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Documentary Review | The Linguists

Following two linguists in their race to record rapidly dying languages, this documentary is surprisingly enrapturing and enlightening. Exploring several different small communities across the world, this film demonstrates the urgency of their work to all viewers. Not only did the documentary dive into some of the different characteristics of the varying languages, it carefully put them into the context of both their culture and the impact they could have on the world at large. Experts in their field, it was a delight to watch these linguists at work, as they managed to track down the final – and sometimes only- speakers of endangered languages. They interviewed ageing speakers, explored communities, and even briefly dove into why their languages were being lost. Their work was a clear service to the communities they entered. It was heartwarming to watch the pride and joy that this work left with the speakers who had previously felt that their language, along with a piece of their identity and culture, must be stamped out. A fascinating delve into different worlds, this documentary was an informative and riveting watch.

Written by: Anika Alldredge

Movie Review | The Class

The Class is a French film that has won many awards for its creativeness and reality that it portrays. The character Francois Marin, played by actor Francois Begaudeau, is a French teacher in the rougher parts of the city of Paris. As he struggles to teach a class that doesn’t want to be taught, he goes through many challenges, helping him grow as well as his students. As tension increases, however, he gets closer and closer to losing his cool. The film shows the reality of frustration among teachers and students, and what really goes on in the rougher schools.

I gave this movie 4 out of 5 stars for a good reason. It is very well put together, and it is just so genuine. It’s authenticity helps add emotional devotement to the audience, and I really felt bad for the teacher in this. He really does try his best to teach an unwilling group of students that just don’t want to change. There is a lot of middle school frequency of language, so the viewer should know that beforehand. But it really is a good, inspiring movie.

Written by: Jeshua Osorio


Documentary Review | Sound and Fury

Sound and Fury (PN 1995.96 .H39 S68 2001) depicts two different families and their wavering opinions on cochlear implants. The documentary starts off with a five year old girl who asks her deaf parents if she can get a cochlear implant so that she can better interact with “the hearing” people. The parents are left confused as they battle with what their daughter wants and the fear of if she gets the implant that she will no longer be a part of the deaf community. On the other hand, another set of parents that are of hearing have a set of twins but are left questioning what is best for their children as they figure out one child can hear perfectly and the other one is deaf.

Many interesting perspectives are presented in this film and it brings up the question of whether or not it is appropriate to give children cochlear implants. It really makes the viewer think about if cochlear implants would change the way the deaf community works. Although there are many differing opinions in the movie and some parts may make you frustrated, the movie does a good job of showing all the different views on cochlear implants which is why I give this documentary five stars.

Written by: Tiffany Chao

Movie Review | Thor

Thor is an awesome movie. I would 100% recommend it to anyone who loves adventure and excitement when watching movies. It has a great story line, well-developed characters, and fun twists throughout. Thor is the story of Thor, heir to the throne in Asgard, who begins as somewhat of a hothead. He gets banished to earth by his father as punishment for wanting to go to war with the Frost Giants just to prove his strength. While on earth he is changed by the people he meets and returns to Asgard to save his father and his people, as well as the Frost Giants. The movie progresses as you see the personal changes he makes to develop into the king that his father wants him to be.

I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and everything it portrayed. It showed how people truly can change and become better people, despite the trials they go through, and even because of those trials. Even though it is a movie about superheroes, it still has a wonderful story and there are lessons you can learn from it. I really do think that the character development that takes place is quite significant.

Written by: Shannon Christiansen

Movie Review | The Thief Lord

The Thief Lord (PN 1995.9 .A3 T468 2006) is a charming family movie following the story of two orphaned boys, Prospero and his little brother Bo. After their unkind and ill-tempered aunt and uncle insist on taking custody of Bo alone, and separating the close siblings, Prospero spirits the two of them away to Venice, the place of their mother’s stories of magic. Upon arriving, the brothers fall in with a ragtag group of fellow escapees. This band of kids is led by one Scipio, or “The Thief Lord”, and they stay together in an abandoned movie theater called the “Stella”. Each kid has a place and a role, but with Victor “the snooper” catching the boys trail, and a robbery wrapped in mystery, the kids will have to use all their courage in facing a world made for adults and yes- a little magic.

Altogether this movie is a touching story of friendship, brothers, and finding family in unexpected places. As a movie adaption of Cornelia Funke’s 2002 novel, I’d say it follows the book’s story fairly accurately, and is a great representation of the themes portrayed within.

Written by: Anika Alldredge

Documentary Review | Redemption

Redemption (PN 1995.98 .H5 R42 2012) is based on a true account of two men in the Utah Frontier. One man, Henry Heath, is an officer of the law struggling with memories of past mistakes and the recent loss of his precious child. The other man, Jean Baptiste, is an immigrant who is caught robbing graves which leads to him being branded as a thief and then exiled. Throughout the movie, we see Heath’s heart open up as he learns to show compassion to a man who has wronged so many.

This film shares a touching story of two men coping with their different circumstances. The story line contains many moving principles that got me to think about charity and compassion for others. The movie certainly was not my favorite Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint films, and would not be my first recommendation to someone; however, I do think that it is worth watching at least one time.

Written by: Jeff Stolk

Movie Review | Eight Below

Eight Below (PN 1995.9 .F35 E34 2006) shows the heart wrenching relationship between eight dogs and their owner. Jerry, the owner of the sled dogs, and his eight huskies are asked to guide a researcher around in Antarctica. Not long after, Antarctica is hit with one of the biggest storms in history, and having no other choices Jerry must leave his beloved dogs there until he can come and rescue them later. Motivated by friendship, courage, and love the dogs are left on their own to survive until their owner can come to save them.

The interactions between the dogs and their owner truly show the bond of what most people call “a man’s best friend”. The film not only shows the relationship between the owner and the dogs, but how the eight dogs were like a family. Though there are heart stopping moments throughout Eight Below, it also highlights the deep bond and love between them all. I give this movie 4 out of 5 stars, because it captivates the viewer and tells a story not only through pictures but also through emotions.

Written by: Tiffany Chao

Documentary Review | Must see places of the world. Mystic lands. The Taj Mahal & Varanasi

“Must see places of the world. Mystic lands. The Taj Mahal & Varanasi” (PN 1995.96 .S625 M87 2010) is a short documentary that exhibits extraordinary aspects of life that are foreign and specific to certain parts of India. This documentary goes into detail about religion and history behind famous monuments and land marks. It also teaches about various cities in India.

This particular documentary did a great job of portraying the everyday life of a common individual in India and their religious background. They went into descriptive detail of the making of the Taj Mahal and the motivation behind the temple. I found it very interesting to learn why and how Shah Jahan, the fifth Mughal Emperor, built the Taj Mahal and how he ruled his nation. This film gave me a good insight on cultural diversity and inspired me to want to learn more about various religions and cultures in the world. It was a little slow and hard to follow and had low quality film footage. However, if you are interested in the history behind the Taj Mahal & Varanasi, I would definitely recommend this documentary.

Written by: Mallory Meng

Documentary Review | Winged Migration

Winged Migration (PN 1995.96 .A5 W56 2003) is a wildlife documentary about birds and the long migrations they often undertake. The film includes majestic, beautiful, and sometimes tragic footage of birds in their natural environments, and some in human environments. The film focuses mainly on observing the birds themselves and uses very little narration.

This documentary undoubtedly contained some amazing video of birds of all sorts. I especially enjoyed the shots of the birds flying in their v-formations—I would love to know how the film-makers managed to get such beautiful footage of the birds in action. I do, however, wish that there was a bit more narration. I found it difficult to stay engaged throughout the whole ninety minute film and feel that more narration/explanation to go along with the wonderful footage would help to keep viewers engaged and interested. I would be slow to recommend this documentary over other wildlife documentaries such as Planet Earth II (PN 1995.96 .S265 P528 2017) or Disney’s Earth (PN 1995.96 .N38 E27 2009).

Written by: Jeff Stolk

Documentary Review | Why the Towers Fell

When thinking about the tragic events of September 11th, 2001 most people don’t think about how it could have been prevented, other than stopping the terrorists from hijacking the planes. However, this documentary goes into detail about how the structure of the buildings contributed to their eventual collapse. Throughout different interviews with the architect, survivors, and members of the investigative team, the story of the Twin Tower attack is portrayed in a new and enlightening way. Why the Towers Fell is a very fascinating film, keeping your attention throughout, while teaching you new facts about these heartbreaking events, how they transpired, and how they could have been prevented.

Written by: Shannon Christensen

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

Faculty: Audiobooks can be checked out for three weeks; DVDs can be checked out for two weeks.

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