payrolls in general, it makes for an even bigger number, showing just how important how the New Deal was.  Additionally, he adds his own statement about the impact of those noted Conservatives in Washington, D.C. who worked so hard to shut down the programs just because they did not like that they pointed out how much Americans were struggling.  That and so many more from Rampell and White offers audiences plenty to appreciate from the program’s overall presentation.  Considering that content and the program’s primary content in whole, it collectively makes the documentary worth watching at least once.  It is still only part of what makes the documentary worth seeing.  Its pricing rounds out its most important elements.

The average price point for The New Deal for Artists is $21.81.  That price is obtained by averaging prices listed through Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, and Books-A-Million.  It was not listed through Target at the time of this review’s posting.  While the average breaks the $20 mark, only Barnes & Noble Booksellers and Books-A-Million break that point from the get go.  B&N lists the DVD at $24.99 while Books-A-Million is slightly less expensive at $24.95.  So for all intents and purposes they are roughly the same, especially when shipping and handling is added to the mix.  Walmart actually lists the least expensive price at $19.28.  Amazon and Best Buy each list the DVD at $19.99.  So while they will break the $20 mark when shipping & handling are added, they will still be far less expensive than ordering it through the other noted retailers.  To that end, the price in general is still not that bad especially comparing the separate listings to the DVD’s average price point.  Keeping that in mind along with the positives put forth through the DVD’s primary and secondary content, the whole comes together to make the DVD overall a mostly successful presentation that will appeal to a wide range of audiences.

Corinth Films’ presentation of the vintage PBS documentary, The New Deal for Artists is a surprisingly engaging and entertaining work.  It is a doc that will appeal to a wide range of audiences, from history buffs, to art history lovers and students, to even those of theater and photography.  The title just does not make that clear enough, though it is really the program’s only shortfall.  It does show, though, the importance of proper titling for marketing purposes.  The secondary content featured in the presentation that is exhibited in the DVD’s companion booklet adds to the interest.  This even though that content is really just a pair of other reviews marketed as essays.  Considering the amount of content and the depth thereof, the DVD’s general pricing proves positive in its own right.  That is because it is relatively affordable.  Each item examined is important in its own right to the whole of the DVD.  All things considered, they make this DVD a mostly successful presentation.

The New Deal for Artists is available.  More information on this and other titles from Corinth Films is available at:

Websitehttps://corinthfilms.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/corinthfilms1977

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/corinthfilms

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

‘The Interrogation’ Gets Everything Right About Historical Dramas The American Studios, Filmmakers Get Wrong

Courtesy: Corinth Films

Movies that are based on actual events are a dime a dozen here in the United States. Hollywood’s “Big Six” studios have made a habit of making them into their own genre ever since the golden age of cinema. The problem is that the movies that have and continue to fill out that genre are largely forgettable since they are more spectacle than actual history. This has made the genre and its movies anything but credible. Thankfully in 2016, the foreign historical drama The Interrogation came along and shook things up in that genre. Directed by Israeli director Erez Pery and released in Israel through a partnership between various Israeli firms, the 85-minute presentation was re-issued this summer on DVD through Corinth Films. Its release this year marked the fourth time it has been released to DVD since its theatrical release, having most recently been released on DVD in 2017 through Film Movement. The movie, in its presentation here, succeeds in large part because nothing was added or removed in terms of bonus content. So keeping that in mind, the most important of the movie’s aspects is its story and how it is presented. This element will be discussed shortly. The work of the movie’s two lead actors also plays into the presentation and will be discussed a little later. The cinematography puts the finishing touch to the whole, showing once more how much this simple story has to offer audiences. It will also be discussed later. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of The Interrogation. All things considered, they make this movie a near perfect example of how to properly make a movie that is based on actual events.

Corinth Films’ recent DVD re-issue of the Israeli independent movie The Interrogation is among the most unique of this year’s field of new DVD/BD re-issues. While its release this summer marks at least the fourth time that it has been re-issued since its theatrical debut in 2016, there are still plenty of audiences who have yet to see the movie. To that end, the re-issue proves just as welcome as its predecessors. The movie proves worth seeing in large part through its story. The story in question follows the interrogation of Nazi SS officer and Auschwitz Commandant Rudolf Hoss by Polish investigation judge Albert. Hiss is played here by Romanus Fuhrmann while Albert (no last name is given to Albert) is portrayed by Maciej Marczewski. The interrogation takes place in an interview room at the prison where Hoss was taken following his arrest in 1946 by British troops in Germany. Hoss recounts through the story, how he came to join the Nazi military regime and eventually become the longest serving Commandant at the infamous Auschwitz death camp. Throughout each interview that Albert holds with Hoss, Hoss remains so cold, so straight forward even as he attempts to paint himself as a victim, someone afraid to stand up to his own Nazi superiors. It is difficult to believe that Hoss was really a victim in any of what he oversaw despite his straight forward responses, and Albert does not buy into Hoss’ lamentations, either, as he shows more than once. This will be addressed later in the discussion on the acting. What is really interesting here is that Pery and co-writer Sari Azoulay Turgeman could have easily gone the typical historical drama route during these sessions and used flashbacks within the story, presenting re-enactments of the atrocities over which Hoss saw. Thankfully they did not go that route. Nor did they incorporate any grand soliloquies or over the top dialogue between Albert and Hoss. It actually enhances the story because it is that straight forward and simple. What’s more, there is no soundtrack at any point. Audiences only hear the sound of the two men talking and the whir of the tape recorder as it captures Hoss’ confession. There are also natural sounds as Hoss recalls his life before becoming part of the Nazi death machine, such as horses and birds as footage of calm, quiet countryside is shown. It all really makes everything seem so cold, almost as if to reflect the cold, callous nature of Hoss and what he did during his time at Auschwitz. It all makes the story itself so powerful and that much more engaging and entertaining. To that end, the story and its presentation is something from which so many American studio executives and filmmakers should and could learn. The story and its presentation are just part of what makes The Interrogation so gripping. The workd put in by Marczewski and Fuhrmann is also of note here.

As already pointed out, Marczewski and Fuhrmann are the main actors in The Interrogation. Yes, there are a few extras in the form of a few Russian guards at the prison where Hoss is held, and a woman (It is unknown if the woman is Albert’s wife or another woman), and two other men held at the prison. Their roles are secondary, but add their own importance as to how Albert handles the emotional and mental strain of dealing with Hoss. Marczewski, in his declarations that he does not belief Hoss’ attempts to make himself a victim, is so professional. He easily could have chewed the scenery so to speak, but instead the control that he gives Albert as Albert goes toe to toe with Hoss is so powerful in itself. In the same vein, seeing how Albert handles the strain of it all, even reaching a shocking breaking point in the story’s end, is just as powerful. It makes him even more relatable for audiences. That is because of the subtle way in which Hoss’ confessions impact him. We are all impacted mentally and emotionally by various situations, and we let those impacts build until they reach a boiling point. That is exactly what happens with Albert here.

Focusing on Fuhrmann, his cold, straight forward demeanor is just as powerful in its own way. The way in which Fuhrmann emotes throughout evokes so much power, especially as he tells Albert about his past. There seems to be no sense of remorse in any of Hoss’ discussion on that point. Albert even makes note of it, as already discussed. It leaves one really not believing that Hoss was that unwilling of a participant in what happened at Auschwitz. That makes the performance all the richer on the part of Fuhrmann. When Fuhrmann and Marczewski’s performances are considered together, their collective makes for even more reason for audiences to watch this movie. When their work is considered along with the very story featured in this movie, that reason to watch increases even more. Keeping all of that in mind, it is only a part of what makes the movie worth viewing. The movie’s cinematography rounds out the movie’s most important elements.

The cinematography presented in The Interrogation is important in that it is just as simple as everything else. The various angles and lighting used in the prison sets (Hoss’ cell and the interview room) are prime examples of the cinematography’s impact. The cold white-painted cindeblock of the interview room is its own echo of the coldness from Hoss. One can even argue that the industrial sense that it enhances the sense of hopelessness that perhaps Hoss has in knowing what lies ahead. The way that the lighting was used here gives the noted scenes such a grim feeling that viewers will fully experience.

The lighting that is used as Hoss sits in his cell, writing his memoir is an important part of the cinematography because it serves to help translate Hoss’ own darkness as he awaits his fate, knowing he has no chance of escaping what is coming. That lighting, as he looks outside his cell does much the same. By contrast, those rich meadow scenes that are presented as Hoss recalls his youth and civilian adult life make for even more power against the cold, industrial feeling established by the prison walls and lighting. It leaves one wondering for just a moment, if in fact Hoss’ might have actually regretted taking part in the Holocaust, but that wonder lasts only a second. It is just one more example of the importance of the cinematography to this presentation. When the overall work behind the lens is considered along with the movie’s story and the work of Fuhrmann and Marczewski, the whole comes together to make The Interrogation a historical drama that is done right. Maybe just maybe one day American movie makers and studio heads will take a movie such as this as a guiding point when they make their next historical drama(s).

Corinth films’ recent re-issue of the independent Israeli historical drama, The Interrogation is a welcome addition to this year’s field of DVD and BD re-issues. That is because it is such a stark contrast to all of the movies based on actual events that are churned out by American studios every year. It is a welcome cinematic breath of fresh air in that genre. The story is simple. It follows the interrogation of one of the most notorious members of the Nazi party, ironically, by a Polish interrogation judge. For those who don’t know, Poland is one of the nations that was ravaged by the Nazis, so that very aspect makes for its own interest. There are no overblown flashback scenes, no unnecessary dialogue and soliloquies, or anything else that is so common from American studios in the genre’s movies. The acting is also simple, making it that much more engaging, again so counter to that of so much American cinematic drama. The cinematography puts the finishing touch to the presentation, as it plays into the movie’s overall mood in its own unique way. It brings everything together, completing the presentation. Each item examined here is important in its own way to the whole of this movie’s presentation. All things considered, they make The Interrogation one of this year’s top new DVD and BD re-issues.

The Interrogation is available now. More information on this and other titles from Corinth Films is available at:

Websitehttps://corinthfilms.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/corinthfilms1977

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/corinthfilms

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

PBS Kids’ ’15 Girl Power Adventures’ DVD Is Problematic, But Not A Complete Failure

Courtesy: PBS Kids/PBS Distribution/PBS

PBS Kids is doing its part to honor its female viewers with a new DVD.  The DVD, 15 Girl Power Adventures, was released Sept. 7 through PBS Distribution.  The episodes featured in this collection –15 in all as the DVD’s title notes – are the main strength for the presentation.  While the episodes are important in their own right, the very fact that they are centered on just female audiences detracts notably from the DVD’s presentation.  It will be discussed a little later.  For those audiences willing to overlook this shortcoming, the DVD’s pricing proves to be its own positive.  When it is considered along with the episodes featured herein, the DVD proves far from perfect, but still entertaining enough.

PBS Kids’ recently released compilation DVD, 15 Girl Power Adventures is an intriguing offering from the network.  The DVD’s primary strength comes in its featured episodes.  The episodes lift from the majority of PBS Kids’ series.  There are some omissions, though (E.g. Odd Squad, Wild Kratts, Curious George, etc.) but by and large, the episodes pull from a respectable amount of the networks’ shows.  Arthur is represented through the episode, “Muffy’s New Best Friend.”  The story here finds Muffy and Francine learning a valuable lesson about friendship even when two people have differing opinions on things, and that those differences can actually help friendships grow.  It is a familiar topic that will appeal not only to young females, but to audiences in general.  This leads to the aforementioned discussion on the DVD’s one main shortcoming, which will be addressed shortly.  Molly of Denali’s episode, “Stand Back Up” finds Molly learning a valuable lesson about pushing on through failings in any situation in life when she learns how to ski.  Once again, here is a show that yes, is centered on a female character, but with a lesson that applies to girls and boys, men and women alike.  Again, it leans toward the DVD’s noted concern.  On yet another note, Let Go Luna!’s episode, “Aren’t We A Pair” centers on Carmen and her Egyptian friend Leyla and their search for their pets.  The friendship element is there, but as with so many episodes of the family favorite series, the episode is more about promoting multiculturalism, which is wonderful in its own right.  The thing is that the series focuses not just on a girl, but a group of friends (two boys and a girl, plus Luna, who is female).  The story is a great way to teach and learn about culture in Egypt.  Again, it will appeal just as much to boys as it will girls.  It is one more way to show the importance of the DVD’s episodes to the disc’s presentation.  That is done as it pulls from yet another of so many PBS Kids series.  On the other hand it is yet another example of how problematic the DVD is in the bigger picture.

While the episodes featured in this disc make for plenty of appeal, the very fact that they will appeal to boys and girls alike as well as men and women alike, it makes the very presentation format extremely problematic.  As noted, the stories and lessons that are presented in the majority of this DVD’s featured episodes will appeal to and connect with boys as well as girls.  Add in that the fact that many of the shows from which the episodes are pulled are examples of PBS and PBS Kids’ long-running tradition of trying to normalize equality among genders, sexes, races, and ethnicities and it just makes the whole presentation seem like a knee-jerk reaction from someone or some people at PBS and PBS Kids.  Given again, a show, such as Molly of Denali is centered on a young girl, but the stories and lessons involve her as well as her friends, who are male and female.  Even a “newer” series, such as Elinor Wonders Why is centered not on just its titular character, but on her and her friends, who are male and female alike.  Once again, the diversity is evident in the episodes and their lessons.  That has been a trademark of PBS Kids shows for such a long time.  It just leads one to wonder why someone would even take the time to try and release a collection of episodes that it claims are “Girl Power” adventures.  The very approach is counter to everything for which PBS Kids has come to be known.  It is really disconcerting.  Even with the concern raised by the DVD’s very presentation, there is at least one more positive to examine, and that is its pricing.

The average price point for 15 Girl Power Adventures is $8.22.  That price was obtained by averaging prices listed through Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, and PBS.  The DVD was not listed through Books-A-Million at the time of the DVD’s review.  An average price point of less than $10 for a DVD that for the most part will appeal to boys just as much as girls and that pulls from so many of PBS Kids’ shows new and old alike is not bad at all.  Adding to the appeal is that for the most part, the separate listings are below that price point, save for PBS’ own listing of $9.99 and (surprisingly) that of Walmart, at $12.37.  Target actually has the least expensive listing this time out at only $4.99.  Amazon and Barnes & Noble Booksellers each list the DVD at $6.99 while Best Buy is not the best buy at $7.99.  So in looking at these prices, the overall pricing really is not bad.  It will not break any viewer’s budget.  So taking that into account with the DVD’s content, the whole makes for at least some appeal even despite the incongruous nature of the content with the DVD’s title.  Keeping this in mind, the DVD is problematic.  There is no denying this matter.  At the same time, it is not a complete failure.

PBS Kids/PBS Distribution’s recently released DVD, 15 Girl Power Adventures is hardly the best presentation that the company and its home distribution arm have ever released.  At the same time it is not the worst, either.  The DVD succeeds largely because of its episodes and their stories.  The episodes pull from a healthy cross section of PBS Kids’ shows.  The stories and their lessons will connect to boys just as much as girls because despite the DVD’s title, they are not centered just on females and will relate not only to girls, either.  This leads to the DVD’s one major shortcoming, its titling.  The DVD’s title markets the presentation as being “girl power,” but as noted the episodes are largely a continued display of PBS Kids’ successful efforts to normalize equality among genders, sexes, races, and ethnicities without being preachy.  Keeping that in mind, there really was no reason for any branch of PBS to present such a DVD since it has always treated males and females, blacks, whites, and otherwise equally.  While this is clearly problematic, it is not enough to make the DVD a total failure.  The DVD’s overall pricing proves positive, considering the amount of content presented therein.  The pricing will, for the most part, not break any viewer’s budget.  That selling point (no pun intended) along with the content is just enough to save the DVD.  Each item examined here is important in its own way to the whole of the DVD’s presentation.  All things considered, they make the DVD problematic but not a total failure. 

15 Girl Power Adventures is available now.  More information on this and other titles from PBS Kids is available along with all of the network’s latest news at:

Website: https://pbskids.org

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PBSKIDS

Twitter: https://twitter.com/pbskids

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.  

Mercury Studios Announces Details For New “Live” Lockdown Performance From Eric Clapton

Courtesy: Mercury Studios

Mercury Studios will release a new “live” lockdown recording from Eric Clapton this fall.

The company is scheduled to release The Lady in the Balcony: Lockdown Sessions Nov. 12. The recording will feature 17 songs performed by Clapton with friends Steve Gadd (drums), Nathan East (bass and vocals), and Chris Stainton (keyboards). The recording came about as an alternative to the May 2021 concerts that Clapton had planned to take place at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

Among the songs featured in the presentation are updated takes on Clapton originals and new takes on classic standards. Those songs include and are not limited to: ‘Tears in Heaven,’ ‘Layla,’ Bell Bottom Blues,’ and ‘Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out.’ The group even takes on songs from Fleetwood Mac, such as ‘Man of the World’ and ‘Black Magic Woman.’

The recording’s track listing is noted below:

TRACK LISTING

Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out

Golden Ring

Black Magic Woman

Man of the World

Kerry

After Midnight

Bell Bottom Blues

Key to the Highway

River of Tears

Rock Me Baby

Believe in Life

Going Down Slow

Layla

Tears in Heaven

Long Distance Call

Bad Boy

Got My Mojo Working

Pre-orders are open now. A trailer for the recording is streaming here.

More information on The Lady in the Balcony: Lockdown Sessions is available along with all of Eric Clapton’s latest news at:

Website: https://ericclapton.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ericclapton

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ericclapton

More information on this and other titles from Mercury Studios is available at:

Website: https://mercurystudios.co

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MercuryStudiosCo

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mercurystudios

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Film Movement’s Domestic Presentation Of ‘Rose Plays Julie’ Is Imperfect, But Still Worth Watching At Least Once

Courtesy: Film Movement/Desperate Optimists/Samson Films

American audiences, for some reason, cannot get enough drama in their lives nowadays.  A quick run through the broadcast and cable ranks, and even the streaming options out there serves well to support that statement.  The same applies in looking at all the dramas that fill the cinematic realm, too.  To that end, Film Movement did its part this past July to give American audiences their drama fix when it brought the independent drama Rose Plays Julie to DVD.  Originally released in 2019 in Ireland and the United Kingdom through Desperate Optimists and Samson Films, the movie is an interesting though imperfect presentation that ultimately would be a good fit for Lifetime Movie Network’s lineup.  That is due in large part to its story, which will be discussed shortly.  While the story is interesting, its pacing proves extremely problematic.  This will be discussed a little later.  The background information provided by Film Movement and the movie’s co-directors in the DVD’s packaging works with the movie’s story to give it at least a little more interest.  It will also be examined later.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the movie’s presentation.  All things considered, they make Rose Plays Julie worth watching at least once.

Desperate Optimists/Samson Films’ 2019 drama Rose Plays Julie is a good option for American audiences who just cannot seem to get enough drama in their lives.  It is an especially good selection for audiences who are loyal to Lifetime and Lifetime Movie Network.  That is proven in large part through the movie’s story.  The story in question centers on young Rose (Ann Skelly – The Nevers, Red Rock, Kissing Candice) as she goes down the proverbial rabbit hole in search of her birth parents.  The story opens with Rose knowing the identity of her birth mother, but not that of her birth father, nor the circumstances under which she was conceived.  When her birth mother, Ellen (Orla Brady – Star Trek Picard, Fringe, Into The Badlands) reveals those circumstances, it sends Rose over the edge so to speak.  She learns the identity of her birth father – Peter (Aiden Gillen – The Dark Knight Rises, Game of Thrones, Maze Runner: The Death Cure) – and takes on a heavy plan.  As Rose and Peter get to know one another, Peter proves to be every bit the despicable figure that Rose imagined as he tries to rape her, not knowing she is his daughter.  He does not know because of the act that she takes on to find him.  One should digress here, Rose is so disgusted by Peter prior to his attempted rape of her that she had decided she was going to do something drastic (what she plans to do it pretty unsurprising, but at the same time, she cannot be blamed for wanting to do him in).  When she ends up not killing Peter, someone else does.  It does not take a genius to know who does.  To that end, how it happens will be left for audiences to learn for themselves.  Given, Peter deserved what he got.  At the same time though, it is all so formulaic.  It is, again, everything that audiences expect from a typical Lifetime and Lifetime Movie Network presentation.  That is not to say that it is not worth watching.  Thanks to the actually believable work of the movie’s cast, audiences will actually find themselves remaining engaged and entertained, even though they know what is coming.  To that end, the story does make this movie worth watching at least once.

While the story featured in Rose Plays Julie makes the movie at least somewhat appealing, the story’s pacing detracts greatly from that appeal.  The movie’s run time is listed at one hour, 40 minutes.  The thing is that because of the pacing, which drags almost consistently throughout the movie, that run time feels so much longer.  What it is that makes the pacing move so slowly is difficult to pinpoint.  Maybe it is the general lack of any musical backing to help establish much emotional connection from scene to scene.  Maybe it is all of the exposition from scene to scene.  Maybe it is both of those items or something else altogether.  Regardless of what ultimately causes the pacing to drag so consistently, that problem ultimately makes watching the movie extremely difficult.  If not for the ability of the story and the cast to keep audiences engaged, that issue would be the proverbial last straw for the presentation.  Luckily, there is still one more aspect in this movie’s domestic presentation that keeps it from being a complete failure.  That aspect is the background provided about the movie in the DVD’s packaging.

Co-Directors Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor point out in their comments in the movie’s notes, that the movie was originally made with the intent to examine the impact of rape on victims beyond just the emotional and psychological.  Understanding this, it makes the story timely, especially what with the matter of abortion being in the headlines so much lately.  The duo adds that it just so happened that the MeToo movement just started to take hold in the U.K. as the movie’s production neared its end.  So in other words, this movie was not part of that movement.  That actually makes suspension of disbelief easier.  That ability of audiences to not feel preached at in turn leads to more insurance of viewers’ engagement and entertainment. 

The added note by Film Movement that the company chose to bring the movie to American audiences because of its psychological nature will resonate with audiences, too.  Again that avoidance of any promotion of preachy-ness even in these notes means that the attention was placed on the movie’s intrinsic value.  Once more, that audiences do not received any of that sense of being preached at means even more that they are likely to remain engaged and entertained.  Keeping that in mind along with the interest generated through the Co-Directors’ comments and through the story itself, the movie ultimately proves to be worth seeing at least once.  That is even with the issue of the movie’s pacing taken into account.

Film Movement’s domestic presentation of Desperate Optimisits/Samson Films’ Rose Plays Julie is an intriguing addition to this year’s field of new domestically-released independent movies.  Its intrigue comes in part through its story.  The story follows a young woman who is driven to the brink of committing a heinous act as she learns the circumstances surrounding her conception and birth.  The serious matter that is approached here is what makes it so engaging.  The work of the movie’s cast is even more so to credit to keeping viewers’ attention.  Without their work, the sad reality is that the movie is otherwise just another movie that would fit so well on Lifetime and Lifetime Movie Network’s daily lineup.  The movie’s pacing hurts its presentation even more.  That is because it drags throughout the movie, not just at points.  Luckily its negative impact is not enough to make the movie a complete failure.  The background information shared in the DVD’s packaging helps establish at least some more appreciation for the movie.  Together with the serious nature of the movie’s story and the cast’s work, that information gives audiences just enough to make the movie worth seeing at least once.

Rose Plays Julie is available now on DVD through Film Movement. More information on this and other titles from Film Movement is available at:

Websitehttps://www.filmmovement.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/FilmMovement

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/Film_Movement

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Bob Marley And The Wailers: The Capitol Session ’73’ Is An Important Part Of The Group’s History That Reggae, Marley Fans Alike Will Welcome

Courtesy: Tuff Gong/Mercury Studios

This coming October marks an important mark in the history of Bob Marley and the Wailers.  Approximately 48 years will have passed this year since the group performed a live, closed-door performance at Capitol Records’ offices following what was a rough tour in support of its then latest album, Catch a Fire.  The “concert” in question is a rare recording from the group.  It took years of searching and research to even locate the footage, assemble and edit everything.  Now this Friday, that painstaking time and effort will come to fruition when Tuff Gong and Mercury Studios (formerly Eagle Rock Entertainment) release the intimate performance.  The recording proves an entertaining presentation thanks in part to its featured liner notes.  Those liner notes set the stage (so to speak) for the recording and will be discussed shortly.  Adding to the recording’s appeal is its production, especially considering the amount of time and work that went into restoring the footage.  It will be examined a little later.  The set list rounds out the recording’s most important elements and will also be examined later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the recording.  All things considered, they make the recording a presentation that reggae fans and those specifically of Bob Marley and the Wailers will appreciate.

Tuff Gong and Mercury Studios’ forthcoming release of Bob Marley and The Wailers: The Capitol Session ’73 is a presentation that will appeal widely among reggae fans.  Its success comes in part through its featured liner notes.  The liner notes are so important to the recording’s presentation because they establish the setting and story that led to the one-off performance.  The notes come from author John Masouri’s book, Simmer Down: Marley-Tosh-Livingston.  The excerpt featured in the recording’s booklet points out that leading up to the rare performance, Marley and company had not had the best experience.  Masouri even cites then band member Joe Higgs as saying of the experience, “We weren’t happening, our outfits were inappropriate, and we were rebels.”  In other words, the U.S. leg of the band’s “Catch a Fire Tour” (which was what led up to the Capitol Session according to Masouri) was not necessarily a positive experience.  Audiences will be just as enthralled as they learn that the band’s connections at Island Records helped to get the band its performance.  Perhaps most interesting of all that Masouri points out in the featured excerpt is that the Capitol Session performance was one of the very last times that the majority of The Wailers’ initial lineup performed together.  As he states, Bunny Livingston had left the band around the time that the tour’s UK leg launched in April 1973.  He later adds that following the Capitol Session performance, the rest of the initial lineup would perform together two more times before many members went their own way.  Having this understanding, it makes the performance and recording that much more important of a moment in the history of Bob Marley and The Wailers.  Higgs and Tosh each left the band after the band returned to Jamaica following those last two shows together.  They would go on to their own successful careers as solo artists.  So simply put, the information featured in this recording’s liner notes are just a brief excerpt from Masouri’s book, but they offer so much in the way of establishing the setting.  When audiences read those notes first, they will go on to have even more appreciation for the performance.

While the history presented in the recording’s liner notes does a lot to make the recording engaging and entertaining, it is just a portion of what makes the recording successful.  The recording’s production makes for its own appeal.  Going back to the noted time and effort that went into finding and restoring the recording’s footage, that work paid off.  Considering that almost half a century has passed since the footage was initially captured, it looks and sounds quite impressive.  The picture and audio are each surprisingly clear.  What’s more, the mix effects that are used between the four cameras give the performance a feeling that is just as enjoyable as any much bigger concert.  The smooth, gentle transitions from camera to camera do so much to heighten the relaxed sense that the music establishes.  Considering that the band was playing this concert in-studio instead of in front of a live audience, it meant extra attention also had to be paid to the recording’s audio mix.  The attention paid even to this aspect is impressive, as audiences can hear the subtle echo of the band in the studio, but the echo never once overpowers the music.  In fact, it actually adds a subtle positive aesthetic impact to the general effect.  It shows along with the video production that the work that went into recording the performance and even restore it paid off in spades.  That positive result and the story behind the performance join to make for even more engagement and entertainment.  Even with that in mind, there is still one more item to address in examining the recording.  That item in question is the recording’s set list.

The set list featured in the band’s Capitol Session performance is interesting because of its clearly directed focus.  The 12-song set pulls from the band’s then latest album, Catch a Fire behind which the band was touring, and its follow-up, Burn, both of which were released in 1973.  The band had already released four other albums prior to the performance, so to have the focus mainly on those two albums is just very interesting.  As a matter of fact, the band pulled over half of Catch a Fire’s nine tracks for the performance, and approximately half of Burnin’.  So what audiences get in this set list is a very specific look at the band at that moment in its history.  To that end, it is a positive in its own right.  So in other words, not only do audiences get an actual history of the band at that point through the recording’s liner notes, but they also receive a musical history so to speak at the same time.  Keeping that in mind along with the impressive production values in the recording, the whole leaves The Capitol Session ’73 a presentation that will appeal widely among reggae fans and those specifically of Bob Marley and the Wailers.

Tuff Gong and Mercury Studios’ forthcoming “live” Bob Marley and the Wailers recording, The Capitol Session ’73 is a positive new offering for any reggae fan and fan of Bob Marley and the Wailers.  Its success is established early on through the liner notes featured with the recording.  The notes, which are in fact an excerpt from a book about Marley and his fellow musicians, do well to establish the history of the moment.  Audiences are recommended to read those notes before taking in the concert, as it will serve to increase the appreciation for the performance.  The production values presented in the recording add to its appeal.  That is because it shows how ell the footage has stood the test of time.  What’s more, it shows that the time and effort that went into locating and restoring the footage paid off in its own right.  The recording’s set list rounds out the most important of its elements.  It is important because it encapsulates the band in a sense.  It shows the band at a very particular point in its life through the performances of songs from two specific albums.  Each item examined here is important in its own way to the whole of this recording.  All things considered, they make the recording a piece that reggae fans and Bob Marley fans alike will appreciate.

Bob Marley and The Wailers: The Capitol Session ’73 is scheduled for release Friday through Tuff Gong and Mercury Studios. More information on The Capitol Sessions ’73 is available along with all of the latest Bob Marley news at:

Websitehttps://www.bobmarley.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebookcom/bobmarley

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/bobmarley

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Hulu’s ‘Animaniacs’ Reboot Falls Flat In Its Debut Season

Courtesy: Hulu/Studio Distribution Services

Reboots are big business for Hollywood, or so it would seem.  Looking at recent headlines for TV shows rebooted by the major TV studios (including digital servers), reboots do not actually seem to be doing as well as studio executives and advertisers would like people to believe.  Punky Brewster became the most recent reboot to be cancelled this month.  The show was axed from NBC’s Peacock streaming service after just one seasons.  Also cancelled this year are reboots of MacGuyver, Murphy Brown, Charmed (which did not even get past the pilot stage), and even Lizzy MacguireFuller House, the reboot of the classic sitcom Full House also got the axe from Netflix this year after five seasons.  Even the reboot of Rod Serling’s classic series The Twilight Zone was justifiably canceled early this year after just two seasons. Between that reboot, the update of Hawaii 5-0, and that of MacGuyver, which itself ran for five seasons before its end (two seasons less than the original series’ run), it is safe to say that reboots really are not the safe bet that studio execs and advertisers thought they would be.  Even Roseanne ended up being “cancelled” and re-tooled as The Connors.  Now keeping all of this in mind, one cannot help but wonder how long Hulu’s reboot of the classic cartoon series Animaniacs will last.  It was just recently announced that the series, which saw its first season released to DVD June 1, will launch its sophomore season in November.  If the lead season of this reboot is any indicator, one can only imagine that it will be lucky to be renewed for a third season.  That is proven in part through the content featured in the first season of this reboot.  It will be discussed shortly.  The lack of any bonus content with the season’s home release is also of concern, especially considering the original series’ legacy.  So this will be discussed a little later.  Looking at all of the negatives noted here, it makes the DVD’s pricing problematic, too.  This will be discussed later, too.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of this recently released collection.  All things considered, they make the first season of Hulu’s Animaniacs a completely disappointing presentation.  It additionally is more proof that reboots are clearly not the best investment for any network.

The first season of Hulu’s Animaniacs reboot is proof positive that for all the reboots out there, reboots do not make the best business sense for any network, whether on TV or online.  This is proven in large part through the content featured throughout Season 1.  Given, there was plenty of adult-themed humor that ran through the original series during its five-season run from 1993-1998.  Steven Spielberg himself was even quoted as saying much of the humor in the original series was inspired by the humor of Looney Tunes and none other than Groucho Marx.  At the same time, there was also plenty of more family friendly content included throughout the show in the noted time frame.  By comparison, this updated take on the series is nothing but dated, adult humor.  It is all snarky shots about the world’s current social and political atmosphere. The only time when the show actually goes full family friendly comes late in its run in the short, “Here Comes The Treble.”  The celebration of classical music finds the Warner Brothers and their sister Dot going toe to toe against a very self-righteous conductor.  The story is a reboot in itself of a certain classic Looney Tunes short in which Bugs Bunny faces off against an arrogant opera singer.  Even worse is the moment in the “Pinky and the Brain” short, “Mousechurian Candidate” in which the writers decided to go blue.  Brain tells Pinky in one line that he is going to put one character “through hell.”  Yes, the writers went there.  Thankfully it is the only point at which such language is used.  The original series succeeded without ever having to use foul language, so why did the show’s writers feel the need to go such route here? 

Speaking of Pinky and The Brain, they are they and Ralph are the only secondary characters who are regularly featured in this season.  There is one episode, “Good Warner Hunting,” in which the writers bring back all the old secondary characters (E.g. The Hip Hippos, Slappy Squirrel and her nephew Skippy, Katie Kaboom, etc.) but instead of paying tribute or even hinting at them being brought back long term, the story in the episode feels more like the writers were thumbing their noses at viewers.  They were acknowledging the absence of those characters from the reboot, but basically just kept them as a secondary element in that one sole episode.  In their place are far worse secondaries “The Incredible Gnome in People’s Mouths” and “Starbox and Cindy.”  These characters and their shorts come across like something that was crafted when the writers were high on something.  One cannot help but wonder, in looking at these new secondaries, if the writers from Ren & Stimpy were involved in this season, considering this and all of the primary writing concerns.  All things considered here, the content featured in the lead season of Hulu’s Animaniacs reboot is reason enough to not watch or even buy the show’s two-disc set.  It is just one of the problems from which this set suffers.  The lack of any bonus content detracts from the presentation’s appeal even more.

The lack of bonus content is important because while Animaniacs only ran for five seasons in its initial run in the 90s, that was still a long run.  To this day, it is still very much a beloved property.  That is again because of the brand of verbal and physical comedy that it brought forward.  Yes, it was modern at the time, but it resurrected a brand of comedy that was far more common to cartoons and movies of the early 20th century.  What’s more, the work put in by the voice cast and the animators added even more appeal.  Sadly, none of that is discussed here.  As a matter of fact, there is no bonus content to speak of.  There is no retrospective on the importance of the original series.  There is no defense made by the show’s cast and crew for this unnecessary reboot.  That someone or certain parties felt that the show did not need defense in its rebooting (considering it is among so many reboots) is just lazy and irresponsible.  Maybe had someone taken the time to try to defend this reboot, it might have led some viewers to rethink their views especially after watching the featured main content.  That is not guaranteed, but the possibility is there.  On another note, that the only references made to the original series came in the shorts (and in rather sarcastic, dismissive fashion at that) is only that much more disrespectful to the legacy of the original show and to the fans.  It leaves audiences feel that the writers wanted to bring in the audiences who watched the original show, but did not care enough to actually keep things family friendly.  It is all just so disappointing.

Now keeping in mind everything addressed here, it makes the two-disc set’s pricing problematic in its own right.  Walmart has the set available in store at a price of $20.  It should be no more expensive than $15, honestly, considering It runs 13 episodes.  If it were more expansive, that would guarantee the price.  That is the same price at Amazon, Target, and Best Buy.  Barnes & Noble Booksellers, and Books-A-Million each list the set at $24.99 and $24.98 respetively, far exceeding the more commonly occurring price of $20.  All things considered, neither price is worth paying considering how little this set has to offer audiences of any age.  Between the dated, adults-only content that fills out most of the season and the lack of any bonus content, the prices are just too much all the way around.  Keeping this in mind, it is yet another negative and shows once more why this two-disc debut season of Hulu’s Animaniacs reboot is a failure.

Hulu and Studio Distribution Services’ DVD presentation of Animaniacs Season 1 is a disappointing offering from the companies.  Knowing that the series has already been re-upped for a second season, odds are that those behind this reboot or even its home release have learned anything from the mistakes of this presentation.  There is nothing redeeming about the set.  The main content is clearly aimed mainly at adults, unlike the original series.  To make it worse, the content featured here does not even have any longevity.  It is dated throughout so much of what is shown.  All of this in mind, the content is just one of the set’s shortcomings.  The lack of any bonus content in the set decreases its enjoyment even more.  Taking that into account along with the less than memorable primary content featured in this set, the whole makes the set’s pricing even less appealing.  Keeping all of this in mind, the whole makes this presentation anything but appealing.

Animaniacs Season 1 is available now for those who actually want the set.  More information on the set is available along with all of the latest Animaniacs news at:

Website: https://www.hulu.com/theanimaniacs

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theanimaniacs

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.  

Corinth Films’ Ghanaian Import, ‘Nakom’ Is An Imperfect But Engaging Story

Courtesy: Corinth Films

The independent movie community has, over the course of recent years, done a lot to offer audiences worthwhile alternatives to the nonstop barrage of prequels, sequels, reboots, and movies based on actual events being constantly churned out by Hollywood’s major studios.  The recent release of the period dramedy Scenes From an Empty Church proof of that.  Much the same can be said of Corinth Films’ British import, The Carer and Film Movement’s German import, Bye, Bye Germany.  These movies, and indie flicks, such as Butter, Shanghai Calling, and The Decoy Bride are even more proof of how much the indie film community has offered audiences in the way of real, and real entertaining options.  Of course even in the indie community, not every movie can be a success.  Corinth Films’ Ghanaian import, Nakom is one of those lesser movies.  Now that is not to say that the movie is a total failure.  It does have at least some positive, that being its story.  The story will be discussed shortly.  While the story is reason enough to watch, the pacing thereof is problematic, taking away from the presentation to a point.  This will be discussed a little later.  Luckily it is not enough to completely doom the presentation.  The cinematography also plays into the movie’s appeal, too, and will also be discussed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the presentation.  All things considered, Nakom ultimately proves itself to be a presentation that is worth watching at least once.

Corinth Films’ recent Ghanaian import, Nakom — released to Western audiences Aug. 17 on DVD – is an imperfect presentation, though is still worth watching at least once.  The movie’s appeal comes in large part through its story.  The story in question centers on its lead character, Iddrisu.  Iddrisu is a young, soon-to-be doctor who is doing quite well in his medical studies.  Out of the blue, one day, he receives a call from his sister informing him that his father has been killed in a motorcycle wreck in Iddrisu’s home village of Nakom.  At first Iddrisu reluctantly stays, though he aims to return to his studies.  He ends up staying much longer than he originally planned.  That is partially of his own doing and partially due to pressure from his family and those in the village.  Eventually the pressure from self and from others becomes too much and Iddrisu reaches a breaking point.  How it all ends will be left for audiences to discover for themselves.  The thing is that this is a story that will connect easily with audiences because it is that believable.  It is not some over-the-top tale.  Many if not all people have been in the position of being torn between a sense of self and a sense of duty, whether in the sense of this story or another.  That in itself and the way in which the story is executed ensures viewers’ engagement and entertainment from beginning to end of the 90-minute movie.

On a related note, Jacob Ayanaba (who plays Iddrisu) does so well in his performance.  He comes across as such an “everyman” in his subtle performance throughout.  It makes suspension of disbelief in the story that much easier.  Whether trying to comfort his cousin at the area hospital after learning of her pregnancy or handling the mental and emotional stress of taking on his father’s financial debt, or even trying to encourage another young, female member of his family to go to school, his performance is so genuine.  It makes it so easy for audiences to relate to him.  Taking that into account along with the story, the bigger picture here is solid proof of why the story featured here works so well.

For all that the movie’s featured story does to appeal to audiences, it is not perfect.  The story’s one sole flaw comes in its pacing.  The runs approximately 90 minutes, which is really not that long.  Even in that time, there are some moments throughout in which the story tends to drag.  Those moments are multiple, too.  Some of those moments come as Iddrisu is studying and finds himself distracted by something.  They also come at times as Iddrisu is eating meals with his family and little else is going on except for some dialogue.  Those and a handful of other moments will tend to leave the movie feeling far longer than its run time.  In turn, it will leave audiences feeling the desire to fast forward through the movie more than once.  Even with that in mind, the story is still not a total failure, but also not a total success.

Keeping in mind everything noted here, Nakom proves to be an imperfect presentation, though still worth watching at least once.  Making the movie more worth the watch is its cinematography.  Audiences will be pleased to know that the entire presentation was filmed on-site in Ghana.  So all of the stunning sunrise and sunset footage was really captured in the nation’s countryside.  The footage of Iddrisu selling onions in the area markets is actually that of markets in the nation.  The rural roads which he travels are also real.  It might not seem like much on the surface, but the reality is that it actually adds to viewers’ ability to suspend their disbelief.  The colors are so rich both in the daytime and even at night.  What’s more, knowing that the scenes are in fact real instead of CG will encourage audiences to remain engaged even more.  Again, it is an aesthetic element, but it plays so much into the presentation.  Keeping that in mind along with the impact of the story and the acting (and even the pacing thereof), the whole makes the movie that much more worth watching, if only once.

Corinth Films’ recently released DVD presentation of Nakom is a presentation that while imperfect, is still worth watching at least once.  That is proven in part through the movie’s story.  The story is relatable in its focus.  The situation in which Iddrisu finds himself and how he handles it will connect with most if not all viewers.  The work put in by lead actor Jacob Ayanaba interpreting the script adds to the appeal.  The subtle way in which he takes on the role throughout makes the story that much more worth watching.  While the story and the acting are both of positive note, the story’s pacing proves somewhat problematic.  That is because it tends to drag at multiple points throughout the movie’s 90-minute run time.  Luckily, that issue is not enough to completely derail the movie.  The movie’s cinematography adds its own appeal to the whole, offering even more reason for audiences to watch.  Knowing that the movie was shot entirely on site in Ghana adds a certain sense of realism to the movie, in turn encouraging audiences to watch even more.  Keeping this and everything else noted in mind, the movie proves to be a presentation that while imperfect, is still worth watching at least once.

Nakom is available now.  More information on this and other titles from Corinth Films is available at:

Websitehttps://corinthfilms.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/corinthfilms1977

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/corinthfilms

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Arrow Video’s ‘Dune’ Re-Issue Is Imperfect But Entertaining

Courtesy: Arrow Video

Much has been made of the latest cinematic adaptation of author Frank Herbert’s classic science fiction novel Dune over the course of the past year plus.  It was originally scheduled to make its theatrical debut in 2020, with multiple pushbacks as a result of the impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  Now later this year, the movie will apparently finally get its long awaited debut, too, just before Halloween.  If in fact the movie finally makes its way to theaters nationwide, it will not have been the first time that Herbert’s novel has been adapted for the big or even small screen.  Its most recent adaptation was a made for TV version that aired on television in 2000.  That rendition was followed up in 2003 by the sequel, Children of Dune.  Both mini-series aired on the old Sci-Fi Channel (now Syfy).  Much as with the original theatrical version from 1984 that was helmed by David Lynch, the 2000 and 2003 mini-series has led to plenty of division among audiences.  Viewers either loved it or hated it.  There was no middle ground.  Speaking of that 1984 version, it will receive an expansive re-issue Tuesday in the form of a 4K UHD/Blu-ray box set.  If research is correct, the last time that the landmark 1984 version was released on any format was in 2011 on a single-disc Blu-ray presentation with limited extras.  The new, forthcoming re-issue from Arrow Video is overall, a large step up from that presentation.  That is due in large part to the expanded presentation in this case.  This will be discussed shortly.  While the expanded presentation is unarguably a positive, the bonus content that features with the new re-issue is a mixed bag.  It will be discussed a little later.  Considering the overall presentation in the movie’s forthcoming re-issue, its pricing proves important in its own way to the whole of the presentation in a mostly positive fashion.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the forthcoming Dune 4K UHD/BD combo pack re-issue.  All things considered, they make this re-issue a mostly successful presentation, despite its concerns.

Arrow Video’s forthcoming 4K UHD/BD re-issue of the David Lynch-helmed 1984 cinematic adaptation of Dune is an interesting new presentation of the landmark movie.  Its presentation here stands out in part because it is expanded from the movie’s previous release.  Instead of just being available on Blu-ray, it is also presented here on a 4K UHD platform.  For those who don’t know, the picture quality on 4K UHD is an enhancement from that of Blu-ray.  That is because of its pixel rate.  Now that is not to say that the Blu-ray presentation’s visual quality is bad.  It is impressive in its own right in comparison to the movie’s original analog presentation.  The picture is much better. 

Keeping all of this in mind, it plays into the related topic of pricing for 4K UHD technology.  4K UHD players and TVs are far more expensive right now than Blu-ray players and standard monitors.  To that end, consumers who cannot afford or do not want to pay the currently exorbitant price for that 4K UHD hardware can still enjoy this classic sci-fi flick in a positive visual presentation even on Blu-ray.  Those who have actually turned out the money for 4K UHD hardware can enjoy it on the already impressive Blu-ray presentation and on the even more enhanced 4K UHD presentation.  So to this end, the dual visual presentations ensure that audiences on either side of the BD/4K UHD discussion will benefit.

While the dual 4K UHD/BD presentation of Dune in Arrow Video’s new re-issue is a strong positive for this re-issue, the manner in which the movie’s companion bonus content is presented here is more problematic.  Arrow Video has spread the movie’s bonus content (new and old alike) across the 4K UHD and Blu-ray discs.  Two new feature-length audio commentaries are presented on the 4K UHD disc along with a variety of “older” cast and crew interviews from the early 2000s.  Meanwhile, the Blu-ray presentation features a new interview with members of Toto, which composed the movie’s score, and a new interview with make-up artist Gianetto de Rossi, which was filmed in 2020.  The new interviews are complimented by a pair of archived interviews with other members of the movie’s crew.  The interview with Toto’s members is interesting in that audiences learn it was the first and only time that the band had ever scored a movie’s soundtrack and that Lynch had told the band that working with them was, in hindsight, one of the few things he enjoyed from the movie.  The interview with de Rossi, meanwhile, offers a lot of insight into the movie’s creation.  Thankfully, the subtitles – de Rossi speaks entirely in Italian during his interview – that he was very picky about how he did things, and that one of the cast members even received a minor injury because the cast member did not listen to him in one particular scene.  He also reveals through his discussion that he enjoyed working on the movie for the most part, though in hindsight, he felt the movie really did not end up reaching its potential, which is interesting.  That is interesting, again, because he said himself that he enjoyed working on the movie and with the cast and crew.

On a similar note, the archived interview with Production Coordinator Golda Offenheim (recorded in 2003, prior to her passing only years later in 2008) offers similar thoughts.  Offenheim reveals during her interview that she also was not a fan of the movie, nor was she a fan of most of David Lynch’s work.  Ironically, she admits in her interview that she enjoyed working with the cast and crew, even saying there was a positive sense of camaraderie among them.  As if that is not enough, that she leaves viewers (and her anonymous interviewer) hanging on a number of topics, including the fate of a bus used by the cast and crew that went missing, and certain details about the cast and crew.  One cannot help but wonder what knowledge she took with her from that interview.  That alone makes for so much more interest in this interview along with everything else discussed.  Simply put, her comments and those of de Rossi showed that clearly there was some discord among the cast and crew behind the scenes.  That is proven even more with the archived interview with star Paul Smith.

Smith reveals in his interview that one of the scenes that he wanted to do was cut out of concerns about him and crew members being accidentally electrocuted.  He also reveals that he was initially the first choice to play the Baron, but his own refusal to put on extra weight for the role resulted in him playing another character, the Baron’s nephew.  Smith openly states in his interview that he outright refused to gain the extra weight needed for the role of the Baron because he did not want to put his health and life in that kind of danger.  It is just another example of that noted discord behind the scenes.  Interestingly despite everything that obviously went on behind the cameras, the 1984 adaptation of Dune has still gone on to become a cult hit, even though it may not stick entirely to it literary source material.  By comparison, the two TV mini-series that aired in 2000 and 2003 on Sci-Fi Channel stayed closer to their source material but still looked awful.  So again, the 1984 version suffered from its own problems behind the lens, but still ended up being better than the 2000 version and its sequel.


Adding even more to the discussion here is the bonus booklet that accompanies the re-issue.  Whether audiences own 4K UHD or Blu-ray hardware, viewers on both sides of that divide will get to take in so much content spread across the 60-page publication.  From the movie’s place in the bigger history of science fiction on the big screen, to the bigger message of Herbert’s novel, to even the movie’s sound effects and more, the booklet offers in-depth discussions of so many topics.  One could actually argue that to at least a point, that breadth and depth of information makes up for the division of the bonus content on the set’s two discs.  Keeping that in mind, it helps further enhance the set’s presentation.

Getting back on track, the bonus content featured on the movie’s Blu-ray presentation is, again, unlike that presented in the re-issue’s 4K UHD presentation.  This is where the matter of cost comes back into play, but not in a good way.  While those with 4K UHD players and TVs will be able to take in the bonus content on both the 4K UHD and Blu-ray discs, those with Blu-ray players and standard TVs will only get to take in the bonus content on the Blu-ray disc.  Again, the new content featured in the 4K UHD content includes two new feature-length audio commentaries along with a variety of archived interviews.  Not having access to that content, means those with only Blu-ray players and standard TVs are being short-changed.  4K UHD players and TVs are, again, largely cost restrictive in comparison to Blu-ray players and standard HDTVs right now.  That means that while yes, some consumers do own that more expensive content, most do not.  So in separating the bonus content out in such fashion means that Arrow Video is really shooting itself in the foot here so to speak.  To that end, it makes the movie’s bonus content positive and negative all in one.  Keeping in mind the positive role that the movie’s presentation on dual formats plays and the role of the divided bonus content here, this latest re-issue of Dune largely proves entertaining but largely imperfect.  Even with all of this in mind, there is at least one positive left to note here.  That content in question is the re-issue’s pricing.

The average price point for Arrow Video’s forthcoming 4K UHD/Blu-ray re-issue of Dune is approximately $42, rounding up the number to a whole.  Now considering how expensive most 4K UHD discs are by themselves, that seems a bit hit, and that would be right.  However, that the movie’s 4K UHD is presented alongside a Blu-ray presentation of the movie, that number makes more sense.  What’s more, the most commonly occurring price for the re-issue – through Amazon, Walmart, and Target – is $34.99.  That is an even more affordable number, considering the breadth and depth of the content featured in this re-issue.  Best Buy’s listing is right at the average, at $42.99.  Books-a-Million, the only other major retailer that lists the re-issue, has it listed far above the average at $59.95.  So looking at all of these prices, it becomes clear that the pricing for this re-issue is in fact largely positive and will not break anyone’s budget.  Even with the concerns raised through the bonus content’s division, that aspect and the movie’s dual presentation works with the bonus content to a point to make this re-issue imperfect but still mostly engaging and entertaining.

Arrow Video’s forthcoming 4K UHD/Blu-ray presentation of Dune (1984) is an interesting new offering from the home entertainment company.  Its primary positive comes in the form of the movie’s dual presentation.  Whether audiences own 4K UHD hard ware or Blu-ray players and standard TVs, viewers on both sides of that divide can enjoy this classic movie with full clarity on either platform.  Now while that dual presentation is positive, it also widens the divide.  That is because the new and archived bonus footage is split between the 4K UHD and Blu-ray discs.  Not everyone can afford the more cost restrictive 4K UHD hardware, and those people are relegated to only watching the Blu-ray’s bonus content.  Keeping that in mind, the division of the bonus content detracts from the set’s enjoyment to a point.  On the other hand, the extensive information shared in the set’s bonus booklet makes up for that shortfall at least to a point.  Even with that in mind, the division of the bonus content cannot be ignored.  Even with the concerns raised by the bonus content in mind, the set’s pricing proves to be its own positive.  It proves cost effective regardless of whether viewers have the noted 4K UHD hardware.  Maybe one day when and if that hardware becomes less cost restrictive, then it will become even more of a positive.  In the meantime though, it still proves at least somewhat positive.  Each item examined here is important in its own way to the whole of the movie’s presentation.  All things considered, they make Arrow Video’s forthcoming re-issue of Dune imperfect but still entertaining.  The presentation is scheduled for release Tuesday.  More information on this and other titles from Arrow Video is available at:

Websitehttps://www.arrowfilms.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/ArrowVideo

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/ArrowFilmsVideo

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to https://www.facebook.com/phispicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

TesseracT Debuts Live ‘Concealing Fate Pt. 1’ Clip

Courtesy: KScope Records

TesseracT is offering audiences another preview of its new live recording.

The band premiered the live clip of its song, ‘Concealing Fate Pt. 1‘ Thursday. The performance is part of the band’s new live recording, PORTALS, which is scheduled for release Friday through KScope Records. It is now the third clip that the band has premiered from the recording following the premieres of the live clips for the band’s performances of ‘Tourniquet‘ and ‘Nocturne.’

Bassist and founding member Amos Williams discussed ‘Concealing Fate Pt. 1’ in a prepared statement.

“‘Concealing Fate Part One…Acceptance’; This, for many long time fans, would have been the first bit of noise that they would have heard from us. It’s a powerful journey for the band that encompasses so much of what we are, Wililams said. “Heavy, chunky riffs, soaring melodies, and intricate rhythmic sections. It’s all and everything TesseracT is.”
 
He continued, “So, for P O R T A L S, we decided it needed a look that was unlike anything else we had ever created. Our team did not disappoint. The visual tone captured by Richard Oakes has a quality that draws you in. The unusual lighting created by Tom Campbell sits stark in contrast to the rest of the show. Somehow this song stays fresh, even after all these years. The story it has to tell remains true. It is perhaps fitting that as we release P O R T A LS on Friday, we should also release the first song from our first release way back in 2010. The song that began our long journey.”

Pre-orders are open for PORTALS through band’s official website and all digital retailers. It will release through a variety of platforms noted below. A trailer for the recording is streaming here.

LIMITED EDITION DELUXE 4 DISC BOOK EDITION:
Blu-ray & DVD includes: P O R T A L S main feature • Behind the scenes documentary Live In The Lockdown • P O R T A L S hi res audio only version (all BD/DVD audio 48/24 PCM Stereo) • 2-CD P O R T A L S soundtrack • All presented in a lavish set with 40-page book containing exclusive pictures • Extensive liner notes from Amos Williams • Individually numbered art print

The band webstore will exclusively sell a limited number of this set with the art prints signed by TesseracT – available from June 17.
 
BLU-RAY EDITION:
 P O R T A L S main feature • Behind the scenes documentary • Live In The Lockdown • P O R T A L S hi res audio only version (48/24 PCM Stereo)
 
3LP GATEFOLD/2CD EDITION/DIGITAL:
 The soundtrack to the stunning cinematic live experience P O R T A L S featuring tracks spanning the band’s career to date including “Nocturne,” “Seven Names,” and “King.”

The recording’s track listing is noted below.

P O R T A L S TRACK LISTING:
1. “Of Matter” (P O R T A L S) [13:55]
2. “King” (P O R T A L S) [06:28]
3. “Concealing Fate Parts 1, 2 & 3” (P O R T A L S) [18:15]
4. “Tourniquet” (P O R T A L S) [04:30]
5. “Beneath My Skin/Mirror Image” (P O R T A L S) [05:44]
6. “Orbital (P O R T A L S) [02:06] 
7. “Juno” (P O R T A L S) [06:11]
8. “Cages” (P O R T A L S) [05:28]
9. “Dystopia” (P O R T A L S) [06:43]
10. “Phoenix” (P O R T A L S) [04:18]
11. “Nocturne” (P O R T A L S) [04:21]
12. “Eden” (P O R T A L S) [06:30]
13. “Of Energy” (P O R T A L S) [11:05]
14. “Seven Names” (P O R T A L S) [05:02]

More information on TesseracT’s upcoming home release of its PORTALS concert is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.tesseractband.co.uk

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/tesseractband

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/tesseractband

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.