Review: ‘You Go To My Head’ has a long lasting psychological effect on its audience.

In a desolate stretch of the Sahara, a mysterious car accident leaves a young woman lost and alone. Jake, a reclusive architect, finds her unconscious. He drives her to the nearest doctor, to discover that she’s suffering from post-traumatic amnesia. Intoxicated by the woman’s beauty, Jake claims to be her husband. He names her Kitty and takes her to his remote desert home to recuperate. The Angell Law Firm knows personal injury law, which is why our Atlanta car accident attorneys are able to offer the best legal representation in the state. For best legal advice, check out your url. At JLF Firm | Accident Attorneys, we will fight for the rights of all the victims who are injured in accidents or caused by negligence. We are the car accident attorney Riverside residents trust. Your life is valuable and you deserve fair compensation. If you have an accident, then you need to get a Riverside accident attorneys to fight for your rights. When it’s time to find a law firm it’s very often because of a sudden unexpected event. Perhaps an accident or injury that you need to act on right away. Sometimes it’s not unexpected as much as it is just delaying the inevitable. This is often the case where bankruptcy attorneys are involved. Many of their clients spend time looking for simple answers to their debt until they get sued by a creditor and it’s time to find a bankruptcy attorney. So the question is, how do you go about finding an attorney? Seems like a simple enough question on the surface, but when you start to look for a Long Island Personal Injury Attorneys firm, you’ll notice right away that there seems to be an endless number of law firms and how will you manage to find the one that’s right for you. As good as the search engines are, the legal profession is just as good as marketing themselves on the search engines. For this reason, if you type in a particular legal issue, such as bankruptcy or medical malpractice, it’s very likely that you will get results from law firms all over the country. In a medical malpractice personal injury lawsuit, a victim seeks compensation for the injury or injuries he or she has suffered. Compensation can include past and future medical expenses, disability or deformity, loss of income, emotional and mental anguish, loss of a spouse’s comfort and society, past and future pain and suffering, and an amount which would be necessary to make the person whole as respects a permanent personal injury. You can check this news for more detail about the medical malpractice attorney. Those firms that have done such a good job trying to get noticed on search engines will be displayed when you are searching. Exploring a bankruptcy attorney’s website and finding a lot of great information may lead you to believe that this is the attorney you want to retain. It is a bit disappointing to find out that when you click the contact tab, you find out the attorney is in Chicago, and you are in New York. Certainly I am not suggesting that you turn to the Yellow Pages! However, there are sources that still let your fingers do the walking, but this time, on the keyboard. One of the most underused resources on the Internet is the local search directory. The major search engines have long recognized this with sites like Yahoo Local and Google Places, but many people don’t know that they have to access those sites differently. It’s hard to change old habits, and eve the major players aren’t making inroads to the local marketplace as fast as they had hoped. In addition, the thrust of their marketing seems to be directed to retail stores and services.
Vehicle accidents are the most common type of incident which will require you to go seeking the services of Attorneys’ dealing in personal injury cases. Aside from auto accidents, there are other kinds such as motorcycle, truck and boat accidents as well. These can result in personal injuries or death at worst. The main reason why there are car accidents is the failure to exercise care while driving. Irresponsible and reckless driving is usually the main reason why car accidents occur. Unfortunately not all countries have laws that can protect people from personal injury. As a driver one should follow the rules, exercise care and adjust to different driving conditions. The failure to do so could result in serious injury and your lifestyle to be compromised. When an auto collides with another, personal injury is very likely to occur and this leads to having to be represented in court by an Attorney for personal injury. Usually the case is taken to court to determine fair and just compensation and this is when you need an experienced Attorney to represent you. You can check this https://www.stephenbabcock.com/ site for more information regading to personal injury and accident attorney.
The party who is proven to be responsible will be ordered to pay for damages, loss of income, medical bills and other related items. If a car is damaged, they have to pay for repair or if a victim is suffering from injuries, the medical bills need to be paid which can amount to a considerable sum of money. The victim may also suffer from mental anguish and trauma as well. This will all be taken into account when the judge makes his decision. As a victim, there are things you need to bare in mind. When the injury is severe, call an ambulance and the police, so that everything is recorded. There are cases when injuries are not visible like fractures or internal injuries so receiving hospital treatment is vital. A good idea is to take a picture of everything like skid marks, location of cars and injuries to the injured. These should be available for immediate release. Photographs are considered to be great evidence. It is also a good idea to collect details from witnesses. The success of a case is often determined by witnesses and an instance of this is when a driver runs a red light. In order to make sure that the maximum payment is received, you need to do some research on Attorneys for personal injury in view of engagement. You need to select a licensed person to ensure that they are legitimate to practice. Perhaps asking friends and family for personal recommendations can help you in your selection process. Being confident that you have the very best personal injury Attorney representing you will lessen the stress involved when dealing with a court case.
There is no need to worry about upfront payments, we can guarantee there will be no charges until we get you your compensation. We can handle any type of situation such as car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, dog bites, slips, falls, wrongful death, and any situation which involves negligence. You will not have to worry about anything because your Riverside accident attorney from the JLF Firm| Accident Attorneys will take care of you. You can trust our knowledge and experience in this stressful moment of your life. Contact your Riverside accident attorney today. Jason Stone Injury Lawyers are great firm if you need someone to handle your injury case. Jeff and his associates and legal assistants are very precise in what they do. They are skilled, efficient, professional and compassionate. They did such a great job that I even didn’t have to appear in a court. I could not have had better representation. I would highly recommend him to anyone! Thank you for the amazing job Jeff! The personal injury attorneys at denton & zachary, pllc are committed to helping victims in Little Rock obtain the compensation they deserve for his or her injuries. Our injury lawyers will go above and beyond to carry the at-fault party accountable and make sure you are fully compensated for your medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering.
As Kitty struggles to come to grips with who she is, Jake invents an elaborate life they can share – the life he has always yearned for. Little by little, Kitty begins to fall in love with him. But when shreds of her past begin to surface, Jake takes steps to ensure he will not lose the love of his life…
As a viewer, you feel just as captive as our leading lady. The constant feeling of dread looms large. The beautiful desert landscape in stark contrast to the modern, predominantly white architecture, allows us to fully immerse ourselves into the relationship between Kitty and Jake. You will feel the isolation and wonder if you have a bit of Stockholm syndrome. Waiting for “the other shoe to drop” is maddening. The score is jarring and incredibly effective. You Go To My Head is a masterfully structured film from every angle. Not to mention it is breathtakingly shot.
Performances by Delfine Bafort and Svetozar Cvetkovic are hypnotizing. They are both charming and flawed, and their chemistry is a perfect balance of wonder and skepticism.  And while the film is almost a full 2 hrs with a slow burn, the anxiety holds you down and forces you to watch. That is a sign of a truly successful film. I cannot stop thinking about this story. It sincerely through me for a loop. You Go To My Head will confound audiences long after the credits roll… and that’s a great thing.
DIMITRI DE CLERCQ’S GRIPPING 
PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER 
YOU GO TO MY HEAD
OPENS ON VALENTINE’S DAY (FEBRUARY 14) IN 
NEW YORK CITY & FEBRUARY 21 IN LOS ANGELES

‘Indian Point’ reveals the truth about an aging nuclear power plant, just 35 miles north of Times Square

indianpoint_poster

As a New Yorker, post-9/11, we want to believe that we’re safer. We want to think that the heightened presence of armed guards at Grand Central means something. But, it’s the forces we don’t see that should freak us out. Did you know that just 35 miles north of Times Square is an aging nuclear power plant called Indian Point? I sure didn’t. Not scary enough for you? Alright, the government has downgraded evacuation plans since the Fukushima meltdown. Still no? 6% of the country’s population lives with 50 miles of the plant. You cannot outrun radiation.

The plant was built in the 1950’s and has not been sufficiently updated since. This is not a one-off for the plants across the country. Old technology cannot be applied fast enough for the amount of old cores we are storing on site (encased in cement). The volatility of this waste is unbelievable. When the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan, Fukushima’s waste was jostled enough to cause multiple reactor meltdown, something that the industry claims is impossible in the US. That radiation has traveled across the ocean and is now causing birth defects in California. Indian Point shows this issue from all sides; activists, journalists, plants supervisors, residents, and the former chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. This is an eye-opening doc about money Vs power.  When you get the end of the film, the information provided will downright piss you off more than you ever thought possible. Indian Point should stand as a warning for us all. Complacency is the way we power our planet is no longer an option.

First Run Features announces the US theatrical premiere of Ivy Meeropol’s documentary INDIAN POINT at The Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York on July 8, 2016, with Los Angeles to follow on July 22, 2016 at Laemmle Music Hall.

INDIAN POINT takes an unblinking look at the dramatic debate over nuclear power by going inside the aging plant that looms just 35 miles from New York City. With over 50 million people living in close proximity to the facility, it has stoked a great deal of controversy in the surrounding community, including a vocal anti-nuclear contingent concerned that the kind of disaster that happened at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant could happen here. At the same time, its continued operation has the support of the plant’s operators and the NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission) as they campaign to relicense Indian Point for another 20 years of operation.

INDIAN POINT presents a complex story through the people who are most invested in the nuclear industry—the owners of the plant, the workers at the plant and the activists who want to shut it down. The film begins inside Indian Point with Brian Vangor, senior control room operator and 35-year veteran who says his job is making sure the plant’s workers “get through their shifts unscathed.” We hear from Marilyn Elie, a leader of the anti-Indian Point group IPSEC and her husband Roger Witherspoon, an environmental journalist. We also meet attorney Phillip Musegaas from Riverkeeper in New York who reveals what few people understand—the enormous damage the plant causes to the water that surrounds it.

As nuclear disaster struck in Japan, Gregory Jaczko, then Chairman of the NRC, was shaken by the news. INDIAN POINT follows Jaczko to Fukushima as he attempts to understand the tragedy no one in his field thought possible.

The debate at the center of INDIAN POINT is more timely now than ever. In February of 2016, news broke that the groundwater below Indian Point had been contaminated with radioactive material, prompting a state investigation.

Filmmaker Ivy Meeropol had unprecedented access to the plant at the center of the most contentious relicensing process in the history of the industry. In the brewing fight for clean energy,INDIAN POINT presents a nuanced argument about the issues surrounding nuclear energy and offers a startling reality check for our uncertain nuclear future.

Filmmaker Biography

Ivy Meeropol is a producer and director of an array of acclaimed documentary feature films and television series. Meeropol recently directed and produced an episode for CNN’s docuseries Death Row Stories, Executive Produced by Alex Gibney and Robert Redford. Her documentary series The Hill premiered on The Sundance Channel in 2006 and received an IDA nomination for best series. In 2007, Meeropol directed the feature documentary All About Abe and in 2003, she produced and directed Heir to An Execution, which had its world premiere at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival and was shortlisted for an Academy Award®. She is currently directing and producing for an Emmy® award-winning climate change documentary series on the National Geographic channel.

INDIAN POINT
A film by Ivy Meeropol
2015, USA, Documentary, English, 94 minutes, Digital

See it if you want to lose sleep.” – Vulture

Must-see.” – New York Post

An effective case study in the long debate over nuclear energy.
– John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter

A cautionary tale about a technology once seen as an abundant and non-polluting energy source, but with downsides that could make oil spills and electrical brownouts seem as minor as a fender bender.
– Lewis Beale, The Daily Beast

Nuclear power is incredibly efficient… but highly dangerous if anything goes awry. That looming threat of danger pushes at the edges of the film, threatening rupture like a nuclear reactor. Someone needs to ask questions; here they are.
– Diana Clarke, The Village Voice

First Run Features’ “The New Rijksmuseum” Is Out Now on DVD

new rijksmuseum poster

Just in time for holiday shopping for those documentary lovers in your life, First Run Features have released their incredible documentary, The New Rijksmuseum. Feel free to re-read my review below to refresh your memory as to why this is worthy of adding to your collection. And for the next four days, all films are 50% off on First Run’s website.

Get there, people!

Review:

Just when I thought films about the inner workings of an art museum couldn’t get much better than Frederick Wiseman‘s National Gallery, along comes Oeke Hoogendijk‘s The New Rijskmuseum. Capturing the tumultuous journey of renovating the Rijskmuseum starting in 2003, I doubt the filmmakers, much less the administration of the venue knew that it would take 10 full years to complete the project. Think about that – one of the finest cultural institutions in the world, the home to many Rembrandts (including the famous The Night Watch) and four of only thirty-four of Johannes Vermeer‘s paintings in the world, was CLOSED, not open to the public, for 10 years.

The New Rijjksmuseum-paintings

Director Hoogendijk has unfettered access to the process which is carefully laid out at the outset of the film in a voiceover by Queen Beatrix from 2001:

The accessibility of our cultural heritage for a wide audience calls for changes in the museological establishment. Government funds have been made available for the large-scale renovation of the Rijskmuseum of Amsterdam

Under General Director Ronald De Leeuw, the Rijksmuseum begins its transformation, which was to to take initially 3 years and happen with a budget of 134 million euros. But as I always say, construction is the biggest racket out there and no project ever comes in on time or on budget. So what unfolds is not so much a comedy of errors, but a comedy of bureaucracy. The architects, Cruz y Ortiz from Spain, won the bidding/contest with their design for the new grand entrance, but their design comes under fire when the local cyclist union fights back against the plan because it limits the space and access to the cyclists of Amsterdam who have come to appreciate and rely on the access to the passage under the Rijskmuseum. At all angles, the city council equivalent shoot down the Rijjskmuseum’s plans and force the architects to change their design which is no small task.

The New Rijjksmuseum-renovation

As the film trundles along, interweaving shots of the renovation with musings by museum staff or footage of missed opportunities at auction in an effort to secure new works for the opening, Hoogendijk easily builds the suspense that this project may never finish and it is that premise that keeps us wholly engrossed. De Leeuw ends up quitting, tired of fighting with the Cyclist Union and Wim Pijbes takes his place bringing with him his own ideas of how the space should look despite what the designers and curators think unlocking another level of bureaucratic interference. But the the folks who don’t get to go behind the curtain of an institution like this to see how it ticks, what unfolds is incredibly fascinating. That the placement of 6 or 7 cannons to be displayed can cause such a contentious argument between the principles at the museum is exasperating, even for us viewers. That this undertaking was so incredibly massive to begin with that it isn’t hard to believe the time it took to complete.

The New Rijjksmuseum-renovation2

Hoogendijk’s camera penetrates this process in a way that really captures so much of the essence of the human spirit and its thirst for artistic inspiration. The film itself is reflective of this very notion. Over the course of ten years, I can’t even begin to imagine the amount of footage that was shot. To cull it down to a 2-hour film must have been a gargantuan task (although rumor has it there was a 4+ hour cut at one point…which I would watch without hesitation). That she was able to make this film as engrossing as it is is really a testament to how dialed in Hoogendijk was throughout this process.

While you might not think that a film about the renovation of an art museum in Holland would be interesting, I’m here to assure you that assumption would be incorrect. I would happily slate this documentary in my top five faves in that arena for the year so far.

https://vimeo.com/111525993

Review: Nichols and Walker’s ‘Welcome to Leith’ Is an Incredibly Stunning and Rattling Film Capturing the Scariness of White Supremacists in All Their Ignorant and Gross Glory

welcome to leith - posterThe reason I like documentaries so much is that you can’t shy away from what is depicted on the screen, you can’t suspend your disbelief because it is happening or has really happened. Some docs are whimsical and can delight you with the beauties of life. Others, the exact opposite. Welcome to Leith happens to fall in the latter crowd, although don’t let that take away from how good this film is.

welcome to leith - filmmakers

Directors Michael Beach Nichols and Christopher Walker are unbelievably able to situate themselves right in the middle of a shitstorm…in the middle of Nowhere, North Dakota (really, Leith). When Craig Cobb comes to town, he goes about unnoticed, busy snapping up pieces of property in the small town. To what end you might ask? Well, Cobb just so happens to be one of the foremost white supremacists in the country and he is doing his best to buy enough property to settle his racists buddies in town so that they can take over Leith politically by using their votes to oust the City Council and sitting Mayor Ryan Schock. And why would they do that, you ask again? So that they can set up what I later learned is called a PLE, or Pioneer Little Europe, or really just a town that is all white and non-Jew, non-Christian where they are free to propagate their ridiculous and, frankly, dangerous views.

welcome to leith swatteam

Nichols and Walker do such a wonderful of balancing the perspective of the concerned local townsfolk who don’t want anything to do with Cobb and his fellow bigots being in Leith with the viewpoint of Cobb and his cronies, sickening as it is. The directors are able to capture the growing concern for the citizens of Leith for their own safety as Cobb himself falls into more and more of an uncontrolled, hate-filled spiral. The interplay between the rights of the citizens of Leith and the rights of the racists to exist in town is fascinating to watch play out amid all of the legal wranglings by both sides to allow their ways of life to continue.

welcome to leith - armedpatrol

What the directors do best here is really letting Cobb and the other white supremacists featured hang themselves with their own words and actions. It is hard not to squirm each time Cobb and his cohort comes on screen spouting their hateful rhetoric. And perhaps the best thing is, they willingly contributed to this. The directors were able to use footage shot by the racists and weave it into the film, so in essence they co-directed portions of the film. The score that composers Brendan Canty and Tim Hecker created added a nice layer to the film. This film is quite scary (if you ask me) and the score really helps reiterate that, allowing the directors to not have to show tons more heavy handed interviews with Cobb and his little posse. I will say that the final shot of Cobb in this film is one of the most satisfying of any documentary I’ve ever seen and incredibly indicative of the how most Americans feel about racists and their fucked up agendas.

welcome to leith burningswastika

This is an endlessly enthralling, enraging and interesting film that really encapsulates the complexity of interpreting the First Amendment. Walker and Nichols have woven together a really important film that gives relatively equal balance to both arguments, something that I can’t imagine was an easy thing to do. The film is chock full of poignant moments (none as good as the reveal of Cobb‘s DNA profile) that show the extremes that both sides will go to protect their rights. While the subject matter is hard to digest in parts (because of the nature of it, not the lack of quality in how it is shown), the filmmakers do a dynamic job in getting the points of both parties across and that is why this film is so successful. I would firmly put this documentary beside K. Ryan JonesFall from Grace about the Westboro Baptist Church as a film that is able to take a subject that is really vomit-inducing about some really disgusting people and allow said disgusting people to do all the dirty work themselves. And as gross as I think Cobb and his lot are, it makes for fascinating cinema to watch them try to work the system and ultimately fail.

This film make its US theatrical debut tonight at the IFC Center in New York City. Directors Michael Beach Nichols and Christopher Walker will be present at the 7:45 screening tonight and tomorrow. The film is being distributed by First Run Features.

Get there, people!

Here’s the trailer:

Review: Sara Newens & Mina Son’s Documentary ‘Top Spin’ Is an Engaging Look Into the World of Competitive Table Tennis

top spin_posterLast year, I reviewed the documentary Touch the Wall about Olympian swimmers Kara Lynn Joyce and superstar Missy Franklin and really enjoyed it. I loved the journeys that were shown for both women as one tried to make a fourth Olympic team while the other tried to make her first. Swimming is a well recognized sport and those depicted in that film are familiar to a fairly wide audience all things considered. So when I began watching Sara Newens’ and Mina Son’s Top Spin about competitive table tennis/ping pong, I wasn’t sure what to expect as someone who doesn’t follow the sport. Hell, I didn’t even know that it was an Olympic sport until watching, However, the journeys of the films’ subjects, Ariel Hsing, Lily Zhang and Michael Landers were every bit as compelling as those of Joyce and Franklin, perhaps even moreso.

Top Spin-ariel_hsing_match

Newens and Son seem to have unfettered access to three subjects of the film. Hsing, Zhang and Landers are all three American teenagers vying for their one true dream – representing the United Stats at the 2012 Olympic games in London. All three, despite their young age, are the best in country, but they have a grueling process in which they have to compete in order to make the team. They first must win tournaments to qualify for the US team, each team consisting of four men and women. But that’s not it…they have to compete against the Canadian National Team to secure one of three spots granted to North America.

Top Spin-lily_zhang

Zhang and Hsing have cultivated quite a rivalry leading into the Olympic trials. Hsing has beaten her twice to claim the National Title, but even through this they are friends outside of the table. They root for one another because they can empathize with each others dreams. Both girls have very supportive families and both are allowed special schedules at school to allow for their training. Zhang only goes to school until noon each day so she can spend 5-6 hours/day training. Hsing‘s father devotes himself full-time to helping coach her and get her prepared for tournaments and the Olympics However, through all of this, the girls appear to maintain fairly normal lives, being with friends and doing things that most kids their age do. Zhang is far more successful in this arenathough. Hsing is shown hanging out with titans Warren Buffett (whom she calls Uncle Warren) and Bill Gates. She has a high profile, and rightfully so as the US Champion. You never get the creepy feeling about their parents and their motives like you do from something like Toddlers & Tiaras, where delusional parents clearly live vicariously through their young children. What we see here is a team effort on the part of the players and their parents. The win together, they lose together, they share in the joy and pain together.

Top Spin-michael_landers

Landers on the other hand is a different case. He is more of a rockstar than the two girls. He likes the limelight and is completely dedicated to his craft as a table tennis player. He doesn’t go to traditional school, but takes classes online at home to better accommodate his training regimen. We get glimpses that he still has somewhat of a social life, but not to the same degree as the two young ladies. He is being courted by major sponsors (he even gets his own Kellogg’s Corn Flakes cereal box) and his mother hints that if he makes the Olympics, that David Letterman is interested in bringing him on the show. He goes to the hip table tennis club Spin in New York City. All these things paint a different picture of Michael although he is no less a fierce competitor than Ariel or Lily. Michael is able to go to train in China where the best table tennis players in the world reside and who have taken 12 of 21 men’s gold medals,15 of 21 women’s gold medals both of the team gold medals awarded.

Top Spin-lily_zhang_match

This film trumpets the rigors of competitive table tennis and the heart and dedication of these three talented youths and their support networks. It is a film that is careful not to judge these kids and their parents who devote everything they can to help them achieve their dream. While some might see this dedication as over the top or overbearing, it’s clear that these kids are keeping perspective on their durability in what is a tough sport as well as future goals outside of the sport. Landers, who dedicated his entire youth to table tennis, has an easy time letting go of the sport and embracing what life has to offer after his run at the Olympics. With Ariel and Lily, we will have to wait and see because they are both younger than Michael. I would love to see a follow up to this film picking up where this one left off because I believe that there is more story to tell here.

Top Spin-ariel_hsing

With a running time just under 80 minutes, this film packs a tremendous amount about these three kids in. I never felt like one got more screen time than the other and that there tales were fleshed out enough that we really got a sense of who they are so kudos to the Newens and Son for that. Ariel, Lilly and Michael‘s stories are worth telling and frankly this is a refreshing look at kids competing in the highest levels of sports with all the tension and drama you might expect from a fiction film. I experienced their highs and lows, triumphs and defeats right along with them and when a film can place me asthe viewer in those situations, you know it’s successful.

While many people don’t know much about table tennis outside of the table they have in the basement, this film demystifies the appeal of the sport and the many facets of the game. I really enjoyed this film and was completely taken by these three teens. I would certainly recommend this film of the vast wasteland of films in theaters now. Get there, people!

For those of you fortunate enough to live in Los Angeles, this film has its world premiere today at the Laemmle Theaters and being distributed by First Run Features.

 

 

Jeremy’s Review: Oeke Hoogendijk’s “The New Rijskmuseum” Is a Unique Documentary Capturing the Spirit of Rebirth of Holland’s Premiere Cultural Institution

new rijksmuseum posterJust when I thought films about the inner workings of an art museum couldn’t get much better than Frederick Wiseman‘s National Gallery, along comes Oeke Hoogendijk‘s The New Rijskmuseum. Capturing the tumultuous journey of renovating the Rijskmuseum starting in 2003, I doubt the filmmakers, much less the administration of the venue knew that it would take 10 full years to complete the project. Think about that – one of the finest cultural institutions in the world, the home to many Rembrandts (including the famous The Night Watch) and four of only thirty-four of Johannes Vermeer‘s paintings in the world, was CLOSED, not open to the public, for 10 years.

The New Rijjksmuseum-paintings

Director Hoogendijk has unfettered access to the process which is carefully laid out at the outset of the film in a voiceover by Queen Beatrix from 2001:

The accessibility of our cultural heritage for a wide audience calls for changes in the museological establishment. Government funds have been made available for the large-scale renovation of the Rijskmuseum of Amsterdam

Under General Director Ronald De Leeuw, the Rijksmuseum begins its transformation, which was to to take initially 3 years and happen with a budget of 134 million euros. But as I always say, construction is the biggest racket out there and no project ever comes in on time or on budget. So what unfolds is not so much a comedy of errors, but a comedy of bureaucracy. The architects, Cruz y Ortiz from Spain, won the bidding/contest with their design for the new grand entrance, but their design comes under fire when the local cyclist union fights back against the plan because it limits the space and access to the cyclists of Amsterdam who have come to appreciate and rely on the access to the passage under the Rijskmuseum. At all angles, the city council equivalent shoot down the Rijjskmuseum’s plans and force the architects to change their design which is no small task.

The New Rijjksmuseum-renovation

As the film trundles along, interweaving shots of the renovation with musings by museum staff or footage of missed opportunities at auction in an effort to secure new works for the opening, Hoogendijk easily builds the suspense that this project may never finish and it is that premise that keeps us wholly engrossed. De Leeuw ends up quitting, tired of fighting with the Cyclist Union and Wim Pijbes takes his place bringing with him his own ideas of how the space should look despite what the designers and curators think unlocking another level of bureaucratic interference. But the the folks who don’t get to go behind the curtain of an institution like this to see how it ticks, what unfolds is incredibly fascinating. That the placement of 6 or 7 cannons to be displayed can cause such a contentious argument between the principles at the museum is exasperating, even for us viewers. That this undertaking was so incredibly massive to begin with that it isn’t hard to believe the time it took to complete.

The New Rijjksmuseum-renovation2Hoogendijk’s camera penetrates this process in a way that really captures so much of the essence of the human spirit and its thirst for artistic inspiration. The film itself is reflective of this very notion. Over the course of ten years, I can’t even begin to imagine the amount of footage that was shot. To cull it down to a 2-hour film must have been a gargantuan task (although rumor has it there was a 4+ hour cut at one point…which I would watch without hesitation). That she was able to make this film as engrossing as it is is really a testament to how dialed in Hoogendijk was throughout this process.

While you might not think that a film about the renovation of an art museum in Holland would be interesting, I’m here to assure you that assumption would be incorrect. I would happily slate this documentary in my top five faves in that arena for the year so far.

So, to the fortunate few who have access to this film, get there. The film opened in New York and Los Angeles this past weekend and is still playing there. Here is the list of upcoming screenings.

Jeremy’s Review – Dena Seidel’s Fantastic Antarctic Edge: 70° South Is Yet Another in a Series of Wake-Up Calls About Climate Change

antarctic_posterWhile it still absolutely amazes me that anyone can refute or deny that climate change is happening and changing the complexion of our planet, it doesn’t hurt to have as much ammunition to use to back it all up. Director Dena Seidel‘s Antarctic Edge: 70° South is in depth look at one of many projects scientists are undertaking to measure the damage being done to Antarctica and thus to the Earth.

antarctic edge 1

The film follows a group of scientists on their yearly sojourn to the western peninsula of Antarctica to conduct a series of tests covering everything from the amount of ice melt to the amount of krill in the water to the Adelie penguin populations and whether they are flourishing or not. And what is stressed is that Antarctica basically sets the tone for the weather on Earth. Because of the currents that swirl around it and push water throughout the planet, its health is of ultimate importance. As the Antarctic ice/snow melt, not only does the surface area that reflects sun/heat back into the atmosphere get smaller, but the water temperature rises allowing for massive storms like Hurricane Sandy to form as well as cut the ocean’s ability to trap carbon, which is phytoplankton use for photosynthesis to grow who, in turn, serve as food for krill who are likewise eaten by whales and penguins. Whew. So needless to say, this complicated series of events taking place in Antarctica effect the entire planet.

antarctic edge 4

Where Seidel really excels is presenting this complex information in a way that is comsumable for an average, non-science savvy viewer. The scientists, from the ornithologists studying the penguins to those studying the amount of carbon in krill urine, to the crew on the ship carrying these folks, are all incredibly charismatic and relatable. Without this, the material being presented might better be suited for a TedTalk than a documentary. This is a film that teaches as it unfolds, which is key. There has been several other Antarctica-focused films that have come out in the last few years, chief among them are Werner Herzog‘s Encounters at the End of the World and Anthony Powell‘s Antarctica: A Year on the Ice (read my review here), but none of them tackle this particular aspect of the Antarctic story. This film fills a unique space in the lore of the least populated continent on the planet and that brings the challenges that not only the continent faces but the Earth does to the forefront. And while there are many lasting images and warnings in the film, perhaps the most moving is by Philippines Climate Commissioner Naderev Sano, whose testimony at the very outset of the film highlighting what Super Typhoon Haiyan did to his country (as well as many other climate-related events) and the need for action. While I can’t find the specific clip in the film, this one covers some of the same pleas he makes.

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At 72 minutes, this film won’t hit you over the head with the information it presents. While the message the film contains is somewhat dire, it still has tinges of hope. What needs to be done to reverse climate change rests on the shoulders of the humans inhabiting the planet. Hopefully this film will add to the voices yelling in favor of action. I really enjoyed this film and I hope many more do as well.

Antarctic Edge: 70° South opens today at Quad Cinema in New York City. Here is a list of other upcoming screenings.

Here’s the trailer:

Jeremy’s Review: Stefan Haupt’s ‘Sagrada’ an Interesting Look at the Building of Gaudí’s La Sagrada Familia and the Contemporary Vision for Its Completion

sagrada_posterHaving never been to Barcelona, I have missed seeing the great bulk of world renowned architect Antoni Gaudí’s work. Ubiquitous as it is in books and photos, it can’t be the same as ever being right in front of it. This clearly extends to La Sagrada Familia, Gaudí’s unfinished cathedral masterpiece, its three façades the telling of the story of Jesus Christ – one depicts the birth, the next the passion, the last the story of his ascendance. Started 132 years, La Sagrada Familia is still undergoing construction and Stefan Haupt gives us not only a historical tour of La Sagrada Familia but a metaphysical one as well.
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Jeremy’s Review: Doug Pray’s Documentary ‘Levitated Mass’ About Artist Michael Heizer’s Installation/Sculpture Is Astonishing

levitated mass poster

A rock. A very large rock. That is ostensibly what Doug Pray‘s Levitated Mass is about. While that may not seem like a subject of interest, it’s the context in which the rock is taken that makes this film, and the rock, so interesting. A little background to clarify – since the 1960s, artist/sculptor Michael Heizer has been working in large-scale earth art (like Andy Goldsworthy who may be more a household name than Heizer) that is too big to be contained within the traditional confines of an art gallery or museum. Since 1969 he had planned a piece, the titular Levitated Mass – a gigantic rock suspended on concrete rails that allows viewers to walk in a trench under the massive stone, the work, according the the LACMA website where the project now sits, “speaks to the expanse of art history, from ancient traditions of creating artworks from megalithic stone, to modern forms of abstract geometries and cutting-edge feats of engineering.” After a failed attempt, Heizer put the project on hold until a suitable stone could once again be found. Read More →

Jeremy’s Review: Ian McDonald’s ‘Algorithms’ Falls Victim to the Budapest Gambit

algorithms_posterWhat is the Budapest Gambit, you ask? Well, it’s a chess opening that apparently was able to draw top players into making mistakes only to lose the game. I think it’s an apt appraisal of Ian McDonald‘s Algorithms, a film about chess following three young players from India, which just so happens to be the birthplace of chess, as they vie for prominence in their home country and for a world championship. The catch with these young men is that they are all blind or are partially sighted. Picture that if you can. Chess, a game where there are 318,979,564,000 possible plays in the first four moves, being played by blind players. While these players can certainly be aided by technology that blind players in the past did not have access to, the undertaking is immense. Much is the task that McDonald undertakes in the documentation about three junior players. Read More →