Review: Oliver Sacks: His Own Life

There are rare people who live in such a way as to strike others as perhaps not being quite human. They are so much larger than life, as the cliché goes, that one has to wonder if there isn’t some outlet they are hiding somewhere on themselves where they plug in at night and receive a surge of superhuman power the rest of us lack. Oliver Sacks was just such a person and his superpower was observation. Not just any observation, but so intense and so compassionate that animal rights activist Temple Grandin describes it as being as formidable as the Hubble telescope. His powers of perception were matched by his way with words so that humanity has been graced with a unique window into the uncharted waters of the human psyche from his many books and essays. He was a pioneer of recognizing that mental illness and mental disorders do not define a human life but simply characterize limits that they often find ways to rise above. In the 1960’s when he first started his work as a neurologist, this was an extremely radical thought. This documentary by Ric Burns does not shy away from depicting its subject in all of his iconoclastic glory. Continue reading Review: Oliver Sacks: His Own Life

Review: Stuntwomen: The Untold Hollywood Story

Since the dawn of motion pictures, women have been performing stunts to amaze and entertain their audiences. From the silent film era, to the rise of female action stars in the 1970s, to the present day abundance of superhero movies, “Stuntwomen: The Untold Hollywood Story” gives audiences a look into the history of these amazing women and their fight for equal representation and recognition in their field. The film is based on a book of the same name by Mollie Gregory. Both the movie and the book are a must for any fan of film or Hollywood history. Continue reading Review: Stuntwomen: The Untold Hollywood Story

Take One Action Film Festival: “The Last Ice”

Year: 2020 Runtime: 83 Minutes Director: Scott Ressler By Tom Moore Touching on a unique side of the effects climate change has on the Arctic, “The Last Ice” delves into a voice and community greatly affected by this issue that’s often not heard — that of the Inuit. The directorial debut of cinematographer Scott Ressler, “The Last Ice” adds a deeply human element to the … Continue reading Take One Action Film Festival: “The Last Ice”

Take One Action Film Festival: “Prison For Profit”

Year: 2020 Runtime: 83 Minutes Directors: Femke van Velzen, Isle van Velzen By Tom Moore In “Prison for Profit,” documentarians Femke van Velzen and Isle van Velzen create a gut-wrenching exposé that centers on an investigative journalist’s findings about South Africa’s first privatized prison – where profit comes before safety. British private security firm G4S runs Mangaung prison, where journalist Ruth Hopkins investigated the treatment … Continue reading Take One Action Film Festival: “Prison For Profit”

Fantasia Festival Review: Texas Trip-A Carnival of Ghosts

“Texas Trip-Carnival of Ghosts” (2020) pays homage to the B-rated films that were shown on the big screens of drive-in movies in the 1950’s and 1960’s, specifically in Austin, Texas. The premise seems to be that those odd, low budget horror, science-fiction and exploitation films were the inspiration for this generation of performance artists who are one of the reasons the city’s motto is “Keep Austin Weird.” Like the cult classic horror film that inspired its title, “Texas Trip-Carnival of Ghosts” is an unsettling road trip that plays with the audience by occasionally having artists pose in macabre handmade masks. At one point, a quote by Hunter S. Thompson is referred to, and who better to be a spirit guide on a journey through bizarre landscapes then this icon of counterculture? Continue reading Fantasia Festival Review: Texas Trip-A Carnival of Ghosts

Fantasia Festival Review: Morgana

I was not familiar with Muses before starting this film. Heck, I know nothing about the adult film industry. While the film is about her work and specific artistry, much of it is about her past. Muses grew up in a religious household, one which adhered to gender roles and expectations. Muses attempted to fit in the mold, but she was never really happy. Married with children, food her only companion, she had nowhere to turn. When her marriage fell apart, Muses’ mental health began to spiral. Continue reading Fantasia Festival Review: Morgana

Review: This is Not a Movie

Robert Fisk is one of the most internationally recognized journalists in the world with over forty years covering the Middle East. When he asks if there is something wrong with humanity because it continually allows atrocities such as genocide to take place he is not being over dramatic. He has witnessed more than most of us are likely to, or that we could bear to see for that matter. And he has reported it, even putting himself in physical peril as well as risking his professional reputation for the sake of telling his stories. “This is Not a Movie” (2019) is a powerful and sometimes uncomfortable encapsulation of what it is like to live in Beirut and bear witness to horrible violence and seemingly endless suffering. Continue reading Review: This is Not a Movie

Greenpoint Film Festival Review: Microplastic Madness

Microplastic is a term that refers to a type of degraded plastic pollution that can be inadvertently ingested by animals and humans. The implications of this is the stuff of nightmares and yet “Microplastic Madness” (2020) is an upbeat and even inspiring documentary about a group of fifth graders taking on the horrors of waste contamination. Their energy is engaging, their commitment is sincere and quite simply, they’re adorable so it’s fun to join them on their exploration of the environment. Continue reading Greenpoint Film Festival Review: Microplastic Madness