Why is AndersonVision reviewing so much stuff at the End of 2019?
Well, the fact of the matter is that there is only so much time in a day. When we sought to make an easier to read version of the site across all formats, we knew it was going to eat into review time. But, once you get in a hardcore Marie Kondo bender…it’s hard to pull yourself out of that minimalist Hell. Now, here we are. Things have dramatically improved and we have opened new channels to reaching our audiences.
But, our hardcore traditional audience was like…so when are the reviews going to start back up? To that I say…they’ll trickle back onto the site. Meanwhile, we had a review stockpile that could choke a horse. That is if you’re into choking a horse. Put your Ls up, as the fun begins.
The shows that underwhelmed me.
Bluebird is a fascinating documentary about Nashville’s Bluebird Cafe. I’ve only been there once, but the only thing I heard was the worst Brooks & Dunn covers I ever heard in my life. This was followed by another group struggling to bust out Hootie and the Blowfish covers that melted into a weird riff on Tuesday’s Gone. I think it was because they forgot how to end “I Go Blind“. The documentary is packed full of interviews, a trailer and image slideshow. If you dig super regional Country music stories, this is for you.
Mommy: 25th Anniversary Edition was next up and I have never heard of Mommy before now. Some readers like to think that I’m this encyclopedia of film lore. Honestly, there is so much underground, barely seen, held-back garbage that the avalanche of this schlock is too much. What’s cool is that you get both Mommy movies and a bit of insight into writer Max Allan Collins’ process into making films. Plus, how about that Mickey Spillane cameo?
Monochrome: Black, White & Blue is a look at the evolution of the Blues in America. Focusing in on key areas, this documentary packs the same kind of talking head interviews that I have seen multiple times by now. It’s almost enough to make you swear you’ve seen the movie before.
Jirga is a look at an Australian soldier returning home to Afghanistan. He knows that he committed war crimes and wants to put his life in the hands of the local Jirga. The Jirga court will decide his fate while he spends his time making peace with his father. It’s a quiet little drama, but there’s nothing memorable here. Worth at least a viewing.
My Son is a thriller about how a sudden tragic event can change a family’s life. Not quite an abduction movie and not quite a family drama, the film tap dances around many of these melodramatic conceits. The entire time, you might feel yourself about to jump out of your skin during the action. The Blu-ray comes with featurettes.
Tone-Deaf should’ve been really good. I dig Robert Patrick and Amanda Crew. However, what I found could’ve been any other movie that I picked up this year. At AndersonVision, it’s a dime a dozen to see any movie where an old guy stalks a young girl. Hell, most genre movies all about women trying to keep from being killed by men anymore. That says a lot, but what are we going to do about it? The only special feature is a featurette.
Buttons: A Christmas Tale is a look at how Christmas magic allows aging actors to tell heart-warming tales. It’s super family friendly and you get to see what happened to the guy that played Reed Richards in the Tim Story directed Fantastic Four movies. Paul McCartney has a fun song thrown into the mix, but I don’t get why Kate Winslet and Robert Redford both narrated the movie. One or the other, guys.
King of Queens: The Complete Series got a solid DVD release. Mill Creek just announced a Blu-ray release is coming in 2020, so I’m not sure what to do here. I mean, it’s fascinating to see a TV show that feels like it was airing two decades after it should’ve aired. But, I just don’t get the appeal of the material. Leah Remini is still hot in her own way. Remember when she worked on that resort when Saved By The Bell would air those summer episodes? Pepperidge Farms remembers.
Killerman is a Liam Hemsworth vehicle. That’s the modern action equivalent of saying Hey, Check out the New Jim Belushi movie! He’s just as good as his brother…right?!? Throw in a diamond robbery, amnesia and a race against the clock to have every 4th action movie made in the last 30 years. Check it out of you’re bored.
Melody Makers is a look at how one photographer changed the face of Melody Maker magazine. The 60s and 70s music scene in England is highlighted, but the bulk of the material belongs to how the magazine rose and fell against such stunning times. While the subject matter is fascinating, the way it was handled is super boring.
The Returned: The Complete Second Season took almost two discs before I realized that I had even seen the show before. Maybe it’s age or over-saturation, but here we are. The concept of long-lost relatives returning from some place else is fascinating, it feels like there is a limit to the material. How many times can you keep threading the same needle? The DVD comes with no special features.
AndersonVision reviews the hits
Santana: Live at US Festival answers the question. How many times can you carve up the US Festival for specialized highlights? I get that Santana has fans and all. However, I guess I’m missing what’s going on here. Still, it’s cool that Sony Music and Shout were able to get together and put on a definitive stamp for this performance. Just imagine the other discs that could be made of those one great performances in a musician’s life?
Holly Near: Singing for Our Lives is a documentary about a legendary Feminist singer. While I had no idea who she was, it was fascinating to learn about her story. The DVD comes with live performances and additional interviews. You know what’s better than a documentary full of interviews? More interviews…in standard definition.
Cum On Feel The Noize is the latest documentary about how metal saved everything. Nikki Sixx and Ozzy Osbourne provide for fun interviews, but I feel this is trying to hit up oldheads or new metal fans. Everything feels really old or just not that relevant if you’ve followed the scene for a bit. That’s not a slam or anything, but just the way things are now.
Martin Barre: Live in NY is a DVD/CD combo from a guy I never knew existed. At this point, I’m starting to feel like Billie Eilish. But, AndersonVision reviews what gets sent and here we are today. The Double CD is neat and I liked the DVD to see the live performance. However, there isn’t a ton else going on. If you dig those Roadhouse style jams, then this is for you.
Kenny Rogers: The Gambler’s Last Deal proves one thing to me. That I still love Kenny Rogers. Recorded at the London Palladium in 2017, this was the final performance of the legend’s world tour. While he might have more pull overseas due to the limitations in seeing the man, he is still one of the greatest country stars of the last 50 years. Plus, he was in Six Pack. Six Pack is awesome. This release is a CD/DVD combo.
Nekromantix released 3 Decades of Darkle this year. It was a giant Blu-ray/DVD/CD combo pack that took everyone deep into the horror band and their killer live sets. While I’m not familiar with the band, I dug their aesthetic. So, there is that.
Humble Pie: Life & Times of Steve Marriott is a fun Blu/DVD/CD set that features the complete 1973 Winterland Show. Unless you’re a deep Humble Pie fan, this will mean nothing to you. However, it’s peak early 70s rock for fans. The special features are quite in-depth. Plus, you get their cover of Itchycoo Park. It’s quite the treat.
AndersonVision saves their favorites for last
Twin Flower is about two abused teens in Africa trying to escape human trafficking. While that sounds terrible, it’s the kind of friendly road trip movie that doesn’t get made anymore. AndersonVision reviews a ton of films like these. However, it’s so special when movies like these get revisited. Much more rewarding than whatever the big studios limp to the barn with against Star Wars.
A Feast of Man is like The Big Chill with more sexuality and cannibalism. After a dear friend tells his surviving compatriots that they must eat him to win his money, friendship is put to the test. Now, I know some of you would be reaching for the A-1 sauce, but it’s different when a corpse is on the table in front of you. What’s great about these Indiepix releases is that they give these true indie comedies a chance to shine. Check it out.
What’s funny is that while going through the AndersonVision reviews, I found a ton of stuff that I loved. We will be doing longer form reviews soon to pick up the rest, but for now…we’re going to end on this one. Little Women / Marie Antoinette are finally getting the non Amazon/SONY MOD treatment. When compared to those on-demand BDRs I noticed slightly better transfers, but worse audio tracks. Why are we still messing with lossy audio in the HD and now 4K era? Let’s stop that shit before 2020 begins.