Monday, April 20, 2015

The Case Against 8 (2014)

Director: Ben Cotner & Ryan White
Run time: 112 min. 
Call number: KFC129 .C374 2014

"Looking back on the legal battle that resulted in the U.S. Supreme Court decision on California's Proposition 8 banning same-sex marriage couldn't be more timely. It also makes for a riveting film. Even knowing the outcome, watching '8' . . . is like watching a well-scripted legal thriller. . . . Filmmakers Ben Cotner and Ryan White were granted extraordinary access to war rooms in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., as two seemingly ill-matched legal titans, conservative Ted Olson and liberal David Boies, led the charge against Prop. 8 through the court system."

David Wiegand, San Francisco Chronicle

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Plastic Paradise (2013)

Director: Angela Sun
Run time: 57 min.
Call Number: TD427.P62 P53

"The film begins with a disturbing image of a dead bird being cut open, as plastic objects are removed from its stomach. This leads into a brief history of plastic, which (in contrast to natural materials) never really decomposes. Anyone who has visited a beach has encountered plastic residue, but viewers may not realize the extent of the problem. The centerpiece of the film is a journey that Sun takes to the Midway Atoll, best known as the site of a famous battle during World War II. The large island in the Pacific has become a massive garbage dump that Sun’s camera explores. The enormous amount of waste has proved deadly to the large population of albatrosses that are one of the island’s primary residents."
—Stephen Farber, Hollywood Reporter 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Ivory Tower (2014)

Director: Andrew Rossi
Run time: 90 min.
Call number: LB2342 .I96 2014

"Is a college education worth it? Is the college model broken? Are online courses any good? Do state universities pimp their party reputations to attract out-of-state students? Are college presidents paid too much? Are adjunct professors paid too little? Can Cooper Union remain free?

These are just a few of the questions and topics raised in “Ivory Tower,” an earnest, articulate, and agenda-heavy documentary from CNN Films and writer-director Andrew Rossi (“Page One: Inside the New York Times”). They’re all worth discussing and with any luck the film will fire up conversations within academia and without."

—Ty Burr, Boston Globe

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Internet's Own Boy (2015)

Director: Brian Knappenberger
Run Time: 105 min.
Call Number: QA76.2.S93 I58 2015 

". . . director Brian Knappenberger's gripping, well-researched movie makes a compelling argument that U.S. authorities went way overboard in their zeal to make an example out of the brilliant Swartz, who got into trouble for downloading 2 million research documents from MIT . . . Swartz was not a guy who was stealing music or movies for his own profit, or exposing spy secrets to embarrass the government. He was on a mission to make public research accessible to anyone who might need it. That caper, in just about anyone's book, isn't worth 50 years in prison. (Needless to say, no government officials come forward to defend their actions.)" 
David Lewis, San Francisco Chronicle

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Concerning Violence: Nine Scenes from the Anti-Imperialistic Self-Defense (2014)

Director: Göran Hugo Olsson
Run Time: 85 min.
Call Number: DT33 .F313 2004

". . . reflects the shifting focus of Swedish activist filmmakers during the mid-’70s, who grabbed their cameras and traveled to the front lines of African independence, observing firsthand the fall of apartheid and liberation of a people who’d been exploited by white Europeans for decades. . . . In searching for a mechanism to unify this incredible footage, which has gone largely unseen by the general public ever since, Olsson seized upon Fanon’s 1961 tract [The Wretched of the Earth], a controversial anarchist cookbook which analyzed the psychology of occupation and identified violent upheaval as the only means to overthrow colonialism — a system Fanon referred to as 'violence in its
natural state.'"
—Peter Debruge, Variety