Taking a look at recent releases, from Johan van der Keuken to the St. Louis Cardinals
Reviewed by Shawn Badgley, Fri., Feb. 16, 2007
Johan van der Keuken: The Complete Collection, Vol. 1 (Facets, $79.95): The Dutch documentarian's I $, The Eye Above the Well, and Face Value are the drawing cards among the nine hours of material making up four decades' worth of work, but it's such shorts as "On Animal Locomotion" which illustrates the effect of music on our physicality and the early "A Moment's Silence" that keep us attuned to his humanist grasp of the abstract and empathetic. One of the more impressive releases of 2006; look for volume two in late March.
Paul Robeson: Portraits of the Artist (Criterion, $99.95): A formidable commemoration for that most formidable of American renaissance men. Includes new transfers of The Emperor Jones, Borderline, Body and Soul, Sanders of the River, Jericho, The Proud Valley, and Native Land, as well as commentaries by Jeffrey C. Stewart and Pearl Bowser, a Pacifica Radio interview with Robeson, and four biographical videos (five, if you include Saul Turell's 1979 "Tribute to an Artist").
The St. Louis Cardinals: 2006 World Series Collector's Edition (A&E Home Video, $78.95): Pretty much the foremost cinematic achievement of our time. DVD extras on the eight-disc masterpiece include clubhouse celebration footage, personnel interviews, Busch III opening ceremonies (this was the first team since the 1923 Yankees to christen a new park with a world title), a bottle of bourbon, a case of Budweiser, and my brother.
Mutual Appreciation (Homevision, $26.99): Former Austinite Andrew Bujalski's second film (Funny Ha Ha) has managed that decidedly indie trick of setting up extended residence in the consciousness of certain segments of the filmgoing public for years. In this case, it's been two since Mutual Appreciation premiered at SXSW, and, as this release complete with Bujalski short "Peoples House," trailers, posters, festival recaps, and "interjections and observations from the parents of the cast and crew" makes clear, few films are more deserving of a comfortable spot in your living room.
The Films of Kenneth Anger: Volume One (Fantoma, $24.98): 1947-1954 saw the ignition of a transgressive blast furnace with "Fireworks," "Puce Moment," "Rabbit's Moon," "Eaux d'Artifice," and "Inaguration of the Pleasure Dome," collected here on DVD for the first time. Worth an hour or two of your time for Anger's commentary as lamentably little as there is alone.
The Last Unicorn: 25th Anniversary Edition (Lions Gate, $19.98): The voice talents of Mia Farrow, Jeff Bridges, and Angela Lansbury come together to tell us to be ourselves. Songs by America. Among the extras are a making-of, a set-top game, and "Schmendrick's Magical Gallery."
Don't Look Back: 65 Tour Deluxe Edition (New Video Group, $49.95): D.A. Pennebaker supplements his vérité breakthrough with new doc "Bob Dylan: 65 Revisited," plus five more uncut performances, a 168-page book, the alternate cue-card sequence, and more. To which I say, "Pinch me, pinch me: all me dreams come true."