REVIEW: What Happened, Miss Simone? [2015]

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“I’ll tell you what freedom is to me: no fear” As someone who heard “Feeling Good” on a Muse album in the early 2000s thinking it was their song until the promotional advertisements for season four of “Six Feet Under” got me researching the female vocalist singing its “new” rendition, a documentary on Nina Simone […]

REVIEW: How to Change the World [2015]

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“Ecology is flow” Using the unplanned creation of Greenpeace by a group of hippie ecologists in the 1970s trying to stop nuclear bomb testing in Alaska as its backdrop, Jerry Rothwell‘s documentary How to Change the World shows us the trials, tribulations, fame, ego, and success of doing exactly that. It’s a savvy mix of […]

REVIEW: Last Day of Freedom [2015]

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“And then one day it came knocking on my door” Directors Dee Hibbert-Jones and Nomi Talisman have quite the story on their hands thanks to the bravery of Bill Babbitt to allow his catharsis to be captured in a public forum such as film. A religious and loving man who watched his younger brother Manny […]

REVIEW: Chau, Beyond the Lines [2015]

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“I’m starting to get the confidence” Agent Orange still affects the Vietnamese population four decades after its dispersal because it’s taken that long to find a mode with which to begin destroying its remnants. South Vietnam with American help sprayed the herbicide (US Air Force’s own initiative Operation Ranch Hand later continued) looking to take […]

REVIEW: A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness [2015]

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“Because they had sworn on the Quran, I had no fear in my heart” When you read that Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy‘s documentary short A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness concerns a Pakistani girl shot and left for dead who survived to become a beacon of strength and bravery, do not simply dismiss it […]

REVIEW: Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah [2015]

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“Claude used to be a friend of mine—he no longer is.” Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah is a document of a documentarian: a time capsule of the twelve-year gestation of what’s possibly the greatest non-fiction works in cinematic history. Shoah‘s a ten-hour look at the Holocaust’s devastation via survivors and perpetrators in varying modes […]

REVIEW: Body Team 12 [2015]

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“My life is a sacrifice for the country to succeed” For Americans the Ebola scare was a handful of cases and nurses who weren’t as careful as they should have been. To the world it was thousands upon thousands of dead bodies—loved ones that family members can’t normally mourn because every second the deceased’s blood […]

REVIEW: Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief [2015]

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“We’re out to make every life extraordinary” Scientology is almost too stupid to believe. No it is too stupid to believe. That’s why I always just dismissed it as a joke—a religion founded by a science fiction author in order to never pay taxes like the rumor went. Celebrities love it, there are weird “stress” […]

REVIEW: Best of Enemies [2015]

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“The way to end the Vietnam War was to put it on ABC and it’d be canceled in thirteen weeks” It was the birth of punditry and epitome of television as theater: William F. Buckley and Gore Vidal head-to-head wherein they themselves respectively became Conservatism and Liberalism for the whole country to watch. Did they […]

REVIEW: Amy [2015]

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“Love is a losing game” I think perhaps I’m tapped out where it comes to stories about musicians’ tragic lives. Binging on “Behind the Music” during my teens probably doesn’t help matters and seeing Montage of Heck earlier this year carries no favors either. Asif Kapadia‘s Amy seeks to do the same thing Brett Morgen […]

REVIEW: The Look of Silence [2015]

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“If we didn’t drink human blood, we’d go crazy” Just when you thought a documentary couldn’t get more harrowing than Joshua Oppenheimer‘s look at murderers in The Act of Killing, the director gives editorial power to their victims in The Look of Silence. The descriptive label “companion piece” is apt because they both exist in […]