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Movie Review | M*A*S*H

A T.V. series comedy set during the Korean war we meet the narrator Hawkeye who is a surgeon in the army at transition hospital. Hawkeye is not what one would call a rule follower, so antics and chaos often ensue. Mcintyre and Hawkeye are best friends and also the best surgeons in the unit, which gets them out of a lot of trouble. Lt. Colonel Henry Blake is in charge of the platoon and is kind of a goof which makes some of the other officers upset.

I really like how the characters interact, most of them seem very silly which is unusual for an army platoon, that makes the very strict characters almost like the comic relief. A very intriguing show, that is similar to modern medical shows but less drama and more comedy. My favorite character is Radar, who helps with Mcintyre and Hawkeye’s antics and is always there to back them up with wit and satire.

This is very much an adult comedy. It is very funny but has to do with war, surgery, drinking, and adult relationships. There is a bit of choppy cuts from when they originally cut out the commercials but overall it is fine.

Written by Ashley Shaw

Movie Review | Lawrence of Arabia

            The Lawrence of Arabia is a two part historical drama about the life of Lieutenant T. E. Lawrence, or as he is better known as the Lawrence of Arabia. A British soldier during WWI sent to the Arabian Peninsula to appraise the Prince in Arabia and the Arab Bureau. The military interests and tactics of the Arabs and the British against the Turks. Lawrence becomes an advisor to the Arab’s Prince and aids them in their war, and gains acceptance into the Harith culture (one of the Jewish tribes of Arabia).

            All together it is a very dry film with few moments of interest and many quiet moments where only music plays. The film acutely displays the tediousness of the Deseret and the need for reprieve. It does get interesting towards the end of the first part and then most of the action and interest is packed into the second half of the movie after the intermission where it is quite good, though still in the likeness of a documentary. It is interesting to see how it plays into the world war and leads up to the Sykes-Picot agreement and is mentioned and alluded to in the film. I recommend to adults since there is a lot of subtleties with politics and violence (not shown). 

Written by Ashley Shaw

Documentary Review | The Ottoman Empire

“The Ottoman Empire,” is an ancient civilizations documentary on “The Terror of the World, the Ottoman Empire.” Located primarily in Turkey and then expanded into the Northern African countries, this empire reigned for over 600 years. The government was founded by the Gaza state, or the Islamic religion.

The recreated fight scenes are pretty cheesy, but the information is interesting to see how the Ottoman Empire fits into the larger whole. The film is told compellingly through maps, artifacts, and paintings. I didn’t like the background music choices they used but other than this minor detail it was easy to listen to with the narrator and historians. I did realize how close to Europe and especially Greece and Italy it was until this documentary showed me how the political lines and wars were drawn.

Recommended for all ages.

Written by Ashley Shaw

Documentary Review | America’s Darkest Day: Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor is a narrated documentary about the events which transpired on December 7th, 1941. Integrated into this narration are interviews with survivors of the bombing, as well as actual footage of that infamous day.

I felt that this film was considerably well done. It was very descriptive both in the accounts of the events, and what happened after the fact. I especially found the interviews with actual veterans of Pearl Harbor very insightful. It helped give a very real and human perspective on an event that we usually overlook as another date to memorize in history class. With the commentary from the veterans, I felt myself much more invested in the account being told, and I was able to understand a bit more of how it might have seemed to be there on that terrible day. The extras contained in the film were also insightful into other parts of WWII, however, the background music chosen for these clips detracted from the weight of the subject, and made them have a more superficial feel. Overall, if you’re looking for information about Pearl Harbor, this film would definitely be a good resource.

Written by Reagan Fausett

Documentary Review | The Tobacco Conspiracy

The Tobacco Conspiracy presents a glimpse into the dangerous world of smoking and the efforts that tobacco companies are going to in order to cover it up. It examines the early scientific data used to attack the claims that cigarettes are harmless directly and indirectly. The film includes various narratives concerning the wide danger of cigarette smoke.

The film covered many facets of the tobacco industry within the United States and abroad, which created a rushed feeling overall. There were many points of particular interest which could have made for a more interesting documentary, but instead, time was devoted to cheap reenactments of meetings between tobacco companies. Overall, I give this documentary 3 out of 5 stars.

Written by Spencer Bradford

Documentary Review | Influenza

Influenza 1918 retells the story of the infamous outbreak from a classic PBS style. It begins with the unlikely incidents which led to the worst health epidemic in modern American history, and follows its spread through Europe. The majority of the documentary focuses on the vast consequences of this disease from the east coast to the west.

The structure of the film gives an easy to follow timeline of actual events while painting a vivid picture through interviews and other primary sources. The seemingly insignificant details which are brought up ultimately weave into an intricate story of our nation. This is a must see for any student of history who wishes to familiarize themselves with the Influenza epidemic of 1918. Definitely deserving of 5 out of 5 stars.

Written by Spencer Bradford

Movie Review | Big Bad Love

In this documentary, Australian comedian Becky Lucas takes on the more serious subject matter of abuse in relationships. She was inspired to make this film because of a childhood friend who suffered from abuse from her boyfriend for years. Becky did not recognize at the time that her friend was suffering and did not know how to help her when she did realize. The goal of this documentary is to help women be able to recognize warning signs of abusive relationships and how to help friends and family who you suspect are in abusive relationships.

I found this documentary really informative and powerful. It definitely addresses some pretty serious and disturbing subject matter so take that into account before watching. There is also a sequence where there is some profanity when they have actors simulating abusive interactions. I really appreciated this documentary because it caused me to think a lot about warning signs of abusive relationships and a lot of the things that were pointed out were things that I had not thought of before. I also liked the emphasis that was put on how to help people you know get out of abusive relationships. It can be hard to know how to help people who are suffering from abuse or who you suspect are but this documentary gives tips on how to address this. Overall a great documentary that all people should watch to become more informed on how to prevent abuse.

Written by Clarissa Heslop

Documentary Review | Anima Mundi

Anima Mundi is a compelling film that showcases animals in the wild as well as various natural phenomenon. This film was very interesting in that there is no narration at all, only music playing in the background. The viewer is able to see a variety of animals such as monkeys, tigers, various insects, and even microscopic organisms. There are also relaxing scenes of lava flow and rain forests.

Although this film was not what I was expecting I enjoyed watching it. It was interesting to see that the filmmakers are able to draw parallels between microscopic organisms and more larger, visible aspects of nature. Something that I did not like was that sometimes I felt like the music choices were ill timed compared to what was being shown. I found myself getting anxious at times just because the music was more intense while what was being shown on the screen was more relaxing. I liked that there were several scenes in which different animal’s eyes were seen close up, which almost made them seem human. This film helps the viewer to feel a part of nature and helps the viewer see that we may actually have a lot in common with the animals that surround us.

Written by Clarissa Heslop

Movie Review | La Vie de Boheme

La Vie de Boheme (PN 1995.97 .F7 F73vied 2014) is a film about the everyday life and struggles of a bohemian lifestyle in Paris, particularly of an artist, writer, and composer. These poor, outcasts to society live day by day on what little money they earn and grapple to accomplish their dreams. This movie captures the classic tale of a romantic tragedy.

It had great potential to be a powerful moral, but lacked cinematographic and performance professionalism. There was little emotion among the actors and actresses and the transitions lacked clarity. If it were not for these fallacies, La Vie de Boheme would have been a stirring and inspirational film, and this is why I rate it a 2 out of 5 stars.

Written by Hannah McBride

Documentary Review | The Great War

The Great War is a newly released documentary about what happened in the 1st world war, or the Great world war, from a more holistic view. Take from the American side and how the population viewed the war and what it was like back home in a 3 part show. The original film reels are in black and white and the historian commentary is in full color. The film states that the Great War is a monumental historical event that no one knows anything about, and I have to agree.

I liked how the film had original footage from the war reels as well as photographs and newspapers from the time period, paired with an over voice of letters from persons who lived during this time as well as commentary from historians.

One part I really like was how back home, most Americans could not read, (or could not read in English) so most civilians got their news from the songs that they would play at bars and clubs. One song that was popular was called “I Didn’t Raise My Boy to Be a Solider.” This was the mother’s cry for the US not to join the War and to save their sons. This documentary poignantly shows the culmination of different fighting tactics and weaponry that emerged because of this world at war that made it truly terrifying and gruesome.

I would recommend this to high school age students who like documentaries since there are scenes of dead and wounded bodies that parents may find objectionable.

Written by Ashley Shaw

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