Film Review: Excellent ‘Louder Than a Bomb’ Begins First Chicago Run

Louder Than a Bomb Oscarman rating: 5.0/5.0
Rating: 5.0/5.0

CHICAGO – As pundits continue to debate the Academy’s choices for the Best Documentary of 2010, one of the most purely enjoyable that I saw last year is opening at the Siskel Film Center for its first Chicago run since the Chicago International Film Festival last October. “Louder Than a Bomb” is the most enjoyable and inspiring film you could see in a theater over the next week. Don’t miss it.

Blu-Ray Review: Spectacular ‘The Tillman Story’ Demands Your Attention

The Tillman Story

CHICAGO – When the Oscar nominations were announced last week, one of the most egregious snubs took place in the category of Best Documentary, where Amir Bar-Lev’s spectacular “The Tillman Story” missed out on not just the award it should have WON but even a nomination. This is not just a snub, it’s shameful, although this has long been a category in need of a massive overhaul. See for yourself when “The Tillman Story” hits DVD and Blu-ray tomorrow, Feb. 1, 2011.

DVD Review: ‘Exit Through the Gift Shop’ Redefines Documentary

Exit Through the Gift Shop

CHICAGO – The brilliant “Exit Through the Gift Shop” may look like a documentary but it’s closer to a piece of performance art, a daring examination of the creative expression of street art that becomes an expression itself. How much of it is true? How much is scripted? Unlike other “controversial” 2010 documentaries “I’m Still Here” and “Catfish” it doesn’t matter this time because Banksy’s amazing film is a joy to behold either way.

DVD Review: ‘Restrepo’ Harrowingly Depicts Human Cost of War


CHICAGO – “Restrepo” is not your average war documentary. It is a terrifying you-are-there experience that will give you goosebumps as the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. This is real. This is not Hollywood. And it is riveting, spectacular filmmaking.

Film Review: ‘Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Elliot Spitzer’ Recounts Political Saga

Client 9 Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

CHICAGO – “He was going to be our first Jewish President.” This uncredited sound bite from the opening of “Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Elliot Spitzer” may sound like an exaggeration but the great Alex Gibney makes the case that it is not hyperbole and that the public pedestal-knocking that happened to the former Governor was more important than you probably think. Arguably the best year in the history of the documentary continues with another strong film from one of our best non-fiction filmmakers.

Film Review: Amazing Saga of ‘The Tillman Story’ Has Lasting Power

The Tillman Story Oscarman rating: 5.0/5.0
Rating: 5.0/5.0

CHICAGO – You are unlikely to see a documentary this year more powerful than “The Tillman Story.” This film will shake your concept of heroism, the marketing machine of government, the military complex, and the state of journalism in the new millennium. It is a remarkable film that sent me out of the theater as angry as the people who refused to let Pat Tillman become the exact opposite of what he wanted to be. Don’t miss it.

Film Review: ‘Countdown to Zero’ Paints Vivid Picture of Nuclear Threat

Countdown to Zero

CHICAGO – Lucy Walker’s “Countdown to Zero” is the most terrifying film of the year and one of the most frightening documentaries in a long time. The director pushes the envelope of taste a bit too far in the fear-mongering final act and underlines her point a few too many times in the process but the education that comes with the terror is a necessary one.

‘The Most Dangerous Man in America’ Honors a Patriotic Whistleblower

The Most Dangerous Man in America Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

CHICAGO – Is the Iraq war merely a continuation of Vietnam? In both cases, were we led to war under false pretenses, with the assurance that we were preserving democracy? Viewers on both sides of the political spectrum will be arguing about these questions long after this documentary, and the current war itself, is over.

Lack of Clear Vision, Viewpoint Handcuffs ‘The Art of the Steal’

Albert C. Barnes in "The Art of the Steal"

CHICAGO – Remember the golden rule? Those who have the gold makes the rules. An illustration of this point is in the new documentary “The Art of the Steal,” a stark reminder of territorial power regarding a valuable art collection.

Interview: Director Don Argott Chronicles ‘The Art of the Steal’

CHICAGO – “The Art of the Steal” is a very telling title. The “art” refers to a multi-billion dollar cache in Philadelphia and the “steal” refers to the powerful government, societal and territorial forces that desire the art. Director Don Argott made the documentary.

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