The Trials of Muhammad Ali explores the extraordinary and complex life of the legendary athlete outside the boxing ring. From joining the controversial Nation of Islam and changing his name from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali, from his refusal to serve in the Vietnam War in the name of protesting racial inequality to his global humanitarian work, Ali remains an inspiring and controversial figure.
A re-post from last July 4th. Happy Independence Day! Get your red, white and blue on!
From several compilation lists online, here are some American films sure to put you in the patriotic spirit, with links to find the titles in our library catalog:
Air Force One
All the President’s Men
An American Tail
Dazed and Confused
How the West was Won
Legally Blonde 2
Saving Private Ryan
The Best Years of Our Lives
The Right Stuff
To Kill a Mockingbird
Zero Dark Thirty
In the first two decades of the 20th century, coal miners and coal companies in West Virginia clashed in a series of brutal conflicts over labor conditions and unionization. Known collectively as the “Mine Wars,” the struggle included strikes, assassinations, marches, and the largest civil insurrection in the United States since the Civil War.
Coal was the engine of American industrial progress at the beginning of the 20th century. It powered locomotives, factories, and home furnaces, and it helped to purify the steel used in erecting skyscrapers all over the U.S. Nearly three quarters of a million menacross the country spent 10 to 12 hours a day in coal mines blasting, hand-picking, shoveling, and loading the indispensable rock onto railway cars bound for destinations across the country. Miners everywhere suffered deplorable working conditions, but between 1890 and 1912, miners in West Virginia suffered the highest death rate in America. Local business management was also not favorable to the miners; coal operators ran both the mines and the local towns, or camps, and often paid workers in company currency, forcing mining families to shop exclusively at the local company store, where operators set the price of everything to assure a profit.
Michael Pollen’s incredible and accessible documentary, In Defense of Food for PBS on how to eat. No diets, no fasting, no starving. Just eat: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” From PBS,
“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” With that seven-word maxim, US-based journalist Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma) distills a career’s worth of reporting into a prescription for reversing the damage being done to people’s health by today’s industrially driven Western diet. In Defense of Food debunks the daily media barrage of conflicting claims about nutrition. Traveling the globe and exploring the supermarket aisles to illustrate the principles of his bestselling “eater’s manifesto,” Pollan offers a clear answer to one of the most confounding and urgent questions of our time: What should I eat to be healthy?
Criterion recently released The Kennedy films of Robert Drew & Associates. From Criterion,
Seeking to invigorate the American documentary format, which he felt was rote and uninspired, Robert Drew brought the style and vibrancy he had fostered as a Life magazine correspondent to filmmaking in the late fifties. He did this by assembling an amazing team—including such eventual nonfiction luminaries as Richard Leacock, D. A. Pennebaker, and Albert Maysles—that would transform documentary cinema. In 1960, the group was granted direct access to John F. Kennedy, filming him on the campaign trail and eventually in the Oval Office. This resulted in three films of remarkable, behind-closed-doors intimacy—Primary, Adventures on the New Frontier, and Crisis—and, following the president’s assassination, the poetic short Faces of November. Collected here are all four of these titles, early exemplars of the movement known as Direct Cinema and featuring the greatest close-up footage we have of this American icon.
Now that the awards have been handed out, the big question remains, when do those films get released? Here’s a quick list of all the nominated films and their release dates. ? simply means a date has not been announced yet.
45 Years (?)
The 100-Year Old Man (?)
The Big Short (3/15)
Boy and the World (?)
Bridge of Spies (available)
Cartel Land (3/29)
The Danish Girl (3/29)
Embrace of the Serpent (?)
Ex Machina (available)
Fifty Shades of Grey (available)
The Hateful Eight (3/29)
The Hunting Ground (available)
Inside Out (available)
The Look of Silence (available)
Mad Max: Fury Road (available)
The Martian (available)
Racing Extinction (3/7)
The Revenant (?)
Shaun the Sheep Movie (available)
Son of Saul (?)
Straight Outta Compton (available)
Star Wars: The Force Awakens (?)
A War (?)
What Happened, Miss Simone? (?)
When Marnie Was There (available)
Winter on Fire (?)
Filmmaker Brett Morgen uses material from the Cobains’ personal archives in an in-depth examination of the Nirvana frontman’s childhood, music career and untimely death.
Kurt Cobain, lead singer, guitarist, and songwriter of Nirvana, remains an icon 20 years after his death. (Rotten Tomatoes 97% rating)
Here, we take a journey through Cobain’s life and his career with Nirvana through the lens of his home movies, recordings, artwork, photography, and journals. (Google)
Directed by Oscar winner Alex Gibney and based on the book by Pulitzer Prize winner Lawrence Wright, Going Clear profiles eight former members of the Church of Scientology-whose most prominent adherents include A-list Hollywood celebrities-shining a light on how the church cultivates true believers, detailing their experiences and what they are willing to do in the name of religion. One of the most talked about films at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, this powerful documentary highlights the Church’s origins, from its roots in the mind of founder L. Ron Hubbard to its rise in popularity in Hollywood and beyond. Going Clear is a provocative tale of ego, exploitation, and lust for power.
We hosted Fairfield filmmaker Brean Cunningham this week for a screening of his documentary, Dogs on the Inside. From the film’s website,
Dogs on the Inside follows the relationships between abused stray dogs and prison inmates working towards a second chance at a better life. In an attempt to re-build their confidence and prepare for a new life outside, these prisoners must first learn to handle and care for a group of neglected strays. This heart-warming story reconfirms the timeless connection between man and dog, showing the resiliency of a dogs’ trust and the generosity of the human spirit in the unlikeliest of places.
Laura Poitras’ Oscar winning documentary Citizenfour was released this week on DVD. We have copies at both locations. Citizenfour is a must-see documentary on privacy, freedom and liberty no matter what side of the political spectrum you fall.