Monday, April 14, 2014

Stories We Tell (2013)

Director: Sarah Polley
Run Time: 108 min.
Call Number: HQ503 .S76 2013

"Who owns a family’s stories? Do we shape our lore—the anecdotes of how our parents met, the tales of sibling betrayals and truces—as a clan, or do we agree on the outlines while parting ways on the particulars? Is it possible to be anything but subjective when it comes to the legends in our own homes? This is the endlessly complicated subject of Sarah Polley’s 'Stories We Tell,' a documentary inquiry into her past that ingeniously widens in scope until director and audience stand at the edge of the abyss."
—Ty Burr, Boston Globe

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Bidder 70 (2013)

Director: Beth Gage & George Gage
Run Time: 73 min.
Call Number: QH77.3.C57 B53 2012

"Bidder 70 tells a uniquely American story. Only in the United States would the president auction off protected wilderness to energy and mining companies to help the government turn a profit. Only in the U.S. would a college student show up to the auction and outbid the companies, then be taken to court and ultimately thrown in federal prison for falsifying his bids. That president was George W. Bush, of course. The wilderness was in Utah. And the college kid, Tim DeChristopher, proves a fascinating subject for Beth and George Gage's new documentary." 
—Diana Clarke, The Village Voice

Monday, April 7, 2014

Mumia: Long Distance Revolutionary (2013)

Director: Stephen Vittoria
Run Time: 120 min.
Call Number: HV8701.A28 L66 2013

"[T]he movie begins rather bravely with a montage of right-wing pundits who object to Abu-Jamal being described as a 'political prisoner' and want to see him executed. But it quickly takes a detour from the haters to the fans, lining up such famous backers as Alice Walker, Cornel West, Angela Davis and Peter Coyote . . . Mumia gradually becomes a persuasive attempt to celebrate the content of his character, not the violence that apparently led to his imprisonment. Indicting the 'police state' created by Philadelphia’s leaders during the late 1970s/early 1980s, Vittoria creates a context that suggests how easily innocents could be railroaded."
John Hartl, The Seattle Times

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Freedom Riders (2011)

Director: Stanley Nelson
Run Time: 120 min.
Call Number:  E185.61 .F74 2011

"The filmmaker Stanley Nelson has a stunning accomplishment in 'Freedom Riders,' a documentary that chronicles a crucial, devastating episode of the civil rights movement, an episode whose gruesome visuals impinged on the perception of American liberty around the world. Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the freedom rides, the film . . . is a story of ennobled youth and noxious hatred, of decided courage and inexplicable brutality. In May 1961 the Congress of Racial Equality sought to challenge the segregation of interstate travel on public transport and sent forth activists, both black and white, and many of them students, on a bus journey through the South, where they were received with violence that law enforcers refused to tame. . . . It is hard to imagine a feature film conveying the events with a more vivid sense of drama or suspense."
Ginia Bellafante, New York Times

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Nothing Like Chocolate (2013)

Director: Kum-Kum Bhavnani
Run Time: 68 min.
Call Number:  HD9200.G76 N68 2013

"Smartly directed by UCSB Sociology professor Kum-Kum Bhavnani, the film fleshes out the opening line supplied by one Susan Sarandon: 'Who doesn’t love chocolate? But there’s more to this decadent product than we know.' Actually, news has been spreading, if not fast or wide enough, about the inhumane child slave labor deployed in key West African cocoa-growing regions, especially the Ivory Coast. . . . But [Bhavnani] has wisely chosen to personalize her tale and give it a face by focusing on one particular 'ethical chocolate' company, the Grenada Chocolate Factory, run by the charismatic NYC √©migr√© Mott Green, a self-described 'political activist version of Willie Wonka.'”
Joseph Woodard, Santa Barbara Independent