"Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles" (2011), SD-DVD. An Entertainment One release from 2012.
Video is Color, 480i/60, presented in 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio (16:9 Anamorphic Video). Thus, expect very thin Letter Box bars top and bottom. One hour 26 minutes. Audio is DD 2.0 48 kHz. Subtitles Available.
Extras include a Filmmakers' Commentary. Also a 26 minute, auto-advance slideshow of photos of a selection of the tiles, with narration from the Filmmakers discussing the evolution of the tiles over time. (You can Play All, or select individual photos.) Also 7 minutes of Deleted Scenes, and 1 minute on a musical motif used in the score. These last two, short pieces are 1.85:1 Letter Boxed in a 4:3 frame (i.e., non-Anamorphic). So expect to see black bars around all 4 sides for these two.
Premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2011, and Won their award for Best Documentary Direction. Also Nominated for their Grand Jury Prize for Documentaries (losing out to "How to Die in Oregon").
Sometime in the mid-1980s, somebody — or some group of people — started installing placards in streets and highways, in cities all over the Eastern half of the US. These placards varied in size from something shaped like a US car’s license plate up to something like a poster board. Cut in mosaic fashion out of a flexible, colored, linoleum-like, tile material, these "Toynbee Tiles" were found to be EMBEDDED into the asphalt!
Hundreds of these have been found, including a number in countries in South America. They carry a basic message, usually surrounded by varying side texts. The basic message reads:
IN Kubrick's 2001
ON PLANET JUPITER
And over the several decades history of appearance of all of these hundreds of tiles — both in the US and in South America — nobody has ever spotted who's doing it.
Or figured out why.
Or, for that matter, HOW!
For these "Toynbee Tiles" are not merely dropped onto the street as so much litter. Nor are they simply glued to the surface of the street. No, they are EMBEDDED into the asphalt as if they had been installed when the street was paved! Removing them requires either paving over them, or cutting them out and refilling the resulting hole.
Think about that: Some of these have been found in the active traffic lanes of Interstate Highways!
The annual Sundance film Festival has become a major venue for the introduction of Independent Documentary Films. This film premiered there in 2011, and Won their award for Best Documentary Direction. It was also Nominated for their top prize for new Documentaries.
Five years in the making, it seeks to present the phenomenon of the Toynbee Tiles, and to try to solve the mysteries around them. It includes the Filmmakers' theory on the identity of "The Tiler", but no certain proof.
Truly, this is about as "independent" as Independent Filmmaking gets! It's been produced by, well, a bunch of punk-rocker drop-outs who grew up. The Commentary track on this disc is easily as fascinating and bizarre as the Documentary itself: An absolute must listen if you get this disc (and a major, missing, part of the fun if you simply "stream" this film -- as from Amazon).
The photo gallery with narration is also well worth viewing.
Here's another fine example of a fun film which has NOT been released on Blu-ray or UHD disc; and is not likely to be, any time soon. THIS is the reason you want to make sure your Home Theater setup handles Standard Definition content well -- including SD-DVD discs.
PQ and AQ on this SD-DVD are quite good. There's some banding when they iris in and out of scenes, which may be due to the tools they used to edit more than the transfer. That's the only technical problem I spotted. The narration and interview dialog are both crystal clear, and there's a nicely haunting musical score throughout. (No, not punk rock.)
PERSONAL NOTE: Lest anyone think this is all made up, I can tell you I've actually seen the remnants of one of these Toynbee Tiles -- in a busy intersection in Philadelphia!
The subject matter is so bizarre, it's easy to laugh at many points in this film, but really the Filmmakers (including Writer/Director John Foy, and Toynbee Tiles enthusiast Justin Duerr) have tried hard to present the story straight. And the fact there IS a reality here -- both a real person and story -- behind all this, makes the presentation, in the end, rather bittersweet. The multi-decade dedication of The Tiler is easily matched by the multi-year dedication of these Filmmakers, whose fascination with the subject matter was just enough to keep them going through all the hard work of making this into a film.