Gerrymandering gets boring in Slay the Dragon

C+ Documentary Directed by Barak Goodman and Chris Durrance We all know that gerrymandering is a threat to our democracy. Filmmakers Barak Goodman and Chris Durrance want us to understand how we can end this problem. But their documentary is sometimes scattered, unfocused, and conventional. It's also occasionally boring. Gerrymandering has been around almost as … Continue reading Gerrymandering gets boring in Slay the Dragon

Movie sound explained in Making Waves

B+ Documentary Directed by Midge Costin George Lucas argues that "Sound is 50 percent of the movie experience." In Midge Costin's entertaining documentary, Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound, audio geniuses like Walter Murch, Ben Burtt, and Gary Rydstrom show us how that 50 percent is created. Directors like Steven Spielberg and David Lynch … Continue reading Movie sound explained in Making Waves

Doc Stories closes with Martin Scorsese & Bob Dylan

Note: I've altered this article to correct an error. Doc Stories (a festival I didn't have time to cover) closed Monday night with a bang - a celebration of Martin Scorsese's non-fiction work. Not surprisingly, it was a packed house. SFFILM Director of Programming Rachel Rosen started the event with a wonderfully short introduction, followed … Continue reading Doc Stories closes with Martin Scorsese & Bob Dylan

The Cave will shake you to the core

A documentaryDirected by Feras Fayyad This fly-on-the-wall documentary about the Syrian war left me shaken and disturbed. That's appropriate. You shouldn't be able to watch screaming, terrified children and exhausted and hopeless adults, while death and destruction rains down overhead, and not be moved. The fact that it's real makes it all more terrifying. If … Continue reading The Cave will shake you to the core

A space-age orphanage, cinematic sound, & trying to get pregnant: Saturday at the Mill Valley Film Festival

Here's what I saw on my first day at this year's Mill Valley Film Festival. Filmmaker Q&As followed all three films. Journeys Beyond the Cosmodrome The festival is presenting this program as a feature preceded by a short. But these are really two very short documentary features. So, I'll give each one a quick review. … Continue reading A space-age orphanage, cinematic sound, & trying to get pregnant: Saturday at the Mill Valley Film Festival