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click to enlarge - War Made Easy: How Presidents & - Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death (NR)  -  -  - Media Education Foundation -  -  - Inspired by Norman Solomon's book of the same title, - this documentary, narrated by Sean Penn, covers 50-plus - years of war, starting with the skeptical presumption that - a tightly controlled media has not told the public the - truth. Solomon pinpoints journalistic failures while - questioning propagandist techniques in current war - reporting. With speeches from decades' worth of political - figures, the uniformity of diction speaks for itself. - WME, though well-done and important, could - come off as pandering to free thinkers who probably - already know most of this information  at least on a - gut level. The concluding words of Martin Luther King, Jr. - (via voice-over) provide the best commentary: The slain - leader speaks of a "nation approaching spiritual death." -  Matthew Schniper
  • War Made Easy: How Presidents & Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death (NR)

    Media Education Foundation

    Inspired by Norman Solomon's book of the same title, this documentary, narrated by Sean Penn, covers 50-plus years of war, starting with the skeptical presumption that a tightly controlled media has not told the public the truth. Solomon pinpoints journalistic failures while questioning propagandist techniques in current war reporting. With speeches from decades' worth of political figures, the uniformity of diction speaks for itself. WME, though well-done and important, could come off as pandering to free thinkers who probably already know most of this information at least on a gut level. The concluding words of Martin Luther King, Jr. (via voice-over) provide the best commentary: The slain leader speaks of a "nation approaching spiritual death." Matthew Schniper

click to enlarge Black Snake Moan (R)  -  -  -  - Paramount Home Video  -  -  - If one film proved to be a huge disappointment earlier - this year, it had to be Craig Brewer's Black Snake - Moan. A follow-up to his incredible Hustle & - Flow, one of the best films to be released in the - 21st century, Moan seems more like a step - back. It's overly simplistic and, at times, downright - baffling. The plotline, in short: Samuel L. Jackson stars as - an old bluesman who decides to cure Christina Ricci of - her nymphomania by chaining her to a radiator. Despite - some good performances, it's pretty lackluster. The DVD - is no different, as special features are sparse, with a few - deleted scenes and a commentary by Brewer being the - main standouts. The dearth of features kind of leads one - to believe that maybe a "special edition" is on the way, - but why they'd even bother is beyond me.  - Louis Fowler
  • Black Snake Moan (R)

    Paramount Home Video

    If one film proved to be a huge disappointment earlier this year, it had to be Craig Brewer's Black Snake Moan. A follow-up to his incredible Hustle & Flow, one of the best films to be released in the 21st century, Moan seems more like a step back. It's overly simplistic and, at times, downright baffling. The plotline, in short: Samuel L. Jackson stars as an old bluesman who decides to cure Christina Ricci of her nymphomania by chaining her to a radiator. Despite some good performances, it's pretty lackluster. The DVD is no different, as special features are sparse, with a few deleted scenes and a commentary by Brewer being the main standouts. The dearth of features kind of leads one to believe that maybe a "special edition" is on the way, but why they'd even bother is beyond me. Louis Fowler

click to enlarge If .... (R)  -  -  - Criterion  -  - In this age of complete fear of student retaliation  in - the form of school violence or armed teenage rebellion - the 1968 film If ....  is more dangerous than - ever. It's also one of the greatest films ever made, a real - milestone in British cinema. It stars a young Malcolm - McDowell as schoolboy Mick Travis who, tired of the - private-school hierarchy, stages a war against authority, - with bloody results. The funny thing, though, is that this - is a dark, dark comedy masquerading as social - commentary on the British education system. Of course, - being a Criterion disc, the features are incredible and - indelible. Besides the commentaries and essays on the - importance of the film, an early film of Lindsay - Anderson's, Thursday's Children, about a school - for deaf children, is included and is incredibly moving. -  Louis Fowler
  • If .... (R)

    Criterion

    In this age of complete fear of student retaliation in the form of school violence or armed teenage rebellion the 1968 film If .... is more dangerous than ever. It's also one of the greatest films ever made, a real milestone in British cinema. It stars a young Malcolm McDowell as schoolboy Mick Travis who, tired of the private-school hierarchy, stages a war against authority, with bloody results. The funny thing, though, is that this is a dark, dark comedy masquerading as social commentary on the British education system. Of course, being a Criterion disc, the features are incredible and indelible. Besides the commentaries and essays on the importance of the film, an early film of Lindsay Anderson's, Thursday's Children, about a school for deaf children, is included and is incredibly moving. Louis Fowler

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