Thursday, July 22, 2010

DVD Reviews

Jimi Hendrix:
This 1973 documentary must have been one of the first looking at the life and short, brilliant career of the master guitarist. A number of friends and contemporaries are interviewed and their statements are particularly valuable since they were recorded when their memories of Hendrix were still quite fresh. The man’s musical legacy remains strong to this day. As an acquaintance said, “We get outdated, he won’t.”

Fall of the Republic:
Alex Jones continues to monitor the Obama Regime and its complicity in furthering the destruction of the “American Republic.” The banking elites already own the Third world through IMF shenanigans, now they’re working to break down the First world socially and economically. Of course, none of this would be possible without individual obedience to state edicts.

The latest Clint Eastwood directorial effort follows the early days of the Nelson Mandela presidency in South Africa. Mandela takes a keen interest in the national rugby team, seeing it’s quest for the World Cup as an opportunity to heal the country’s racial wounds. Though these actions may have had some positive, temporary effects, they could just as easily do great harm when initiated by a ruthless tyrant. Lesson: Keep sports separate from the state.

The Blind Side:
This drama, based on a true story, follows the life of a young (but large), disadvantaged black boy who is adopted by a wealthy, white family in Memphis. Though touching, the story is told without being overly sentimental.

The Union- The Business Behind Getting High:
A good, comprehensive review of the history of marijuana prohibition, medical myths and facts of the evil weed, and the structure of the plant’s cultivation and distribution industry. The documentary also enlightens the viewer to the many benefits and uses of the industrial hemp plant- a plant also outlawed, though it has no psychoactive drug effects.


Rolling Stones- Stones in Exile:
This documentary chronicles the 1971 making of one of the Stone’s greatest albums- Exile on Main Street. The Stones have chosen tax exile in France where they rent a large mansion and spend months composing and recording music. Of course, this activity is accompanied by some serious partying. A nice look at one band’s style of the creative process. This landmark album has the Stones’ drawing on their wide ranging musical influences to produce some incredible music.

Shutter Island:
There are films considered psychological thrillers. I guess you could consider this one a psychiatric thriller. A Federal Marshall investigates an escape at a mental hospital for violent offenders. He suspects something fishy and evil going on that may include ghastly experiments on the prisoners. A surprising twist awaits the viewer.

The Men Who Stare at Goats:
This comedy is supposedly based on a true story. In the 1970’s the military created the “First Earth Brigade” whose members boast psychic powers that will give them an edge over conventional armies. They see their members as “warrior monks.” Really. Quite funny in places and starring a very able cast.

The Singing Revolution:
This documentary examines Estonia’s fifty year occupation by the Soviet barbarians. The people patiently resisted by maintaining their culture (primarily through their songs) until they achieved liberation and independence without firing a shot.

Joan Baez- How Sweet the Sound:
A nice look at the long, productive career of the folk queen and peace and human rights activist. Perhaps no performer has so seamlessly combined music and politics. And of course, let’s not forget the timeless beauty of her incredible voice.

The Yes Men:
This 2003 documentary follows two clever anti-globalists who maintain a website with the domain “” which looks similar to the WTO’s. They get invited to speak about the WTO at various trade events. Though their objections to free (i.e., managed) trade are legitimate, they seem to offer merely a different form of anti-free market, managed trade as an alternative; one directed not from a worldwide trade organization but from some sort of democratic mysticism.
Not recommended

When You’re Strange:
Johnny Depp narrates this documentary chronicling the 54 month life of The Doors, one of the more original American bands of 1960’s rock and roll. Not surprisingly, the film’s focus centers heavily on the life and poetry of Jim Morrison. Morrison may be the poster child for the phrase “crash and burn.” But as Depp explains, “You can’t burn out if you’re not on fire.”

How could I resist some summertime fun with a movie called “Rogue?” A boat full of tourists in Australia encounter a giant crocodile intent on eating them. A surprisingly well made feature that keeps your interest with nicely executed special effects. Your fun might me tempered by the exposed fact that there are actually crocs this size in the wild. Lots of great photography of the Australian Outback.

This 1959 Italian-made drama tells the story of a young teen Jewish girl who manages to avoid certain death at a concentration camp by hiding her identity. This allows her to be sent instead to a labor camp for criminals. She learns what to do to survive, including working as a guard (kapo) over her fellow inmates.

This documentary is essentially a monologue delivered by investigative journalist Michael Ruppert illustrating how peak oil and the reality of finite resources will cause the collapse of industrial society. Although his arguments concerning economic implosion and government idiocy are beyond dispute, I think he shortchanges human innovation in dealing with such a collapse.

American Movie:
This entertaining documentary follows the exploits of a young filmmaker in Milwaukee who struggles to complete a film, hampered by lack of financing and work discipline. The film drags at times, but the viewer can’t help be impressed by the upbeat and continually motivated personality of the aspiring artist. He refuses to be defeated or distracted and will stop at nothing to create his art.

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