10/25/2014  
An Evergreen Christmas on DVD Nov 4Good People on DVD & Blu-ray Oct 28Beethoven's Treasure Tail on DVD & Blu-ray Oct 28Plastic on DVD Oct 28Dear Secret Santa on DVD Nov 4The Girl Hunters (Limited Edition) on DVD & Blu-ray Oct 21Mona Lisa Is Missing on DVD/Digital Oct 21

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

An Evergreen Christmas on DVD Nov 4...
'Birdman': Inarritu's fine showbiz satire of ex-superhe...
Good People on DVD & Blu-ray Oct 28...
Defending Renee Zellweger: Iggy Azalea, Russell Brand, ...
Beethoven's Treasure Tail on DVD & Blu-ray Oct 28...

JB Joseph Burke

The Answer to American Idol's Problems Is......
CONCRETE BLONDES...
CREAM FAREWELL CONCERT...
JACK REACHER...
MANBORG...

CA Chuck Aliaga

CORRUPTION (BLU-RAY)...
THE ATTACK (BLU-RAY)...
TANK GIRL (BLU-RAY)...
HORROR STORIES...
THE UNINVITED (BLU-RAY)...

MZ Mark Zimmer

BABY PEGGY: THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM...
STORAGE WARS: VOLUME THREE...
Take Part in a Film Restoration...
THE 39 STEPS (BLU-RAY)...
DARK SHADOWS: THE BEST OF BARNABAS...

JS Jesse Shanks

2 BROKE GIRLS...
DOWNTON ABBEY SEASONS ONE & TWO LIMITED EDITION...
FLORENCE AND THE SPIRIT OF THE RENAISSANCE...
NAZI COLLABORATORS...
KATT WILLIAMS: KATTPACALYPSE...

RJ Ross Johnson

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF COLONEL BLIMP (BLU-RAY)...
PURPLE NOON (BLU-RAY)...
WEEKEND (BLU-RAY)...
JUAN OF THE DEAD...
THE DEVIL'S NEEDLE AND OTHER TALES OF VICE AND REDEMPTI...

JD Jon Danziger

SUNSET BOULEVARD...
SALO, OR THE 120 DAYS OF SODOM...
TABLOID...
CUL-DE-SAC...
3 WOMEN...

RR Rich Rosell

LES VAMPIRES (BLU-RAY)...
THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE 2: FULL SEQUENCE (BLU-RAY)...
EXORCISMUS...
THE DEVIL'S ROCK...
THE NESTING...

JC Joel Cunningham

YOJIMBO/SANJURO...
SUMMER HOURS (L'heure d'ÈtÈ)...
WIZARD OF OZ...
WINGS OF DESIRE...
HORTON HEARS A WHO!...

DH Dan Heaton

REVANCHE...
LAST DAYS OF DISCO...
NIGHTS AND WEEKENDS...
STARGATE SG-1: CHILDREN OF THE GODS...
STARGATE ATLANTIS: THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON...

MS Matt Serafini

THE STEPFATHER...
THE HILLS RUN RED...
MANAGEMENT...
NIGHT OF DEATH...
GNAW...

KC Kevin Clemons

Freddy Got Fingered...

JU Jeff Ulmer

Secure The Second Season of The Border on DVD August 25...
THE WALTONS: THE COMPLETE 9TH SEASON...
Dance Me Outside kicks onto DVD May 6, 2008...

DD Dale Dobson

Film-Fest 4: Sundance 2000 & Hawaii...

RM Robert Mandel

Saving Private Ryan...

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif



 Buy from Amazon

 Buy from Amazon.com

Docurama presents
The Atomic Cafe: 20th Anniversary Edition (1982)

"When not close enough to be killed, the atomic bomb is one of the most beautiful sights in the world."
- Narration from an Army training film

Review By: Dan Lopez  
Published: May 03, 2002

Stars: Various members of the U.S. government and military.
Director: Kevin Rafferty, Jayne Loader, Pierce Rafferty

Manufacturer: DVSS
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (some graphic photos and film of radiation-induced illness, animal experiments)
Run Time: 01h:27m:00s
Release Date: March 26, 2002
Genre: documentary


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ ACB- D-

DVD Review

Having lived my entire life in New Mexico, I've experienced, to a certain degree, what it's like to be surrounded by "atomic age" culture, at least on a subconscious level. The city of Los Alamos was the result of the Manhattan Project, which gave birth to the atomic bombs dropped on Japan, and to this day holds Sandia National Labs which, as I write, is a place busy with all sorts of secretive things "for national defense." I live only a few minutes from the Air Force base that houses the National Atomic Museum, and there are few major landmarks here that aren't, in some way, touched by either the atomic age or the military in general. It's an odd mixture of elements, because many things going on around here are about discovery and exploration; a good part of the space program came from this area. But there's the destructive dark side of possessing amazing amounts of power that emerges as weapons development as well. In some small and subtle ways, it's like the Cold War is still in the air, hidden just under the surface.

For better or worse, however, the experimental military projects of the late 1940s that went on in New Mexico changed the course of history. The Atomic Cafe is a film that tries to encapsulate the classic atomic era by going straight to the source: the original films, commercials and other propaganda, as well as the general hysteria that emerged during that time right in the heart of America. There are no interviews, no editorial views, and no postscripts. This is the United States of America, raw and uncut from the birth of the atom bomb to the height of the Cold War, and it's not pretty. Of course, I believe that's the point. Although parts of Atomic Cafe are funny, almost tragically so, overall, it is a compilation of footage that's more disturbing and horrifying than anything else. It is a collaged artwork of darkness that doesn't have to reach far or exert much effort to make its points, and ultimately those points expose the dark side of American history.

As I said, much of the film is funny in a strange way; for example, there is a filmstrip during which a man demonstrates how his little son can safely ride his bike during an apocalypse, so long as he wears a ridiculously cumbersome radiation suit. The quality of the commercial and educational films convincing people that atomic bombs are not insurmountably dangerous (except to people like Communists) is amazingly poor, making the humor even funnier. With this laugh at the expense of history, though, comes the scary stuff, like the McCarthy/Nixon Committee On Un-American Activities to the shocking behind-the-scenes footage of American soldiers on training maneuvers during an atom bomb blast who were lied to about the dangers of radiation. A few laughs will undoubtedly come out of this chilling segment of the film, though, when one sees the pathetic training films from such missions. It amazes me that the whole world wasn't destroyed during an era of such paranoia and fanatical hatred of all things "Un-American", and The Atomic Cafe is evidence of how that destruction almost happened.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: A

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: As most of the footage here is from stock dating to the 1940s, '50s, and '60s, the quality is obviously low and all over the map. Some segments are extremely poor, but nothing so bad it can't be watched. Docurama did its best with this material, but noticeable pixelization and compression artifacts do crop up. These really aren't flaws, though, and the overall quality is precisely what you'd expect from a transfer with such questionable source material.

Image Transfer Grade: C

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The audio is, like the footage, a bit worse for the wear but functional. For the most part, you're looking at mono dialogue and music given the age of the material. Otherwise, there are no complaints or issues.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 15 cues and remote access
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: There are no additional features on the disc, save the basic menus and chapter selection.

Extras Grade: D-

 

Final Comments

Atomic Cafe is just as relevant today as when it was first released, perhaps more so than most might think. It's also a fantastic collage-style documentary, ranking with some of the finer examples of the genre, like The Ad and the Ego and Feed (which also featured the involvement of Kevin Rafferty). It is a must-see for virtually everyone and, in my opinion, should be required viewing in schools.

 


Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search

DVD REVIEW ARCHIVE


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90

 



Microsoft Store

Keywords

holiday, movie, birdman, michael keaton, edward norton, alejandro ganzalez inarritu, babel, 21 grams, biutiful, emma stone, zach galifianakis, comedy-drama, crime, thriller, celebrity, renee zellweger, kathie lee gifford, nicole wallace, surgery question, comedy, drama, music, foo fighters, wrigley field show, chicago, sonic highways, hbo series, movies, box office, mystery, documentary, fury, world war ii, brad pitt, logan lerman, shia lebeouf, jon bernthal, michael pena, war, warner bros, 10 super hero movies, jason mormoa, aquaman, ezra miller, the flash, batman v superman: dawn of justice, television, internet, cbs all access, $5.99, hbo, web-delivered television, oscars, neil patrick harris, host, the academy of motion pictures arts and sciences, tonys emmys, abc, elizabeth pena, mario-francisco robles, la bamba, down and out in beverly hills, blue steel, modern family, matador, out of the woods, good morning america, 1989, jack antonoff, bleachers, yamaha dx7, minimoog voyager, superhero, robert downey jr., captain america 3, marvel studios, chris evans, syfy, incorporated, matt damon, ben affleck, the middle man, american horror story, fifth season, fx, freak show, jessica lange, sarah paulson, american music awards 2014, iggy azalea, john legend, katy perry, pharrell williams, lorde, surveillance, epic, action, kids, animation

On Kindle!
On Facbook!
digitallyOBSESSED!
digitallyOBSESSED!
Promote Your Page Too

Visit:

Zarabesque.com

earth mosaics

Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

DVD Marketplace

Snappy Planet

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store