Brooklyn Castle. color. 102+ min. Katie Dellamaggiore, Rescued Media in assoc. with Indelible Marks & Chicken & Egg Pictures, dist. by First Run Features, 800-229-8575; www.firstrunfeatures.com. 2013. educational version. DVD UPC 720229915571. $60. Public performance; closed-captioned. GAMES
This inspiring documentary shows what a dedicated teacher, backed by supportive administrators, can achieve in the most unlikely of places. Intermediate School 318, in the heart of what is described as one of Brooklyn’s worst neighborhoods, is surely not where one would expect to found a chess dynasty. And, yet, it is. Year after year, youngsters from the school come out at or near the top of regional and national chess tournaments—even going so far as to win the U.S. high school championship against older teens. A group of mostly minority, underprivileged children, their parents, and their teachers struggling with New York City budget cuts are succeeding. More important, the success of these teams has boosted school spirit and translated into achievement in academics and the arts. VERDICT Highly recommended for most audiences.
56 UP. color & b/w. 138+ min. Michael Apted, dist. by First Run Features, 800-229-8575; www.firstrunfeatures.com. 2013. DVD UPC 720229925380. $195. Public performance; home version $29.95; 7-disc boxed set. 848+ min. DVD UPC 720229915588. $79.95. SOC SCI
Beginning in 1964, director Apted has chronicled the lives of 14 British subjects through interviews with them every seven years (see 42 UP, LJ 2/1/01; 49 UP, LJ 2/1/07). Seven UP began with a focus on the British class system; the 14 seven-year-olds came from vastly different backgrounds, from charity homes to well-to-do households. Over the years, however, the focus has become less political and more personal. In 56 UP, the participants cope with the realities of middle age. Most of them are established in their work lives, although the one children’s librarian had recently lost her job owing to redundancy. Many of them are married, and several are divorced. They describe their lives with remarkable frankness, including the mixed feelings they have about continuing to participate in the project. Each film in the series is a snapshot of life at a particular point in time for a particular group of people, but their experiences mirror those of their contemporaries, regardless of country. VERDICT The “UP” series has won wide critical acclaim over the years. It cannot be taken as a sociological study, but each film provides a deeply moving insight into the human condition.
Step Up to the Plate. color. 90+ min. In French w/English subtitles. Paul Lacoste, Jour 2/Fete, dist. by Cinema Guild, www.cinemaguild.com. 2013. DVD ISBN 9780781514279. $29.95. COOKING
Not unlike 2012’s Jiro Dreams of Sushi (LJ 9/15/12; Best DVDs of 2012, LJ 1/13), this subtitled French documentary explores intergenerational relationships and succession in the context of restaurants and commitment to excellence in cooking. Michelin three-star chef Michel Bras, soon to retire from running his stunning restaurant, can’t quite fully hand the business over to his son, Sébastian. The two men and other family members are shown at work and at home, sometimes talking directly to the camera. Sébastian’s own inner turmoil and journey to his new responsibility are framed in a broken series of scenes wherein he creates a new savory and sweet dish, refines it, shares it with his father, and, finally, offers it to diners. The film’s pace is deliberate, the scenery is breathtaking in parts, and there is some exquisite food to be appreciated. VERDICT Ultimately, this is a moving meditation on fathers and sons that should appeal to a broader audience than just food enthusiasts.
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The following titles are reviewed in the August 15, 2013 print issue. Visit Book Verdict for the full reviews.
Baron Blood. color. 98+ min. DVD UPC 738329099527. $24.95; Blu-ray UPC 738329108021. $29.95.
Black Sunday. b/w. 87+ min. DVD UPC 738329099824. $19.95; Blu-ray UPC 738329104122. $24.95.
Hatchet for the Honeymoon. color. 88+ min. DVD UPC 738329098223. $19.95; Blu-ray UPC 738329098322. $24.95.
Lisa and the Devil/The House of Exorcism. color. 95/91+ min. DVD UPC 738329104221. $24.95; Blu-ray UPC 738329104320. $29.95.
ea. vol: (Mario Bava Collection). Mario Bava, dist. by Kino Lorber, 800-562-3330; www.kinolorber.com. 2012. HORROR
Not Fade Away. color. 112+ min. David Chase, Gran Via/Chase Films, dist. by Paramount Home Video, www.paramount.com. 2013. DVD UPC 032429129369. $19.99; Blu-ray UPC 032429129345. $29.99. Rated: R. F/MUSIC
ARTS & HUMANITIES
Bone Wind Fire. color. 30 min. Jill Sharpe, Natl. Film Bd. of Canada, 800-542-2164; www.nfb.ca. 2012. DVD UPC 698193268514. $150. Public performance. ART-GENERAL
Paul Williams: Still Alive. color & b/w. 84+ min. Stephen Kessler, 3W Films & Brainstorm Media, dist. by Virgil Films, www.virgilfilms.com. 2013. DVD UPC 829567083628. $19.99. Rated: PG-13. MUSIC
Sound City. color. 108+ min. Dave Grohl, Roswell Films/Therapy Content/Diamond Docs, buy.soundcitymovie.com. 2013. DVD UPC 887654589590. $18.98; Blu-Ray UPC 887654589798. $24.98; digital download $14.99. MUSIC
Wagner & Me. color. 89 min. Patrick McGrady, Wavelength Film in assoc. with the BBC, dist. by First Run Features, 800-229-8575; www.firstrunfeatures.com. 2013. DVD UPC 720229915465. $27.95. MUSIC
Doubletime: Jump for Joy, Play To Win. color. 70 min. Stephanie Johnes, Uncle Booster Prod. in assoc with Cactus Three, Discovery Films c/o Amazon.com. 2012. DVD $16.95. RECREATION
The Highest Peak. color. 90+ min. Jon Fitzgerald, dist. by Cinema Libre Studio, www.cinemalibrestudio.com. 2012. DVD UPC 881394115521. $24.95. RECREATION/rel
Building Babel: The Story of Sharif El-Gamal. color. 58 min. David Osit, dist. by Seventh Art Releasing, www.7thart.com. 2012. DVD $79.95; acad. libs. $295. Public performance. REL/SOC SCI
GLOW: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. color. 76+ min. Brett Whitcomb, Connell Creations, Window Pictures, dist. by Docurama c/o New Video, 800-314-8822; www.newvideo.com. 2013. DVD UPC 767685285060. $29.95. SPORTS
The Learning. color. 98 min. Ramona S. Diaz, CineDiaz & ITVS, dist. by Women Make Movies, www.wmm.com. 2012. DVD $89; acad. libs. $295 (Rental: $90). Public performance. ED
Happy You’re Alive. 58 min. In Hebrew or Arabic w/English subtitles. Hilla Medalia, kNow Prods., dist. by Passion River, www.passionriver.com. 2012. DVD UPC 736211744654. $199. Public performance. PSYCH
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Emergency Preparedness: Awareness & Survival. color. 89 min. Apogee Communications Group, 800-210-5700; www.apogeevideo.com. 2012. DVD UPC 783557077496. $39.95. HEALTH