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Put one imaginative French director--Michel Gondry--and an esoteric MIT philosopher and linguist--Noam Chomsky--together for a casual, wide-ranging conversation. The result is Gondry's clever "Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy?" It includes only scattered inserts of Professor Chomsky, shot on a 16-mm Bolex camera, since Gondry favors presenting the topics discussed in vividly colorful, rapid-fire animation.

Published in Film Reviews

Rarely does one living person participate in major international events over two and a half decades. But that's exactly what Yehuda Avner experienced as speechwriter and assistant to five Israeli Prime Ministers beginning in 1958. Director, co/producer and writer Richard Trank's informative, well-researched documentary "The Prime Ministers: The Pioneers" presents Avner on camera, narrating his behind-the-scenes observations.

Published in Film Reviews
Saturday, 07 September 2013 00:00

'Salinger' still eludes discovery

Nine years in the making, Shane Salerno's documentary "Salinger" tackles that resolutely reclusive, famous writer. Roughly chronological in its exploration of J.D.'s life, "Salinger" uses archival photographs, repeating a couple from WWII, plus the few photos captured by stalkers before Salinger's 2010 death. To this, it adds interviews with two significant women in his life, testimonials, and hokey reenactments.

Published in Film Reviews

Firm in the conviction that "No revenge, no anger, no hate will move us forward," Israeli mother Robi Damelin anchors the documentary "One Day after Peace." Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Robi lived in Israeli in March 2002 when a lone Palestinian sniper killed ten Israelis, seven soldiers, among them her son David.

Published in Film Reviews

As incredible as it is inspirational, the documentary "Rising from Ashes" tells the story of Rwanda's first competitive bicycle team. While the tragedy of the 1994 genocide of an estimated one million Tutsis at the hands of the Hutus merited significant media coverage, little notice has been given to this amazing chapter worthy of international praise.
 

Published in Film Reviews

For anyone who loves animals or has any empathy, director Gabriela Cowperthwaite's documentary "Blackfish" is as heartbreaking as it is challenging to our definition of humane and intelligent treatment of animals in captivity, especially those that perform for audience's pleasure and businesses' profit. Posing critical questions, "Blackfish" scrutinizes orca whales trained and presented by SeaWorld Entertainment.

Published in Film Reviews

Never a slavish follower of hackneyed conventions, Sarah Polley has forged a fresh approach to film as a writer, actor, and director. She continues her unusual and provocative career with the personal documentary "Stories We Tell." Writer and director Polley pursues one of the toughest questions she could ask: Who really is my father?

Published in Film Reviews

Documentaries about artists confront the dual difficulty of illustrating the achievements of and providing insight into the individual under scrutiny. In that regard, director, producer and cinematographer Ben Shapiro offers a model of how to achieve success: listen to the artist and unobtrusively watch him work. When the subject is Gregory Crewdson, that is entirely sufficient.

Published in Film Reviews
Sunday, 30 December 2012 00:38

'Beauty Is Embarrassing' misses its mark

Capturing the energy and essence of an artist is difficult: depicting creativity and then the way ideas translate to artistic expression. Director Neil Berkeley undertakes this formidable task in his documentary “Beauty Is Embarrassing.” His subject is Wayne White, for over 30 years a puppeteer, painter, cartoonist, sculptor, musician and composer.

Published in Film Reviews

After close elderly relatives die, surprising discoveries often await their families as they sort through items kept, perhaps treasured. But after the death of his 98-year-old grandmother Gerda, nothing prepared writer/director Arnon Goldfinger for the window that opened for him on a past his grandparents, Gerda and Kurt Tuchler, never talked about.

Published in Film Reviews
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Tok Releases Gold Dollar Hen House Volume 3

Tue April 8
Tok is a Festus based rock band who has been rocking St. Louis for 20 years. They are due to release their third installment of their Gold Dollar Hen House collection on February 28, 2014 at Schlafly's…