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

Monday, December 29, 2014

Valentine Road (2012)

Director: Marta Cunningham
Run Time: 99 min.
Call Number: HV9067.H6 V35 2014

"In February of [2008], a 14-year-old, Brandon McInerney, shot a fellow student named Lawrence King in the head in the school computer lab in front of a room full of classmates. Mr. King, an eighth grader who was openly exploring his sexual identity and had shown unwanted attention toward Mr. McInerney, died two days later. . . . Mr. McInerney is now in prison, but if you’ve forgotten the details of how this matter was resolved, do yourself a favor and don’t look them up, because [Marta] Cunningham has expertly built the narrative of this seemingly open-and-shut case to its uneasy conclusion."
—Neil Genzlinger, New York Times

Monday, December 22, 2014

Young Lakota (2013)

Director: Marion Lipschutz & Rose Rosenblatt
Run Time: 83 min.
Call Number: E99.O3 Y68 2013

"The Pine Ridge Reservation is no stranger to strife and heartbreak, stark realities and inspired idealism. In Young Lakota, we are brought directly into the emotional and often uncertain journey of Sunny Clifford, her twin sister Serena, and their politically ambitious friend Brandon Ferguson . . . . Their political awakening begins when Cecelia Fire Thunder, the first female president of their tribe, defies a proposed South Dakota law criminalizing all abortion by threatening to build a women's clinic on the sovereign territory of the reservation." 
Film distributor's website