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Documentary Film Reviews, Making Documentaries, and Nonfiction Storytelling

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA V. THOMAS B KIN CHONG a/k/a Tommy Chong

Posted by on Apr 29, 2011 in Documentary Film Reviews, REVIEWS | 0 comments

United States of America v. Thomas B Kin Chong – a/k/a Tommy Chong is a unique, actuality based documentary, directed by Josh Gilbert. Different because it successfully combines a strong political message with humor, emotion and entertainment. The story begins with Tommy Chong apparently being interviewed at Taft, a federal minimum-security prison in California, where he is serving a nine month sentence for owning a company that sold bongs on the internet.

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Turn Right At Machu Picchu – Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time

Posted by on Feb 24, 2015 in Documentary, Making Documentaries, News, REVIEWS | 0 comments

Adams writes he "wanted to retrace Bingham's route through the Andes on the way to discovering Machu Picchu" along with looking at other important locations. Turn Right at Machu Picchu is more than one man’s journey of exploration and discovery. It leaves you with a feeling that you’ve gone along on this adventure, done the research, heard the many stories, met the intrepid guide, John Leivers, who’s experience makes the journey possible, hiked the mountains, hiked the Inca roads and seen the awesome Apu (mountain) views. There’s also a supporting cast of characters including local Peruvian mule handlers, cooks and others.

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NO DIRECTION HOME – BOB DYLAN

Posted by on Dec 8, 2013 in Documentary, Documentary Film Reviews, Making Documentaries, REVIEWS | 0 comments

If you don’t know much about Bob Dylan, his work, or his music then, especially today when a voice like Dylan’s is badly needed in the current climate of oppression and self-oppression, you should. Bob Dylan did not want to be part of any movement or political group. He said his writing was not topical, but he gave voice in his songs to the most pressing issues of the day. NO DIRECTION HOME – BOB DYLAN takes those who were there back to the days when they bought every album released by Dylan and knew the words to his songs. The documentary covers Dylan and events up to 1966. What emerges from NO DIRECTION HOME - BOB DYLAN is that Bob Dylan’s work reflects back the time period when it was written. Dylan at times claimed he was not a protest singer and at other times that all his songs were protest songs. Both things are true. Dylan was active in the Civil Rights movement, but also claimed he was not political. He wrote and sung, “The times they are a-changing” metaphorically in all his work. His writing did not just apply to civil rights; it applied to life styles and relationships, being American, and the culture in general. Dylan is as much a poet and writer as he is a singer and musician. He found his voice after being exposed to the poets and coffee houses in Greenwich Village, NYC and went on from there. In many respects Bob Dylan chronicled or documented injustice and other issues broadcasting them to the public much like a journalist or documentary filmmaker.

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MUSCLE SHOALS – THE INCREDIBLE STORY OF A SMALL TOWN WITH A BIG SOUND

Posted by on Apr 14, 2014 in Documentary, Documentary Film Reviews, Making Documentaries, REVIEWS | 0 comments

The documentary film Muscle Shoals is a beautifully shot and edited film directed with sensitivity and class by Greg “Freddy” Camalier. Muscle Shoals is a town on the Tennessee River in Alabama where cotton grows and the river, as described by early Native Americans, is said to sing to those who will listen. The film opens with a montage of strong visual impressions of the Muscle Shoals area, the sky, the fields and the Tennessee River in places around the shoals where you might hear it sing. It's not surprising that the most amazing thing to come out of Muscle Shoals, Alabama is music. There appears to be something special that attracted new artists, famous musicians and bands to record there. Aretha Franklin, Wilson Picket, Bono, Alicia Keys, Steve Winwood, Gregg Allman, Clarence Carter, Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, Jimmy Cliff, Percy Sledge, and many others have worked with Rick Hall and/or the Swampers to create great music that’s part of the American music legacy. Muscle Shoals is a must see documentary for anyone interested in music or just wanting to watch an entertaining and informative nonfiction film. Sundance Film Festival Selection 2013

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Life Itself

Posted by on Jul 18, 2014 in Documentary, Documentary Film Reviews, REVIEWS | 0 comments

Life Itself is an intimate documentary story about Roger Ebert one of the most well known film critics in the world and the only film critic to ever win a Pulitzer Prize. He reviewed films for the Chicago Sun Times starting in 1967. He and Gene Siskel co-hosted “Sneak Previews” on PBS and then “Siskel an Ebert At The Movies” for about twenty-three years. Throughout the documentary quotes from Roger Ebert’s book by the same name as the film, Life Itself, published in 2011 are heard voice over. This feels like an interview with Ebert and ties the viewer into his thoughts about his life and his experiences. It gives the story continuity and Roger Ebert a voice. Due to complications with thyroid cancer treatment he lost the ability to speak, eat or drink in 2006. Even after the loss of his voice and normal life style, Roger continued writing and working.

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Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief

Posted by on Aug 6, 2015 in Documentary, Documentary Film Reviews, Making Documentaries, REVIEWS | 0 comments

The Going Clear documentary is based on a book written by Lawrence Wright, titled Going Clear: “Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief. The Going Clear documentary is a pretty straightforward expose style piece that mainly goes after the management of the International Association of Scientology (IAS) and the Church of Scientology. In particular it singles out David Miscovige, a self-appointed protégé of L. Ron Hubbard (LRH) and current Chairman of the Board, as a megalomaniac and serial abuser of staff. Going Clear also questions and explores the not-for-profit, religious status of this Billion-dollar corporation.

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