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

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Big Men (2015)

Title: Big Men
Director: Rachel Boynton
Call Number:  HD9577.G42 B54 2015

"Not for nothing does 'Big Men,' Rachel Boynton’s astonishing documentary about the 2007 discovery of oil off the coast of Ghana, open with a quotation on greed from the economist Milton Friedman. Dropping us into a perfect storm of avarice, this cool and incisive snapshot of global capitalism at work is as remarkable for its access as for its refusal to judge. . . . Tagging neither heroes nor villains, Ms. Boynton wonders instead who benefits from, and who is harmed by, the billions of dollars in play. Should the enormous risks and staggering costs of getting to 'first oil' guarantee its finder—in this case, a small Texas start-up called Kosmos Energy—a sweetheart deal from the Ghanaian government? The amiable chief executive of Kosmos at the time, Jim Musselman, certainly hopes so; eager to satisfy his corporate backers, and with Ms. Boynton’s camera in tow, he schmoozes with West African royalty and glad-hands middlemen." 
Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

1971 (2014)

Director: Johanna Hamilton
Run Time: 80 min.
Call Number: HV8144.F43 N56 2014

". . . on the evening of March 8, 1971, while much of America was distracted by the Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier fight, burglars broke into the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s office in Media, Pa., and stole files that revealed the bureau’s unlawful surveillance of antiwar activists. Photocopies were mailed anonymously to three major newspapers, including The New York Times, but only The Washington Post published anything from the files. . . . Ms. Hamilton’s straightforward documentary skillfully interweaves reminiscences by members of the group with re-enactments of the burglary. The F.B.I.’s frantic reaction sounds almost like a Keystone Kops comedy in which 150 agents, many poorly disguised as hippies, saturated the Philadelphia suburbs and went knocking on doors."
—Stephen Holden, New York Times

Thursday, January 29, 2015

GMO OMG (2014)

Director: Jeremy Seifert
Run Time: 85 min.
Call Number: TP248.65.F66 G6626 2014

"Seifert, who also narrates, appears on screen throughout, often with his adorable, camera-ready small sons in tow, as he travels across the U.S. and the globe questioning farmers, seed experts, activists and scientists. En route, he explores the potentially harmful effects of such genetically modified crops as corn, soybeans and canola, and the corporate manipulation of seed supplies and their use in conjunction with now omnipresent, weed-resistant (hence, crop yield-increasing) pesticides. Not surprisingly, reps from Monsanto, the big daddy of engineered seed purveyors, denied Seifert's interview requests. . . . Conclusive answers are few here, though the featured farmers make convincing, real-world cases for — and against — planting patented GMO seeds. Still, if forewarned is forearmed, Seifert's movie might one day prove quite prescient." 
—Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times