Sunday, October 27, 2013

Muscle Shoals

What is the magic of a recording studio in Alabama? In the documentary Muscle Shoals, we meet Rich Hall and the Swampers, and learn the answer. The list of artists who recorded there is astounding. The love of the place is portrayed in interview after interview with the people who worked and recorded there. The editing and structure of this film is outstanding and brings us into the star-studded world of FAME Studio and Muscle Shoals Sound Studio. Another wonderful tale of music history. What a pleasure.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

All Is Lost

As a person who has spent a fair amount of time on the ocean, I found the film All Is Lost terrifying. Setting it in the Indian Ocean gave it an exotic element that took me a bit out of the "this could happen to you" feeling. Still, the story of a single handed sailor dealing with his damaged sailboat in and after a storm is frightening. The cinematography and single performance lead the viewer down a road of survival most of us will never know. Well done.


It is not news that wild animals in captivity is unnatural and in many cases, cruel and abusive. In Blackfish the focus is the procurement and effect of captivity on Orca whales. Disturbing and sad, the cold reality is put on the screen. A powerful documentary.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Captain Phillips

It is one thing to watch a story on the news from a safe distance. It is another thing to be put in the middle of that story. In Captain Phillips, Paul Greengrass sits us on Rich Phillips' shoulder during a harrowing Somali pirate invasion of his ship that actually happened in 2009. The point of view on this film is all Phillips and Greengrass' style serves this story well. The emotion culminates in the final scene. Very raw, very real. Worth seeing.

Saturday, October 12, 2013


As I've said, I grew up on the 60s. Everything the space program did was on broadcast television. When they would air space-walks, I was terrified for the astronauts. What if their tether broke? What if they ran out of oxygen? What if their suit had a leak? Space scared me. When the trailer for Gravity came out, all I could think was, "oh God, my worst nightmare is now on film." As the glowing reviews started rolling in, I knew I would have to see it. Then they put it in the IMAX format. Shit. Wisely, I got my teenage nephews to accompany me. The film is intense, immersive and terrifying. I loved it. I was happy to have company on the ride home. We talked the movie out, and I love how smart my nephews are about film and science. If you can, see Gravity in IMAX 3D, as it was meant to be. Gorgeous and terrifying. Well done.