Looper

imageTime travel sci-fi flicks have been around for a long time. The first third of the film challenges your brain to simply keep track of whether we are the in the future or the present and how the two realms are connected.  Looper then spooks you because coming back from the future, Bruce Willis’ character knows that a little kid will grow up to be a mass-murderer. He wants to kill him to prevent a Hitler-type of tragedy. But the director wants to us to side with hope that we can spare the kid and with love and attention he will turn out to be a different version of his self.

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Movies, Documentary

No Comments 30 September 2012

Rocky Mountain Express: An IMAX Experience

image Canada was formed in 1867. Four year later the colony British Columbia, which was in financial trouble, joined the confederation. The confederation promised British Columbia that it would pay for a railway link between Vancouver and Ontario. Building a railroad through the Rocky Mountains was an engineering feat. This documentary film tells the story how the railroad was built and how it made Canada into a viable country.  A few years ago, the Canadian Pacific railraod restored a steam locomotive. The director, Stephen Low, had to good sense to use it for a film.  He has wonderful job stripping Imax 3D cameras onto the train and filming the steam locomotive from helicopter and other places so you feel like you are travelling from Vancouver to Banff. The pictures are so extraordinary that you feel as if you are the conductor of the train.  After watching the film, one wants to do this trip not just in the movie theatre. In turns out there is a 2-day tour from Calgary to Vancouver running in the summer.

 

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Movies, Documentary

No Comments 8 September 2012

Roman Polanski—Wanted and Desired

image This is an excellent documentary and it made me evaluate Polanski escape from the USA.  After watching it one wonders why American authorities attempted once again in 2010 to get Switzerland to arrest an extradite Polanski. After putting him under house arrest for 6 months, the Swiss authorities did not hand over Polanski to the American and this documentary, although finished before explains to explain why. Polanski is clearly guilty of one thing: Exceedingly poor judgment.

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Movies, Documentary

No Comments 9 August 2012

Debate Team

image This documentary provides in good insight into a subculture of American campuses that I knew nothing about. I thought debate would be a gentelmanly or womanly sport where students would speak in a way understandable for an audience. But there is not audience in the sub-culture other than other debaters for whom debate because a full-time obsession. The first 30 minutes of the documentary were intriguing. But the first-time filmmaker forgot that the human brain likes stories to unfold in chronological way. He jumps back and forth so much that my little brain felt a bit overtaxed by it.

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Movies, Documentary

No Comments 20 February 2012

This is it

imageEven by the standards of the recent fall of Tiger Woods, Michael Jackson is in a class by himself.  He went from the biggest star on the planet to the erratic weirdo who could never fully shake the suspicion that his love for children went a bit too far when he routinely invited kids over for sleepovers to his ranch Neverland Unable to control is profligate spending habits, MJ stared bankruptcy in the eye. Many commentators believed that he had signed the contract to give the 50 plus live concerts in London to regain his financial solvency.  In the weeks before the first concert date, rumors were flying that Michael Jackson was not healthy enough to survive the live show marathon in London. Suddenly MJ was dead even before a single concert took place. This is itchronicles the preparations for the London concert.  The film confirms the theory that his doctor’s negligence caused MJ death rather than the strains of preparing for the concerts.

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Movies, Documentary

No Comments 10 January 2010

The Times of Harvey Milk

image This documentary about the life of Harvey Milk starts at the moment of his election to the city council of San Francisco. Compared the recent motion picture Milk, the film begins a bit slow but then becomes a wonderful depiction of what made Milk a great politician. It is quite remarkable to see him organize the gay community into a political force. All in all, the documentary is more gratifying than the motion picture because Milk playing Milk is a lot more convincing then Sean Penn playing Milk.  Towards the end, the director devotes considerable time trying to figure out what motivated Dan White to shoot the major of San Francisco and Harvey Milk. No good answers emerge from White’s biography. The film cannot uncover any evidence of psychological instability or sublimated aggression that periodically would have erupted. I suspect that if White hadn’t had a gun readily available at home the day of the crime, he would have calmed down

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Movies, Documentary

No Comments 15 August 2009

Tarnation

image In my junior or senior year I formulated this motto:  I want to turn my life into a work of art.  What I had in mind was something like this: Rather than turning out work that could be construed as art I wanted to make sure that my life as a whole was esthetically compelling. Given the gifts and option available to me, I wanted to mold my life into something could compete with what is widely considered a compelling work of art. Jonathan Caouette, in his stunning autobiographical documentary Tarnation, turns his life into a work of spectacular art. But watching the film I realized that when I hatched my plan I conceived it as way to live forward. Caouette looks backward at age 30 and tries to make sense of his strange family life by construction an autobiography using only photos, super 8, answering machine messages, and video snippets that he collected since he was eleven years old.

 

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Movies, Documentary

No Comments 16 February 2009

Frost-Nixon: The TV Interview

image Even if you have already seen the 1976 film All the President’s Men with Dustin Hofmann and Robert Redford playing the two Washington Post journalists (Woodward and Berstein) who exposed the Watergate scandal or the 1994 BBC documentary Watergate: Third Rate Burglary, this 1977 interview of a British journalist with Richard Nixon about Watergate is a fascinating 75-minute documentary. Initially, Nixon’s arguments that he did not commit a criminal act reminded me of Bill Clinton’s parsing of language when he was asked in a courtroom whether he had sex with Monica Lewinsky. But later in the interview Frost pushes Nixon into the corner where Nixon let’s down his guard and makes some amazing declarations.

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Movies, Documentary

No Comments 14 February 2009

When the Levees Broke

image Spike Lee is no Ken Burns. His

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Movies, Documentary

No Comments 21 January 2007

Supersize Me!

image In the tradition of pre-modern pharmacists who would test remedies on their own body, Morgan Spurlock decides to eat at McDonalds three times a day for a month and let a battery of doctors keep track of how his body would react to such a diet. I knew that McDonald

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Movies, Documentary

No Comments 1 January 2007

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