FBI

THEO WHO LIVED — David Schisgall Interview

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THEO WHO LIVED is a story of the remarkable empathy its subject, American journalist Theo Padnos, found for the captors who tortured him after being kidnapped in Syria in 2012.  David Schisgall’s sensitive, heart-wrenching documentary about Theo, like Theo himself, finds the humanity in everyone. Preferring to see people as individuals rather than stereotypes, it’s… Read More »

Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World

Werner Herzog brings his dour brand of whimsy to LO AND BEHOLD, REVERIES OF THE CONNECTED WORLD, his consideration of cyberspace. The result is a thought-provoking piece that brings up little-known issues and implications, placing them side by side with the more conventional topics of security and dependence.  Indeed, the most arresting moment in the… Read More »

NOW YOU SEE ME 2

Mark Ruffalo

The best caper films keep us guessing even while we’re watching the caper in progress. In that way, NOW YOU SEE ME 2 succeeds admirably. The return of the The Horsemen, a band of underground magicians dedicated to truth, justice, and outsmarting everyone around them, including each other, provides several set pieces that are fine… Read More »

MIDNIGHT SPECIAL

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MIDNIGHT SPECIAL is a film that plays with its audience’s sense of normality. Beginning in the conventional and slowly, almost imperceptibly, moving us from the quotidian drama of a kidnapped child and a father’s unconditional love, into a boldly unconventional consideration of that elusive point where science and spirituality merge. There is nothing predictable here,… Read More »

BLACK MASS

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It is only the smallest of exaggerations to say that there are only two types of scenes in BLACK MASS. One is of James “Whitey” Bulger either having someone executed with a vicious precision, or doing the dastardly deed himself. The other is an assemblage of characters having an extended conversation about what has happened… Read More »

HOWARD ZINN: YOU CAN’T BE NEUTRAL ON A MOVING TRAIN

HOWARD ZINN: YOU CAN’T BE NEUTRAL ON A MOVING TRAIN is a robust telling of the historian’s life and times that does the spirit of the man credit. First Run Feature has re-released the 2004 documentary with a plethora of bonus features, and were smart enough to realize that the only thing better than this… Read More »

THE BLACK PANTHERS: VANGUARD OF THE REVOLUTION — Stanley Nelson

When Stanley Nelson started working on THE BLACK PANTHERS: VANGUARD OF THE REVOLUTION, it was seven years ago and he thought the history of that movement was particularly relevant to those times. In 2015, he thinks it’s even more relevant. When I spoke to him on October 1, 2015, the echoes of the Panther movement in… Read More »

SICARIO

There are many iconic moments in SICARIO, but the one that sticks in my mind is the one where dedicated and upright FBI agent Kate Macer (Emily Blunt) is being given the lowdown from glib and slippery DOJ agent Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) about what winning the war on drugs will really entail. The camera… Read More »

Brian Knappenberger on THE INTERNET’S OWN BOY: THE STORY OF AARON SWARTZ

Filmmaker Brian Knappenberger knew within a week of Aaron Swartz’s suicide that he would make THE INTERNET’S OWN BOY: THE STORY OF AARON SWARTZ, a film about this remarkable young man’s even more remarkable life and tragic death. When I spoke with him on June 13, 2014, I was curious about why Swartz’s family would… Read More »

SMOKIN’ ACES

Somewhere in Joe Carnahan’s SMOKIN’ ACES there is a really good film trying desperately to get out. Several actually. And therein lays the problem. Dashing blithely as he does through several different genres Carnahan shows moxie and a genuine flair for each one: black comedy, gut-wrenching drama, farcical silliness, and a deeply affecting morality tale. It’s… Read More »