April 21, 2014

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 […]

January 2014 promotion for 35 Miles From Shore


So you got a new e-reader for Christmas and you’re looking for something good to read. If you’re a fan of nonfiction narratives, then you may find this January promotion exactly what you’re looking for. For the entire month of January the electronic version of 35 Miles From Shore: The Ditching and Rescue of ALM […]

Ryan Ferguson: Free at last

Ryan Ferguson

I first wrote about Ryan Ferguson in the post Injustice in plain sight. When a local judge in Columbia decided to not vacate Ryan’s sentence after the two eyewitnesses who put him there recanted their testimony, I got personally involved and called the Attorney General’s office. Ryan’s story is a perfect example of how wrongful […]

Review of Hot Coffee


Review of Hot Coffee directed by Susan Saladoff Rating **** Lady spills hot coffee on herself and then sues McDonalds for millions and wins. Remember that story? I certainly do. I thought it was a ridiculous claim and a perfect example of a frivolous lawsuit. So just based on that limited amount of knowledge I […]

July 2013 view from the cockpit


My book and documentary project have consumed my time for contributing to this blog. I am too busy to even read anything not related to my project. I have been watching the occasional documentary, some of which I have reviewed. I’ve also been flying more. I took this image coming back to St. Louis on the […]

The real story behind the George Zimmerman trial


Like everyone else I’ve been following the second degree murder trial of George Zimmerman. I’ve watched the talking-head attorneys try to defend what’s going on in Florida. How it’s up to the jury to decide. What’s missing is the fact that this trial should never have taken place in the first place. The evidence for […]

Our broken justice system: The Central Park Five

The Central Park Five

Review of The Central Park Five written by Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, and David McMahon Rating ***** This film should be required viewing for anyone who works in the justice system. This story is a textbook example of how wrongful convictions occur. There are common elements with every wrongful conviction. They most often involve males […]

Review of The House I Live In


Review of The House I Live In Written & directed by Eugene Jarecki Rating **** 1/2 It used to be that I would hear about a film or documentary and try in vain to find a venue where I could see or rent that particular film. This is changing with on demand video streaming. I […]

How to Kraft a great commercial


Regular visitors to this blog know that I have a dumbest commercials list. But just as there are plenty of bad commercials, there are also some really good ones. This one from Kraft is a classic. It’s funny. It’s original. This is one of those commercials people talk about afterwards — Have you seen that […]

Herbal Essences Makes Dumbest Commercial List

Few commercials are so bad that they make you cringe every time you see it, but this one from Herbal Essences fits that bill. First off, the whole fake orgasm bit isn’t creative, funny, or original. The entire commercial seems to be a rip off of the movie When Harry met Sally. Then there is […]

Will the real Phil Spector please stand up


Review of HBO’s Phil Spector written and directed by David Mamet Rating *** So David Mamet decides he wants to tell the story of Phil Spector and the murder, or suicide, or accidental death of Lana Clarkson. David believes that Phil is innocent. He lays out a convincing argument for his case. He enlists the help […]

Review of Farmageddon


Review of Farmageddon written and directed by Kristin Canty Rating **** This film tells the story of how the USDA is using its power and resources to harm small farmers. This is a topic I have written about before. Mostly I have written about the harmful effects of the industrialization of food. It’s a topic covered […]

Review of Five Broken Cameras

five broken cameras

Review of Five Broken Cameras written and directed by Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi Rating ***** I’ve seen a lot of documentaries from the slickly produced films like The Imposter to homemade movies like Catfish. And the best ones all have one thing in common – they tell compelling stories. This film is one of the five […]

Review of Zero Dark Thirty

zero dark 30

Review of Zero Dark Thirty written by Mark Boal and directed by Kathryn Bigelow Rating ***** In a previous post, I said that the film The Impossible was my pick for best picture of 2012. Since that picture wasn’t one of the nominated pictures, this film would be my second pick. As much as I […]