Tag Archives | Documentary
Lawrence Wright spent five years conducting hundreds of interviews in at least ten countries in order to write “The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11”. The book, a best-selling history about Islamic fundamentalism, weaves the stories of terrorists, intelligence officers and government officials in a remarkable narrative that helps to explain both the cult of Osama bin Laden and the flaws in American intelligence that let him get away with murder. “When I finished my book,” Mr Wright said in an interview with Prospero, “I had countless people asking me ‘What were they like?’ and ‘How did it affect you?’” He ultimately answered these questions in his one-man play, “My Trip to al-Qaeda”, a gripping personal account of the people he met and what it all felt like. On September 7th HBO will premiere Alex Gibney’s elegant screen adaptation, which mixes theatrical footage with more photographs and videos to help tell Mr Wright’s story about the lure of radicalism in the Islamic world.
Psywar: The Real Battlefield is the Mind explores the evolution of propaganda and public relations in the United States, with an emphasis on the “elitist theory of democracy” and the relationship between war, propaganda and class.
Includes original interviews with a number of dissident scholars including Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Michael Parenti, Peter Phillips (“Project Censored”), John Stauber (“PR Watch”), Christopher Simpson (“The Science of Coercion”).
Almost five years ago, a disaster struck New Orleans. The media said it was a natural disaster primarily affecting poor black people. On both counts, the media was wrong. In The Big Uneasy, humorist and New Orleans resident Harry Shearer gets the inside story of a disaster that could have been prevented from the people who were there. As we approach the fifth anniversary of the flooding of New Orleans, Shearer speaks to the investigators who poked through the muck as the water receded and a whistleblower from the Army Corps of Engineers, revealing that some of the same flawed methods responsible for the levee failure during Katrina are being used to rebuild the system expected to protect the new New Orleans from future peril.
A serious look at a serious problem – the ever-expanding numbers of Americans who are overweight and obese – arrives on cable TV this evening with CNBC’s documentary One Nation, Overweight. It receives a serious review from Alessandra Stanley in the New York Times, below. (For an alternative, but equally serious, documentary on the topic, disinformation also recommends Killer At Large: Why Obesity Is America’s Greatest Threat.)
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There are two Americas.
One is a ruling minority of the healthy few who rely on vegetable gardens, personal trainers and spa getaways to stay fit. The other is the majority of Americans, who are overweight or obese, many of whom risk their own form of assisted living — XXXL clothes, mobility scooters and diabetes treatments that can tip over $50,000 a year.
“One Nation, Overweight” is a CNBC documentary on Tuesday that provides a chilling portrait of a health epidemic that endangers all Americans — without being overly alarmist or too sanguine.
A funny thing happened when they tried to screen The Singularity is Near. After the lights went down, a computer crash prevented the movie from starting! “Ray Kurzweil got back on stage…and good-naturedly reassured us that the technology was getting better. A couple of minutes later, the movie started…”
The new documentary is a clear rendition of the ideas in Kurzweil’s book, including nanotechnology and artificial intelligence, “with Bill McKibben in the role of the friendly flat out opponent, Bill Joy playing the reasonable but worried man, and Mitch Kapor doubting the technological possibilities… K. Eric Drexler, MIT roboticist Cynthia Breazeal, desktop manufacturing guru Neil Gershenfeld and many many more are woven in to support the idea – and the more hopeful potentials – of accelerating change leading to radical alterations in life (itself).”
The movie includes a second fictional narrative showing the future, “and – one of them, at least – is rather affecting.” And there’s also allusions to Fringe, The Matrix, and “lots of very groovy, trippy, and playful graphics.”