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Move Review: The Heart of the Game July 28, 2013

Posted by shwaldman in Movies.
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Netflix Synopsis: Attending predominantly white Roosevelt High because her mother thinks she’ll have better opportunities under the school’s successful coach, gifted black hoopster Darnellia Russell puts herself — and her coach — through the wringer. Shot in a suburban Seattle high school over a seven-year period, director Ward Serrill’s stirring documentary explores the complicated relationship between gender, race and organized sports.

I have seen lot of movies about basketball. Some are dramas, some are documentaries and even a couple of comedies. By far, my favorite type of basketball movie is the documentary. Sometimes they simply document the team that is the best and always wins. Sometimes, they get close and lose in the end. but The Heart of the Game is a roller coaster. I was sitting at the edge of my seat wondering how it was going to turn out.

This is a movie about heart, caring, dedication and strength. They story covers a team and an extended family where love is clearly held together by the love of the coach for his players and the team for each other. Oh, and it is narrated by Ludacris.


Movie Review: Catfish March 7, 2011

Posted by shwaldman in Society, Technology.
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Netflix Synopsis: Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman document the strange series of events that unfolds when a gifted 8-year-old artist named Abby contacts Nev, a 24-year-old photographer (and Schulman’s brother), through Facebook. After Abby sends Nev a remarkable painting based on one of his photos, Nev begins corresponding with her family — including her seductive 19-year-old sister. Realizing that something’s not quite right, Nev sets out to uncover the truth.

I like watching documentaries. They often tell a viewpoint of the filmmaker about real world events. They feel like you are a part of history. This movie/documentary was very different. This was one of the most compelling documentaries I have ever watched. It felt like a window into peoples lives that you only hear about second hand. The story could have been made into a wide-release full length feature film. But it would have lost its human touch.

These amateur filmmakers have produced a rich, moving story about what happens on Facebook and other social media sites. It is hard to believe, but witnessing it before your eyes is touching and has to be watched to understand. “The Social Network” was released about the same time as this movie and I think it got over shadowed and overlooked. If you are interested in what happens on Facebook, you should definitely check this one out!

Movie Review: Frost Nixon: The Original Watergate Interviews January 9, 2010

Posted by shwaldman in Politics, Society.
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Netflix Synopsis: In this edited collection of interviews, tenacious British journalist David Frost conducts his now-famous 1977 talk with Richard Nixon in which the former president candidly discusses the Watergate scandal and its aftermath. Additional footage includes Frost’s reflections on the interview and his reaction to “Frost/Nixon,” the Tony-winning stage play and subsequent film inspired by his history-making work.

I decided to watch this documentary of the original interviews with Richard Nixon because I heard the recent drama, Frost/Nixon was supposed to be very good. (Also because they were available for online Instant Watch on Netflix.) And I wanted to get the factual, original background for which this new movie is based. I also knew very little about the events of Watergate. So, I found this 75 minutes of conversation to be interesting. Given the charged nature of these events, I felt the two participants to be very respectful and open to each others point of views.

I can’t not say I learned a ton about the actual events themselves. For that, I have used a little web searching and reading where I could find additional information. I found Wikipedia to be more than enough to understand the basics of these events. However, for anyone interested in politics and history, I think these interviews are very interesting. For course, in this day and age, it is difficult to swallow any comments made by a politician, but given the nature of the situation, the conversation was informative in the sense of the view point of the resigned President and his “recollections” and emotions.

I look forward to seeing how the drama corresponds to these interviews. I also noticed that the complete interviews are available on two discs from Netflix (and elsewhere I am sure), but that is more than I need.

Movie Review: The Good Shepherd October 3, 2009

Posted by shwaldman in Society.
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Netflix Synopsis: Matt Damon and Robert De Niro (who also directs) star in this partially fact-based drama that examines the early history of the CIA as seen through the eyes of a dedicated agent. An upstanding, sharp-minded Yale student, Edward Wilson (Damon) is recruited to work for the fledgling CIA during World War II. Though loyal to his country, Wilson begins to feel the job eroding his ideals, filling him with distrust and destroying his personal life.

My first of three movies from Netflix this week, The Good Shephard was very entertaining and informative. Based on real events revolving around the Bay of Pigs incident and the CIA work. I admit I am not very well educated on these events, but was interested in the history of the time period.

However, the presentation of this movie was rough. It was nearly three hours in length and I think that was in part because of all the timeline transitions. Each new scene seemed to jump from one time period to another. The movie covered from about 1910 to 1970 and while this made for an interesting story, this jump disrupted my enjoyment of the film.

Movie (Documentary) Review: Man on Wire October 2, 2009

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Netflix Synopsis: Philippe Petit captured the world’s attention in 1974 when he successfully walked across a high wire between New York’s Twin Towers. This Oscar winner for Best Documentary explores the preparations that went into the stunt as well as the event and its aftermath. Obsessed with the towers even before they were fully constructed, Petit sneaked into the buildings several times to determine the equipment he needed to accomplish his daring feat.

I first heard about this movie during one of favorite podcasts, Think on NPR’s KERA station in Texas. The passion that came through of Philippe Petite was captivating. I knew then that I had to find it on Netflix. Well, this week, I finally got around to it from the “Watch Instantly” queue.

Now, I have to say this, 8 years after the events of September 11th, 2001, this movie was very errie. That being said, for a documentary, this story is amazing and the performance is absolutely breath-taking. If you can get past the reminders of 9/11, this is a can’t miss movie. It celebrates one man’s passion, possibly slight insanity, determination and skill. And the photography is spectacular.

Maxed Out January 15, 2009

Posted by shwaldman in Politics, Society.
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Last night (while getting in some time on my treadmill), I watched the documentary “Maxed Out.” It was from 2006. TWO THOUSAND and SIX! It has been in my NetFlix queue for a while now. I knew the premise and didn’t think of making it a priority to watch since we have managed to steer clear of financing much of anything. To be honest, I am quite proud to say that we only finance long-term assets – the house, cars, and occasionally furniture and appliances. But enough about me, I want you know why you need to watch this movie.

I like watching different documentaries on various subjects. But this documentary lays out quiet the scenerio…. and wow, here we are in 2009 and the world has finally awaken to a sad reality. The credit companies “helped” a lot of people get very, very poor. I was going to “made them poor”, but there does have to be some personal responsibility in our world. And while I do not blame the NRA for crime and the tobacco industry for my own father’s lung cancer, companies and whole industries should have the same personal responsibilties as our citizens. But yet again, it is the responsibility of our government apply appropriate justice. They eventually took care of tobacco, they are dragging their feet in allowing AK-47s on our city streets, but they definitely dropped the ball with the credit industry. And now it is too late!

Last time I checked, while many people and other companies are filing for bankruptcy, I haven’t heard about many credit card companies running short on funds. It was interesting that the person in the movie that came out and said it was Robin Leach…. “the rich are getting richer and that isn’t going away.” The problem we have is that free-market capitalism just does not work in a democratic society. They just don’t mix.

Now in order for me to justify that statement, I have to include the primary two princples of democracy. The first principle is that all members of the society have equal access to power and the second that all members enjoy universally recognized freedoms and liberties. And my intrepretation of that first princple is regardless of financial situation. In other words, our democratic (little “d”) government MUST protect all people from the all others. And in this situation, it is quite clear the credit industry has preyed on people who can not protect themselves. Watch the movie and see what I mean – you can see on-demand (online) at Netflix.com without even waiting for the DVD in the mail.