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Documentary Review | Botero, The Rebel

Learn about the world’s most famous living artist, Fernando Botero. Follow his journey, from his childhood in Colombia of wanting to be a bullfighter, to his days in Europe leaving meagerly trying to spread the word of his art. This amazing story of success and creativity is shown with interviews of Botero. See much of his early work and influences that catapulted him to success!

This is a film that does justice to Botero’s upbringing and influences while also showing his modern-day impact on the world. This film is not like most art documentaries, Botero’s sense of humor and levity towards his own artwork makes this film both fun and enjoyable to all those watching. I truly felt both educated and enlightened while watching this film even though I personally am not an artistic person. It was refreshing to hear an artist not act so high and mighty about all his work.

Written by: Tommy Barriga

Documentary Review | Korean Cinema Unleashed

Korean Cinema Unleashed is a documentary that takes a fascinating look into the world of Korean film-making, and analyzes how it has become so popular and embedded in their culture today.  It includes various interviews with directors, producers, and actors that share their opinions and views regarding the evolution and influences of Korean cinema.  This documentary also includes a few clips from different films that have made history and are still influencing modern cinema in Korea.

I thought that Korean Cinema Unleashed was such an informative and entertaining film to watch.  It really mapped out the progression of Korean movies and cinema in an easy to understand format.  The interviews with the different actors and directors of the popular Korean films provided an almost behind-the-scenes look as to how these films are made, and how culture plays a very important role in Korean movies.  I give this documentary a 5 out of 5 for its amazing content, and I recommend this film to anyone that is interested in learning more about the Korean cinematic culture.

Written by: Jared McGrail

Documentary Review | Dedicated to Chaos

Dedicated to Chaos (PN 1995.96 .J37 J39 2000 pt.7) is the seventh episode of a ten part series on the history of Jazz. When WWII begins, swing is still the popular music of the time, dominating the charts. At this same time, a new form of Jazz emerges through the young, experimental spirits of Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. This new music called bebop begins to spread, changing the course of Jazz forever.

This is one of my favorite documentary series of all times. Ken Burns does a fabulous job of portraying the reality of Jazz and its history, as well as the lives of the musicians. It gives a unique, yet important perspective on our country’s history. Jazz was what defined America at that time and unified people during a time of segregation and disunity. It’s captivating and informative; one can’t help but tap their feet to the irresistible music. This is why I rate it 5 out of 5 stars.

Written by: Hannah McBride

Documentary Review | Origins

This all-encompassing documentary covers the origins of mankind through multiple scientific fields. It explores the early discoveries that led scientists to question age-old ideas and rethink the processes that formed not only humans, but life itself. Starting with the creation and date of the earth itself, this film also covers how man came to be and evidence of other human-like beings. It incorporates multiple experts across multiple fields to retell the story of how we came to be.

I found this documentary to be fascinating due to the different angles it used to tell such a large story. There were hardly any dull moments or lengths that were used to only fill time. I felt that it was well filmed and brought to life fascinating stories that wove together to communicate the larger picture. It also touched on key points that any science student will be familiar with, yet it expounded on each in a unique way. Overall, I give this documentary five out of five stars.

Written by: Spencer Bradford

Documentary Review | Emotional Intelligence with Daniel Goleman

While falling under the category of documentary, this film can be more accurately described as a taped speech, similar to a Ted talk. Psychologist Daniel Goleman explores his theory of emotional intelligence, describing not only the science behind it, but the application, benefits and methods needed to develop an increased “EQ”. Goleman approaches the topic for the most part with a secular and scientific perspective. With a persuasive style, he is able to effectively communicate what it means to have emotional intelligence, especially in contrast to the commonly known “IQ”. Goleman provides well rounded data that includes statistics, as well as real life examples and stories.

With some wit, and an intriguing subject, it was fairly easy to stay engaged throughout the 70 minute presentation. Goleman addressed the contagious nature of both kindness and cruelty, as well as the importance of teaching ways to handle the strong emotions that can take over both ourselves and others. He made a special point of emphasizing the importance of starting this process at an early age, because of the significant positive influence it can have on the rest of a child’s life. Goleman claimed that an increased emotional intelligence can help not only relationships, but careers and education. Goleman proved to be a surprisingly inspiring speaker, and his lecture promoted a lifestyle of continual growth and learning. While some may find it difficult to pay attention the entire time, I would still recommend this presentation to anyone interested in this topic or psychology in general.

Written by: Anika Alldredge

Documentary Review | The Way I Spent the End of the World

The Way I Spent the End of the World is a mix of different movie genres. From inspirational love story to a boy planning an assassination attempt on his country’s dictator, this moving tale is one that will give you hope. Although the story is a bit hard to follow, and everything is in Romanian, it is powerfully led with brilliant acting. Eva, the main character, is expelled from her school for breaking a statue of their countries dictator. The rest of the story continues as her life unfolds in a new setting, with different people.

I gave this movie 3/5 stars for a couple of different reasons. The acting should be 4/5 stars. Everything the characters did was genuine, and the choices they made seemed authentic. However, I graded it a big down because the story was hard to follow. I didn’t really know what was going for a lot of it, despite having the subtitles in English. I did find it very interesting viewing the cultural differences from Romania and other parts of the world. However, I wouldn’t recommend this movie to others, because there is a part with nudity that just pops up randomly. But if they didn’t have that in the movie, then I would recommend it.

Written by: Jeshua Osorio

Documentary Review | Hitch: The Genius of Alfred Hitchcock

Hitch: The Genius of Alfred Hitchcock (PN 1995.96 .B55 H57 2004 pt.1) dives into the mind of the famous film director. Known for his films that would shape the entire film industry, this documentary delves into how he changed the industry and his ideas behind some of his most famous movies. It focuses on the risks taken and how it led to even more success in the second half of his career.

I thought this documentary had a good mixture of interviews, it helped keep the movie very interesting. It was cool to see how Alfred Hitchcock was willing to take big risks, risks that had yet to be seen in the film industry, and although he was heavily criticized by peers the reception from the consumers were wildly positive. The combination of clips from Hitchcock himself to even actors in his classic movies helped showcase his imagination and how his ideas changed the way of film production.

Written by: Tiffany Chao

Documentary Review | Indiana Jones Bonus Material

Indiana Jones: Bonus Material is less of a film on its own as much as it is simply a collection of several shorter videos which provide a behind the scenes look into the production of the original Indiana Jones Trilogy.  While there is not an abundance of art to these films, they completely serve their purpose and entertainingly show the process that went into making some of the most popular films of all time. If you are a fan of Steven Spielberg’s films, Indiana Jones: Bonus Material, will be very enjoyable to you.

The features are divided into three specific segments that specialize on each of the first three Indiana Jones features: Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, showing behind the scenes footage from the production of each of the three films as well as interviews with some of the primary filmmakers such as, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Harrison Ford, Kathleen Kennedy, and Frank Marshall.   One thing that I would have liked to hear more from in the primary segments was the way that John Williams wrote his score for the films. While a separate video on the disc does cover this, I felt that in general the documentary glossed over Williams’ extremely vital role.  However, overall the segments are entertaining, wonderfully avoiding the pitfalls that most special feature segments fall into, and shed a perspective that otherwise would have been unknown. I would recommend anyone who has ever been interested in either Steven Spielberg’s process or film making in general to view this interesting special features.

Written by: Parker Gehring

Documentary Review | Hollywood Chinese

Hollywood Chinese (PN 1995.96 .M65 H655 2010) is an eye-opening documentary on the growing industry of Chinese actors, actresses, filmmakers, and producers. It portrays the perspective of Hollywood productions and film making from various famous Chinese actors and directors. Not only do these actors talk about their experiences as acting in the different films but they also discuss how the Chinese society viewed them as actors and individuals. This documentary brings Chinese film and its journey to life through clips of multiple films and short films.

It was interesting to see how the culture of Hollywood adapted to various cultures and races throughout different time periods in history. I also enjoyed the unique film footage displayed in this documentary because it was refreshing to see Chinese culture was intertwined into Hollywood productions. I would recommended this movie to anyone who is interested in the adaption of film and the influence cultural differences had on the film industry.

Written by: Mallory Meng

Documentary Review | Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport

Into the arms of strangers: stories of the Kindertransport (PN 1995.96 .H5 I56 2013) is a documentary made about people who experienced the Kindertransport, a movement at the beginning of World War II in which thousands of Jewish children were transported to foster homes and hostels in Great Britain in an attempt to escape Nazi terror. The documentary focuses on the stories of several people who experienced the Kindertransport first-hand. Their stories are all unique, but have many similarities. These people, while out of Germany and Austria, still experienced very trying times worrying about who they would be staying with, how they would be treated in their new homes, and how their families were doing throughout World War II.

I appreciated that the documentary broke away from more well-known Jewish stories of the holocaust. I liked the unique stories of the children who experienced moving to new homes in Great Britain. The uniqueness and originality of the stories of these Jewish people made the documentary more captivating. I think that this documentary is very informative and is well worth watching at least once.

Written by: Jeff Stolk

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Students: Audiobooks can be checked out for three weeks; DVDs can be checked out for seven days.

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