PBS Distribution Releases ‘AmEx: The Swamp’ Tuesday

Courtesy: WGBH/PBSPublic Media Distribution

PBS Distribution is releasing another episode of its history-based series American Experience on DVD this week.

American ExperienceThe Swamp is set for release on Tuesday.  Based partially on author Michael Grunwald’s book The Swamp: The Everglades, Florida and the Politics of Paradise, this episode tells the history of the national park and the fight between industrialists and conservationists over the land and its unique ecosystem.  The trailer for the episode is streaming online here.

American ExperienceThe Swamp will retail for MSRP of $24.99, but can be pre-ordered online now at a reduced price of $19.99 via PBS’ online store.

More information on this and other episodes of American Experience is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AmericanExperiencePBS

Twitter: http://twitter.com/AmexperiencePBS

 

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

‘AmEx: The Circus’ Is A Rich Presentation Of The Ringling Bros. & Barnum And Bailey Circus’ Early Life

Courtesy: PBS Distribution

Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey Circus is among the most famous and beloved institutions in America’s rich history.  From its humble beginnings in the 1800s up until 2017, when it shuttered its doors for the very last time, the circus has entertained countless masses the world over.  Early this past November, PBS Distribution presented a new profile of “The Greatest Show on Earth” in a new episode of PBS’ hit history-based series American Experience, The Circus.  The two-part, four-hour program is an interesting watch for fans of the circus and for history buffs in general.  That is due in part to the very history lesson presented throughout the course of the program.  While the history that is presented does plenty to make American Experience: The Circus interesting, the history that it does not present detracts from its presentation, to a certain point.  This will be discussed a little bit later.  Considering the information that is and is not shared in this program, the double-disc set’s average price point proves to be a positive in its own right, and will be discussed later.  Each item is important in its own right to the whole of American Experience: The Circus.  All things considered, they make American Experience: The Circus a presentation that is maybe not the greatest documentary of 2018, but is a still a good show.

American Experience: The Circus is an interesting look at the history of the famed Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey Circus that will appeal to circus and history buffs alike.  Those audiences will agree that while not the greatest doc on the history of the circus, it is still a good show.  That is due in part to the history that is presented.  The history starts in the early 1800s, with the creation of two separate circuses by P.T. Barnum and James Bailey (and actually before that).  The story, from there, follows the course of each man’s career before the two eventually intersect through a partnership formed between the pair.  As the story progresses, audiences learn about the journey – both physically and metaphorically – on which the pair embarked in all of its highs and lows.  From a journey by one circus to Australia, Africa, the Asian-Pacific nations and other points around the globe, to fires the plagued the circus to labor disputes and of course all of the rave reviews that the circus would eventually receive as the Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey Circus and much more, audiences are presented a rich history of the circus’ infancy and later life.  Audiences will be interested to during that history, that the circus was originally aimed at adult audiences (due mainly to the outfits of the female performers at the time), that the circus did face issues of racism, and also presented the first moving pictures as well as plenty more information.  From the animal tamers to the high-wire performers to the sideshow acts, every part of the circus gets its own focus in this expansive presentation that takes audiences through that noted early history of the circus.  That rich history gives audiences plenty to appreciate, but for all that the doc does show, there is information that sadly is left out.  That omitted information detracts from the doc’s presentation to a certain point.

There is a lot for audiences to appreciate in American Experience: The Circus in regards to the history presented in the doc.  Of course, the doc is not a perfect presentation.  One of the program’s most notable omissions is that of a discussion on James Bailey’s death.  The program does note Bailey’s death, and how that eventually led to the joining of Ringling Brothers’ circus and that of Barnum and Bailey.  However, the mention is brief, at best.  As his death is noted, a picture of a newspaper article clearly noting the cause of death – Erysipelas.  Some might argue that this is not important, but considering that the cause of death was noted, it would have been nice to have had some background on what exactly Erysipelas is and how he might have contracted the infection.  Yes, it would have lengthened the documentary overall, but that is not a bad thing in this case.  That is because it is just some of the information that was disappointingly omitted.  The doc ends after the closure of the circus on July 16, 1956, the day when the circus held its then final performance in Pittsburgh, PA.  Of course, as is known today, it clearly was not the last time the world would ever see the Ringling Bros. & Barnum and Bailey Circus.  It would eventually be resurrected in 1967 when a group of investors bought the company from John Ringling North (the nephew of John Ringing).  The circus would go on to run until May 21, 2017, and as most audiences know, suffered from allegations of animal abuse and other problems in its modern era.  Again, adding this history would have lengthened the documentary even more, but by omitting the circus’ modern history as part of the documentary, audiences are not getting the full history of the Ringling Bros. & Barnum and Bailey Circus.  Rather, they are just getting a portion of its history.  True circus history buffs will certainly agree that considering all of the omitted information noted here and much more (including the revelations of what truly caused the fire of 1944 – which was just one of a handful of fires the plagued the circus), it would have been a wiser decision or PBS to do a full mini-series event for this doc than the four-hour presentation that was ultimately released.  That is not to say that what is presented here is not appreciated.  Rather, it is just that the featured presentation is only one part of the circus’ history.  To that end, it makes American Experience: The Circus an entertaining show, but definitely not “the greatest show.”

The information that is and is not presented throughout American Experience: The Circus makes it a program that is worth at least an occasional watch, as it does succeed in presenting a very rich picture of the circus’ early life.  Keeping this in mind, it makes the doc’s average price point of $21.89 relatively affordable.  That point was determined by using prices listed at PBS’ online store, Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers and Books-A-Million.  The average price puts the per-hour charge at just over $5.  Considering this price point, and the depth and breadth of information that is featured throughout the presentation, the average price point is not a bank-breaker by any means.  Keeping all of this in mind, American Experience: The Circus proves to be not the greatest presentation of Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey’s circus, but still a good show nonetheless.

American Experience: The Circus is a strong new episode of PBS’ hit history-based series.  It is a presentation that will appeal to circus history buffs and history buffs alike with the expansive history of the circus’ early life.  Of course, there is still a certain amount of history that was omitted from the doc, that would have made it even more enjoyable had it been included in the final product.  Keeping this in mind, the doc’s average price point of just over $20 proves to be a relatively affordable price.  Each item is important in its own right to the whole of the documentary.  All things considered, it is a good show, but not the greatest.  It is available now.  More information on this and other episodes of American Experience is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AmericanExperiencePBS

Twitter: http://twitter.com/AmExperiencePBS

 

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://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.

Despite Its Timeliness, ‘AmEx: The Chinese Exclusion Act’ Proves To Be A Rare Miss For PBS

Courtesy: PBS

Much has been said about immigration ever since Donald J. Trump was handed the White House in the 2016 presidential election.  From Muslims to Mexicans and other groups, Trump’s racism and xenophobia have led to so much talk about immigration and immigration law.  Of course, this is not the first time in America’s history that the nation has dealt with the plague of clearly racist immigration policy.  That is evidenced in PBS’ recently released documentary American Experience: The Chinese Exclusion Act.  Released on DVD June 19, this nearly three-hour documentary outlines the long-forgotten federal legislation that discriminated against generations of Chinese immigrants.  In the process, it also serves as an educational point, reminding audiences about the dangers of allowing racism and xenophobia to control politics and the nation’s social climate through a series of in-depth discussions on the law and its impacts.  That story forms a solid basis for the documentary.  While the story of the Chinese Exclusion Act is engaging, the story does suffer from one obvious negative, its collective pacing and transitions (or lack thereof).  This will be discussed later.  The program’s pricing rounds out its most important elements and will also be discussed later.  All things considered, American Experience: The Chinese Exclusion Act proves to be a rich, in-depth presentation that is certain to appeal to students and lovers of history and politics.

PBS’ recently released documentary American Experience: The Chinese Exclusion Act may have been released this past July, but due to the rhetoric currently being spewed by Donald J. Trump about the 14th Amendment, this documentary is proving to be just as timely as ever, and a presentation that is certain to have a wide appeal.  That is due in part to the story at the center of the doc.  The story at the center of the doc focuses on the 1882 act that clearly and blatantly discriminated against Chinese and Chinese-Americans.  As the story points out, it actually went through Congress not once, but twice before eventually being signed into law by then President Chester A. Arthur.  What is truly interesting in taking in the story is that it seems that Arthur did not even want to sign the act even in its second edition, ergo showing his reluctance to give into the racist and xenophobic views controlling so much of the nation even back then.  The story takes audiences from the late 1880s right up to the mid 1900’s showing the far-reaching impact of that discriminatory legislation even as the political landscape changed.  Audiences will be shocked to learn that even after the 14th Amendment was passed, Chinese and Chinese-Americans still suffered discrimination at the hands of Americans even after its passage, reminding audiences of what those racist views caused along the way.  In watching the news, it is obvious that Americans need that reminder now more than ever.  To that end, the story presented at the center of this doc proves to be an important presentation, and one that all audiences should certainly see.  Staying on that note, while the story is an important and intriguing presentation, the manner in which it was presented proves extremely problematic.

Audiences will note in watching American Experience: The Chinese Exclusion Act that this special edition of AE clocks in at a run time of almost three hours.  To be precise, its run time is listed at 160 minutes (that’s 2 hours and 40 minutes in layman’s terms).  The bonus segment “2012 Congressional Acknowledgement of the Chinese exclusion Act” – which is really the only worthwhile addition to the doc’s bonus features list – adds another 10 minutes to that run time, so push that time technically to 2 hours and 50 minutes.  Considering the doc’s slow pacing, that run time feels far longer as it moves so slow and because there is so much information.  What’s worse, the program has no clearly defined transition points at any given moment throughout that nearly three-hour run.  This combination of factors makes the doc’s overall construction extremely problematic to say the very least.  Even though it doesn’t break that three-hour mark, it still would have made more sense to either have the program broken up with those needed segment breaks, or even separated over the course of three days, with each segment being an hour in length.  Hopefully, Ric Burns (brother of famed documentarian  Ken Burns), who co-directed and co-wrote the documentary with Li-Shin Yu (and fellow co-writer Robin Espinola), will take all of this into account should he try his hand at another documentary.  That is because while the story presented here is interesting to say the least, the manner in which it was assembled dramatically detracts from its engagement.  Keeping this in mind, it makes AE: The Chinese Exclusion Act far from perfect, and lacking the impact that it could have had.  It makes the DVD’s average price point not too bad of a cost.

The DVD’s average price point is approximately $17.49.  That is found by averaging prices from PBS’ store, from Amazon, Target, Walmart and Barnes & Noble.  It is currently not listed at Best Buy or at Books-A-Million.  Considering that the program clocks in at nearly three hours, that actually is not too bad of a price, when compared to standard hour-long documentaries from PBS generally price from the company’s own store at about $25.00.  The list price on the company’s store for this DVD is $19.99.  To that end, it is not a program that will break the bank, though it may break some audiences’ engagement as noted previously due to its overall construction.  Keeping that in mind, for those willing to risk watching the doc, even despite its presentation problems, an average price point of $17.49 is actually not that bad.  That is even with the problems posed by the program’s pacing and general construction.  To that end, it is worth at least one watch, if viewers can make themselves sit through the whole thing.

PBS’ recently released special edition of its hit series American Experience, The Chinese Exclusion Act is an interesting presentation that is certain to appeal widely to the most devoted students and lovers of history and political science.  Even with that interest, it still proves to be a program that, despite an interesting and timely story, still suffers from one glaring negative, its collective pacing and construction.  Keeping that in mind, its average price point of less than $20 actually proves affordable and bearable.  It means even after sitting through such an overly lengthy and in-depth presentation, audiences will not ultimately be left feeling like they wasted their money.  That is the most important aspect to note here.  It is an interesting program that while not a waste of money, still could have been so much better, especially considering the reputation of American ExperienceAmerican Experience: The Chinese Exclusion Act is available now on DVD.  More information on this and other episodes of American Experience is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AmericanExperiencePBS

Twitter: http://twitter.com/AmExperiencePBS

 

 

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://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.

PBS Delves Into Immigration Policy History In New ‘AmEx’ Episode

Courtesy: PBS

Recent news stories about immigration policy have sharply divided America and its people.  While the actions being taken by this nation’s leaders are deplorable to say the least, it is not the first time that such heinous acts have happened, as has been shown in a new episode of PBS’ hit history-based series American Experience.

American ExperienceThe Chinese Exclusion Act examines Republican President Chester A. Arthur’s role in the Chinese Exclusion Act, which suspended Chinese labor immigration into the United States.  Arthur vetoed the original act, but signed the second draft, which reduced the immigration ban from 20 years to 10.  The bill also prevented Chinese citizens already living in the United States from becoming full citizens, something else that President Arthur disliked.

The Chinese Exclusion Act marked the first time that the American government prevented the immigration of people of any certain ethnic group or nationality, but would not be the last. Presidents who followed Arthur would use their own power to stop such bills from moving through and becoming law.  Now with the current immigration issues happening in America, this episode of American Experience proves as timely as ever.  A trailer for this special episode is streaming online now here.

It is currently scheduled to be released on DVD June 5 and to retail for MSRP of $24.99  The 163-minute program can be pre-ordered online now at a reduced price of $19.99 via PBS’ online store.  More information on this and other episodes of American Experience is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AmericanExperiencePBS

Twitter: http://twitter.com/AmexperiencePBS

 

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

‘AE: The Secret Of Tuxedo Park’ Is A Good Introduction To A Much Bigger Story That Needs To Be Told

Courtesy: PBS/Public Media Distribution

Alfred Lee Loomis is one of the most important figures from World War II. While he might not have been a four-star general, a politician or even an accomplished soldier, his story is still one that deserves to be told. It is one of a man with a great scientific mind and drive but who was also very flawed. Late last month, PBS and Public Media Distribution brought home that story on DVD in a new episode of its hit history-based series American Experience, The Secret of Tuxedo Park. That story forms the foundation of the episode’s presentation. It will be discussed shortly. The interviews that are used to help tell the story build on that foundation to strengthen it more. The program’s pacing and transitions couple to round out the most important of the program’s elements. Each element is important in its own right to the whole of the episode. All things considered, they make American Experience: The Secret of Tuxedo Park another WWII story that will appeal just as much to WWII history buffs as it will to history buffs in general.  That is the case even though the program in whole turns out to not be entirely what audiences might expect.

PBS’ profile of Alfred Lee Loomis and his contributions to the Allied forces during World War II, American Experience: The Secret of Tuxedo Park, is a presentation that will appeal just as much to WWII history buffs as it will to history buffs in general. That statement is proven in part through the story at the center of the program. One part bio and one part historical presentation, this dual-part story follows Loomis’ life while also using that as a basis to explain what made him and his work so critical to the war effort. Audiences learn over the course of the story’s almost hour-long presentation that while Loomis was indeed a great scientific mind, and did quite a bit for the Allies, he was also quite the flawed individual. He was barely there emotionally for his sons and also unfaithful to his own wife. At the same time, his drive to develop technology for the military, audiences will learn, is awe-inspiring. The revelation that Loomis realized after the fact that he preferred working in science to law is just as intriguing. It shows to audiences that — in a roundabout way — we each have a purpose and that sometimes the revelation of that purpose comes when we’re not looking for it. Between that revelation and the story to which it is connected, audiences get an interesting presentation in this aspect. It does leave some question as to whether the program was properly titled, considering the amount of bio info that was incorporated into the program, but that aside, the whole of the story still makes the program one that is thankfully no longer a secret to history buffs across the board. It is only one part of what makes this program appealing to history buffs of all types. The interviews that are used to help tell Loomis’ story give it more depth.

The interviews included in the story are important to the program’s presentation because of the additional background that they add to the story. Those interviews include discussions from one of Loomis’ wives as well as historians and various academics. Loomis’ wife reveals to viewers the true depth of just how much he disliked having his private life being interrupted. She explains that when he saw the couple’s picture in the newspaper following their wedding, he told her it would be one of only two times that she would ever have her face in the paper. The other, as she notes, would be at her death. That statement alone is quite telling about who and what Loomis was. One of the historian interviews illustrates even more the type of person that Loomis was as it is revealed that he was so driven, he used one of his own sons for one of his experiments. The experiment in question was a sleep study of sorts that strived to examine sleep cycles and their connection to the world. That he welcomed his son’s willingness only as a test subject might make some dislike Loomis even more. That is especially when viewers found out what Loomis did to his son as part of his experiment. It leaves one feeling even more torn about Loomis because while it was laudable that he cared about defeating the Axis forces, the things that he did and the person that he was made it seem as if on a personal level, he only cared about himself. This feeling is heightened as another interview reveals the lengths to which he went to be able to marry his second wife — a marriage that came about as a result of an affair with another man’s wife. Even as the story ends and audiences are presented through the interviews, the revelation of Loomis’ comfort with how his career ended, leaving viewers again feeling so torn about him. Needless to say, the information provided via the story’s accompanying interviews noted here, and that not noted here, makes Loomis’ story all the more engaging when coupled with the basic information provided through the narration. When they join together, the interviews and narration develop a story that is certain to keep viewers enthralled from beginning to end. It still is not the last of the program’s most important elements. Its collective pacing and transitions are critical in their own way to the program’s presentation, too.

The pacing and transitions of AE: The Secret of Tuxedo Park are key to keeping viewers engaged because of the amount of ground that is covered over the course of the program’s run time. As has already been noted, this program is more than just a story about the development of the first radar during WWII. It is a story about the man who helped to develop radar at his “RAD Lab” and his life both at and away from work. That means that a lot of time and thought had to be taken to keep everything fluid between the two stories. Thankfully, that time and thought was taken in assembling the program. Just enough time was spent on each item from one to the next, preventing the program from getting bogged down in itself. Between the clear impact of Loomis’ childhood on his adult life to his own view on the privacy that comes with a personal life and more, audiences get a thorough story here and one that sets itself up as an introduction for hopefully a more in-depth look at the radar that would serve to help the allies defeat Nazi Germany and the Japanese forces. That is really what was expected from this documentary. What was presented was less that and more the story of how it came to be. If that more in-depth presentation is ever crafted, it is sure to be an even more engaging program. Even with that in mind, the program presented here is still engaging in its own right, and one that will still appeal to history buffs across the board.

American Experience: The Secret of Tuxedo Park is an interesting introduction to the story of the development of the military’s first radar and its use in winning WWII. While not as in-depth as the program’s title leads one to expect it to be, it is still an engaging presentation about the man who developed the radar, both in regards to his work and personal life. That is due in part to that two-part story. Audiences get in this story a vivid portrait of the brilliant but flawed man who developed what would go on to be one of the Allies’ “secret weapons.” The interviews that are incorporated into the presentation add even more interest to the story because of the additional insight that they offer. The collective pacing and transitions throughout the program puts the finishing touch on the program. Each element is important in its own right to the whole of this program. All things considered, they make it a good introduction to the much bigger story of the radar and its impact on the Allies’ war effort. American Experience: The Secret of Tuxedo Park is available now and can be ordered online direct via PBS’ online store. More information on this and other episodes of American Experience is available online now at:

Website: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AmericanExperiencePBS

Twitter: http://twitter.com/AmExperiencePBS

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://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.

‘AmEx: Into The Amazon’ Is A Gripping Real-Life Adventure For All Audiences

Courtesy: PBS/Public Media Distribution

Theodore Roosevelt is known to Americans as one of the most polarizing figures in the nation’s history. Two terms as the nation’s head resulted in the Square Deal, the construction of the Panama Canal, protection of America’s national parks and so much more. While Roosevelt accomplished so many great deeds during his time in office, his time away from office produced its own share of intriguing accomplishments and stories. One of the most notable of those stories is his journey down the River of Doubt in the Amazon jungle, which would eventually go on to be called the Rio Roosevelt. The river is a tributary of the Amazon, and hundreds of miles long. Now thanks to PBS and Public Media Distribution, the story of Roosevelt’s harrowing journey along the river is finally being told in the form of the new American Experience episode Into The Amazon. Released just last week of DVD and Digital HD, the two-hour program tells the story, which forms the foundation of the program’s presentation. That story will be discussed shortly. The story’s pacing is just as important to note considering its length and how much content is shared throughout. It will be discussed later. Its pictures, footage and cinematography — its aesthetic elements — round out its most important elements. Each element is important in its own right to the program’s whole. All things considered, they make American Experience: Into The Amazon a story that is just as gripping as any major Hollywood blockbuster.

American Experience: Into The Amazon, one of the first episodes of PBS’ hit history-based series to be released so far this new year, is a wonderful start to the year for the network. It is just as wonderful for audiences. That is because this program proves over the course of its two-hour run time to be just as gripping as anything that could be (and has been) churned out by Hollywood’s “Big Six.” That is proven in no small part through the program’s central story. The story follows Theodore Roosevelt’s journey down the River of Doubt, which would go on to be dubbed the Rio Roosevelt in the course of that journey. What makes the story so interesting is that it proves to be fraught with all of the dangers and tensions that one would find, again, in any major Hollywood blockbuster. From hostile natives to the dangers of the river (and the jungle itself) to Roosevelt and Rondon never fully seeing eye to eye — causing plenty of tensions throughout — the story of Roosevelt’s journey offers all of the action and drama that one would ever want. Even more interesting is the revelation that Roosevelt’s desire to travel the river’s length was just because he wanted to escape the emotion of losing out in his bid for a third term as President of the United States. As narrator Oliver Platt points out early on, that decision was not an isolated event. He notes through his narration that Roosevelt made such decisions even earlier in his life. That means it was all part of a pattern of behavior for him. This alone would make this journey a wonderful case study for any psychology student, especially considering that three men — and even Rondon’s dog — died along the way. Roosevelt survived the perilous journey, which is why famed actor Alec Baldwin was able to read his writings an why Platt shared the story. Keeping all of this in mind, this program’s story alone is more than enough reason for audiences to watch this presentation. It has all of the elements of a major Hollywood Blockbuster without all of the falsehoods and over embellishments. It is only one of the elements that makes this episode of American Experience so powerful. The program’s pacing is directly connected to the story, and in turn just as important to note as the story itself.

Into The Amazon‘s pacing is so important to consider in examining this program because there is so much information to take in throughout the course of the story. Considering how much material is shared from start to finish, those behind the program’s creation are to be commended for the manner in which everything was balanced. That includes Roosevelt’s back story and that of Rondon. Even as the group’s journey progresses, the program never allows itself to get too sidetracked by those moments. Instead, it balances them with the rest of the story, maintaining its fluidity. This, again, is one of those areas where far too many fictional Hollywood blockbusters get it wrong, and in turn bog themselves down. No one part of the story or another ever gets too much time here. The result is a story that insures audiences’ engagement from start to end. Keeping that in mind, the pairing of the program’s story with its solid pacing gives audiences plenty to appreciate. Even with this in mind, there is still one more item to discuss in examining the program’s presentation. That item is its collective aesthetic elements (I.E. its pictures, footage, cinematography and even journal readings).

The collective footage, pictures, cinematography and journal readings incorporated into Into The Amazon are so important to its whole because of the fine touch that they add to the program’s viewing experience. The vintage footage and pictures serve to illustrate the story shared by Platt while Baldwin’s readings from Roosevelt’s notes pull viewers even deeper into the story. The modern cinematography that rests alongside the other noted elements makes the story even more engaging because of its sharp look and its angles. The aerials and the water level shots more than prove this. As Platt discusses one member of the party killing another and running away, the camera points at the ground as the man, who is supposed to be the killer, flees. This simple moment adds its own tension (and in turn engagement) to the story, making it that much more enthralling. It is just one of the so many moments when the cinematography shines, too. From one moment to another, the cinematography alone rivals that of so many blockbuster man v. nature movies that have ever been created. When this impressive cinematography couples with the program’s equally important footage, pictures and readings, the whole of these aesthetic elements makes the program’s presentation all the stronger. When they are joined with the story itself and the story’s pacing, the whole of everything proves Into The Amazon this year’s first great documentary, and a work that easily rivals any major Hollywood blockbuster.

American Experience: Into The Amazon is an impressive start for PBS’ already growing list of new home releases this year. Over the course of its two-hour run time, this gripping man versus nature/man versus man story is the first great documentary of the year, and proves once more why PBS remains today the last bastion of truly worthwhile programming on television. It also proves that it is just as good (if not better than) any major Hollywood blockbuster that has ever been crafted. As noted already, that is due in no small part to the program’s story. The story proves it doesn’t need embellishments and half-truths to be engaging and entertaining. The story’s pacing insures even more the program’s strength as do its collective aesthetic elements (cinematography, vintage photos and footage, journal readings). Each element is important in its own right to the program’s whole. All things considered, they make American Experience: Into the Amazon a journey that history buffs and action flick fans alike will appreciate, and that rivals its blockbuster counterparts. It is available now and can be ordered online direct via PBS’ online store. More information on this and other episodes of American Experience is available online now at:

Website: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AmericanExperiencePBS

Twitter: http://twitter.com/AmExperiencePBS

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://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.

PBS Tackles Today’s Social, Economic Issues With A Trip Back In Time In New ‘AmEx’ Episode

Courtesy: PBS/Public Media Distribution

This winter, PBS and Public Media Distribution will take audiences back in time to one of America’s most important eras in another new episode of its hit history-based series American Experience.

American ExperienceThe Gilded Age is currently scheduled to be released Tuesday, Feb. 6.  The story, which will be available on DVD and Digital HD, takes audiences to the transitional period between the end of the 19th century and the start of 20th Century.  It was during this period that America became a leader in the production of food, coal, oil and steel.  That growth also led to one of the nation’s widest income gaps.  That gap also led to discussions on wealth distribution, government control of that distribution and more, including questions of immigration and opportunity — questions which are just as relevant today as they were at that time.

American ExperienceThe Gilded Age runs two hours on one disc.  It will retail for MSRP of $24.99, but can be pre-ordered online now at a reduced price of $19.99 via PBS’ online store.  More information on this and other episodes of American Experience is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AmericanExperiencePBS

Twitter: http://twitter.com/AmExperiencePBS

 

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