Archive for June, 2009

DVD: Privilege

“You can lead them into a better way of life, a fruitful conformity.”

Director Peter Watkins probably deserves his own category. Watkins was behind the previously reviewed BBC sponsored film The War Game, which was ironically banned by the BBC!

DVD: Katyn

The Struggle Against Forgetting
Analysis by Binoy Kampmark

The Polish novelist Witold Gombrowicz writes somewhere that history has taught the Poles what it means to not exist. ‘Deprived of a state, they lived for over a century on death row.’ The nature of this historical erasure, this perennial placement in a purgatory seemingly without end, is captured in Katyń, the haunting tribute of Andrzej Wajda to the murder of 15,000 Polish officers in the forest bearing that name between April and May 1940. The proposal to do so had come from the Soviet People’s Commissar of Domestic Affairs, Levrenty Beria. Their murder had an obvious tactical object: the elimination of any functioning intelligentsia that might resist Soviet efforts to incorporate Poland’s eastern territories after the invasion.

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The War Game

The War Game

Some films have the power to change the world. The War Game is one such film. At the height of the Cold War, the filmmaker created a realistic glimpse into what actual nuclear war would look like to the British public, its consequences. He has thought the “unthinkable” and put it on the screen. This film is bold, shocking and horrific.

Somehow greenlit by the BBC, the extensive research, the documentary style and the gravity of the content come together in an unforgettable 48 minutes of television.
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Stealing America: Vote by Vote


“It wasn’t just in one state or one city or one location. It was a national phenomenon. In state after state exit polls showed a totally different outcome than vote counts. It’s such an enormous disparity between exit polls, which have always been reliable, and vote count.” –Paul Craig Roberts, former assistant Treasury Secretary

Film Online

This film is a must-see for all Americans. Both the 2004 and 2000 presidential elections were stolen. George W. Bush was an illegitimate president never elected by “the will of the people.”

Now, because Barack Obama apparently won by a wide margin without theft, this issue has been shoved aside. This is a mistake, and this issue should not be forgotten.

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Baraka (1993)

Posted: June 16, 2009 in Joe Giambrone
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Blu-ray: Baraka

DVD: Baraka (2-Disc Special Edition)

Baraka (“blessing”) is a glorious accomplishment of a film. This is a cinematographer’s film, and that’s where it was recommended to me, hanging out on Cinematography forums. The source material was shot on 65mm, and the filmmakers traveled the world “three times” making this non-verbal film. It’s an art film, and not a drama in the normal sense of the word. It’s one of those special films that makes you consider going out and getting a Blu-ray player for the high definition experience.

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by John G. Thomas /

We independent producers are the future of film and video entertainment. We break new ground every time we go to work while the major studios turn out yet another Spiderman or Ironman with wall-to-wall effects and no discernable story.

So, like many filmmakers I was excited when I first heard about SAG’s attempt to cross the street and work with us. Actors for a hundred bucks a day, relaxation of all those silly rules and regulations, no first class airplane tickets for actors and more – heck the Ultra Low Budget Agreement seemed like a fantastic idea for productions budgeted less than 200K.

“SAGIndie,” as they’ve chosen to re-cast themselves, has even gone so far as to stage monthly “contract workshops” to cleverly “explain” the wonders of this new agreement to all comers.

With SAG, as always, the devil is in the details.

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War Inc. (2008)

Posted: June 12, 2009 in Joe Giambrone
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War Inc.
DVD: War, Inc.
Blu-ray: War, Inc.

REVIEW: War Inc. is a strange bird of a film. It’s a dark comedy, absurdist and surreal. Yet, it has very grounded story elements, such as a war theater that looks remarkably like Iraq.

I wanted to like this film more than I did. There is very little coming out of Hollywood with a political bite to it. Those that appear to say something are usually so watered down as to be counterproductive. This film at least remains true to its dark commentary on current events.

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Torturing Democracy

Film Online

Review: I have some problems with this film. But, it also serves a useful purpose, and exposes more first hand testimony about the U.S. gulags. For that it may be quite useful to a lot of people.

The film firmly establishes that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and their lawyers are war criminals who should be arrested and tried. That’s the good part. I already knew that of course.

The bad part is that this is a partisan piece and partially a whitewash concerning American aggression in general and the role of the Democratic Party in war crimes. By trying to tie everything to only the Bush gang, a large piece of the puzzle is missing.

In Sherry Jones’ film, we are to believe that the CIA discovered torture in the 1960s, where it lay dormant until 9/11 suddenly allowed Bush and company to revive it. This is nonsense on its face. The CIA has always embraced torture and has written “manuals” on how to practice it. The CIA exports this knowledge to client regimes who practice it around the world.

An investigative journalist who wanted to present an honest case would know that and include it.

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