Thursday, October 16, 2014

Evergreen: The Road to Legalization in Washington (2014)

Director: Riley Morton
Run Time: 86 min.
Call Number: KF3891.M2 E94 2014

"A taut, thorough chronicle of the 2012 campaign to pass Initiative 502 — which proposed legalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana for recreational use — 'Evergreen' is an energetic study of a hard-fought battle. . . . Morton is fair to all parties, and the first thing that strikes a viewer is the array of local leaders and influential voices who participated in the fight. Among the proponents of I-502 were Alison Holcomb, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer and I-502’s director, and beloved travel guru Rick Steves, a longtime critic of failed war-on-drugs policies. . . . The brusque opposition is largely represented by medical-marijuana provider Steve Sarich and defense lawyer Douglas Hiatt."
—Tom Keogh, Seattle Times

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Last of the Unjust (2014)

Director: Claude Lanzmann
Run Time: 220 min.
Call Number: DS135.C97 L378 2014

"Claude Lanzmann's monumental Holocaust documentary Shoah (1985) generated enough excess footage for four more stand-alone documentaries; the latest considers Benjamin Murmelstein, a Viennese rabbi who worked with Adolf Eichmann in facilitating the deportation of Austria's Jews and served as the last administrator of the Theresienstadt camp in Czechoslovakia. 'I am guilty, but I cannot be judged,' Murmelstein says during one of his conversations with Lanzmann (shot over ten days in 1975), and the entire movie seems to grow out of this paradox. . . ."
—Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

American Winter (2014)

Director: Harry Gantz, Joe Gantz
Run Time: 90 min.
Call Number: HC110.P6 A44 2013

"Years after the recession began, millions of families are struggling to meet their basic needs, and many formerly middle class families are finding themselves in financial crisis, and needing assistance for the first time in their lives. Meanwhile, the social safety net that was created to help people in difficult times has been weakened by massive budget cuts, creating a perfect storm of greater need and fewer resources to help families in trouble. . . . Filmed over the course of one winter in Portland, Oregon, American Winter presents an intimate and emotionally evocative snapshot of the state of our economy as it is playing out in many American families."
—Film distributor's website

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A People Uncounted (2014)

Director: Aaron Yeger
Run Time: 99 min.

"A People Uncounted is a counterpoint to the mainstream cultural stereotypes about the Roma. It’s a crash course in Romani history, from their ethnic roots to the many ways they have been, and continue to be, subjects of political prejudice and violence in an increasingly unstable EU. Approximately 500,000 Roma were killed during the Holocaust, a statistic driven home by the wrenching testimony of survivors who describe horrors ranging from cannibalism to experiencing the cruelty of Dr. Mengele firsthand. Footage of recent genocides, such as those in Rwanda and Bosnia, are used to demonstrate how easily such brutality can become the norm. The growing marginalization of the Roma as described in A People Uncounted shows just how close the tipping point is."
—Jenni Miller, A.V. Club

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Citizen Koch (2014)

Director: Carl Deal and Tia Lessin
Run Time: 86 min.

"In 'Citizen Koch,' the directors’ subject is an entire country that is drowning, metaphorically speaking, in corporate snake oil. The death of democracy ought to be the biggest story in journalism. But dividing the drama between 300 million citizens leaves it lost in a cloud of sleep-inducing defeatism. . . . Most of the movie is a backgrounder on the Citizens United case, in which a deeply divided Supreme Court opened the door to truckloads of campaign cash from tycoons and corporations."
Joe Williams, St. Louis Post-Dispatch