Take Me To The River on Blu-ray & DVD Feb 5Phantom From 10,000 Leagues (1956) on Blu-ray & DVD Jan 5Condemned on DVD & Blu-ray Jan 5Broad City: Season 2 on DVD Jan 5McHale's Navy: The Complete Series on DVD No 17Return to Sender on Blu-ray & DVD Sep 29The Phantom of the Opera with Lon Chaney Blu-ray & DVD Oct 13

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

Jennifer Esposito Is Your Newest NCIS Agent in Season 1...
Critics Are Split on Ghostbusters Reboot ...
'Respect is key': The Game, Snoop Dogg lead march to LA...
Kristen Stewart's Sheer Dress At 'Equals' Premiere -- S...
"A Slow Slipping Away"-- Kris Kristofferson's Long-Undi...
Fox News' Roger Ailes Sued for Sexual Harassment by Ous...
Garrison Keillor Retires from 'Prairie Home Companion' ...
Jennifer Aniston is Pregnant: Star Steps Out in Loose D...
Hiddleswift Is One Big Song Promotion -- A Theory...
Elvis Presley's daughter Lisa Marie Presley files for ...

Microsoft Store

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

Disinformation presents
Big Easy to Big Empty: The Untold Story of the Drowning of New Orleans (2007)

"Mr. President, I think people down here know it was a big storm. Over half a million of them fled the hurricane. It's been a full year, and only 170,000—far less than half—have come back. And none to their own homes."
- Greg Palast

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: June 21, 2007

Stars: Greg Palast
Director: Greg Palast

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (mild language)
Run Time: 27m:37s
Release Date: June 05, 2007
UPC: 826262003791
Genre: documentary

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
C+ B-B-C+ B-

DVD Review

Greg Palast is one of those rabblerousing investigative reporters constantly suspicious of the government—and as a rule that's something I wholeheartedly endorse. I'm not a big fan of his jaunty Panama hat and perpetual smirk (seems a tad too image aware), but the act of poking sticks in the beehive—even if everything is a-ok and legit—sort of guarantees that there will be people watching those in charge to make sure things don't ever go too far out of control against the little guy, a.k.a us. Even when I disagree with the message, I always appreciate the suspicious zeal and effort.

Big Easy to Big Empty is Palast's take on the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, an alarmingly short 27-minute doc shot on the eve of the one year anniversary of the massive storm. There's been a lot of discussion in various media outlets about the federal government's slow response and what was known in advance about the condition of the levees, and even darker beliefs that the poor and homeless were purposely left to wash away in order to create—in Palast's words—a "Six Flags Over Louisiana" Republican tourist town. He purports to answer questions like "why did they have to leave?" and "why can't they come back?", and attempting to do so in less than a half hour is unfair to the material.

The problem is that he tries to do too much in a short amount of time and never truly answers his own questions, ultimately diluting the impact of everything. Palast's main point is that the federal government (including the President and FEMA) knew the levees were in the process of giving way 24 hours before they did, and yet notified no one. The narrative bounces around to a number of isolated subjects that each could have probably been their own separate documentary, and he ends up fragmenting his primary point into almost an afterthought. His verbal pistol-whipping of an administrative assistant at the company that supposedly had been paid to come up with an evacuation plan seems like corny grandstanding on his part, a cheap attempt to look the part of the rogue reporter.

And when Palast hits on something truly startling and not as well-known—like the public housing project that was permanently evacuated allegedly at gunpoint and locked up despite not being damaged by the storm—it is introduced, discussed and then pushed aside when I still had more questions I wanted answered. That's a huge story if you ask me, but Palast has too many stops on his way to selling the "reckless negligence" theme, and when he casually mocks the French Quarter for selling Hurricane drinks (something introduced way back in the 1940s) it suddenly seems like he's grasping at conceptual straws.

I was eager to listen to Palast's claims here, but I was left with a great sense of confused, unfocused indifference when it was all over. I've become curious enough to want to seek out Palast's Armed Madhouse book, in the hopes that maybe in written form the message is somehow more consistently coherent. Some of the material did anger me a little (as it should, I suppose) but just as much of it seemed to wander off the mark, and when you're working with a 27-minute runtime that opportunity just isn't there.

Rating for Style: C+
Rating for Substance: B-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.78:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The 1.78:1 nonanamorphic widescreen transfer here is about what you would expect for a low-budget guerilla-style doc. There is a moderate variation in quality throughout, but most of the on-location interviews and footage carry decent colors, though edges tend to be on the soft side of things. The print is clean, and free of any nicks or dirt.

Image Transfer Grade: B-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access

Audio Transfer Review: The audio is presented in PCM 2.0 stereo, and is tolerable yet hardly flawless. Understanding what people were saying is never an issue, though there is a significant amount of crackle and distortion in spots.

Audio Transfer Grade: C+


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 1 cues
Production Notes
1 Documentaries
4 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Scanavo
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: The supplemental material runs twice as long as the feature, and one of the segments actually does a better job than the main film. Democracy Now's Amy Goodman Interviews Greg Palast (30m:08s) is pulled from Link TV and in thirty minutes does a stronger, more focused explanation of the events in New Orleans, or at least per Palast's beliefs. Sure, Goodman doesn't exactly put the journalist on the hot seat (she's known as "radio's voice of the disenfranchised left"), but the information here seems far more disturbing and frightening than it does during Palast's doc.

A set of two extended interviews of people featured in the main feature are also here—Interview With Malik Rahim: Common Ground Relief New Orleans (11m:12s) and Interview With Dr. Ivar Van Heerden: LSU Hurricane Center (12m:13s); the input of Van Heerden especially is worth a listen. An automated Photo Slideshow: New Orleans One Year Later (11m:38s) seems more like a set of still from Palast's film than an actual photo journey of the city, and There Is Nothing New Under the Sun: Audio Excerpt From Armed Madhouse has a chunk of Palast's book read by Brod Bagert, comparing past history to current history.

Also included is a six-page "collector's booklet" where Palast talks about how he had charges by Homeland Security brought against him and features followups on three of the people interviewed in the film.

Extras Grade: B-


Final Comments

The main feature runs less than 30 minutes, which doesn't seem nearly long enough to even scratch the surface on the volatile issues Greg Palast wants voiced. I get his message, but the presentation here seems a little scattershot to effectively tie it all together, something that some of the supplemental material actually does a better job at.


Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search


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


Microsoft Store


television, jennifer esposito, blue bloods, ncis, mark harmon. duane henry, wilmer valderrama, michael weatherly, bull, movie, ghostbusters, comedy, chris helmsworth, melissa mcarthy, kristen wiig, celebrity, rap, game, shoop dogg, jayceon terrell taylor, alton sterling, kristen stewart, equals, jonathan simkhal, nicholas hoult, music, kris kristofferson, country music hall of fame, alzheimers, lyme disease, fox news, gretchen carlson, fox and friends, steve doocy, roger ailes, the real story with gretchen carlson, radio, garrison keillor, a prairie home companion, jennifer anniston, baby bump, justin theroux, taylor swift, tom hiddleston, calvin harris, lisa marie presley, michael lockwood, riley and benjamin keough, danny keough, michael jackson, nicolas cage, tom affleck, boston fan, bill simmons, hbo show, any given wednesday, tom brady, deflategate, hamilton, lin-manuel mianda, periscope, heart tweet machine, hamilton mixtape, cable, hbo, curb your enthusiasm, larry david, bernie sanders, saturday night live, maya and marty, christina grimmie, murdered, plaza live, before you exit, marcus grimmie, nashville, cmt, president brian phillips, the tonight show, jimmy fallon, president obama, the roots, hillary clinton, tim mcgraw, faith hill, maggie mcgraw, humble and kind, ellen degeneres show, titi pierce, coldwell banker robbins & free realty, hairspray live!, tracy turnblad, york theatre company, john waters, jennifer hudson, harvey fierstein, martin short, derek hough, j.k. rowling, harry potter and the cursed child, noma dumezweni, emma watson, judd apatow, paul freig, melissa mccarthy, romance, history channel, roots, remake, anika noni rose, t.i., malachi kirby, josh duhamel, transformers, fergie, black eyed peas, axl, double dutchess, abc, music city, grand ole opry, chip esten, lennon stella, the voice, alisan porterm, christina aguilera, ceelo green, ariana grande, sia, the little big town, 2016 billboard music awards, pink, just like fire, pamela neal, warrior princess, send my love (to your new lover), billboard music awards, adele, patrick daughters, bryan cranston, lbj, all the way, melissa leo, frank langella, todd weeks, hard sell, kristin chenoweth, wicked

On Facebook!
Promote Your Page Too



Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

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