LADY BUDS – Documentary Review

LADY BUDS – Documentary Review

Chris J. Russo’s engaging and informative first feature documentary, Lady Buds, is an enlightening and exasperating tell all about the troubles currently impacting the lives and careers of women who are working in the weed trade in Northern California. The film chronicles the struggles of six independent female cannabis growers and distributors who were once […]

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Documentary Retroview: Taxi To The Dark Side (2007)

Documentary Retroview: Taxi To The Dark Side (2007)

Alex Gibney’s new film, Taxi To The Dark Side, released on January 18, 2008, is a shocking expose about the American military’s use of torture to get confessions–not always truthful ones–from prisoners suspected of terrorism. Meet the prisoners and the perps.

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Movie Review: LANGUAGE LESSONS

Movie Review: LANGUAGE LESSONS

Language Lessons is a pandemic inspired two-character, two-location, two-screen, zoom-tech, dramedy born of the pandemic and imposed isolation, and produced during the lockdown. It is a film that reflects many of the personal issues brought on by the pandemic, but it is not about the pandemic per se — and that makes it a very special and utterly engaging entertainment.

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Documentary Retroview: SHADOW OF AFGHANISTAN 1959-2012 – (2006, 2012)bauman

Documentary Retroview: SHADOW OF AFGHANISTAN 1959-2012 –  (2006, 2012)bauman

There seems to be no end to the strife and anguish experienced by the people of Afghanistan during recent history. Except for a brief period of peace and democracy, the nation has been subjected to continuous foreign influence and invasions, civil war and discord that have maimed the Afghan people and threatened their culture

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Documentary Retroview: LIMELIGHT (2011)

Documentary Retroview: LIMELIGHT (2011)

The Rise and Demise of Peter Gatien Filmmaker Billy Corben’s glitzy documentary, Limelight, follows the rise and demise of New York club lord, Peter Gatien, who ruled the city’s nightlife during the 1980s, until his trend-setting establishments, including the eponymous Limelight, were shut down by officials who accused Gatien and his crew of employees of […]

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BRING YOUR OWN BRIGADE – Documentary Review

BRING YOUR OWN BRIGADE – Documentary Review

Bring Your Own Brigade is filmmaker Lucy Walker’s courageous and compelling documentary about an extremely hot topic: the ongoing inferno of wildfires in Southern California and elsewhere on the West Coast and, by extension, across the nation. Walker’s eye witness camera captures close up images of the uncontrolled fires cutting through affluent communities in wide paths of devastating destruction. She follows local residents who are fleeing their homes on car-congested bands of blacktop cutting through raging flames and she records up close and personal accounts of survivors whose property was miraculously spared and others who lost all of their worldly goods to the to the rampaging blaze.

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Movie Review: BLACKFISH (2013)

Movie Review: BLACKFISH (2013)

The blackfish referenced in this documentary’s title is named Tilikum. He was arguably the world’s best known killer whale, or orca, and he resided at SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida, where he’d been captive and on display at the theme park for more than two decades, and was regularly featured in SeaWorld’s animal shows at Shamu Stadium.

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CROPSEY (2009) – Documentary Retroview

CROPSEY (2009) – Documentary Retroview

Cropsey is an urban legend that haunted Barbara Brancaccio and Joshua Zeman while they were growing up in Staten Island, NY. In this documentary, the filmmakers return to their childhood environs to investigate the myth about the elusive boogeyman, wacko and supposed satanist who allegedly lived in the abandoned ruins of the notorious Willowbrook Mental Institution, which he used as a base for abducting and killing local children. Ultimately, the discovery of the body of a missing girl proved the legend to be true.

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Movie Review: BLACK WIDOW

Movie Review:  BLACK WIDOW

Australian director Cate Shortland, known for her femme-centric films that explore the woman — as opposed to human – condition, presents Black Widow‘s two of the MCU’s beloved and well defined comic book blam! pow! take no prisoners female warriors as deeply traumatized women — sisters, in fact — whose troubled backstories — entailing what is essentially intensive child abuse — have rendered them to be emotionless killing machines

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REBEL HEARTS – Documentary Review

REBEL HEARTS – Documentary Review

Rebel Hearts is a compelling from-the-heart documentary that follows The Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, a sisterhood of devoted nuns who bravely stood up to the demeaning and oppressive patriarchy of the Catholic Church to fight for the right to be treated as equals, especially with regard to education and the expression of their credo through art, particularly the controversial graphics of Sister Mary Corita Kent.

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For Memorial Day: War is not the Answer

For Memorial Day: War is not the Answer

On Memorial Day, as a way of honoring fallen heros and those who’ve returned hone from war, take time to watch these emotion-filled documentaries — most of them telling the true stories of combat veterans — that remind us that conflict resolution through peaceful negotiation is the better choice. Where Soldiers Come From International Film […]

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LIVING IN EMERGENCY (2010)- Documentary Retroview

LIVING IN EMERGENCY (2010)- Documentary Retroview

Stories of Doctors Without Borders Filmmaker Mark Hopkins pays tribute to the dedicated doctors, nurses and support personnel who work for Medicines Sans Frontieres, the international NGO that provides health care in third world countries where medical treatment would be otherwise unavailable. Subtitled ‘Stories of Doctors Without Borders,’ the film follows several doctors as they […]

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BODY OF WAR (2007) – Documentary Retroview

BODY OF WAR (2007) – Documentary Retroview

Body of War tells the heart wrenching story of how 22-year-old Tomas Young enlisted to serve his country and became a victim of the Iraq War. Two days after the 9-11 attacks on the World Trace Center, 22-year-old Tomas Young responded to George Bush’s call for men to defend and avenge America by enlisting in […]

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DARK HORSE (2015)- Documentary Retroview

DARK HORSE (2015)- Documentary Retroview

Dark Horse, filmmaker Louise Osmond’s inspiring documentary is all about triumph and its transience, and the will to pick up the pieces and carry on. Set in a small town in Wales that fell into deep depression and near poverty status when its coal mines tanked, Dark Horse is the cinematic telling of the true tale of Janet Vokes, a local barmaid who decided she’d like to raise and race a thoroughbred. Just like that.

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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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LANGUAGE LESSONS – Movie Review (SXSW 2021)

LANGUAGE LESSONS – Movie Review (SXSW 2021)

Language Lessons is a splendid product of pandemic moviemaking! The pandemic’s challenge to the movie industry has certainly pushed the envelope on cinematic creativity. When scheduled productions large and small, studio and indie, were simply shut down or delayed, cinema creatives who work above and below the line were left with a frustrating dearth of work and angst galore.

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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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THE ORPHANAGE Movie Review

THE ORPHANAGE Movie Review

A most compelling second feature from Afghan writer/director Shahrbanoo Sadat, The Orphanage had its first screening at Cannes Film Festival in 2019. It is the second installment in a planned cinema pentalogy that is based on the unpublished diaries of Iranian actor/writer Anwar Hashimi, who also plays a supporting character in The Orphanage. The film’s prequel, Wolf and Sheep, was also scripted by […]

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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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Movie Review: LUCKY GRANDMA

Movie Review: LUCKY GRANDMA

Filmmaker Sasie Sealy’s Lucky Grandma is a darkly comedic drama and unexpectedly poignant action/thriller romp through the intrigued-filled world of an elderly Chinese nainai whose assertive risk-all Atlantic City gambling habit lands her in the middle of a violent gang war in NYC’s Chinatown.

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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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INTERVIEW – Miranda de Pencier on THE GRIZZLIES

INTERVIEW – Miranda de Pencier on THE GRIZZLIES

Canadian filmmaker Miranda de Pencier is an award-winning actress, producer and director. She’s the founder of Northwood Entertainment. The Grizzlies, which premiered at TIFF and for which she won the DGC Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement, is her feature film directorial debut. She discusses making the film, the need for authenticity and the current status of women in film.

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