Editorial Review – Amazon.com
In retrospect, it seems absurd that the United States government felt so threatened by the presence of John Lennon that they tried to have him deported. But that’s what happened, as chronicled in directors David Leaf and John Scheinfeld’s The U.S. vs. John Lennon. The film starts slowly, with a familiar look at the former Beatle’s troubled childhood, his outspokenness as one of the Fabs (“We’re more popular now than Jesus Christ,” etc.), and his eventual hookup with Yoko Ono, paralleled by the growth of political protest in ’60s America, particularly against the Vietnam War. John and Yoko went on to stage their own peaceful demonstrations, like the Canadian “bed-ins,” but these were largely harmless media stunts. It was when the Lennons moved to New York in the early ’70s and took a more active role in the anti-war movement, making friends with radicals like Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, and Black Panther Party founder Bobby Seale, that the government got interested–and paranoid–and men like President Richard Nixon, FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, and right-wing Sen. Strom Thurmond began actively looking for ways to silence him (it was Thurmond who came up with the deportation idea). That’s also when the film picks up. An array of talking heads weighs in, ranging from Ono and others sympathetic to Lennon’s plight (Walter Cronkite, Sen. George McGovern, even Geraldo Rivera) to those on the other side, including Watergate conspirator G. Gordon Liddy. Though The U.S. vs. John Lennon is hardly impartial, it’s safe to say that although Lennon was more an idealist than an activist, he was an influential celebrity whom Nixon viewed as a potential nuisance in an election year. And even once Nixon had won the ’72 presidential race, the Immigration and Naturalization Service refused to drop its case. Why? “Anybody who sings about love, and harmony, and life, is dangerous to somebody who sings about death,” says author Gore Vidal. “Lennon… was a born enemy of the U.S. He was everything they hated.” For music fans, Lennon’s solo recordings provide the soundtrack. The DVD also contains considerable additional documentary footage. –Sam Graham
Produced by Martin Scorsese and Robert Greenhut and directed by Arne Glimcher, PICASSO AND BRAQUE GO TO THE MOVIES is a cinematic tour through the effects of the technological revolution, specifically the invention of aviation, the creation of cinema and their interdependent influence on artists Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. With narration by Scorsese and interviews with art scholars and artists including Chuck Close, Julian Schnabel and Eric Fischl, the film looks at the collision between film and art at the turn of the 20th Century and helps us to realize cinema’s continuing influence on the art of our time.
The film, We Live in Public, details the experiences of “the greatest Internet pioneer you’ve never heard of,”Josh Harris. The pioneer Internet dot.com millionaire founded Pseudo.com, the first internet streaming TV network during the infamous technology boom of the late ’90s. After achieving prominence amongst the Silicon Valley USA set, Harris became interested in controversial the human behavior experiments which tested the impact of media on society and technology to answer the question, what is personal identity. Ondi Timoner created a project initiation document to share major business-related moments of Harris’s life for more than a decade, setting the tone for her best documentaries ever on virtual worlds online and its supposed control of human lives.
Among Josh Harris’s experiments touched on in the film is the creative art projects of Orwell “Quiet: We Live in Public.” This Orwellian, Big Brother, totalitarian government concept developed in the late ’90s which placed more than 100 artists in a human terrarium under New York City, with webcam capture software and a laser microphone following every move the artists made. The pièce de résistance consisted of Japanese capsule hotels that was outfitted with live video cameras in every pod, and screens that allowed each occupant to monitor the other pods installed in the basement by artist Jeff Gompertz.
The film’s website describes how, “With Quiet: We Live in Public, Harris proved how, in the affiliate future of standard life online, we will willingly trade our privacy for the connection and peer recognition we all deeply desire. Through his experiments, including another six-month stint living under 24-hour home security camera systems online which led him to experience nervous breakdown symptoms. Josh Harris displayed the demonstration effect of the price we will all pay for living in public.”
“He climbs into the TV set and he becomes the rat in his own experiment at this point, and the results don’t turn out very well for him,” says Timoner of the six month period Harris broadcast his work experience abroad in one his lofts in NYC live online. “He really takes the only relationship that he’s ever had that was close and intimate and beaches it on 30 motion-controlled home security camera systems and 66 invasive microphones. I mean his girlfriend who signed on to it thinking it would be fun and cool, and that they were living a fast and crazy TV by Internet life, she ended up leaving him. She just couldn’t be intimate in public. And I think that’s one of the important lessons in life; the Internet, as wonderful as it is, is not an intimate medium. It’s just not. If you want to keep something intimate and if you want to keep something sacred, you probably shouldn’t post it.”
CITIZENFOUR is a real life thriller, unfolding by the minute, giving audiences unprecedented access to filmmaker Laura Poitras and journalist Glenn Greenwald’s encounters with Edward Snowden in Hong Kong, as he hands over classified documents providing evidence of mass indiscriminate and illegal invasions of privacy by the National Security Agency (NSA).
Poitras had already been working on a film about surveillance for two years when Snowden contacted her, using the name “CITIZENFOUR,” in January 2013. He reached out to her because he knew she had long been a target of government surveillance, stopped at airports numerous times, and had refused to be intimidated. When Snowden revealed he was a high-level analyst driven to expose the massive surveillance of Americans by the NSA, Poitras persuaded him to let her film.
CITIZENFOUR places you in the room with Poitras, Greenwald, and Snowden as they attempt to manage the media storm raging outside, forced to make quick decisions that will impact their lives and all of those around them.
CITIZENFOUR not only shows you the dangers of governmental surveillance—it makes you feel them. After seeing the film, you will never think the same way about your phone, email, credit card, web browser, or profile, ever again.
An entire country watched transfixed as a poised, beautiful African-American woman in a blue dress sat before a Senate committee of 14 white men and with a clear, unwavering voice recounted the repeated acts of sexual harassment she had endured while working with U.S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. That October day in 1991 Anita Hill, a bookish law professor from Oklahoma, was thrust onto the world stage and instantly became a celebrated, hated, venerated, and divisive figure.
Anita Hill’s graphic testimony was a turning point for gender equality in the U.S. and ignited a political firestorm about sexual misconduct and power in the workplace that resonates still today. She has become an American icon, empowering millions of women and men around the world to stand up for equality and justice.
Against a backdrop of sex, politics, and race, ANITA reveals the intimate story of a woman who spoke truth to power. Directed by Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Freida Mock, the film is both a celebration of Anita Hill’s legacy and a rare glimpse into her private life with friends and family, many of whom were by her side that fateful day 22 years ago. Anita Hill courageously speaks openly and intimately for the first time about her experiences that led her to testify before the Senate and the obstacles she faced in simply telling the truth. She also candidly discusses what happened to her life and work in the 22 years since.
Diana Vreeland is even more vital and relevant today than at the time of her death in 1989. While her reputation in the fashion world is well known, the actual breadth of her career and extent of her reach is immeasurable. The true gold standard of fashion and style credibility, Mrs. Vreeland is responsible for launching many iconic careers, establishing countless trends that have stood the test of time, and bringing an unprecedented and incontrovertible perspective to the fashion world that has scarcely been seen since.
Created and overseen by her estate, DianaVreeland.com is dedicated to her work and career, presenting her accomplishments and influence — and revealing just how and why she achieved such notoriety and distinction. Moreover, the site will delve into her rich personal history illuminating the woman behind the legend. Here fashion enthusiasts, bloggers and web cruisers the world over will find exclusive memos, photographs, images, videos and stories about or by the woman herself. Beyond just celebrating history, DianaVreeland.com is a source for contemporary and timeless fashion and style inspiration.
The launch of DianaVreeland.com coincides with the debut of Lisa Immordino Vreeland’s two groundbreaking new projects: the large-format book and feature-length documentary entitled Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has To Travel, which commemorate her iconic life.
The documentary is directed by Brett Morgen who began work on it in 2007 when Cobain’s widow, Courtney Love, approached him with the idea. It is the first documentary about Kurt Cobain to be made with the cooperation of his family. Morgen and his team were given access to the entirety of Cobain’s personal and family archives. The documentary includes footage from various Nirvana performances and unheard songs, as well as unreleased home movies, recordings, artwork, photography, journals, demos, and songbooks. Morgen used the interviews in the film Lenny as a model for the interviews in the film. The film’s title, Montage of Heck, takes its name from a musical collage that was created by Cobain with a 4-track cassette recorder in about 1988, of which there are two versions; one is about thirty-six minutes long and the other about eight minutes long. Several of the film’s scenes were animated by Stefan Nadelman and Hisko Hulsing. Jeff Danna wrote an original score for the film. The film was co-produced by HBO Documentary Films and Universal Pictures International Entertainment Content Group. Cobain and Courtney Love’s only daughter, Frances Bean Cobain, was a co-executive producer on the film.