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January 21, 2013

Ai Weiwei

This is a documentary that chronicles artist and activist Ai Weiwei as he prepares for a series of exhibitions and gets into an increasing number of clashes with the Chinese government. Follows Ai "from the close of the 2008 Beijing Olympics (for which he helped design the acclaimed 'Bird's Nest' stadium) to his arrest and 81-day detention in 2011".

Everyone who stands up against the state takes a risk. Sometimes the risks are great sometimes not. In China I'd say the risks are great. Suppressing the voice of the people is certainly important to modern nation states, either China or elsewhere. All of those who stand up against the various forms of oppression are very brave. Ai is one who stood up. However, now, we cannot know his status. We can only hope for the best.

Askwith Media Library (Both DVD and Blu-Ray) 58939-D, 58921-B
91 minutes 2012

Posted by mcmike at 02:49 PM | Comments (0)

Jack the Giant Killer

In this version of Jack and the Beanstalk, Jack rescues the beautiful princess from the giant as well as an array of witches, dragons and sea monsters-- each the magical creation of the evil Pendragon.

The stop-motion effects and the other filmic special effects make this a marvel and a joy to watch. It is quite intense and may not be suitable for viewers under ten or so. With two headed giants, a lizard octopus and my favorite some sort of burning, flying demon it is a joy. The story is a little campy but the special effects cannot be beat for 1962. Jim Danforth did the effects and they look like something by Ray Harryhausen. Jim Danforth, who after watching this, stands alongside of Harryhausen in stop-motion animation. ~Mike

Askwtih Media Library 59013-D 94 minutes 1962

Posted by mcmike at 02:00 PM | Comments (1)

Iron sky

At the end of World War II the Nazis set up a secret project on the Dark Side of the Moon where over the next seven decades they create a space fortress and flying saucers.

I don't think I would ever say a film about Nazis could be wonderful unless it is a production by Mel Brooks. For shock value and almost decent production value this film is wonderful. It is over the top in American pop culture. Everyone in this film fits a stereotype. However "Nazis on the Moon?". If you have a taste for the absurd and don't mind some insults thrown at you from the screen than what more can be said, enjoy the movie. ~Mike

Askwith Media Library 58966-D 93 minutes 2012

Posted by mcmike at 01:50 PM | Comments (0)

Twilight's last gleaming

A Colonel in the United States Air Force, and three other convicts, escapes from a military prison. The four men take cover at a nuclear base and proceed to hold America hostage.

The description above is probably not the best for this film. This film is based on the idea of the military industrial complex that Eisenhower warned about in his farewell address of 1961. There are some great topics within this film that are as pertinent today as they were in 1977. This film has an all-star cast with Charles Durning as the President. ~Mike

Askwith Media Library 58979-D 146 minutes 1977

Posted by mcmike at 01:33 PM | Comments (0)

January 04, 2013

Der Chinese (The Man from Bejing)

A mass murder, a female judge, and diary entries from ages ago. Judge Brigitta Roslin has to make a dangerous journey before she discovers the background of this crime.

This film like the other works of Henning Mankell has the feeling of cold weather and a tremendous lack of sleep. In this story vengeance knows no time or geography. Unfortunately it is the innocent who usually suffer for the sins of the parents. ~Mike

Askwith Media Library 58709-D 180 minutes Originally broadcast by ARD in two parts in 2011.

Posted by mcmike at 05:51 PM | Comments (0)

The legend of Boggy Creek

Based on a true story, the folks of Boggy Creek near Fouke, Arkansas, chronicle their experiences living near the legendary lair of a huge and terrifying monster.

Outstanding: This is reminiscent of the 1970s documentaries of Mutual of Omaha. Some of you may remember that series. This is a very personal tale of a local group of people trying to deal with an unexplainable appearance and disappearance of a Sasquatch type of monster. ~Mike

Askwith Media Library 55710-D 86 minutes 1975

Posted by mcmike at 05:40 PM | Comments (0)

Patience (after Sebald)

Comprising elements of travelogue, history lesson, biography, critical analysis, psychological study, and fan testimonial, this documentary explores the work and influence of German writer W.G. Sebald, via a long walk through coastal East Anglia, retracing the steps he took in his most famous book, The rings Of Saturn. Includes interviews with writers, artists, and filmmakers.

This film is a nice, thoughtful, stream of conscience discussion on the life of Sebald. The discussions with the artists and about Sebalds' life are an inspiration. ~Mike

Askwith Media Library 58718-D 90 minutes 2012

Posted by mcmike at 05:34 PM | Comments (0)