When he became President in 1953, like George Washington and Ulysses S. Grant before him, Dwight Eisenhower (“Ike”) was an unqualified War hero and a successful manager of armies. As President he had the wisdom and courage to speak the truth about and act on the dangers of the nuclear age in which we found ourselves. Adults, who were not cowboys fortunately, ran the government at that time when this reviewer and many others spent our youth in elementary school practicing hiding under our desks or in school basements awaiting the inevitable atomic Armageddon so often illustrated in episodes of Rod Serling’s TV series, the Twilight Zone. READ MORE.
In Artifacts of Idealism, director Sean Corbett paints a picture of idealized, obsessive love against the backdrop of Montreal’s Occupy movement. Simon Pelletier gets to show off his acting chops as the young Private Eye Charles who is recruited for a peculiar task by Robert, an eccentric older gentleman played by Nesvadba. Robert has fallen in love with an image of a young woman (Marshall) he saw at an art gallery and becomes determined to track her down, wondering if she is as perfect as her aesthetics suggest. Charles eventually meets the real life Marilee (after a particularly humorous run-in with the Quebecoise owner of the art gallery who tries to introduce him to “pleasures of life”), whom he finds even more enigmatic than her portrait. READ MORE.
While President, Ulysses S. Grant destroyed the terrorizing Ku Klux Klan to protect the lives of the freed former slaves. But with the intensely disputed presidential election of 1876 to succeed him in office came the “Compromise of 1877,” which gave the White House to the Republican candidate in exchange for the removal of Grant’s federal soldiers from the South and the return of complete control of the region to the racist Southern Democrats. This end of the Reconstruction period enabled the Klan eventually to rise again and to terrorize and murder Blacks until President Lyndon Johnson used the FBI to destroy the Klan a second time, almost 100 years later. READ MORE.
Wildly popular in modern culture, the medium of film operates as a pseudo canvas upon which current and historical social issues can be portrayed, then discussed, via cinematic narratives. In recent times, the topic of immigration and ‘the foreigner’ have been addressed frequently. Given the global culture which exists today, the question of the “other” is an important matter, with very real ramifications. The “other” or ‘the foreigner,’ seeking a sense of home in an adopted land, is faced with a myriad of struggles and prejudices. Many films carefully scrutinize this issue, hoping to assess the inhibitions and stereotypes which we, as a global society, must overcome in order to universalize ourselves and bring an end to the mistreatment of the theoretical “other.”
Chronicling the tragic death of self proclaimed ecologist Timothy Treadwell, Werner Herzog’s documentary film Grizzly Man draws upon over one hundred hours of video footage shot by Treadwell himself. Having devoted more than the latter decade of his life to studying wild grizzly bears in their native Alaskan habitat, the circumstances surrounding Treadwell’s death by bear attack were, at once, both ironic and sobering. As Bill Nichols, in his essay Telling Stories with Evidence, states: all documentaries are, to a given extent, fictional. The truth in this pronouncement stems from the fact that filmmakers typically function as voices of authority and as narrators, and thus documentaries are fictional in the rather unique sense that the documentary brings to light a specific version (i.e. the filmmaker’s) of the real world…
As long as there are movies, there will be Westerns. A love letter to a time in America when heroes loomed large and men (and women) lived and died by a strict code of ethics, the Western genre never seems to wear out its welcome, re-appearing in the box office in one form or another every few years. Sometimes it’s a remake of a classic, as was the case with the Coen brothers’ 2010 nod to True Grit. Sometimes it’s a comic send-up to the best of the Wild West, as offered up by Mel Brooks in Blazing Saddles or the animated Rango. And then there are the movies that disguise themselves as sci-fi or horror but are Westerns at heart, such as the Star Wars epics and many of the films of John Carpenter, an avowed fan of the Western whose influence can be seen in everything from his The Thing to Vampires.
Let me preface this review by saying that I am no musical expert. However, I do have ears and strong opinions, so take the following for what it is: the thoughts of an average music listener on an average musical album. Poison Packets by Saul Conrad is a soothing mix of songs whose folksy guitar coupled with occasional jazz undertones creates a mellow set of tracks guaranteed to calm your nerves and send you into an all around chill state. The only criticism that I have is that, to my unrefined ears, many of the tracks sound very similar. However, the soft uniformity makes Poison Packets a great choice if you are looking for something to play in the background as you go about your day.
Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) was the highly criticised, and often ignored, Science Fiction film that initiated a new chapter in the Star Trek franchise. It is renowned for its dull and plodding narrative, and for stripping the verve and vigour out of its long serving characters. Despite the fact that two years previous, Star Wars (1977) had made space an exciting and adventurous place to roam, Star Trek: The Motion Picture was literally a galaxy far, far away from the swashbuckling heroics of Luke Skywalker and Han Solo, and their attempts to bring down the evil intergalactic Empire.
It wasn’t always like this.
The materials I have chosen to use serve my purpose because of the blatant and emotionally charged response they evoke. These mediums already have a strong mental imagery that is attached to them. Around the world they are still used to either help build dreams or destroy the dreamers. My hope is that you will feel the emotion attached to the medium and then see the possibility that can arise from choosing to create rather than destroy. It is my belief that most of man’s loftiest pioneering endeavors are hard to manifest, and the surface of my art is as hard as the subject matter. I feel it is fitting that I have used the heat of a torch to bring about the shadows of lines and furrows seen in the faces at hand.
We have grown accustomed to documenting the world around us through a multitude of lenses. From birthdays, to marriages, to pet antics and cuisine masterpiece, we have taken to recording almost every aspect of our daily lives. It would seem that nothing is safe from the ubiquitous camera lens. The winner of the World Cinema Directing Award at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, 5 Broken Cameras explores what happens when an initial desire to film family moments turns into something more for Emad Burnat, a villager in the small farming town of Bil’in in the West Bank. Directed by Burnat and Guy Davidi, 5 Broken Cameras spans the course of five years as seen through five cameras, each of which is eventually smashed, shot, or otherwise broken.