Movie Review: If a Tree Falls

This exceptional documentary discusses the Earth Liberation Front (ELF), a group that has been slandered by the US government as terrorists. They have used arson as a tool to fight back against activities and corporations that harm the environment, while being extremely careful to avoid killing or injuring anyone. In general, my attitude toward the ELF is similar to my analysis of the Weather Underground and other armed revolutionary groups of the West in the 1970s – their actions are legitimate and morally right, but strategically wrong.

But that’s an aside. The movie brings, amazingly, nuance to its subject. Focusing on the upcoming trial of Daniel McGowan, it includes interviews with his fiancĂ©e, his family, former ELF comrades, law enforcement, and the federal prosecutor of his case. The movie does an impressive job of remaining neutral and letting all parties speak for themselves, allowing us to see the motivations and humanity of all involved.

The director spoke after the screening and pointed out that they have blurbs from both the ELF and the prosecutor saying that they think the movie is important and that people should watch it, a testament to its even-handedness.

I recommend anyone interested in environmentalism or radical movements watch this movie.

Movie Review: Taqwacore

I was really anticipating the movie Taqwacore, about “the North American Muslim punk movement”. What’s not to love right there?

The trailer is enticing. Unfortunately, the movie did not provide much more than the trailer did. Watch the trailer below, then read the rest of my comments, and save yourself the 80 minutes of the movie.

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Movie Review: I AM

Yesterday I got free preview tickets to the movie I AM (warning: embedded YouTube starts immediately).

Here’s the blurb:

I AM, a prismatic and probing exploration of our world, what’s wrong with it, and what we can do to make it better, represents Tom Shadyac’s first foray into non-fiction following a career as one of Hollywood’s leading comedy practitioners, with such successful titles as “Ace Ventura,” “Liar Liar,” and “Bruce Almighty” to his credit. I AM recounts what happened to the filmmaker after a cycling accident left him incapacitated, possibly for good. Though he ultimately recovered, he emerged a changed man. Disillusioned with life on the A-list, he sold his house, moved to a mobile home community, and decided to start life anew.

Shadyac was there in person and fielded questions from the audience at the end of the screening.

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