Eagle Rock Entertainment Announces Home Release Date, Specs For New Miles Davis Doc

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Eagle Rock Entertainment will bring the new Miles Davis documentary Birth of the Cool home next month.

The documentary, which originally premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, grossed more than $1 million during its recent theatrical run.  It is scheduled for home release April 10, and will be available as a BD/DVD combo pack and 2DVD with bonus Montreux concert footage and 16-page hardcover book and all digital platforms.  The Montreux footage was culled from Davis’ performances at the festival in 1973, 1984 and 1985.

The performance listing for the Montruex shows is noted below.


1.) Ife (1973)
2.) Star People (1984 Afternoon)
3.) It Gets Better (1984 Afternoon)
4.) Hopscotch; Star On Cicely (1984 Afternoon)
5.) Lake Geneva (1984 Afternoon)
6.) Star People (1985 Evening)
7.) Hopscotch (1985 Evening)


The documentary, which also recently aired nationwide on PBS as part of the network’s beloved American Masters series, was directed by three-time Emmy award winner Stanley Nelson. It profiles the life and career of the late great trumpeter Miles Davis.  The profile features never-before-seen live performances and outtakes from Davis’ studio sessions.  It also features interviews with people who knew Davis both professionally and personally, such as Quincy Jones, Carlos Santana, Clive Davis, Wayne Shorter and Ron Carter.

The documentary was nominated for a Grammy at the 62nd annual Grammy Awards and for a NAACP Image Award in the category of “Outstanding Documentary (Film).”

More information on this and other titles from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online at:


Website: http://www.eagle-rock.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/EagleRockNews


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PBS’ DUCKumentary Feathered Fun For The Whole Family

Courtesy:  PBS

Courtesy: PBS

PBS’ Nature has always been one of its best shows.  And compared to so many other shows of its ilk that are out there it is the cream of the crop.  Its latest release, An Original DUCKumentary proves yet again why Nature is the prime example of a wildlife show done right.

An Original DUCKumentary takes viewers into the lives of some of our fine-feathered friends from birth to adulthood.  This is a wonderful program for the entire family and for ornithologists and those studying aviary sciences.  General audiences will love simply watching the feature’s outstanding cinematography while those with a deeper interest in the different species of ducks will appreciate both the cinematography and the more scientific explanations of each species’ general body construction and habits.  The subtle narration by acting veteran Paul Giamatti (Sideways, The Illusionist, Cosmopolis) is a nice touch, too.  There’s something about his delivery that is perfect for just such a setting as this.  Both Lenny Williams and Chris Biondo are also to be commended in this new feature from PBS.  The pair was responsible for the music used as a bed throughout the show.  Just as Giamatti’s delivery was a perfect fit for narration, the control of the music by Biondo and Williams’ gentle musical touch added its own extra subtle nuance to the presentation.

The narration and music definitely play their own part in the success of An Original DUCKumentary as already noted.  This is something that far too often, documentarians get wrong in crafting their presentations.  Together, the pair have come together to make a presentation that will keep audiences engaged and entertained.  One example of that match comes in a scene in which a number of different species of ducks had come together at a stopping point on their migration.  Giamatti describes almost as if he were right there in person how each group actually works together in its own way to protect all of the ducks from predators while others rest and look for their mates.  There’s something oddly humorous about Giammati’s delivery as he talks about the male ducks’ attempts to lure a female.  There’s almost a certain slightly dry wit about his narration as he talks about the birds’ mating habits.

Along with the narration, music, and cinematography, there is one other aspect of An Original DUCKumentary that makes it enjoyable for both general audiences and those more deeply interested in studying ducks.  That factor is the inclusion of a listing of each duck featured throughout the feature at its end.  Audiences are presented with a collage of different ducks that is highlighted, one duck at a time, complete with its name.  It serves as one more way to get audiences who might have otherwise not had any interest in studying ducks interested for the first time.  For those who are more seasoned birders, it’s just one more bonus as it specifically highlights each species featured.  Along with the other noted aspects of this feature, it’s one more reason for any viewer of any level of experience to check out this stand out dock…er…DUCKumentary.  It’s available now on DVD and can be ordered online direct via the PBS store at http://www.shoppbs.org.

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Up Heartbreak Hill A Reminder Of The Challenges Facing Minorities In America

Courtesy: PBS

The Native American community, like so many other minority groups, faces great hardships in the twenty-first century.  As evidenced in PBS’ new documentary, Up Heartbreak Hill the Native American community still faces issues such as alcoholism and drug use.  This applies not just to the adults of said community, but to its youth, too.  These and other issues play a large role in the expectations of Native American youth in terms of changing that culture and making something better for themselves.  In this new special, audiences see that perhaps that culture is beginning to change as they watch three high school seniors prepare for the waning days of their public school career and make some very tough decisions about the next step in their lives.

Audiences are introduced to Thomas, Tamara, and Gabby in Up Heartbreak Hill.  All three are preparing to graduate from high school and go out into the world.  Just as with any other young person today, they face the same teen drama.  At one point, there’s a falling out between Thomas and Tamara because Tamara’s parents get involved in the teens’ graduation planning.  In Thomas’ eyes, they take over all the planning.  As a result, Tamara takes the brunt of the teens’ ire.  Thomas faces his own pressures as he finishes his high school cross country “career.”  He has to decide if he’s going to go on to college and run for said college’s cross country team.  And then there’s Gabby.  Gabby admits early on that at one point she herself was a drug user.  However she goes on to note that she has since gotten cleaned up.  Gabby is perhaps the one that everyone will watch more than Thomas and Tamara.  She reaches a point where she almost becomes another statistic, as she says she’s not sure if she’s cut out for college.  But thanks to the support of her boyfriend, that changes. 

All three of the teens featured in this special want to go to college originally.  But as noted, they each face their own challenges.  One of the biggest hurdles facing not just these three, but so many minority schools, is lack of school funding.  The teens’ school is even more underfunded than other schools across the country, thus greatly decreasing educational opportunities for the students.  Despite this and all of the other challenges facing them, Thomas, Tamara, and Gabby all end up going to college in the end.  Thomas’ closing statement is the most telling of the entire special.  He notes that the view of the older generation of Native Americas needs to change because the current generation actually does care about doing something better with their lives.  That statement, and that all three teens went on to college, gives hope for so many other youths that it is possible to overcome those challenges.

There are those who would be naysayers to this documentary.  They argue that it isn’t a full enough cross section of what young minorities endure.  Given it isn’t a full cross section.  But so much of what the teens face here is the same as what so many other teen minorities face today.  So it makes them a fitting sample of what minority groups in general face.  It makes this piece that much more impactful.  Audiences can check it out for themselves, as the DVD is available now.  It can be ordered online via PBS’s website at http://www.shoppbs.org.

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Titanic at 100 adds another chapter to the history of the Titanic

The sinking of the Titanic is arguably one of the most talked about tragedies in transportation and nautical history.  Even just over a century later, there are still conflicting views on what really happened, and who’s to blame.  Earlier this year, History Channel released what is one of the most interesting discussions to date on the tragedy in “Titanic:  The Complete Story.”  Now, the network has released another documentary centered on the great ship’s doomed voyage in “Titanic at 100:  Mystery Solved.”

“Titanic at 100:  Mystery Solved” is a wonderful companion piece to History Channel’s previous documentary.  That documentary was released March 13th of this year.  What makes this most recent documentary the great companion to the prior is that it provides a different viewpoint of what exactly did or didn’t happen to the doomed vessel.  “Titanic at 100:  Mystery Solved” argues that the belief that the ship’s lack of structural integrity was to blame for its sinking was wrong.  One way that it supports its argument is by testing rivets made from hundred year old metal.  The theory in question being tested was that when the Titanic scraped against the iceberg that ripped it open, rivets on the ship had actually come loose from the hull, thus allowing the iceberg to basically “unzip” the hull.  In turn, that “unzipping” allowed the cold North Atlantic waters to flood into boiler room six.  The test results show that perhaps the rivets had not come undone after all.

Testing the rivet theory was only one part of the investigation by the team from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.  After the Titanic was ripped open, the ship’s front half went into the water.  This is where this documentary takes a different turn.  The research team in this documentary argues that when the ship broke, the front half of the ship actually hung onto the back end for a moment before breaking off and sinking.  This would tie in to the argument made by the 2005 History Channel expedition to the Titanic.  That crew’s expedition led to the conclusion that a poorly constructed expansion joint led to the ship’s demise.  But according to this documentary, if the ship had actually stayed connected even for a moment, then the expansion joint could not have been the culprit in the ship breaking.  It doesn’t come right out and say that.  But it does seem to intimate that argument by making mention of the ship at least temporarily staying together before sinking.  The documentary does make a brief mention of the expansion joint in the team’s research.  It also makes mention of the pieces of the ship’s bottom discovered in the ’05 expedition.  It ties that discovery in to its argument, claiming that those pieces are what held the ship together before it sank in two pieces.  The prior documentary, though, used those same pieces to argue that the expansion joint was at fault. 

Having tested and debunked the rivet theory as a cause for the Titanic’s sinking, the research team had to find another way to support its argument about the ship’s integrity.  It did this by becoming the first research team to ever completely map out the debris field.  It wasn’t an easy journey for the team.  In the process of mapping everything, the team had to abort its voyage at least for a day because of a hurricane.  It nearly even lost a highly important piece of equipment trying to outrun the hurricane.  That piece of equipment was a camera that had gotten tangled in the ship’s remains.  The team does manage to get the entire wreck site mapped out, including the long lost middle section.  That middle section was right around where the expansion joint was, thus the reference to the previous expedition.  According to the researchers, when they realized the missing piece they had found was mostly still in tact, that was fodder in the argument against the ship cataclysmically breaking apart.  Having gathered all of this information, the team uses a virtual set to “reconstruct” the Titanic to try and find out what they believe to have been the cause of the Titanic’s final hours.  That, combined with the extensive mapping of the wreckage site will keep audiences enthralled throughout the documentary’s presentation.

Whether or not the team is correct in its assumptions as to what might have happened that fateful night, audiences will love the discussions created via this presentation.  It’s a wonderful companion piece to “Titanic:  the Complete Story” in that it presents a different view of what happened.  It even includes more stories of the passengers on board, including an alleged affair between two of the passengers.  One of the people involved in the creation of the famed Coney Island Witching Waves ride was on board, too.  These small tidbits of information are the extra spice that make “Titanic at 100” such an interesting watch.  Whether one has a special interest in all things transportation or nautical, or is simply a history buff in general, “Titanic at 100:  Mystery Solved” is one more example of what makes History Channel’s documentary programming some of the best on television.  It’s great both for the average viewer and for the classroom.  And while countless documentaries are released each year surrounding the doomed ship, this is one documentary that manages to stand on its own merits both by itself and with its companion documentary, “Titanic:  The Complete Story.”  Put together, the two documentaries give an even more complete story, making for an even more enthralling look back into history.

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