Video Reviews | April 15, 2013

sleeptight Video Reviews | April 15, 2013OrangeReviewStar Video Reviews | April 15, 2013 Sleep Tight. color. 102+ min. In Spanish w/English subtitles. Jaume Balagueró, Castelano Pictures, dist. by Dark Sky Films, www.darkskyfilms.com. 2013. DVD UPC 030306820392. $24.98; Blu-ray UPC 030306186092. $29.98. HORROR

César (Luis Tosar) is the concierge of an elegant Barcelona apartment building. His tenants are a merry lot, especially the lovely Clara (Marta Etura), a cheerful beauty whose sunny smile lights up a room. César is not a fan of light, however, as we learn when he tells his comatose mother that he has never felt happiness. His mission, therefore, is to destroy the happiness of others, a goal that he accomplishes in a variety of ways: by sending anonymous hate mail, killing the building’s plants, and inflicting one elderly tenant’s dog with diarrhea. He is especially focused on Clara, and as César’s attempts to torment her fail, his fixation swells into full-fledged obsession. VERDICT Spanish director Balagueró ([Rec]) has crafted an impeccably paced, almost unbearably suspenseful excursion into psychological terror. It preys upon childhood fears of the monster under the bed and does it with a distinctly Hitchcockian flavor in what is one of the most engrossing horror films to come along in years.—Jeanne Bogino, New Lebanon Lib., NY

OrangeReviewStar Video Reviews | April 15, 2013 Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet. color. 89+ min. Jesse Vile, Opus Pocus Films, dist. by Kino Lorber, www.kinolorber.com. 2012. DVD UPC 738329106324. $26.95; public performance $149. MUSIC/BIOG

First-time feature filmmaker Vile produced and directed this inspirational profile of 1980s heavy metal guitar prodigy Jason Becker (b. 1969), who after being diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, at age 19 has not only miraculously survived for more than 20 years but continues to write and record. As evidenced by ample footage of the then-teenaged guitarist performing on stage and practicing his craft, as well as through interviews with fellow musicians, Becker was on his way to stardom when he was struck down with the progressively debilitating disease. Vile doesn’t wallow in the sadness and tragedy of Becker’s story, instead emphasizing Becker’s humble perseverance and dogged pursuit of his passion for music. This powerfully well-crafted film focuses not just on Becker but also on his caregivers, including an ex-girlfriend–turned–personal chef and his father, who has invented an ingenious eye-communication system for his son. Bonus extras include performance footage of a young, healthy Becker in action, additional interviews, and a medical expert’s clear explanation of ALS. VERDICT Recommended for fans of Just Around the Corner (LJ 3/1/13) and other true stories of human endurance with a rock and roll twist and for anyone interested in the effects of ALS.—Douglas King, Univ. of South Carolina Lib., Columbia

OrangeReviewStar Video Reviews | April 15, 2013 Re-Emerging: The Jews of Nigeria; A Story of One Man’s Search for Ancestry, Identity and Community. color. 93 min. Jeff L. Lieberman, Re-Emerging Films, www.re-emergingfilm.com. 2012. DVD $295. Public performance; home version $18 + s/h. INT AFFAIRS/REL

This very engaging documentary is set in the troubled African nation of Nigeria, where religious strife is common. A handful of the largest minority, the Igbo, have come to believe that they are really Jewish, and they consider themselves members of a lost tribe of Israel. Among them is Shmuel, who describes with great sincerity his Jewish quest and his desire to study at a religious academy in Israel and the United States in order to one day become a rabbi. At the time of the filming, he has been rebuffed in his efforts, yet he persists with his dream from his respected place in his small, tight-knit community. Lieberman, who has produced numerous television projects, documents the freedom-loving Igbo, their history from ancient times, and their influence in Nigeria and in America. Interviews with scholars place matters in context, and the striking visit of a sympathetic American Conservative Jewish rabbi provides a moving example of a wider vision of Judaism. The program illustrates the intermingling of Igbo and Jewish customs. These Jews face a great deal of discrimination as they are looked upon as members of some occult group even by their family, friends, and neighbors. VERDICT Never heavy-handed, the film will captivate viewers intrigued by how the mix of world cultures brings new and unexpected developments. Those interested in anthropology, religion, and modern cultures will thoroughly enjoy this terrific movie.—Paul Kaplan, Lake Villa Dist. Lib., IL


The following titles are reviewed in the April 15 print issue. Visit Book Verdict for the full reviews.

FICTION

Just Henry. color. 100 min. David Moore, ITV Studios, dist. by BFS Entertainment, www.bfsent.com. 2012. DVD UPC 066805311451. $24.98. F

Stella Days. color. 90+ min. Thaddeus O’Sullivan, Irish Film Board & Newgrange Pictures, dist by Tribecca Film c/o Cinedigm/New Video, 800-314-8822; www.newvideo.com. 2012. DVD ISBN 9781422921999. $26.95. Closed-captioned. F

Vera: Set 2. 4 discs. color. 370 min. Peter Hoar & others, ITV Studios, dist. by Acorn Media, 888-870-8047; www.acornonline.com. 2012. DVD ISBN 9781598288209. $59.99. SDH subtitles. F

ARTS & HUMANITIES

The Portrait. color. 30 min. Hubert Davis, Natl. Film Bd. of Canada, www.nfb.com. 2012. DVD UPC 698193275383. $150. Public performance. ART-GENERAL

Extraordinary Minds: Jacques d’Amboise. color & b/w. 52 min. Rob Massey, Shout! Factory & Ambassador Entertainment, dist. by Kultur, 732-229-2343; www.kultur.com. DVD ISBN 9780769791036. $19.99. DANCE

Billy Bang: Long Over Due. color. 77 min. Oscar Sanders, Malcolm Entertainment, www.malcolmentertainment.com. 2012. DVD $15 + $2 s/h. MUSIC

OrangeReviewStar Video Reviews | April 15, 2013 Color Me Obsessed: A Film About the Replacements. 2 discs. color. 123+ min. Gorman Bechard, What Were We Thinking Films, dist. by MVDVisual, 800-888-0486; www.mvdb2b.com. 2012. DVD UPC 760137553397. $19.95. MUSIC

The Walt Disney Concert Hall Organ. 1 disc + 1 CD. color. 47+ min. Raoul Peter Mongilardi, Sable Arms Prods. in assoc. with OM-RPM Prods., dist. by Kultur. 2012. DVD ISBN 9780769750019. $29.99. music

The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye. color & b/w. 70+ min Marie Losier, Adopt Films, dist. by New Yorker Films, www.newyorkerfilms.com. 2012. DVD ISBN 9781567305075. $29.95.PERFORMING ARTS

Islam Unknown. 2 discs. color. 208 min. Fons Elders, dist. by Icarus Films, 800-876-1710; www.icarusfilms.com. 2012. DVD $398. Public performance. REL

SOCIAL SCIENCES

Canicula. color. 72 min. In Spanish w/English subtitles. Jose Álvarez, dist. by Cinema Guild, 212-685-6242; www.cinemaguild.com. 2012. DVD ISBN 9780781514118. $99; acad. libs. $295. Public performance. INT AFFAIRS

OrangeReviewStar Video Reviews | April 15, 2013 The Law in These Parts. color. 101 min. In Hebrew w/English subtitles. Ra’anan Alexandrowicz, dist. by Cinema Guild, 212-685-6242; www.cinemaguild.com. 2012. DVD ISBN 9780781514224. $99.95; acad. libs. $350. Public performance. LAW/int affairs

Happy. color. 75+ min. Roko Belic, Wadi Rum Films & Shady Acres, dist. by Passion River, 732-440-8100; www.passionriver.com. 2012. DVD UPC 823857159529. $19.99. PSYCH

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Harvest. color. 70 min. In English & Spanish w/English subtitles. John Beck, dist. by Seventh Art Releasing, www.7thart.com. 2012. DVD $59; acad. libs. $295. Public performance. BEVERAGES/SOC SCI

The Raw and the Cooked: A Culinary Journey Through Taiwan. color. 83+ min. Monika Treut, dist. by First Run Features, 800-229-8575; www.firstrunfeatures.com. 2012. DVD UPC 720229915281. $29.95.COOKING/TRAV

The Power of Two. color. 94 min. Marc Smolowitz, Twin Triumph Prods., dist. by Collective Eye Films, www.collectiveeye.org. 2012. DVD $49.99; public performance $150; acad. libs. $325; home version. dist. by Passion River, www.passionriver.com. $24.95. HEALTH

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Bette-Lee Fox About Bette-Lee Fox

Bette-Lee Fox (blfox@mediasourceinc.com) is Managing Editor, Library Journal.

Celebrating her 42nd year with Library Journal, Bette-Lee also edits LJ's Video Reviews column, six times a year Romance column, and e-original Romance reviews, which post weekly as LJ Xpress Reviews. She received the Romance Writers of America (RWA) Vivian Stephens Industry Award in 2013 for having "contributed to the genre or to RWA in a significant and/or continuing manner"

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