August 31, 2015

Review of The Wright Brothers

Wright Brothers

Review of The Wright Brothers by David McCullough Rating ***** I took my first airplane ride at age fourteen and have been hooked on flying ever since. Now imagine taking your first airplane ride and being the only person in the world to have had that experience. This book takes the reader on a fascinating […]

Michael Morton’s Modern Day Classic

Getting Life

Review of Getting Life by Michael Morton Rating ***** I am a huge fan of shows like 60 Minutes, 48 Hours, 20/20, and Dateline. I never pass up an opportunity to watch one of these shows when they’re on. Such was the case when I happened upon the story of Michael Morton. Michael Morton was […]

Review of Missoula


Review of Missoula: Rape and the justice system in a college town By John Krakauer Rating **** As the subtitle suggests, this book is about rape on college campuses, specifically the University of Montana. Krakauer focuses on this particular college because of a rash of incidents that occurred over a short period of time, but […]

Review of Dead Wake


Review of Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson Rating ***** The term “dead wake” refers to the disturbance left in the water after a passing ship or torpedo. I’m guessing Erik Larson latched on to that phrase as his title as soon as he came across it. It’s a great […]

A month of tragic anniversaries


Who doesn’t love the month of May? Warm weather. Blossoming flowers. Golf. But May also has the distinction of being the month where a number of historical tragedies have occurred. I’ll start with the ditching of ALM Flight 980. The plane shown in this post was involved in a tragic accident exactly forty-five years ago […]

Oscars’ lack of respect for documentary films continues


  After the 2012 Oscars I wrote about my frustrations with the lack of support given to documentary films in the post Documentary films get little love from Oscars and others. So here we are now three years later and nothing has changed. Once again the documentary features awards were treated like a lessor award. No […]

Review of In The Kingdom of Ice

The Kingdom of Ice

Review of In The Kingdom of Ice: The grand and terrible polar voyage of the USS Jeannette by Hampton Sides Rating ***** Anyone familiar with the Shackleton story will feel right at home with this equally compelling story of exploration and survival. Hampton Sides knows how to tell a good story. This book is every […]

Review of Finding Vivian Maier


Review of Finding Vivian Maier Directed by John Maloof and Charlie Siskel Rating ***** This film tells a fascinating story in a compelling style. The director of the film, John Maloof, attends an auction in search of old photographs that he can use for a history project. He purchases a box of negatives from an unknown photographer. While […]

Review of Maidentrip


Review of Maidentrip by Laura Dekker, directed by Jillian Schlesinger Rating ***** This documentary tells the true story of Laura Dekker’s attempt to become the youngest person to sail solo around the world. She set out on her trip in January 2010 and completed the journey a little more than a year later at the age […]

Justin Ross Harris already tried and convicted by media


This site is full of stories about wrongful convictions. I’m usually writing about cases after people have been found innocent. Now we have the case of Justin Ross Harris who has been accused of intentionally leaving his child in the back of his car with the intent of killing the child. That’s the case that […]

Spent and the power of film

check cashing store

As an author I believe in the power of the written word. The written word, however, is rarely as powerful as film. For anyone with a story to tell, it is a constant battle for people’s attention. There are only so many hours in a day. If given the choice between learning about a subject […]

Review of Escape From Camp 14

camp 14

Review of Escape From Camp 14 written by Blaine Harden Rating **** 1/2 What if you learned that there are prison camps in this world that are not that far removed from the Nazi death camps of WWII? Escape From Camp 14 tells the story of one man’s experiences growing up and eventually escaping one […]

Neighbors and the dumbing down of America

dunce cap

Review of Neighbors written by Andrew J. Cohen and Brendan O’Brien, directed by Nicholas Stoller Rating * (actually zero but then you wouldn’t be able to see it) This site is dedicated to works of nonfiction of which this movie is definitely not. But I had the  misfortune of seeing this movie and wanted to […]

My Oscar pick for best documentary

Oscar Statue 2.jpg

For the first time ever I’ve had a chance to view all five best documentary films before the Oscars. Netflix has four of the five. The one film they didn’t have — Twenty Feet From Stardom — is available on Amazon Prime as a rental. First a quick look at the five nominated films: The […]

West of Memphis an Examination of Incompetence


West of Memphis directed by Amy Berg written by Amy Berg and Billy McMillin Rating ***** This documentary covers the same ground covered by the three Paradise Lost films concerning the wrongful convictions of Jason Baldwin, Damien Wayne Echols, and Jessie Misskelley. As good as those other films were, this film stands on its own […]