Tuesday, October 14, 2008

DVD Reviews

God Grew Tired of Us:
Documentary about the Lost Boys from Sudan who escaped state genocide and the few who made it to the US. What remarkable individuals. The film is a nice complement to Lost Boys of Sudan which follows a different set of refugees.

The Madness of King George:
The film deals with the madness suffered by King George II after losing the American colonies. Nigel Hawthorne is superb as his Highness but I found the film tiresome and myself looking at the clock to see how close it was to ending.
Not recommended

Carlos Santana- Blues at Montreux- Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown:
This must have been one of the last performances by Clarence Brown before passing away in 2005, shortly after evacuating from Hurricane Katrina. A really fine performance (backed up by some incredible jazz/blues musicians) that cements Mr. Brown’s high standing in the history of American blues, jazz, and roots music. What a delightful and unique performer.

The Band’s Visit:
A small film about an Egyptian police orchestra that travels to Israel to give a performance, but gets lost in transit. They have to rely on the help of strangers to help find their way. A nice story of two different cultures discovering their similarities as well as individuals discovering things about themselves. Quite funny at times.

Beatles- First U.S. Visit:
Two brothers team up to film The Beatles first visit to the U.S. in 1964. They document the public pandemonium as well as many behind the scenes views of “the boys” relaxing, traveling, and visiting. One extraordinary scene- the band playing a “in the round” concert in Washington, D.C. Every song or two they pull their equipment around to a different angle so everyone in the crowd can see them. Despite the crude sound equipment and screaming fans, the sound isn’t too bad. Don't miss the interview with one of the film makers.

A Passage to India:
A young British woman visits India in the 1920’s. Beautifully filmed and a nice look at colonial India and the arrogance and bigotry that characterized it.

CSNY Déjà Vu:
Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young tour the U.S. in 2006 on their “Freedom of Speech” tour. They travel with an embedded correspondent who documents the band and the audience’s response to the anti-war, anti-Bush slant of the performances. A good look at Your America as well as some good music.

German film about a young genius and piano prodigy who finds he own way to deal with the burden of his high intellect and musical talent while seeking a normal childhood.

American Folk-Blues Festival- 1963-66:
What a jewel. Some great performances by classic American blues performers recorded on a British television program. All are superb, but Lonnie Johnson, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Howlin’ Wolf, and Sister Rosetta Tharpe really stand out.

Company K:
Great anti-war film based on the 1933 novel by William March. March documents his experiences as a soldier in World War I. He includes all the gritty, disgusting details that makes war the obscenity that it is.

Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden?:
Morgan Spurlock travels throughout the Middle East on a comical quest to locate Osama bin Laden. He interviews many leaders and people on the street. The response is reassuring- people still generally love the American people but hate their government and its foreign policy, the social and economic stress created by this foreign policy fuels anti-U.S. extremism, and people everywhere want the same things out of life- to live in peace and raise their families.

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