« November 2011 | Main | January 2012 »

December 14, 2011

Columbus Day Legacy

"Since 1992, the Denver Italian-American community has proudly and publicly celebrated Columbus Day with a revived parade-- long a part of the city's history -- much to the dismay of the local American Indian Movement chapter who are equally determined to vilify the man credited with 'discovering' America. The history of this annual parade is peppered with both verbal and physical violence, challenging ideas of political correctness and freedom of assembly. Both the Italian and Native Americans are strong, vibrant, tight-knit communities, a point conveyed by the film as it uncovers conflicting notions of the freedom of speech, the interpretation of history and what it means to be an American".

Pride has a way of undermining the common sense of most people. This film shows the pride that the children of Italian immigrants have for their new country. Most of us come from immigrants and we should be aware of and in some cases raise the flag to demonstrate our happiness for the opportunities that were provided as our ancestors acclimated to the new country. Many of the immigrants upon arrival to this country had to deal with intolerance, bigotry and racism. It was a long struggle to get to the point of assimilation and to enjoy the benefits offered. As children of immigrants we cannot and should not ignore the suffering and the impact of our arrival on the indigenous peoples. To truly enjoy the spirit of "America" we must understand and respect all people who now live in this country. ~Mike
"A film by Bennie Klain."
U. Michigan performance rights obtained.

Askwith Media Library 55598-D 60 minutes 1992 (2011)

Posted by mcmike at 09:02 AM | Comments (0)

Energy and Morality

Explores the complex relationship of energy use to different value systems. Presents contrasts of social effects of high-level and low-level energy usage on human behavior and value systems. Uses narrative, animation and interviews with energy experts Amory Lovings and E.F. Schumacher to explore the relationship between the energy available to society and the values that control the behavior of society.

A well paced discussion on the philosophical and societal effect of modern uses of energy to our collective well being. How governments will respond concerning their ever increasing searching, storing and consuming of this scarce resource. This film invites the viewer to take a moment to consider the impact and the long term effect of manufactured energy consumption has on individuals, communities and human population. ~Mike

Askwith Media Library 53161-D 33 minutes 1979

Posted by mcmike at 08:38 AM | Comments (0)

December 13, 2011

Otaiya (Christmas Eve)

Japan's hidden Christians
When Christianity was outlawed in 1614 and the Portuguese Catholic missionaries were expelled, Japanese believers went underground and continued to practice their religion in secret. This film tells the story of these "Hidden Christians" through an examination of their version of the Christmas Eve ceremony. Featured are the only two remaining priests in the Goto islands. Both men are in their late nineties and have no successors. The film examines the many factors that have led to the decline of these centuries-old traditions.

Look into the history and ceremonies of the Christain movement in Japan. ~Mike

Askwith Media Library 53610-D 34 minutes 1997

Posted by mcmike at 08:49 AM | Comments (0)

December 12, 2011

The Fabric of the Cosmos

Using humor, everyday examples and computer animation for the more abstract concepts, author and physicist Brian Greene explains complex theories of the universe and the focus of his research, string theory.

Four 60 minute programs on this two disc set. It is an outstanding introduction to some very, modern theories concerning space and time. Well worth watching for those who want a little more information about the theories. Relatively easy to understand and excellent computer graphics. ~Mike

Askwith Media Library 56457-D 240 minutes
Recorded at Rice University on October 5, 2004. Released through PBS in 2011

Posted by mcmike at 11:15 AM | Comments (0)

Purity Myth

"In this video adaptation of her bestselling book, pioneering feminist blogger Jessica Valenti trains her sights on "the virginity movement" -- an unholy alliance of evangelical Christians, right-wing politicians, and conservative policy intellectuals who have been exploiting irrational fears about women's sexuality to roll back women's rights".

The topic of promising your father that you will remain "pure" has an incestuous and disturbing current. A personal time in a woman's life that should be left up to her. A community or public display of a woman's "purity" has no place in society although is seems to be of great concern to the men, and unfortunately some of the women, in this video. It seems that this promise will lead to lying and deceit by both the father and daughter. ~Mike

Askwith Media Library 56564-D 45 minutes 2011

Posted by mcmike at 11:05 AM | Comments (0)

Park Row

In 1880s New York, a dedicated journalist starts a new newspaper despite opposition from larger organizations, a drama film.

Not quite autobiographical, since Fuller's part would have been that of the kid. However this film espouses the dream of the American Press with honesty and integrity. Once upon a time all reporters had similar goals of getting the truth out and being very independent of thought. ~Mike

Askwith Media Library 56426-D 83 minutes 1952

Posted by mcmike at 11:01 AM | Comments (0)

Shock Corridor

A journalist fakes mental illness to get himself committed to a mental hospital for a story. Soon, he starts to lose his mind.

Special Features: interview with star Constance Towers by film historian and filmmaker, Charles Dennis; "The typewriter, the rifle and the movie camera, Adam Simon's 1996 documentary on director Samuel Fuller.

This film pulls you into the world of one mental hospital and the reporter who thinks he can withstand the environment. As the character slowly goes insane you might feel you are joining him. Fuller had a way of bringing the viewing into the middle of the action.
In the special features, both Quentin Tarantino and Tim Robbins reflect on the impact and the person of Sam Fuller. ~Mike

Askwith Media Library 55717-D 101 miutes 1962

Posted by mcmike at 10:52 AM | Comments (0)

December 08, 2011

Tibet in song

In Tibet, a once-sovereign nation for thousands of years, much of the country remains under harsh Communist Chinese rule and 'patriotic re-education'. The surviving Tibetan folk music shapes an endangered people's identity. Ngawang Choephel, a Tibetan native who fled for India at the age of 2, returned home to capture the music of his people. He was arrested and sentenced to 18 years in prison, serving nearly 7 before a highly-publicized release. Includes special features.

Brave yes, unbelievable yes. Modern colonizing power China teaches us how to wipe out tradition and culture in Tibet. Very similar to the United States and the native populations and probably the European powers in Africa. ~Mike

Askwith Media Library 56404-D 86 minutes 2009

Posted by mcmike at 02:13 PM | Comments (0)

The one percent

A documentary on wealth and issues of racial class in America.

I don't agree with the above description from the catalog that "racial class" should be a main point of the description. This documentary covers a wide range of social levels in America.
Released in 2007 but very pertinent today. Offering great insight to families of wealth where most of the money was inherited. However some made their money by hard work, the man who started Kinko’s is very candid and probably one of the most honest people in the film. You can't help but like him, his honesty and appreciate the work he has done. If you want to know some of what goes on at this level of American society this is a good place to start. Thank you Jamie Johnson, grandson of Johnson and Johnson’s founder, for your brevity and tenacity. There is a very interesting side contrast with Bill Gates Sr. leading the way. This documentary is really worth a look. ~Mike

Askwith Media Library 55738-D 80 minutes 2007

Posted by mcmike at 01:56 PM | Comments (0)


"Tough Tony Banks, a retired gangster ... reluctantly comes out of retirement to silence his old friend and squealer. ... Tony's [San Francisco] suburban haven comes crashing down as his daughter ... takes up with a hippie ... and [Tony's] wife ... gives them permission to move into their house with their hippy friends. The all-star cast includes ... Groucho Marx in his final role as the mob boss named God".
Jackie Gleason, Carol Channing, Frankie Avalon, Fred Clark, Michael Constantine, Frank Gorshin, John Phillip Law, Peter Lawford, Burgess Meredith, George Raft, Cesar Romero, Mickey Rooney, Groucho Marx, Austin Pendleton, Alexandra Hay, Luna.

Directed by Otto Preminger. This is a charming late '60s farce. With such huge names you would think it would be a perfect film, well as most '60s farces do it falls apart, mostly at the end when Carol Channing sings the title song during a chase. This type of movie always resorted to the chase and most of the time it does not work. In the spirit of vaudeville and stand up routines this is a well done, enjoyable spectacle. ~Mike

Askwith Media Library 53659-D 98 minutes 1968

Posted by mcmike at 01:48 PM | Comments (0)

December 07, 2011

Soul of the game

The film features the story of three famous baseball players of the 40s, when for the first time a black player took the field.

A look into the personal lives of the three great baseball players, Satchel Paige, Jackie Robinson and Josh Gibson, on the eve of signing the first black baseball player to the major league. ~Mike

Askwith Media Library 56055-D 97 minutes 1996

Posted by mcmike at 12:21 PM | Comments (0)

December 05, 2011

The Catherine Wheel

Set to an original score by David Byrne, the dance grew out of Twyla Tharp's fascination with Saint Catherine who was martyred in the fourth century.
Twyla Tharp Dance Foundation.

Well shot and excellent music. Experiencing the technical quality of these dancers is a complete joy. ~Mike

Askwith Media Library 56436-D 87 minutes 1983

Posted by mcmike at 09:14 AM | Comments (0)

Lethal Landscapes: Canvases of the Combat Artist

"Soldier specialists are still trained to paint, sketch and draw the intense moments of battle, as well as record the more mundane moments of day-to-day military life. At the Defense Information School (DINFOS) located at Fort Meade, Maryland, soldiers learn to apply observation and a keen eye for detail to create realistic, moving compositions that accurately reflect a soldiers life. Lethal Landscapes introduces several combat artists, including retired and active duty service members who talk about their poignant experiences in a number of conflicts, including Vietnam, Somalia, Iraq, and Afghanistan. And hear firsthand from a female Marine artist, who, after graduating from DINFOS, went to Iraq to capture on canvas what our troops were experiencing there. In the course of her tour, she had to put down her sketch pad and return fire."

Interviews and discussions of this little known part of the armed forces. ~Mike

Askwith Media Libray 53626-D 30 minutes 2007

Posted by mcmike at 09:03 AM | Comments (0)

The Ernie Kovacs collection

DVD release of various clips and comedy bits originally broadcast on television between 1951 and 1962.
"Television's original genius. In the infancy of any medium, there will be someone who realize its potential well before anyone else. Ernie Kovacs was such a visionary, and between 1951 and 1962 he broke rules that hadn't even been made yet, creating a television "language" that is now taken for granted. ... over 13 hours of programs that span the all-too-brief but brilliant television career of this hugely influential comic artist."
Disc 1. The early years: it's time for Ernie; Ernie in Kovacsland; Kovacs on the corner; Kovacs unlimited -- Disc 2. The NBC morning show: The Ernie Kovacs show -- Disc 3. The NBC evening show: The Ernie Kovacs show -- Disc 4. The late 1950s: Saturday color carnival: "The Ernie Kovacs show"; Kovacs on music; Take a good look -- Disc 5. The ABC specials: Kovacs special -- Disc 6. Classic pieces: The NBC morning show; The NBC evening show.

Mr Kovacs was a great, early television innovator. He tried new camera and editing techniques. His comedy was pretty good also. ~Mike

Askwith Media Library 55178-D total time 780 minutes 2011

Posted by mcmike at 08:56 AM | Comments (0)

Cameraman The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff

A star-studded documentary about one of the greatest Oscar-winning cinematographers, who captured the beauty of such stars as Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, and Sophia Loren in such memorable classics as The African Queen; The Red Shoes; Barefoot Contessa; and Black Narcissus. With a career spanning more than 80 years, the passionate documentary reveals the craft of one of cinema's most indelible image-makers, Jack Cardiff. Includes bonus features.

In his long career Jack Cardiff was an exceptional innovator camera operator, and eventually a director. His work with Technicolor and his willingness to experiment has provided the engine for the growth and experimentation with film and how a scene is composed for the lens. This is a very insightful documentary for those who want to know a camera operator's work experience and for those who want to hear a little movie gossip. ~Mike

Askwith Media Library 53638-D 90 minutes 2011

Posted by mcmike at 08:47 AM | Comments (0)

Ghosts and numbers

Set in the aftermath of the devastating financial crash of the Thai baht and the Asian monetary crisis, Ghosts and Numbers is a fantastic meditation on Thai encounters with the spirit world and the world of numbers, as these intersect in unexpected ways. The film journeys with displaced farmers who can no longer work the land for a living and can only eek one out by selling lottery tickets on Bangkok streets. They are double-threatened by an impending conversion of the Thai national lottery to completely virtual form, displacing the paper ticket and cutting them out of the economy of numbers altogether. Intercut with the story of migrant lottery sellers are the stories of an avid lottery seller who communicates with spirits and the story of the devastating financial crash visually represented through a surreal journey through Bangkok streets. The film includes an amazing possession séance that is boosted by mobile technology and also relates stories of ghosts and haunting that span past and present and which are set among frightful trees in the country and ruined buildings in Bangkok, left half-built after the financial crash. The dream-like passages are presented by an ambiguous narrator who takes on increasingly spectral form in the stories she tells.

UM Public Performance Rights obtained

A wonderful meditation and realization of the pre and post financial crisis and hardships faced by many. A prelude to the western economic crash. ~Mike

Askwith Media Library 55566-D 67 minutes 2009

Posted by mcmike at 08:44 AM | Comments (0)

December 02, 2011

Gagaku: Japan's ancient music & dance

The music known as Gagaku spread from China throughout East Asia, reaching Japan in the 5th through 9th centuries. This traditional court music has undergone some changes, but its fundamentals remain unchanged. Gagaku is thus the world's most ancient form of orchestral music.

Excellent descriptions of some instruments and dance techniques. ~Mike

Askwith Media Library 56047-D 90 minutes 2011

Posted by mcmike at 10:34 AM | Comments (0)