Made In Sheffield (Plexifilm). Painfully brief at only 52 minutes, the recently released Made In Sheffield offers a glimpse into the oft-ignored, insular world of post-punk Sheffield, England--a scene that saw an early, Kraftwerk-inspired Human League sharing stages with pre-fame Def Leppard. Featuring interviews with and rare footage of most of the major players between 1977 and 1982--a disparate list that includes members of Cabaret Voltaire, Human League, Heaven 17, ABC, and Pulp--Made In Sheffield is yet another thoroughly entertaining, dewy remembrance of a time in English history when virtually any teenager could press a single and get played on national radio.
Brian Wilson Presents Smile (Rhino) If last year's release of Smile left you feeling queasy about what's become of our boy Brian's original masterpiece, Brian Wilson Presents Smile will all but hermetically seal your doubts. Centering around Beautiful Dreamer, a feature-length documentary on the history and rebirth of Smile, the DVD offers little insight into the already well-documented 1960s Smile sessions--there's a conspicuous absence of both film footage and original recordings from that period--instead concentrating on the tragically brainwashed remembrances of grandfatherly Veg-a-table Wilson. There are diamonds within (particularly the interviews with Van Dyke Parks, and excerpts from a 1967 CBS news report that features a fully cognizant Wilson performing "Surf's Up" solo), but all of the triumph Dreamer intends turns a little Special Olympics when a band of cheesy studio musicians performs the "masterpiece" as a dead-eyed puppet of a Wilson sings lyrics off of a teleprompter.
Born To Boogie (Sanctuary) Directed by Ringo Starr for Apple Films in 1972, Born To Boogie is a supremely indulgent rock movie tracing the supremely indulgent Marc Bolan at the height of his T. Rextacy. Mixing live footage from a sold out '72 concert at Wembley with random Bolan nebulae--a session with Elton John at Apple Studios, hanging out at John Lennon's house--Born To Boogie has been long touted as something of a lost classic, and is finally being released this week on DVD as a double disc set, five and a half hour format. I've yet to see the DVD, but if the press release is to be believed, you'd be hard pressed to find a more definitive T. Rex visual document.