Ken Burns’ Latest PBS Presentation Is The “Champion” Of Phil’s Picks’ 2016 Top 10 New Documentaries List

Courtesy:  PBS/PBS Distribution

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

2016 was another great year for documentaries.  From ancient kings to movie magic kings and much more, the field of documentaries had plenty to offer audiences.  Believe it or not PBS showed again with its offerings why it remains the king of the documentary field and why it is the last true bastion of truly worthwhile programming on television.  It wasn’t the only outlet that offered quality documentaries this year, though.  Virgil Films and MVD Visual both had some stand out offerings, too.  Their films are included in this critic’s list of the year’s best new documentaries.

Topping this year’s list of the year’s top new documentaries is Ken Burns’ new profile of MLB great Jackie Robinson.  It isn’t the first of its kind by any means.  But it is one of the most in-depth profiles of the baseball legend.  Also included in this year’s list is a profile of another legend in his own right, Ray Harryhausen from MVD Visual in the form of Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan.  It isn’t the first of its kind, either. But its story, interviews, footage, information and editing all combine to make this presentation stand out.  There is even a pair of documentaries on the “timeless” cinema classic Back to the Future included in this list.

As with each of Phil’s Picks “Best Of” lists, this list features this critic’s top 10 choices in the given category along with five honorable mention titles for a total of 15 titles.  So without any further ado, here for you is Phil’s Picks’ 2016 Top 10 New Documentaries

 

PHIL’S PICKS 2016 TOP 10 NEW DOCUMENTARIES

 

  1. Ken Burns’ Jackie Robinson

 

  1. American Experience: Space Men

 

  1. American Experience: Tesla

 

  1. Nature: Natural Born Hustlers

 

  1. Secrets of the Dead: Cleopatra’s Lost Tomb

 

  1. Secrets of the Dead: Teotihuacan’s Lost Kings

 

  1. Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan

 

  1. American Experience: Bonnie & Clyde

 

  1. Nature: Super Hummingbirds

 

  1. Nature: Moose Life of a Twig Eater

 

  1. NOVA: Vikings Unearthed

 

  1. OUTATIME: Saving The DeLorean Time Machine

 

  1. Back in Time

 

  1. Building Star Trek

 

  1. Zydeco Crossroads: A Tale of Two Cities

 

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MVD Visual’s New ‘Back To The Future’ Doc Is Worth Seeing “Time” And Again

Courtesy: MVD Visual/MVD Entertainment Group

Courtesy: MVD Visual/MVD Entertainment Group

Thirty-one years ago this year, Universal Pictures released a movie that since its release has gone on to become a cultural phenomenon.  That movie goes by the titled of Back to the Future.  It is a movie that has led countless masses to dress up like their favorite time traveling characters at conventions around the country.  It has led to an animated series and any number of documentaries, too.  The latest of those documentaries, OUTATIME: Saving The DeLorean Time Machine was released this past July.  This coming Tuesday, Sept. 13, another documentary centered on the now “timeless” (bad pun completely intended there) will be released MVD Visual that branches out on the movie’s significance even more in the form of the simply titled Back in Time.  The ninety-five minute documentary, while another independent release, is another piece that cinephiles and Back to the Future fans alike will appreciate.  That is due in part to the documentary’s story.  That will be discussed shortly.  The manner in which the story is told is just as important to note in the program’s presentation.  Last of note in the doc’s presentation is its pacing.  Each element is important in its own right to the documentary’s presentation.  Altogether they make Back in Time another Back to the Future feature that, again, cinephiles and Back to the Future fans alike will want to see “time” and again.

MVD Visual’s new Back to the Future retrospective Back in Time is hardly the first documentary centered on Universal Pictures’ “timeless” movie.  Regardless it still proves over the course of its ninety-five minute run time that it is another presentation that both cinephiles and Back to the Future fans alike will appreciate.  That is due in no small part to the program’s story.  The story presents the role that Back to The Future has had, and continues to have, now thirty-plus years after it made its big screen debut.  It tells that story through interviews with the movie’s cast and crew—including Lea Thompson, Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Donald Fullilove, Claudia Wells, Steven Spielberg, and even Robert Zemeckis—and interviews with a small handful of the movie’s fans among others.  Viewers learn through the interviews some very interesting facts and stories connected to the movie.  One of the most interesting revelations made in the interviews comes from Bob Gale.  Gale, who was one of the creative forces behind Back to the Future reveals that the movie was shopped around to every one of Hollywood’s major studios but none would take it.  He said it was even shopped to Disney because that had been recommended by those other studios.  Gale reveals in his interview that when the movie was presented to them, executives with the studio refused to touch it because they thought the topic of Marty’s mom falling for him in the past hinted at incest.  This is funny to note because Gale said no other studios had even begun to take that angle in reviewing the movie’s script.

Another interesting revelation comes from an interview with Michael J. Fox.  Fox recollects in said interview that none other than Princess Diana actually sat next to him at the movie’s premiere.  He reveals in his interview that he didn’t know she would be sitting next to him and because of certain protocol about being around her, he couldn’t even use the bathroom, so when he started feeling nature call, he couldn’t even respond to its call.  Throughout that anecdote, audiences can’t help but laugh along with Fox as he recalls that silly story.  In the same moment, Fox also recalls Princess Diana’s reaction to one scene in particular in comparison to her reaction to other moments.  That is worth its own share of laughs, too.  It is just one more of the interesting tidbits that make the documentary’s story so interesting.

There is also an outright statement from Robert Zemeckis himself at one point that he has zero intention of making a fourth Back to The Future movie.  Considering the way that most of Hollywood’s “Big Six” studios are taking right now, one can only hope that he will hold true to that even today and that no one else will ever try to make another movie.  Keeping in mind all of the revelations noted here and all of the other interesting and intriguing information shared throughout the program, it becomes clear why the story at the center of Back in Time is so important to its presentation.  Even with its clear importance to the doc’s presentation the story is just one of the program’s key elements.  The manner in which the story is told is just as important to note as the story itself.

The story at the center of Back in Time is clearly an important element in the program’s presentation if not the program’s most important element.  That means that even potentially being the program’s most important element, it is not the program’s only important element.  As important as the story is, the manner in which the story is told is just as important to note as the story itself.  The story is told through two clearly separated segments, which span the course of the doc’s ninety-five minutes.  The first segment focuses on the movie and its significance through the eyes of the cast and crew.  It should be noted specifically here the focus is strictly on Back to The Future, not the two sequels that followed or even the short-lived animated series that it spun off in the early 90s on CBS.  Though there is an indirect connection to the work done by the restoration team in OUTATIME: Saving The DeLorean Time Machine in this segment.  Two members of the build team are interviewed about the work put in to restore the trilogy’s “A” car with footage from that do directly incorporated into this segment.  The program’s second segment examines the significance of Back to The Future through the eyes of some of the movie’s devotees.  The fans in question are not just your average fans either.  One of the fans in question owns the actual VW bus that was used in Back to The Future as well as the truck that Marty won in the movie, as well as other memorabilia.  Another fan has one of the DeLorean replicas incorporated into his own nine-hole mini-golf course at his home.  He uses the car, and the golf course, to raise money for good causes every year.  In another case, viewers are introduced to a young pair of fans who ended up getting married at a Back to The Future convention.  It just so happened that Christopher Lloyd was in attendance as the young man popped the question to his bride to be.  He wasn’t the only one who was there, either.  Harry Waters, Jr., who played Chuck Berry’s cousin Berry (from the movie’s high school dance segment), was also there and sang to the couple after the young lady said yes.  It is a moment that will put a smile on any viewer’s face.  Through it all, the documentary does a laudable job of balancing each segment with the other.  The end result is a story that, thanks to that solid division, will keep viewers completely engaged and entertained.  Of course the segments’ division and the story together are not the only factors that will keep audiences engaged in this presentation.  The program’s pacing is important in its own right, too.

The story at the center of Back in Time and the general manner in which the story is told are both key to the doc’s presentation.  That is because both elements work together expertly to keep viewers completely engaged and entertained from the story’s beginning to its end.  While both elements are clearly important both in themselves and jointly, they are not the program’s only important elements.  The program’s pacing is just as important to note as the story and how it is told.  The program’s pacing is so important because without proper pacing there would be no reason to sit through either of the program’s two segments.  Thankfully the program’s pacing is relatively solid from beginning to end.  The topics that are discussed within each segment are many.  But they do not move so fast that audiences will feel left behind nor do those behind the lens allow the program to lag at any point within any discussion either.  That being the case, the documentary’s pacing joins with its story and its segmentation to make the program in whole one that will keep audiences completely engaged and entertained.  In turn audiences will come out of the program agreeing that while it is not the only Back to the Future to ever be released, it is one that cinephiles and Back to The Future fans alike will enjoy watching “time” and again.

Back in Time is not the only Back to the Future documentary to ever be released.  But in considering all that went into assembling the program it is safe to say that it is another enjoyable piece centered on the landmark movie.  Its story explains not just the significance of the DeLorean (as in OUTATIME: Saving the DeLorean Time Machine) but the cultural significance of the movie in whole.  That is examined through interviews with both fans and with the movie’s cast and crew.  The division of the story into two distinct segments adds to the enjoyment of the program’s presentation.  The pacing of each segment rounds out the doc’s most important elements.  It should be clear in reading this analysis why each element is so important to the program’s presentation.  All things considered, it is clear that the documentary is, in whole, another retrospective centered on Universal’s iconic movie that cinephiles and Back to The Future fans alike will appreciate.  Back in Time will be available in stores and online this coming Tuesday, Sept. 12.  It can be ordered online direct via MVD Entertainment Group’s online store at http://mvdb2b.com/s/BackInTime/MVD8722D.  More information on Back in Time and other titles from MVD Entertainment Group/MVD Visual is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://mvdb2b.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/mvdentgroup

 

 

 

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Virgil Films’ New ‘Back To The Future’ Doc Is A “Heavy” Presentation

Courtesy: Virgil Films

Courtesy: Virgil Films

Throughout the course of its rich, ages-long history Hollywood and its major studios have carved out so many new cinematic highways on which audiences have traveled.  It is on those same roads that audiences have been introduced to just as many iconic cars and more.  In 1964 audiences were introduced to James Bond’s now famed Aston Martin for the first time.  Four years later in 1968 audiences were introduced to yet another iconic car in the form of the Ford Bullitt Mustang GT 390 Fastback.  And in 1985 audiences went for another ride with one of the single most iconic cinematic cars of all time in the form of Doctor Emmett L. Brown’s DeLorean time machine.  That car is the focus of today’s review.  Or rather, a new documentary focused on the car in question is the focus of today’s review.  Just last week Virgil Films released a new documentary title OUTATIME:  Saving The DeLorean Time Machine.  The roughly 63 minute documentary follows the efforts of a dedicated team of fans who made it their mission to reconstruct the car, which for years had sadly been left to the elements by the very studio that made it famous.  That story in question sits at the center of the documentary as its most important elements.  The transitions that are used to advance the story are just as important to note as the documentary’s central story.  The bonus material that is included in the documentary rounds out its most important elements.  It brings everything full circle in the program’s presentation.  Each element plays its own unquestionably important part in the program’s presentation.  Altogether they make OUTATIME: Saving The DeLorean Time Machine a must see not just for Back to the Future fans but for car nuts and film buffs, too.  They come together to make the program in whole potentially one of the year’s top new documentaries.

Virgil Films’ new cinematic documentary OUTATIME: Saving The DeLorean Time Machine is potentially one of 2016’s top new documentaries.  It is a must see not just for Back to the Future fans but for car nuts and film buffs, too.  That is exhibited in large part through the story that makes up the body of the program’s main feature.  The story follows a group of dedicated Back to the Future fans who make it their mission to bring back to life the famed DeLorean time machine used in the filming of the beloved film series (and apparently its animated spinoff, too as audiences will learn in watching this documentary).  As the story goes, the car in question was Universal’s “A” car.  It was one of three that were used in the filming of the original trilogy and is the only one of the three cars that survived the filming.  The problem is that the car was largely neglected in the years following the trilogy’s filming.  If it wasn’t being used at special events and around the Universal back lot, it was being left open to the elements and overzealous fans, many of whom picked pieces of the car and took them home for themselves.  So, as the story presents, it was up to these dedicated fans to reconstruct the car to its original, pristine condition.  It was anything but an easy chore, too.  It took the team a whole year to find get the job done.  From looking through military surplus yards to contacting fans who had taken pieces of the original car (including the original flux capacitor) to even building parts from scratch and more the reconstruction team had quite the job in store.  Lead man Joe Walser made certain, too that the car was rebuilt right down to the smallest detail.  Perhaps most incredible of all is that not a single member of the team was paid for its efforts.  One man drove three hours either way from beginning to end while another even flew 7 hours at one point and was instantly put right to work upon arrival.  The end result of the team’s efforts is incredible to see.  Interestingly enough had Universal taken more care of the DeLorean, this documentary might have ironically never happened.  But now thanks to the efforts of the build team, it does exist.  Not only that but the DeLorean now sits in one of the world’s most renowned automotive museums for all to see after being moved from Universal Studios.  This is revealed in one of the program’s key bonus features, and will be discussed later.  Getting back on the subject at hand, the story at the center of OUTATIME: Saving the DeLorean Time Machine is a key element to the documentary’s presentation.  It is only one of the program’s key elements.  The transitions that are used in telling the story, and advancing it, are just as important to the program as its story.

The story at the center of OUTATIME: Saving the DeLorean Time Machine is a key element in the program’s presentation.  It is just one of the documentary’s key elements.  The transitions that are used to help tell the story and advance it are just as important to its overall presentation as the story itself.  Viewers will be pleased to see just how smooth the transitions in question are.  Each segment is launched by the use of yet another iconic BTTF element, the clock from the clock tower.  As each month ticks by so does the clock tick back to zero.  Within each segment viewers are presented with a specific portion of the rebuild–the time circuits, reacquiring the pieces that had been picked from the car, the hunt to find other parts, etc.  The beginning and end of each segment is wholly clear, making the story in whole that much easier to follow.  That in turn leads to insurance of viewers’ engagement from the beginning of the program to its end.  It works with the story directly to make the presentation of the program’s central story key in itself to the documentary’s overall presentation.  It still is not the last of the documentary’s most notable elements.  Its bonus material is just as important to note as its story and transitions therein.

The story at the center of OUTATIME: Saving the DeLorean Time Machine and its related transitions are both key pieces of this documentary’s presentation.  The story centers on the efforts to restore what is one of the most iconic cars in Hollywood’s modern history.  The transitions ensure viewers’ engagement from beginning to end.  While both elements prove to be undeniably important to the documentary’s overall presentation they are not its only important elements.  The bonus material that comes with the documentary is just as important as the story and its elements.  That is because the bonus material collectively brings the whole presentation full circle beginning with the “Petersen Automotive Museum” featurette.  This bonus features Joe Walser and a representative from the Petersen Automotive Museum discussing the addition of the DeLorean time machine to the museum’s collection.  Walser is so ecstatic as he discusses the car’s move from Universal Studios post reconstruction to the Petersen Museum.  He notes that he could not have been happier because unlike its time at Universal Studios, it is not encased in a giant box.  It is on display for everybody to see.  And as the museum’s rep notes, it is presented so that people can walk almost all the way around it as they admire it.  But it is also monitored very closely so as to prevent anyone from touching it, again bringing the story full circle since people originally taking parts from the car was part of what led to its near demise.  Speaking of the car’s parts the documentary also features a short piece discussing the names for the various parts that make up Doc Brown’s famed time machine and how said names came to be.  Walser and another member of the team note that many of the car’s parts were named by other BTTF fans, not by the people behind the cameras.  As a result of that dedication to the car and the franchise that made the car so famous, the names for the parts have, in turn, stuck to this day.  On a similar note, there is also a feature on sci-fi archivist Bob Burns and how his dedication to archiving and maintaining props and other pieces from Hollywood’s history served as the inspiration for Walser and others.  It is eye-opening to see Burns’ vast collection and the state in which the props remain today.  It is a compliment to Burns’ efforts to say the very least.  As if that isn’t enough there is also an extensive collection of deleted scenes that adds its own share of enjoyment to the program.  The bonus feature-length commentary adds just as much entertainment and insight to the documentary if not more than the other noted bonus features.  That aside, audiences will agree that each bonus plays its own part in the whole of the program’s presentation.  Altogether they prove to be just as important to the documentary as its story and the story’s related transitions.  All things considered they make OUUTATIME: Saving the DeLorean Time Machine a must see for any Back To the Future fan as well as any car nut and cinema history buff.  It is the kind of program that would be a good fit on History Channel and even Velocity network because of that reach and the networks’ similar programming.  Considering all of this, the documentary proves to be such a solid work that it is potentially one of 2016’s top new documentaries.

OUTATIME: Saving the DeLorean Time Machine is potentially one of 2016s top new documentaries.  That is due in large part to its original story and the transitions therein that ensure viewers’ engagement from beginning to end.  The story makes it a good fit not just on Blu-ray but also alongside programming offered on History Channel and even Velocity network.  The bonus material that is included with the program’s home release makes the documentary even more worth the watch.  That is because it brings the program full circle with its presented material.  Each element plays its own important part to the program, as has already been noted.  When they are set against one another, they show this documentary to be one that every car nut, cinematic history buff, and Back to the Future fan alike will appreciate.  Considering that reach and overall enjoyment, the documentary in whole proves to be potentially one of 2016’s top new documentaries.  It is available now in store and online.  More information on this and other titles from Virgil Films is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.virgilfilmsent.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/virgilfilms

 

 

 

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.

Virgil Films To Release New ‘Back To The Future’ Documentary Next Month

Courtesy: Virgil Films

Courtesy: Virgil Films

Universal’s Back To The Future trilogy is one of the most famous and beloved franchises in Hollywood’s history.  More than thirty years after the trilogy’s first film debuted, the BTTF franchise is still beloved among audiences of all ages.  It has been released and re-issued on home video and digital platforms more than once, and even spawned a short-lived animated series, which itself finally received the home video treatment for the first time ever in 2015.  Some audiences have even tried to recreate the series’ iconic time traveling auto, a Delorean as part of their fandom.  One would think that with the popularity of the franchise, and the iconic car at the center of the series, that the car would always have its own special place in the halls of Hollywood’s auto history.  Sadly that wasn’t originally the case.  And in Virgil Films’ new documentary OUTATIME: Saving The Delorean Time Machine, audiences will discover the story of the “timeless” car and the efforts to save it for themselves.

OUTATIME: Saving The Delorean Time Machine will be released on DVD, Blu-ray, and digital platforms Tuesday, July 19th.  It follows the efforts by Universal Studios and Back To The Future co-creator and producer Bob Gale to bring Doc Brown’s (Christopher Lloyd) famed four-wheeled time machine back to its one-time glory.  Directed by Steve Concotelli, the documentary is presented in the vein of Top Gear, Counting Cars, and American Chopper.  It  includes full-length commentary by Concotelli and Joe Walser, who headed up the Delorean’s restoration as a special bonus feature along with deleted scenes, footage from the documentary’s world premiere, a restoration photo gallery, and much more.  Audiences can order OUTATIME: Saving The Delorean Time Machine now via Amazon.  More information on this and other titles from Virgil Films is available online now at:

 

 

Website: http://www.virgilfilmsent.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/virgilfilms

 

 

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.