DVD Picks

SANTANA: SUPERNATURAL LIVE(Arista) The consummate entertainer, Carlos Santana has been pumping out steaming live shows for nearly 35 years. Any Santana


The consummate entertainer, Carlos Santana has been pumping out steaming live shows for nearly 35 years. Any Santana show is magic, but for this occasion, he ups the ante, getting a little help from his hot band and guest performers Cee-Lo, Everlast, Lauryn Hill, Dave Matthews, Sarah McLachlan, The Product G&B, Wayne Shorter and Rob Thomas — all of whom turn the thermostat even higher. Shot at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, this 87-minute (plus another 55 minutes of interviews, bonus clips, music videos, etc.) concert DVD features tight direction by Joel Gallen and a spectacular DTS 5.1 soundtrack that captures the fury and fire happening onstage. Smokin'!

Recorded by the Design FX remote truck. Recording engineer: Paul Sandweiss. Music mixers: Jim Gaines and John Harris. Mixed at Effanel. Audio post: POP Sound. Post-production mixer: Ted Hall.
George Petersen

(Rhino Home Video)

The granddaddy of all “mockumentaries,” the 1978 All You Need Is Cash began as a short Beatles parody clip that aired on Saturday Night Live and ended up as a feature-length TV special created by Monty Python's Eric Idle and SNL producer Lorne Michaels. The superstar cast — including Idle (in many roles), Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, George Harrison, Ron Wood, John Belushi, Gilda Radner, and notables Mick Jagger and Paul Simon (both of whom play themselves, “interviewed” about how The Rutles influenced their lives) — are nothing short of brilliant. The script is both hard-hitting and hilarious; the intercutting of new and stock footage to re-create the past is amazing; but perhaps best of all is the band's music (written by ex-Gonzo Dog Band member Neil Innes), which makes one wish that Rutlemania was real. As a low-budget TV production, the film's audio production is less than stellar, and the 5.1 “remastering” didn't help much (somebody should have done a Yellow Submarine on this one!), yet through it all, this is a classic to be watched over and over.

Directed by Gary Weis and Eric Idle. Executive producer: Lorne Michaels. Music and lyrics: Neil Innes. Original production sound: Tony Jackson and Bruce White. Re-release 5.1 mixer and/or mastering engineer: uncredited.
George Petersen

(Paramount Home Video)

In the “Mix Interview” a few years back, Walter Murch, when asked why he thought people took such notice of the sound on The Conversation, said that first, it's the singular point of view of the main character being a soundman; and second, dialog essentially disappears about halfway through the film, so the brain fills in the holes by looking for sound effects. “It's like having the full moon at night,” he said. “You know the stars are there, but you don't really think about them…On moonless nights, these smaller lights begin to acquire a fascination and an interest.”

Director Francis Ford Coppola sandwiched The Conversation between Godfather I and II, and it's the first film that Murch edited both picture and sound. Listen for the realistic, urban environmental sounds, designed to match the documentary style of the picture. The sound montages surrounding the conversation itself, built on distortion, are brilliant. And what a lonely solo piano score by David Shiner. Commentary by Murch and Coppola.

Supervising editor, sound montage and re-recording: Walter Murch. DVD produced by Kim Aubry. Designed and mastered by the American Zoetrope DVD Lab. 5.1 surround mix team: Walter Murch, Kim Aubry, Pete Horner, Michael Kirchberger. Dolby Digital.
Tom Kenny

(MGM Home Entertainment)

Much of the world of pop music wouldn't exist as we know it if it weren't for developments by pioneers such as inventor Leon Theremin. His most notable creation was the Theremin, an electronic instrument that was played without being touched. Volume and pitch could be controlled by the proximity of the player's hands to the instrument. The movie Theremin is an engaging overview of his life, his creations, and those who played it and were greatly influenced by it. Bob Moog and a barely comprehensible Brian Wilson talk about the impact of Theremin on their lives. There are many wonderful, haunting performances by masters like Clara Rockmore and Samuel Hoffman that illustrate the Theremin's capacity for emotional nuance; certainly more so than the standard '50s sci-fi motifs that often showcased the instrument.

Written, directed and produced by: Steven M. Martin. Music by: Hal Willner. Sound mix: Andy Green. Additional Sound: Hui Cox, Dave Zieff. Stereo Sound mixed by Kim Aubry at Zeotrope Studios, San Francisco.
Rick Clark