Category “Movies”

Iraq in Fragments (2006)

Filmmaker James Longley offers three thumbnail sketches of Iraq as the nation struggles to its feet following the American Invasion in this documentary. In the film's first chapter, Mohammed Haithem is an 11-year-old forced to make his own way in Bagdhad after the disappearance of his parents. Mohammed earns his keep working in an auto-repair shop, though he would prefer to go back to school, and has developed a precocious cynicism about the presence of U.S. troops along with a fear of the ongoing battles between Sunni and Shia forces. Elsewhere, the struggle of the Kurdish people of Iraq...

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Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait

An intriguing premise for a full-length feature, the idea behind Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait is simple. Back in April of 2005, Real Madrid--replete with Zinedine Zidane, arguably the world's finest footballer at the time--played Villareal in the Spanish league. At that game, seventeen cameras were all trained on Zidane. The film? At heart, it's 90 minutes of following the great man around a football field. Yet it's fascinating. Really. Save for the odd subtitled comment, and a not-entirely-comfortable compilation of the day's news that's interspersed at half time, the focus is purely one...

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Kasparov and The Machine

Garry Kasparov is arguably the greatest chess player who has ever lived. In 1997 he played a chess match against IBM's computer Deep Blue. Kasparov lost the match. This film shows the match and the events surrounding it from Kasparov's perspective. It delves into the psychological aspects of the game, paranoia surrounding it and suspicions that have arisen around IBM's true tactics. It consists of interviews with Kasparov, his manager, chess experts, and members of the IBM Deep Blue team, as well as original footage of the match...

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Touching the Void

To describe Touching the Void as a mountaineering documentary would be to do this breathtaking drama an injustice. By intercutting narration from the climbers themselves with a nail-biting reconstruction of their remarkable adventure in the Peruvian Andes, the film has the best of both genres: the authentic stamp of factual storytelling and the edge-of-the-seat tension of a dramatic movie. In 1985, two British mountaineers, Joe Simpson and Simon Yates, embarked on a daring--arguably reckless in the extreme--attempt to climb the previously unconquered mountain Suila Grande. A mixture of...

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The Take

We heard rumors of a new kind of economy emerging in Argentina. With hundreds of factories closing, waves of workers were locking themselves inside and running the workplaces on their own, with no bosses. Where we come from, a closed factory is just an inevitable effect of a model, the end of a story. In Argentina today, it's just the beginning. In suburban Buenos Aires, thirty unemployed auto-parts workers walk into their idle factory, roll out sleeping mats and refuse to leave. All they want is to re-start the silent machines. But this simple act - The Take - has the power to turn the...

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Fahrenheit 9/11

Directed by Michael Moore, whose aura of controversy only grew after his Oscar acceptance speech at the 2003 Academy Awards, Fahrenheit 9/11, like Moore’s Bowling For Columbine and Roger & Me, promises to expose the corporate wrongdoings and big-money scandals perpetrated by America’s financial elite. This movie, however, looks beyond the inner echelons of General Motors and Lockheed Martin in hopes of outing the evildoers in the White House, particularly in regards to the 43rd President of the United States, George W. Bush. In addition to criticizing the administration’s...

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What the Bleep Do We Know!?

This hard-to-describe movie, which combines talking-head documentary footage with a fictional narrative, attempts to explain quantum physics in terms most audiences can understand. The extent to which it succeeds will largely be the extent to which a viewer grasps the complex theories being addressed in those terms. Does matter exist? Does time flow in one direction? This documentary is a radical departure from convention. It demands a freedom of view and greatness of thought so far unknown, indeed, not even dreamed of since Copernicus. It's a documentary. It's a story. It's mind-blowing...

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Cocaine Cowboys

More of a real-life exploitation film than a bonafide documentary, Cocaine Cowboys is tailor-made for anyone who worships Brian De Palma's Scarface. It's no surprise that this slick, energetic film found a niche audience among crime-obsessed hip-hoppers; from a journalistic perspective it's an irresponsible mess, but director Billy Corben is obviously more interested in capturing the thrills and danger of the drug trade that transformed Miami, Florida during the Miami Vice era of the late 1970s and '80s. Corben has no particular interest in seriously examining the sociopolitical...

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Off the Chain

Off the Chain is an unprecedented look into the underground world of dog fighting. Beginning with a history of the American Pit Bull Terrier, the film explores the evolution of the breed. Classic film and television footage show the popularity of what was once considered a noble and trustworthy family pet. Examine how this breed went from America's dog to public enemy number one. Travel to the back alleys and dark corners of the inner city to expose the truth behind the breed's new status in pop culture; an urban symbol for violence, aggression and gang-life. The first documentary of it's...

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