Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Trials Of Muhammad Ali (2013)

Director: Bill Siegel
Run Time: 94 min.
Call Number: GV1132.A45 T75 2013

Ali's life has been recounted so many times that you'd think no one could come up with a fresh angle on it; documentary maker Bill Siegel (The Weather Underground) succeeds, primarily by delving into the religious story, largely downplayed by the mainstream, that's been sitting there in plain sight for 50 years. Siegel mostly dispenses with the fighter's comic pronouncements, his verbal jousting with Howard Cosell, in fact his entire athletic career, choosing instead to explore his great political awakening in the Nation of Islam. "I know the real God!" shouts 22-year-old Cassius Clay after beating Sonny Liston in 1963, and the statement defines him for the rest of the decade as he becomes a vocal advocate of black nationalism and sacrifices his heavyweight title to protest the racism of the Vietnam war."
—J.R. Jones, Chicago Reader

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Let the Fire Burn (2013)

Director: Jason Osder
Run Time: 95 min.
Call Number: F158.9.N4 L48 2013

"Documentaries don’t come more sparse or more disturbing than 'Let the Fire Burn,' Jason Osder’s examination of the disastrous confrontation between the police and the radical group MOVE in Philadelphia in May 1985. . . . [The film] uses archival footage from sources that include newscasts and community hearings to tell the story of the growing tension between the group and the city, which came to a head on May 13 of that year with tear gas, gunfire and the bombing of the MOVE compound from a police helicopter. The resulting fire destroyed some 60 homes. By the time it was over, 11 people were dead."
—Neil Genzlinger, New York Times

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Nuremberg: Its Lesson for Today (2010 Restoration of the 1948 Film)

Director: Stuart Schulberg
Run Time: 78 min.
Call Number: KZ1176.5 .N87 2014

"'Nuremberg' follows the first war-crimes trial in history, convened in November 1945. Standing accused were 24 prominent Nazi officials including such familiar names as Hermann Goering, Rudolf Hess and Albert Speer. . . . Legendary Hollywood director John Ford's OSS film team assigned Stuart Schulberg (later a movie and television producer) and his brother Budd Schulberg (screenwriter of 'On the Waterfront') the task of finding and compiling hours of footage of Nazi atrocities to show during the courtroom drama. . . . Cameramen also shot 25 hours of the trial. Stuart later assembled 'Nuremberg' from both sources, resulting in a methodical account of the legal proceedings—including the defendants' denials and the sharp oratory of Supreme Court Justice and U.S. Prosecutor Robert H. Jackson—while incorporating sickening footage of the suffering Hitler's men created."
—Tom Keogh, Seattle Times

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Pervert's Guide to Ideology (2013)

Director: Sophie Fiennes
Run Time: 136 min.
Call Number: HM641 .P48 2013 

"Your reaction to The Pervert's Guide to Ideology, the latest cine-lecture from Sophie Fiennes and Slavoj Zizek, will depend almost entirely upon your response to Zizek himself, a Slovenian philosopher whose appearance suggests a homeless lumberjack on speed. . . . Yoking together disparate topics with critical theory, Zizek's fixation is revealing the social and psychological prejudices latent in pop culture. The film features Zizek parsing a number of films and their relations to history; keeping us visually stimulated, Fiennes has Zizek inhabiting the set of each film as he discusses it. . . . In essence, the film is a lecture, but Zizek's associative thinking and understanding of the applicability of psychoanalysis makes it a lecture like no other."
Zachary Wigon, The Village Voice


Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Punk Singer (2014)

Director: Sini Anderson
Run Time: 82 min.
Call Number: ML420.H36 P86 2014

"The documentary chronicles the Portland-born singer’s rise from spoken-word poet to feminist icon by way of her bands Bikini Kill, Le Tigre and the Julie Ruin. It’s a fascinating documentary with commentary from Kim Gordon, Joan Jett, Corin Tucker, Carrie Brownstein and Hanna’s husband (and Beastie Boy) Adam Horovitz . . . . Through first-person interviews and a plethora of amazing live footage of Bikini Kill and Le Tigre, Anderson is able to tell Hanna’s story and highlight her cause to reinvent feminism through punk music, DIY fanzines and outreach to other women."
—Jeff Albertson, The Seattle Times