Water Wars (2009) – Documentary Retroview

Water Wars (2009) – Documentary Retroview

According to a World Bank study, the demand for water will exceed supply by 40 percent within twenty years. By presenting an overview of recent flooding, drought, and other water-related disasters in Bangladesh, India and New Orleans, director Jim Burrough’s Water Wars: When Drought, Flood and Greed Collide presents a prescient look into the future of fresh water access and control, which many believe will be the cause for World War III.

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GROOMED – Movie Review

GROOMED – Movie Review

Groomed is an intensely personal documentary in which the filmmaker chronicles her own journey to discover the truth about her childhood encounter with a predatory sexual abuser and to recover from the long lasting impact his abuse has had on her life as an adult. Gwen van de Pas, now living in San Francisco with a wonderfully understanding and supportive man, is beset by nightmares and panic attacks and sets out to investigate the cause of them.

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DELIVER US FROM EVIL (2006)- Movie Review

DELIVER US FROM EVIL (2006)- Movie Review

In her Academy Award nominated (2006) documentary, Deliver Us From Evil, director Amy Berg uses gripping testimony by victims, interviews with expert witnesses and archival footage to reveal the Catholic Church’s shocking cover up of ongoing incidents of child abuse by members of the clergy.

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FTA – Movie Review – 1972/2009

FTA – Movie Review – 1972/2009

FTA is an anti-war documentary that went missing shortly after its premiere in 1972. Now restored and available to the public, the film is an important record showing the strength of the American people’s opposition to the Vietnam War. Documetary Film And Historical Record Along with Winter Soldier, FTA stands as an important historical document, […]

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Garbo: The Spy – Movie Review – 2009

Garbo: The Spy – Movie Review – 2009

This wonderfully entertaining and educating documentary is a real life spy thriller that profiles the mystery man, a double agent during World War II, who who changed the course of history. He was the most important, successful and daring spy of his day, an unidentified legend in his own time, the only one to receive distinguished service honors from both the British and Germans.

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Documentary Review: TIM’S VERMEER (2013)

Documentary Review: TIM’S VERMEER (2013)

In this fascinating documentary, inventor Tim Jenison sets out to prove that the 17th century Dutch Master, deemed the greatest realist painter of all time, was secretly using an optical instrument to capture his photo-like images. It provides a uniquely original view of timeless masterpieces.

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Documentary Review: CODED BIAS

Documentary Review: CODED BIAS

We might all be in need of and very keen on watching escapist comedies during the ongoing pandemic social restrictions, but this compelling documentary is an important and timely film. Knowledge is power, and Coded Bias delivers knowledge that can help us to resist/reverse the further deterioration of democracy and of human civilization as we know it.

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MOSSVILLE: WHEN GREAT TREES FALL – Documentary Review

MOSSVILLE: WHEN GREAT TREES FALL – Documentary Review

The November 2019 release of Todd Haynes’ compelling truth-based narrative Dark Waters reminded moviegoers about how chemical titan DuPont de Nemours’ corporate greed delivered death-dealing PFOA pollution to six water districts around its plant in Parkersburg, West Virginia, poisoning some 70,000 people, including factory employees, their families and others living in the area — some […]

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DIXIE CHICKS: SHUT UP AND SING (2006) – Documentary Retroview

DIXIE CHICKS: SHUT UP AND SING (2006) – Documentary Retroview

The Dixie Chicks’ popularity plummeted after main singer Natalie Maines made an off the cuff comment about the Iraq War. This documentary, directed by Barbara Kopple, chronicles the group’s efforts to reclaim their place in the hearts of their fans and at the top of the music charts.

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Khodorkovsky (2011) – Documentary Retroview

Khodorkovsky (2011) – Documentary Retroview

Mikhail Khodorkovsky is an icon in Russia, and throughout the rest of the world, too. He’s young, attractive, smart and extremely rich. And he’s in jail. German filmmaker Cyril Tuschi profiles the fascinating Khodorkovsky, tracing his life and career from the time his early childhood, through his standout student career in Soviet Russia and his rise to prominence in post-Soviet Russia’s growing capitalist economy.

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PUSSY RIOT: A PUNK PRAYER (2013) – Documentary Retroview

PUSSY RIOT: A PUNK PRAYER (2013) – Documentary Retroview

Whether you’re a fan of punk music or not, you’ll have to concede that in both style and substance the punk rock movement has pushed hard against the forces of repression wherever they exist. And, sometimes — or quite often — the powerful forces of repression strike back in hideously unjust ways. Such is the case with Pussy Riot, a feminist punk rock band of performing artists who hail from and work in Moscow.

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EARTH DAYS (2009) – Documentary Retroview

EARTH DAYS (2009) – Documentary Retroview

To explore the fundamental premises and chronicle the advent of Earth Days, our annual celebration of Gaia and whatever ecological awareness we can muster, documentary director Robert Stone has assembled and interviewed a special tribe of the environmental movement’s elders — Stuart Udall, Denis Hayes, Paul Ehrlich, Pete McCloskey and Rusty Schweickart among other activists, politicians and forecasters — who give testimony about advances made by conservationists during the 1960s and 70s, and lead us to an understanding of what happened beginning with the Nixon administration to bring us to our current situation — on the brink of environmental disaster.

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Freedom Riders (2010) – Documentary Retroview

Freedom Riders (2010) – Documentary Retroview

Documentarian Stanley Nelson’s Freedom Riders chronicles the actions of and pays tribute to an important group of civil rights activists who played a major role in the nonviolent civil rights movement.

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63 UP – Documentary Review

63  UP – Documentary Review

For those who’ve followed filmmaker Michael Apted’s entire UP Series, it’s a treat to catch up with the subjects’ latest developments in 63 UP, the eighth and likely final episode in the series. Apted refers to the series as an exploration of the British class system, and asks all whether they think the original premise for the series — “give me a child at the age of seven and I’ll show you the man” — is true. The now familiar subjects’ responses are varied, authentic and provocative.

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Filmmaker Michael Apted: Leading Up to 63 UP

Filmmaker Michael Apted: Leading Up to 63 UP

Michael Apted helms both documentaries and narrative features, and has won numerous awards for both kinds of films. But he is best known for his career-defining Up Series, a unique documentary project that has been in progress since 1964. In the Beginning At the inception of the Up Series, Apted was working as a researcher […]

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Documentary Retroview: 56 UP

Documentary Retroview: 56 UP

56 UP is the latest chapter in The UP Series, filmmaker Michael Apted’s monumental series about fourteen British citizens, following their lives since 1963, when they were seven year old boys and girls living in very different circumstances in diverse regions of the United Kingdom.

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Critics Choice Documentary Awards 2019 Nominees Announced

Critics Choice Documentary Awards 2019 Nominees Announced

The Critics Choice Association will once again be honoring the finest achievements in documentaries released in theaters, on TV and on major digital platforms, as determined by the voting of qualified CCA members (Full disclosure: I am a CCA member) . THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM leads this year with seven nominations, including Best Documentary Feature, John Chester for Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Score, Best Narration, and Best Science/Nature Documentary.

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Full Battle Rattle (2008) – Movie Review

Full Battle Rattle (2008) – Movie Review

Disneyland For War Games Somewhere in the Mohave Desert, the U.S. military maintains a large rural compound that contains several fake Iraqi towns. It’s here that American soldiers are sent to practice battle tactics and learn to deal with Iraqi people before their deployment to Iraq. The towns look real enough, with accurate street plans […]

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Sputnik Mania (2007) – Documentary Retroview

Sputnik Mania (2007) – Documentary Retroview

Timed to celebrate the 50th anniversary of America’s moon landing, the Apollo 11 documentary reminds us that humans are capable of making miracles happen, but it also calls up memories of the fearsome USA vs USSR race to space, which was part and parcel of the cold war between two mega powers that were often on the brink of striking out to destroy each other and — since nuclear bombs were the weapons of choice — much of the rest of the world as well.

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APOLLO 11 – Documentary Review

APOLLO 11 – Documentary Review

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the mankind’s first landing on the Moon, Apollo 11 is being released theatrically and on line. The new documentary, a compilation comprised entirely of previously seen archival footage, offers viewers an extraordinary ‘you are there’ experience of the moonshot, especially the film is seen on IMAX or other large screens.

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FOR SAMA – Documentary Review

FOR SAMA – Documentary Review

For Sama a harrowing first person documentary in which the filmmaker, Waad Al-Khateab, a Syrian woman journalist, chronicles her daily life and struggles to survive during the Battle of Aleppo. It is a reality-based horror film, a truly painful reminder that we humans create unbearable hardship and agony for each other. For Sama For Sama is absolutely essential viewing.

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IF A TREE FALLS: A STORY FROM THE EARTH LIBERATION FRONT (2011) – Documentary Review

IF A TREE FALLS: A STORY FROM THE EARTH LIBERATION FRONT (2011) – Documentary Review

In presenting the story of Daniel McGowan, the former Earth Liberation Front (ELF) environmental activist who’s been sentenced to life imprisonment for environmental terrorism or, more specifically, for arson committed against northwest US lumber companies and national parks, filmmakers Marshall Curry and Sam Cullman raise questions and stir public debate about the definition of terrorism, especially in the post-9/11 security environment. The documentary is now streaming on OVID.tv.

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The Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls (2011) – Documentary Review

The Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls (2011) – Documentary Review

Performing around the world and on New Zealand television, the Topp Twins are a hilarious sister act who’ve been embraced by a vast variety of fans. Leanne Pooley’s delightful documentary profile of Lynda and Jools entertains while giving biographical background and information about their current lives, as well as side-splitting clips of their performances.

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Wish Me Away: The Chely Wright Story (2012) – Documentary Retroview

Wish Me Away: The Chely Wright Story (2012) – Documentary Retroview

Watching movies for Pride Month? Remember to include Wish Me Away. Nashville music star Chely Wright, adored by millions of conservation country and western fans, lived much of her public life and career as a lie — until she decided to match up her public and professional persona with her inner truth. Chely is gay, and she decided that she had to come out.

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THE PROPOSAL – Documentary Review

THE PROPOSAL – Documentary Review

Filmmaker and artist Jill Magid became personally committed to unveiling the the legacy of legendary Mexican architect Luis Barragan (1902-1988), whose entire work record and artifacts — diaries, blueprints, photos of everything, personal memorabilia and other belongings, and copyrights — had been purchased by a powerful and wealthy Swiss conglomerate, Vitra, and were entirely withheld from public access.

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