BBC sketch show starring Julia Davis, Simon Pegg & Catherine Tate
Notes: Originally shown in 1998, Big Train was the eagerly awaited follow-up to Father Ted from writers Graham Linehan and Arthur Matthews. Resisting the pressure to make another sitcom, Big Train is, instead, a sketch show in the best Monty Python tradition, updated with influences from arch-surrealist Chris Morris as well as the contemporary The Fast Show. The sketches can be joyously odd--Pythonesque firefighting showjumpers, the evil hypnotist, and the outrageous onanistic office workers, for example--but the show never neglects to keep the punchlines coming thick and fast (though the animated staring contest does rather drag after a while). The cast comprises some of the best new names in comedy, including Kevin Eldon, Simon Pegg, Mark Heap, Julia Davis and Amelia Bullmore (who went on to become Alan Partridge's Ukrainian girlfriend).
Series 2 didn't pull into the platform until 2002, by which time Graham Linehan was absent writing Black Books. But Arthur Matthews maintains the quality of the first series on the whole--the man with oversized hands, the creepy cult questionnaire, the zookeeper's recruitment agency--adding some spot-on French art house cinema spoofs and other movie-style take offs somewhat in the manner of Spaced, which Pegg and Heap had gone on to make. That duo return here for more silliness along with new cast members Rebecca Front (The Day Today, Knowing Me, Knowing You) and Tracey-Ann Oberman (better known now as Chrissie Watts in Eastenders).
On the DVD: Big Train belatedly arrives on DVD in a two-disc set which includes a plethora of deleted scenes for both Series 1 and 2. There are cast biogs plus three of the sketches as performed on a German TV sketch show. Commentary on the first series is by both writers, though happily Pegg, Heap and Eldon gatecrash halfway through. Matthews and Eldon join director and producer for the somewhat more straight-faced commentary on the second disc. Menu options thankfully include the treasurable "Play all" facility. --Mark Walker
Region 1 NTSC format. Will only play on multiregion DVD players.
2 disc DVD set - includes the feature length film, plus special features, deleted scenes, photo galleries & live footage
Notes: Brasilintime is a filmic map that connects the world of Rio de Janeiro of the late teens to the South Bronx of the early 70s. The roads from Samba through Bossa Nova to Hip Hop are a complex web of musical whispers and echoes. Brasilintime is a 2-hour documentary that traverses this journey. In November of 2002, drummers and DJs travelled to Sao Paulo Brazil to expand the multi-generational conversation to include their counterparts from the world of Samba, Bossa Nova and Samba Rock, as well as the best new talent from Brazilian Hip Hop. This show was recorded and became the basis for this DVD. Brasilintime speaks the language of the music it addresses.
Disc 1 includes the almost 2 hour full length feature, plus a photo gallery, and Trainwreck Samba - a text essay by author Brian McCann / B+.
Disc 2 has almost 3 hours of bonus material: deleted scenes, interview extras, live footage, footnotes, trailer and more! English, Portuguese, Spanish and Japanese subtitles. (NTSC format. All regions)
Featured artists include Cut Chemist, Madlib, J Rocc, Paul Humphrey, and Babu.
The history of Australian rock group Radio Birdman
Notes: The true story of Radio Birdman, the pre-punk band that changed Australian music forever. This critically acclaimed documentary, shows the uncompromising attitude and high energy rock'n'roll ethos of the band that was the prototype for independent music in Australia. The film features interviews with all surviving members of the original band, along with rare archival footage and photos.
The DVD contains 60 minutes worth of bonus material including live footage and interviews. In 1974 Deniz Tek and Rob Younger form Radio Birdman with a strict rule of no compromise and a raucous Detroit-style rock'n'roll. But Radio Birdman are shut down and kicked out of pubs in Sydney. Too confronting for the music industry, they started their own venue, The Funhouse and brought a new music to the 'New Race' of inner-city kids, looking for a soundtrack to rebellion. The 'bookish' band, including two medical students, became outlaws to the record industry, doing things their own way and releasing their own records before being spotted by Seymour Stein of Sire Records.
But Radio Birdman's intensity turned inwards, and cracks started to appear in the band. During the 1978 tour of the UK the original band broke up acrimoniously. By that stage they had created a scene. Like the Velvet Underground or The Sex Pistols, everyone who saw them started their own band. Years later Radio Birdman reform, but internal conflict remains and they struggle to find peace with each other. Descent Into The Maelstrom is an uncompromising story, sometimes brutal, always honest. It's the story of any band, with intensity to the nth degree.
Called 'effing brilliant!' and 'the best rock documentary ever made', it's a must for anyone interest in music, in bands and in high energy rock'n'roll.
Collection of films by ground-breaking documentarian William Ferris
Notes: Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, folklorist William Ferris toured his home state of Mississippi, documenting the voices of African Americans as they spoke about and performed the diverse musical traditions that form the roots of the blues. This DVD features seven films made by Ferris between 1968 and 1975.
Films included: Black Delta, Part I (1968) (b/w) Black Delta, Part II (1968) (b/w) Parchman Penitentiary (1968) (b/w) Give My Poor Heart Ease: Mississippi Delta Bluesmen (1975) (colour) I Ain't Lyin': Folktales from Mississippi (1975) (colour) Made in Mississippi: Black Folk Art and Crafts (1975) (colour) Two Black Churches (1975) (colour)
In addition to being a ground-breaking documentarian of the American South, Ferris is Joel R. Williamson Eminent Professor of History and senior associate director of the Centre for the Study of the American South at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A former chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, Ferris co-edited the Encyclopaedia of Southern Culture (1989) and is the author of multiple books. In 1991, Rolling Stone named him among the top ten professors in the United States. DVD in digipak; NTSC format and region free.
Major new definitive feature-documentary by acclaimed director Mike Christie - plus extras
Notes: Disc 01 - The Insatiable Ones:
A major new definitive feature-documentary 'Suede: The Insatiable Ones'
"This isn't a powder-puff promotional tool, it's a film that grasps at the very essence of what the band is, charting the scruffy inglorious years of struggle, the vertiginous heights of success and the dank depths of self-destruction and hopefully emerges at the end of it all with some truths revealed and some myths destroyed".
-- Brett Anderson
From acclaimed director Mike Christie whose film-making career actually began while working with Suede, after meeting them during the band's 1993 collaboration with Derek Jarman.
Suede: The Insatiable Ones arrives 25 years after the release of their monumental first album Suede, and in the wake of their brilliant new opus The Blue Hour.
The film was made with full access to the band and their extensive personal archives exploring the highs and lows of Suede's career. Brett Anderson, Mat Osman, Simon Gilbert, Richard Oakes and Neil Codling are joined in the film by an eclectic cast that includes Justine Frischmann, Ricky Gervais, Mike Joyce and producer Ed Buller.
Disc 02 - Interview Extras including:
- Mat Osman and Brett Anderson return to Haywards Heath.
- Richard Oakes and Neil Codling Coming Up.
- Brett Anderson in conversation with Peter Saville.
Disc 03 - Simon Gilbert's Archive
More exclusive behind the scenes footage shot by Simon throughout the band's career.