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New On Video: A Bit of a Departure This Week



In something of a departure, rather than announce and review the new DVD releases for the week, VanRamblings will point you towards a couple of new documentaries just out (or due out next week) on DVD, a DVD re-issue, plus a couple more interesting DVDs worth considering as potential rentals.

If you live in Vancouver, the place you’ll likely have to travel to in order to gain access to many of the DVDs below will be Videomatica, British Columbia’s première nostalgia, art, foreign and independent DVD rental and retail outlet. If Videomatica doesn't have the DVD you want in their collection, then it isn’t on DVD — but, in all likelihood co-owner Graham Peat, or one of his staff, will probably be able to tell you when the DVD you’re requesting will become available, or how the store might go about ordering for you from the obscure rights holder to the DVD title.


You either love Swedish director Lars von Trier or the whole idea of Dogme has become just a bit too passé for you. However you feel about von Trier, if you love film, he’s one director who cannot be ignored, and as such Dogville will be a must rental for you this week. Be warned: for many viewers, Dogville will likely prove a polarizing, love-it-or-hate-it experience. That said, the best way to see the DVD is to know nothing about it, to trust it and have faith that it will deliver. And it does. The equal of Chaplin’s The Great Dictator, for its poetry, stridency and passion, Dogville may prove just as lasting. The first must rental of the week.


As Fahrenheit 9/11, Michael Moore’s powerful indictment of the Bush Administration, is influencing millions of Americans in the heartland of the country to the south, Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism, a devastating new documentary that exposes Bush’s biggest cheerleader — the FOX television network — demonstrates in painful detail how one media empire, making full use of the public airwaves, can reject any semblance of fairness or perspective, and serve as the mouthpiece of right-wing conservatives (in Canada, think CanWest Global). An important, timely film, now on DVD. An absolute must rental.


Providing compelling arguments that even those on the right wing of the political spectrum will be hard pressed to refute, Uncovered: The War on Iraq is the second Robert Greenwald documentary reviewed this week on VanRamblings. Essentially a series of filmed testimonies from a broad range of commentators representing the military, diplomatic and intelligence communities — interspersed with news footage recapping the Bush administration’s buildup to the war — Uncovered delivers damning refutations of the Bush administration’s rationale for going to war with Iraq, and American conduct since becoming an occupying force. Due on DVD next week.


When Prince’s dazzling and dynamic Purple Rain, and the hypnotic hit single When Doves Cry, exploded onto the pop-culture scene in 1984, a star was born. In essence a feature-length music video, Purple Rain offered a showcase for one of the great musical artists of the last half-century. The plot (about the son of an abusive father struggling not to continue the pattern) proved to be surprisingly compelling; when complemented by a surfeit of dazzling songs (including Let’s Go Crazy and the title tune) performed in sizzling live-concert mode, there was little doubt that Purple Rain would become an essential artifact of the mid 80s pop Zeitgeist.

Posted by Raymond Tomlin at September 2, 2004 11:57 PM in Video & DVD


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