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Mar
08
    

Despite producer controvery and strong competition from Food, Inc,  The Cove won the Oscar for best documentary.

Reaction to the win:

“The Cove” is the unsurprising winner for best documentary, beating out the other socially conscious picture “Food, Inc.” More controversial: One of the winners holds up a save-the-dolphins text-message number onstage, which seems like a pretty clear infraction of the academy’s no-promotion rules for the podium, even if it is a promotion for a good cause. @LA Times

An Oscar win by “The Cove,” a documentary chronicling bloody dolphin hunting in a Japanese fishing town, could give the film the critical audience its makers wanted to reach: ordinary moviegoers in Japan.

News that the movie won the Academy Award for best feature documentary was greeted with surprise in Japan because many Japanese hadn’t heard of it. The U.S. film, directed by former National Geographic photographer Louie Psihoyos, hasn’t been shown in commercial theaters in Japan except for a single viewing during the Tokyo International Film Festival in October.

Japanese theaters have stayed away from it because of protests from the town of Taiji, a fishing town of 3,800 people in Western Japan that bills itself as the “birthplace of Japan’s commercial whaling.” The town’s officials requested the film’s Japanese distributor drop it, saying it was shot without permission of its people and constituted libel. @Wall Street Journal

“The Cove” edges out “Food, Inc.” Both films will be useful to aliens in explaining why our species deserved to go extinct. @tildology


 
Feb
16
    

DVD Releases February 20, 2007

Dixie Chicks: Shut Up & SingReviewPurchase at Amazon.com – Shut Up & Sing finds two-time Academy Award winner Barbara Kopple (American Dream) and co-director Cecilia Peck following the lives and career developments of the Dixie Chicks in the wake of singer Natalie Maines’ denunciation of the Iraq war and President Bush in 2003. The film returns to the pivotal moment in which Maines, speaking to a London audience, raised opposition to America’s invasion of Iraq, resulting in a backlash in America. The Chicks, as one sees, have had little peace of mind since then, banned from country music stations, picketed at concerts, and targeted by death threats. Maines, Martie Maguire, and Emily Robison respond to the extensive and sometimes scary criticism they’ve faced, though their latest music, including a song called “Not Ready to Make Nice,” also speaks for itself. Kopple and Peck spend a lot of time with the band on a human level as well, in homes and dressing rooms and recording studios.

American HardcoreReviewPurchase at Amazon.com – The history of hardcore punk–the tougher, faster, and more politically minded stepchild of the ’70s punk movement that arose in the ’80s–is examined in exuberant detail in Paul Rachman’s documentary American Hardcore. Rachman’s cameras careen across the landscape of the U.S. to trace the movement’s beginnings in cities like Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and New York, and cherrypicks interviews with the musicians that helped shape its sound and impact, including Henry Rollins and Greg Ginn of Black Flag, H.R. (frontman for the highly influential, all-African American outfit Bad Brains), Ian MacKaye of Minor Threat (and now Fugazi), and many others. Hardcore’s violent reaction against the Reagan administration and the complacent mindset of middle-class America is also detailed in countless performance footage clips and poster-art reproductions, which do much to dismiss the popular opinion of hardcore as nothing more than mindless hooliganism. Some fans may find the omission of certain bands a considerable oversight (San Francisco’s lethally satirical Dead Kennedys are not mentioned only in passing), but for most punk devotees, American Hardcore will be vital and essential viewing.

Journalist and the Jihadi: The Murder of Daniel PearlReviewPurchase at Amazon.com – The Journalist and the Jihadi – The Murder of Daniel Pearl Narrated by CNN correspondent Christiane Amanpour, this 80 minute film tracks the parallel lives of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl and British-born jihadi Omar Sheikh. Both men were passionate, intelligent individuals from privileged backgrounds, and both were sympathetic to the plight of Muslims around the world, though Pearl was Jewish. With the rise of Islamic militancy in the 1990s, however the two men?s paths diverged; in 2002, those paths collided when Sheikh executed cunning con game that ended in Pearl?s headline-making kidnapping and murder in Pakistan ? and the remorseless Sheikh?s arrest under mysterious circumstances.

disinfo.conReviewPurchase at Amazon.com – You say you want a revolution? If your world-view is left of center, you challenge cultural cognoscenti and the establishment at every turn and really wonder who the “they” is in “that’s what they say,” then turn on, tune in and drop out to the now-legendary Disinfo.Con. Dubbed by The New York Times as “Cyberpalooza”, Disinfo.Con was a revolutionary 21st-century gathering of the greatest countercultural minds in New York City’s Hammerstein Ballroom in the Year 2000. Now, The Disinformation Company proudly offers viewing audiences of all walks the opportunity to experience this singular, once-in-a-lifetime event from the comforts of home with DISINFO.CON.


 
Feb
12
    

DVD Releases Feburary 13, 2007

The U.S. vs John LennonReview by Bryan NewburyReview yourselfPurchase at Amazon.com – Though certain reviewers have called comparisons to the antiwar movement during the Nixon administration to that of today’s tumult, one would need blinders fitted for a thoroughbred to avoid obvious parallels. The U.S. vs. John Lennon begins with an archetypal image of the scene in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. A concert is being held for jailed MC5 manager and marijuana legalization activist John Sinclair. Sinclair’s offense? Offering two joints to an undercover agent. His sentence? Ten years maximum security.

Enter a cast of fellow musicians and activists. At center stage is John Lennon, armed with National Resophonic guitar and his wife Yoko. We are to find out that the simple act of singing on Sinclair’s behalf coincided with the Michigan Supreme Court summarily overturning the conviction they’d recently upheld. Maybe there’s something to this whole rock ‘n roll thing.

The U.S. vs. John Lennon follows this scene with a bit of exposition. Much of it isn’t altogether necessary to fans of Lennon. For that matter, fans of popular culture in the second half of the twentieth century. It does, however, serve to build the foundation for a narrative pacing that is commendable in documentary filmmaking.

So Goes The NationReviewPurchase at Amazon.com – As John Kerry presidential campaign volunteer Miles Gerety puts it, “As goes Ohio, so goes the nation.” Directors Adam Del Deo and James D. Stern, who were behind The Year of the Yao (about NBA superstar Yao Ming), attempt to get a handle on the 2004 presidential election by focusing on this swing state in the weeks before the big day. Senator Kerry and President George W. Bush staffers recount their experiences in trying to win the White House. Speakers include everyone from door-to-door campaigners to Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe and RNC chairman Ed Gillespie. Even some of Kerry’s most dedicated followers admit that there were times their man let them down, like his failure to take a more aggressive stance against the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. On the other hand, at least one Bush staffer feels that her candidate made too big a deal about same-sex marriage. As longtime Republican Leslie Ghiz remarks about his campaign promises, “Notice there’s [been] no marriage amendment.”

F**KReviewPurchase at Amazon.com – This challenging and provocative documentary takes a look on all sides of the infamous F-word. Its taboo,obscene and controversial, yet somehow seems to permeate every single aspect of our culture-from Hollywood, to the schoolyard to the Senate floor in Washington D.C. It’s the word at the very center of the debate on Free Speech – and everyone seems to have an opinion. F*** will exam how the word is impacting our world today thru interviews, film and television clips, music, and original animation by Oscar nominee Bill Plympton. Scholars and linguists will examine the long history of f***. Comedians, actors, and writers who have charted and popularized the upward course of f*** will be heard from, often while defending the Constitutional Right of Free Speech, all the way to the Supreme Court. F*** will visit with those who actually f*** for a living. We’ll hear from advocates who oppose f*** and it’s infringement into our everyday lives. We’ll watch some of the most famous and infamous film and television clips that feature f***, we’ll hear some of the most famous f***s ever uttered and we’ll feel the impact of f*** on our everyday lives.


 
Jan
30
    

DVD Releases January 30, 2007

Say Amen, SomebodyReviewPurchase at Amazon.com – The first-ever DVD release for this legendary documentary film that explores the lives and music of the pioneers of modern Gospel music. Features Willie Mae Ford Smith, Thomas A. Dorsey, The Barrett Sisters and The O’Neal Twins. Includes bonus 15-song audio CD and deluxe “hymn book” packaging with essays, lyrics and rare photos. Bonus features include newly recorded director’s commentary, photo essay and theatrical trailer.

Land of Look BehindReviewPurchase at Amazon.com – This feature film, made for $9200 (including kidnapping ransom paid to the crew’s Castro-backed captors), is the finest non-fiction film to be found on the subject of Rastafarianism and reggae, and a monument in the history of documentary filmmaking. First-time director Alan Greenberg, a Werner Herzog protege, has invented an amalgam of dramatic and field technique with breathtaking results–the master documentarian Herzog, in fact, has called “Land of Look Behind” the documentary film that has influenced him more than any other over the last 20 years. The images and characters are unforgettable, the reggae performances by Gregory Issaacs and Lui Lepki genuinely hypnotic, the original non-reggae scoring sublime. Winner of the Chicago International Film Festival’s Gold Hugo Award. An essential film for any serious filmgoer, filmmaker, musician, musicologist and anthropologist, as well as for fans of reggae and pop culture. Do not miss this film. — Amazon Reviewer

The Doctor, the Tornado, and the Kentucky KidReviewPurchase at Amazon.com – The Doctor, the Tornado, and the Kentucky Kid: The Sequel to “Faster” (Ultimate Collector’s Edition) (2006)the electrifying follow-up to Mark Neale’s 2004 MotoGP smash hit FASTER. Narrated by Ewan McGregor, the movie tells the story of the biggest motorcycle race in American history, the 2005 Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix at Laguna Seca, California. It’s a tale of extraordinary characters chasing a dream in the face of real danger, under unimaginable pressure, with no margin for error. For lovers of maximum adrenaline action, this is the pure, unadulterated, 100% genuine article.


 
Jan
23
    

DVD Releases January 23, 2006

Jesus CampReviewPurchase at Amazon.com – The feverish spectacle of a summer camp for evangelical Christian kids is the focus of Jesus Camp, a fascinating if sometimes alarming documentary. (Shortly after its release, the movie gained a new notoriety when Ted Haggard, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, who appears near the end of the film, resigned his post amid a male prostitute’s allegations of drug use and sexual misconduct.) For most of the film, we follow a charismatic teacher, Becky Fischer, as she trains young soldiers in “God’s Army” at a camp in North Dakota. Some of the kids emerge as likable and bright, and eager to continue their work as pint-sized preachers; elsewhere, the visions of children speaking in tongues and falling to the floor in ecstasy are more troubling. Even more arresting is the vision of a generation of children home-schooled to believe that the Bible is science, or Fischer’s certainty that America’s flawed system of democracy will someday be replaced by a theocracy. (In one scene, a cardboard cut-out of George W. Bush is presented to the children, who react by laying their hands on the figure as though in a religious procession.)

This Films Is Not Yet RatedReviewPurchase at Amazon.com – As it turns out, Kirby Dick’s eye-opening documentary isn’t rated. When he submitted it to the Motion Picture Association of America, they slapped it with an NC-17 (though he had always intended to release it unrated). This is fitting since he sheds much-needed light on the inner workings of a secretive organization that wields great power over the movies the public gets to see (since most mainstream media won’t touch the dreaded NC-17). It’s just as well since This Film Is Not Yet Rated focuses on the more controversial films of the past three decades. Aside from the stories of filmmakers who have tussled with the MPAA, Dick hires a private investigator to determine who sits on the board, since this information isn’t in the public domain. With her assistance, he solves the mystery. Directors include Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream), Mary Harron (American Psycho), and Kimberly Peirce (Boys Don’t Cry). Though frequently humorous, This Film Is Not Yet Rated should be required viewing for serious film fans, because the MPAA doesn’t just affect what gets seen–but what gets made.

Cocaine CowboysReviewPurchase at Amazon.com – In the 1980s, ruthless Colombian cocaine barons invaded Miami with a brand of violence unseen in this country since Prohibition-era Chicago – and it put the city on the map. “Cocaine Cowboys” is the true story of how Miami became the drug, murder and cash capital of the United States, told by the people who made it all happen.


 
Jan
03
    

Documentary DVD Releases January 9, 2007

Street FightReviewPurchase – The Academy Award-nominated “Street Fight” covers the turbulent campaign of Cory Booker, a 32-year old Rhodes Scholar/Yale Law graduate running for mayor of Newark, N.J. against Sharpe James, the four-term incumbent twice his age. Fresh from winning awards at the SilverDocs, HotDocs and Tribeca film festivals, “Street Fight” is this year’s political thriller.


Martin Luther King: Man of Peace in a Time of WarReviewPurchase – The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is one of the most important and inspirational figures in U.S. – and World – History. He spoke of peace at a time when there was great conflict between black and white America, divisiveness within the civil rights movement itself, and an undeclared war in Vietnam that seemed to divide everyone. In addition to rare, archival footage, King: Man Of Peace In A Time Of War features exclusive interviews with such notables as the Rev. Jesse Jackson (who marched alongside Dr. King); retired general and former Secretary of State, Colin Powell (who reflects on how far the civil rights movement has come); and legendary journalist Howard K. Smith (who introduced Dr. King to Richard Nixon); amongst others including Congressman Charles Rangel, Quincy Jones, Hugh Hefner and Laurence Fishburne, plus controversial commentary from Malcolm X. Most remarkable of all is the ultra-rare appearance of Dr. King himself on a 1967 Mike Douglas Show speaking eloquently about civil rights, especially the issue of black participation in the Vietnam War.

I Trust You To Kill MeReviewPurchase – Kiefer Sutherland, star of the hit TV show “24” takes his indie record label act, Rocco DeLuca & the Burden on the road for their first international tour. From Los Angeles to Europe, this highly personal journey chronicles a rock band & their less than qualified road manager, Kiefer Sutherland, and the hopes, successes and disappointments of a band trying to get their music to their audience.


 
Dec
19
    

DVD Releases December 19, 2006

When the Levees BrokeReviewPurchase at Amazon.com – One year after Hurricane Katrina decimated New Orleans, director Spike Lee presents a four-hour, four-part chronicle recounting, through words and images, one of our country?s most profound natural disasters. In addition to revisiting the hours leading up to the arrival of Katrina, a Category 5 hurricane before it hit the coast of Louisiana, When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts tells the personal stories of those who lived to tell about it, at the same time exploring the underbelly of a nation where the divide along race and class lines has never been more pronounced.

Sir! No Sir!ReviewPurchase at Amazon.com – Award-winning breakout theatrical hit SIR! NO, SIR! unfolds the stunning and often forgotten story of the military men and women who helped force the U.S. government to end the Vietnam War. Poignantly narrated by a diverse cast of veteran GI resisters, who recall the ferocious days of peace marches and stiff jail sentences, SIR! NO, SIR! pulls no punches in its raw depiction of the power of people, especially those in uniform. Trading dog tags for picket signs, Purple Hearts for peace signs, thousands of ordinary GIs in that world-changing era broke ranks to start up homemade underground papers, subversive coffee shops near military bases, and to engage in mass civil disobedience that brought the war machine to its knees. Directed by David Zeiger, SIR! NO, SIR! is “powerful stuff, offering us not only a new look at the past, but to the unavoidably relevant insights into the present”


 
Dec
18
    

Not much original TV programming left to be shown in this year, thus it is a good time to try out a new monthly post that will try to provide a good overview of what documentary program will be on TV.  The focus of these posts will be highlighting new programs that are getting their media or TV debut.  US television will be the focus, although I welcome others to use our new blog system to start similar posts for other countries.  When it is a slow part of the year, I may include reference to repeats of interesting programs or films.  The monthly posts will be updated and bumped as new programming is added.

I will be using publicists and press releases to compile the list in addition to monitoring known sources of documentary films. My starting list will include PBS, History, Discovery, HBO, Sundance, IFC, and the Networks.  If you have other ideas add a comment and let me know.  Check times with your local paper, programming guide, or station to confirm times.

December 18 2006 –  9PM – Sundance Channel – Godless In America – At a time when the religious right plays an increasingly important role in national politics, documentary filmmakers Leslie Woodhead and Reggie Nadelson look at the plight of the estimated 30 million American atheists and their struggle not to be ignored. Reviewing the long, colorful and bizarre life of atheist activist Madalyn Murray O’Hair and her contemporary successors, GODLESS IN AMERICA reveals how a freethinking secular minority continues to fight for a voice in the mainstream, despite discrimination, hostility and threats of violence.

December 28 2006 – 8PM – PBS – NOVA: Underwater Dream Machine – Follow one man’s quest to engineer a submarine with panoramic views – http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/alicia/


 
Dec
12
    

DVD Releases December 12, 2006

America: Freedom to FacsismReviewPurchase at Amazon.com – Controversial and throught-provoking are two words that describe one of the most talked-about documentaries of 2006. Determined to find the law that requries American citizens to pay income tax, producer Aaron Russo (Bette Midler’sThe Rose, Trading Places) set out on a journey to find the evidence. Neither left nor right-wing, this startling examination of government exposes the systematic erosion of civil liberties in America since 1913 when the Federal Reserve system was fraudulently created. Through interviews with two U.S. Congressmen, former IRS Commissioner and former IRS and FBI agents, tax attorneys and authors, Russo connects the dots between money creation, federal income tax, and the national identity card, which becomes law in May 2008 and will use Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology. Could this be a precursor to an impending police state in America? Watch the film and make your own conclusions.

Ocean Odyssey – Review – Purchase at Amazon.com – Do you know what lies at the bottom of the ocean? From the makers of the Walking With… series comes an enthralling exploration of Earth’s final frontier seen through the eyes of its greatest inhabitant and the worlds largest predator, the sperm whale. Following a young male from infancy to old age, the marinescape comes vividly to life: the impossibly deep canyons, the underwater volcanoes, and the spectacular mountain ranges. The inhabitants of opaque depths are no less impressive ? black dragonfish that cast an eerie red glow, jellyfish shaped like giant footballs ? but the whale is only interested in one creature, the colossal squid. When the two meet, it is the ocean’s ultimate battle.


 
Dec
05
    

DVD Releases December 5, 2006

Desperate Man BluesReview by Bryan NewburyReview the film for yourselfPurchase at Amazon.com – Minutes into Desperate Man Blues we’re treated to the bubbly and idiosyncratic personality of Joe Bussard. On the opening cut he’s found smoking what is to be an omnipresent cigar and grooving to a prewar vinyl. Aficionados of air guitar will be as entranced with Joe as record collectors and old time music enthusiasts. Within minutes, the audience is treated not only to air guitar, but air clarinet, air fiddle, air trombone and even (this may be the only recorded case, which would suit Bussard fine to be sure) air Weissenborn. All this while dancing contagiously.  Joe began collecting 51 years ago throughout his native Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. A few side trips into Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina are certainties. Just like that barracks buddy your grandfather was acquainted with in the Great War who kept his copies of The Fantastic Four intact, Bussard had the vision to see treasure in another man’s rubbish. He relates tales of collecting at a time when pre-Depression 78’s were viewed as throw-away items. In the 1950’s the original owners saw little value in what are now priceless records in Joe’s collection.

Grey GardensReviewPurchase at Amazon.com – Grey Gardens is the name of a neglected, sprawling estate gone to seed. The crumbling mansion was home to Edith Bouvier Beale, often referred to as “Big Edie,” and her daughter, “Little Edie.” The East Hampton, Long Island, home became the center of quite a scandal when it was revealed in 1973 that the reclusive aunt and cousin to Jackie O. were living in a state of poverty and filth. That’s the background to this 1976 film portrait by cinéma vérité pioneers Albert and David Maysles, but it’s only incidental to the fascinating story they discover inside the estate walls. The two Edies have lived in almost complete seclusion since the mid-1950s, ever since Big Edie’s husband abandoned her and Little Edie (then a young socialite on the verge of a dancing career, or so she claims) was called home to care for her depressed mother. Twenty years later they continue to live in their memories while camped out in a single bedroom of the 28-room mansion overrun with cats (who use the floor as their litter box).

Beales of Grey GardenReviewPurchase at Amazon.com – The 1975 cinema vérité classic Grey Gardens, which captured in remarkable close-up the lives of the eccentric recluses and cousins to Jackie Onassis, Big and Little Edie Beale, in their decrepit East Hampton mansion, has spawned everything from a midnight-movie cult following to a Broadway musical remake an upcoming Hollywood adaptation. Now, Albert and David Maysles have revisited their landmark documentary with a sequel of sorts, culled from hours of never-before-seen footage recently found in the filmmakers’ vaults.

Pucker Up: The Fine Art of WhistlingReviewPurchase at Amazon.com – “Just put your lips together and blow!” Well, that’s easier said than done, as this exploration of the high-stakes world of competitive whistling reveals. Pucker Up follows several competitors as they converge on Louisburg, NC – the mecca of whistling – for the International Whistling Convention and Competition. Seasoned veterans and nervous amateurs alike perform for their chance to be named the world’s best whistler in a unique atmosphere of tense competition and convivial camaraderie. Exploring the history and former glory of the pasttime, even the dark underbelly (who knew?) of the whistling world, this delightful film communicates whistling enthusiasts’ hopes of reviving the once-popular entertainment now all but absent from the cultural radar.

Blood and Oil: The Middle East in World War IReviewPurchase at Amazon.com – Except for the Dardanelles/Gallipoli campaigns, the extensive combat operations in the Middle East during World War I have been largely overlooked in documentary programs. Given the historical significance of the Ottoman Empire’s demise in 1918, and the ongoing importance of Middle Eastern oil reserves to Western economies, a close study of this conflict provides two important lessons: 1. The Treaty of Versailles, agreed to by the Western Powers in 1919, paved the way for military and political chaos in the Middle East, which continues to this very day. 2. Oil reserves in the Middle East became an important strategic concern for Western Powers, helping to justify their economic, diplomatic and military interference in the region.

Symbiopsychotaxiplasm Take OneReviewPurchase at Amazon.com – In William Greaves’s spontaneous, one-of-a-kind fiction/documentary hybrid Symbiopsychotaxiplasm Take One, Greaves presides over a beleaguered troupe of camera and sound men in New York’s Central Park in 1967, leaving them to try and decipher exactly what it is they’re making: a strange, bickering couple enacting a break-up scenario over and over; a documentary crew filming a crew filming the crew; locals wandering casually into the frame. A multilayered and wildly entertaining deconstruction of cinema, Symbiopsychotaxiplasm defies easy description yet remains one of the most tightly focused movies ever made about making movies.


 
Nov
26
    

DVD Releases November 28, 2006

Where the Heart RoamsReviewPurchase at Amazon.com – Put some famous romance writers (Barbara Cartland, Janet Dailey), some not-so-famous romance writers, and some would-be romance writers on a train and what do you get? The Love Train. Organized by novel d’amour fan Chelley Kitzmiller, this train ride took romance fans from Los Angeles to New York for a late-1980s Romantic Book Lover’s Conference. As they travel cross country, the women–and a couple of husbands–discuss the business of romance novels (how explicit should the sex be? should they wait until they’re married?), while Hunter S. Thompson biographer (and Playgirl writer) E. Jean Carroll grills them about what men and women want from each other. This 80-minute documentary spotlights Kitzmiller’s angst at not having written the book of her dreams and her growing confidence from organizing this public relations coup for the romance industry. –Kimberly Heinrichs

Marshall University: Ashes to Glory – ReviewPurchase at Amazon.com – This documentary chronicles how a grief-stricken football team rose from unfathomable ruin and despair to achieve one of the most remarkable and triumphant victories in the history of sports. It was the fall of 1970 when a chartered plane carrying Marshall University’s Thundering Herd football team, coaches, and leading supporters across West Virginia crashed, leaving no survivors. In the face of crushing heartbreak, a young coach named Jack Lengyel took over the devastated program. Honoring the memories of those who died, Lengyel and the five players who were not on the doomed flight found the strength and courage to patch together a ragtag team that would overcome the odds and triumph despite catastrophe.

The Brave New Films Box SetPurchase at Amazon.com – A pioneer in 21st century activism, Robert Greenwald releases documentaries that are the centerpieces for guerilla campaigns designed to break through noisy news cycles. This special box set includes three films: “Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price”, “Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers” and “The Big Buy: Tom Delay’s Stolen Congress”. Also includes an exclusive bonus disc that is available only with this box set. This bonus disc contains over an hour of extra footage, interviews, montages and more.


 
Nov
20
    

DVD Releases November 21, 2006

An Inconvenient TruthReviewPurchase at Amazon.com – Director Davis Guggenheim eloquently weaves the science of global warming with Mr. Gore’s personal history and lifelong commitment to reversing the effects of global climate change. A longtime advocate for the environment, Gore presents a wide array of facts and information in a thoughtful and compelling way. “Al Gore strips his presentations of politics, laying out the facts for the audience to draw their own conclusions in a charming, funny and engaging style, and by the end has everyone on the edge of their seats, gripped by his haunting message,” said Guggenheim. An Inconvenient Truth is not a story of despair but rather a rallying cry to protect the one earth we all share. “It is now clear that we face a deepening global climate crisis that requires us to act boldly, quickly, and wisely,” said Gore.

ThinRead our review by Umut NewburyReview for yourselfPurchase at Amazon.com – Lauren Greenfield’s debut as a documentary filmmaker is not for the faint of heart. In the United States, we have come to believe that the food we are eating is making us fat, which it is. The majority of American adults are clinically overweight or obese (more than 63 percent according to 2005 studies).  However, there are also five million people who suffer from eating disorders that keep them too thin. Greenfield opens the film with a little known and shocking truth: one in seven anorexic women will die from complications caused by their disease.  She takes us on a dark journey inside the Renfrew Center, one of a handful of treatment centers in the nation for women who suffer from anorexia or bulimia, most often both.

Andy Warhol: A Documentary FilmReviewPurchase at Amazon.com – “He was the most American of artists and the most artistic of Americans,” one man later said – “so American in fact that he is almost invisible to us.” ANDY WARHOL – a riveting and often deeply moving film portrait of the most famous and famously controversial artist of the second half of the twentieth century – is the first to explore the complete spectrum of Warhol’s astonishing artistic output, stretching across five decades from the late 1940’s to his untimely death in 1987. Combining powerful on-camera interviews and rare still and motion picture footage, it is also the first to put Warhol himself – his humble family background and formative experiences in Pittsburgh, and his crucial apprenticeship as a commercial artist in New York – back into the presentation of his life.

Saint of 9/11: True Sotry of Father Mychal Judge – ReviewPurchase at Amazon.com – In an enduring photograph of 9/11, a team of rescue workers carry a Franciscan priest’s body from the World Trade Center. The world came to know Father Mychal Judge, in death as a symbol of courage and sacrifice. Saint of 9/11 represents the turbulent, restless, spiritual and remarkable journey of Father Mychal. Compassionate champion of the needy and forgotten, and a beloved New York City Fire Department Chaplain, he was a humble priest who wrestled with his own private demons while touching others in powerful and miraculous ways. Saint of 9/11 weaves interviews with friends, colleagues, congregants and archival footage with Mychal’s words and shows the full humanity of a special life interrupted. Narrated by Sir Ian McKellen. Features interviews with famed author Malachy McCourt and former New York City Fire Commissioner Thomas Von Essen.

Been Rich All My LifeReviewPurchase at Amazon.com


 
Nov
10
    

DVD Releases November 14, 2006 

49 UpReviewPurchase at Amazon.com – One of the most historic documentary film series returns with a new film.  49 UP is the seventh film in the series that began 42 years ago when a documentary team from the UK-based Granada TV, inspired by the Jesuit maxim “Give me the child until he is seven and I will give you the man,” interviewed a diverse group of seven-year-old children from all over England, asking them about their lives and their dreams for the future. Michael Apted, a researcher on Seven UP, has returned to interview the children (now adults) every seven years since, at ages 14, 21, 28, 35, 42 and now again at age 49. This latest chapter sees the participants speaking out on a variety of subjects including love, marriage, career, class and prejudice.

Who Killed the Electric Car?ReviewPurchase at Amazon.com – With gasoline prices approaching $4/gallon, fossil fuel shortages, unrest in oil producing regions around the globe and mainstream consumer adoption and adoption of the hybrid electric car (more than 140,000 Prius’ sold this year), this story couldn’t be more relevant or important. The foremost goal in making this movie is to educate and enlighten audiences with the story of this car, its place in history and in the larger story of our car culture and how it enables our continuing addiction to foreign oil.

Leonard Cohen: I’m Your ManReviewPurchase at Amazon.com


 
Nov
07
    

DVD Releases November 7, 2006

WordplayReview – Purchase at Amazon.com – “Wordplay” starts the story of the New York Times crossword puzzle, and the current and historical creative forces behind it. But as it dances across the story, filling it in as one of its devotees might across the puzzles, it reveals an entire amazing world behind its practice, creation, and history, from the annual crossword convention in Stamford to the breadth of individuals who enjoy it daily.

The Passing Show: The Life & Music of Ronnie LaneReviewPurchase at Amazon.comFilm Web Site – This brilliant musical documentary tells the story of Ronnie Lane from his heyday with first the Small Faces and then the Faces, through the sixties and seventies, his experiments with a rural life and the touring musical circus that he dubbed The Passing Show. Finally it charts his latter days once he developed Multiple Sclerosis. Featuring numerous musical clips and interviews with family, friends and colleagues including Eric Clapton, Pete Townshend, Ian McLagan, Kenney Jones, Glyn Johns, Henry McCullough, Joe Ely and many more.

The Blood of My BrothersReviewPurchase at Amazon.com – The Blood of My Brother shows the war in Iraq from the perspective of an Iraqi family grieving the loss of a son who was killed by an American patrol as he stood guard at a mosque. The subtle dynamic between grief and rage is eloquently explored by director Andrew Berends, while he extends the scope of the doc to encompass the burgeoning culture of militancy found among young Iraqi men. From the family weeping at the gravesite to the Battle of Najaf, The Blood of My Brother gets closer to the troubles in Iraq than the embedded media ever could.

Death Before DishonorReviewPurchase at Amazon.com – When put in a position were one is either going to jail or selling out his friends and colleagues, the outcome naturally lends itself to self protection.  The mafia is perhaps best known for a code that attempted to prevent snitching.  But today this philosophy of keeping silent is now seen in the urban “Stop Snitching” movement.  Death Before Dishonor gets the takes of today’s leading hip-hop figures on the subject.

Live Tonight Sold Out - ReviewPurchase at Amazon.com – Originally conceived by Kurt Cobain, LIVE! TONIGHT! SOLD OUT! is a video document of Nirvana’s rise from a scruffy trio from the Pacific Northwest into one of the most iconic and important bands in the history of rock music.

LoudquietloudReviewPurchase at Amazon.com – When college rock darlings the Pixies broke up in 1992, their fans were shocked and dismayed. When they reunited in 2004, those same fans and legions of new listeners were ecstatic and filled with high hopes. loudQUIETloud follows the rehearsals and the warm up shows for the full-fledged, sold out reunion tour. It also catalogs, in the cinema verite style of the Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter” and Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Look Back”, the less glamorous side of the touring band lifestyle, getting as close to this enigmatic act as anyone is ever likely to get. LoudQUIETloud captures the Pixies, their families and their fans in what seems to be a once in a lifetime chance at rock n roll redemption.

The Who: The Vegas JobReviewPurchase at Amazon.com