Documentary that tells the story of the 1946 nuclear explosions over the Bikini atoll in the Marshall Islands, including the forced evacuation of the island’s residents (an island that would remain poisoned for decades) and the subsequent complications from radiation exposure suffered by military personnel. One quote of Harry Truman’s plea to the Almighty remains etched in my mind: “And we pray they He may guide us to use it in his ways and for his purposes.” What a sicko.
This documentary follows a platoon with the 82nd Airborne in Fallujah, Iraq in 2004. This was just before the Marine assault that laid waste to the city. The members freely talk about their reasons for joining the Army, their views on the war and their place in it.
Ice Age- Dawn of the Dinosaurs:
More fun from the strangest herd in the animated animal kingdom. This time they travel to a strange, very dangerous world beneath the icy surface of the planet to rescue a friend.
Lots of funny people in this movie (including Adam Sandler) but not near enough laughs to sustain a 2 ½ hour movie. This one goes on WAY too long.
If you’re a fan of late 1960’s rock and roll, this disc is for you. A number of Canadian and American bands travel the Canadian countryside on a chartered train in 1970, stopping and playing music festivals along the way. The Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, Buddy Guy, The Flying Burrito Brothers and others jam and party on the train between stops. Lots of great concert footage.
Frontline- The Madoff Affair:
The PBS program examines the multi-decade long fraud perpetrated by Bernie Madoff and exposes the government incompetence at exposing and protecting investors from fraud.
This drama tells the story of the development of Chess Records in Chicago in the 1950’s. This label gave us artists such as Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Willie Dixon, Howlin’ Wolf, Chuck Berry, and Etta James. All the actors do nice work, particularly the gentlemen who plays Howlin’ Wolf, whose depiction is eerily accurate in look and voice. Lots of good music, though not performed by the original artists.
A vagrant stumbles across sunglasses that allow him to see the world as it really is- subliminal messages on billboards and the exposure of some people as aliens that are bent on taking over the earth. A good story idea but executed with Grade B quality. This one will be worth watching when a talented director with a healthy budget decides to remake it.
Is Anybody There?:
A dying, retired magician (Michael Caine) strikes up a friendship with a young boy who has an obsession with death. Caine gets to play a character not as refined and erudite as the ones he usually plays.
World’s Greatest Dad:
Robin Williams stars in this black comedy written and directed by Bobcat Goldthwaite. A good plot idea but the movie leaves you with the depressing reality of just how stupid people can be.
Another black comedy, this one made in Nazareth, Israel involving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A complete waste of time to watch.
Deadliest Catch-Season 1:
This Discovery series gives a close-up look at the men who undertake some of the most dangerous work in the world- fishing in the Bering Sea for Alaskan King crab. Big risks are countered by potentially huge payoffs. Very interesting. I just wonder how they keep your interest in the second season without becoming repetitive.
A Palestinian mother emigrates to the US with her teenage son soon after the American invasion of Iraq. A nice close-up look at what people of Arabic descent have had to go through since the start of all the 9/11 nonsense.
Lightning in a Bottle:
This disc covers a range of wonderful music during a one night only concert celebrating 100 years of the blues at Radio City Music Hall in New York. Many interviews, as well, from those who perform and appreciate this wonderful art form.
Aliens land in Johannesburg, South Africa and are contained in township-like ghettos by a large multi-national firm (think Halliburton/Blackwater) until led in revolt by a “transformed” human. Near continuous action and very entertaining.
Pink Floyd- The Making of Dark Side of the Moon:
Members of Pink Floyd discuss the making of their classic “Dark Side of the Moon” album, 30 years later. A detailed look at the creative process involved will strengthen your appreciation of this monumental recording that still marvels and amazes listeners.
The Great McGinty:
People cynical of politics will enjoy this 1940 film about a low level gangster who becomes successful in politics. And why not?
Operation Valkyrie- The Stauffenberg Plot to Kill Hitler:
This is one of several documentaries out there about the assassination plot to kill Hitler. This is another worth viewing. Lots of archival footage and interviews from relatives of Stauffenberg and his associates, as well as historians.