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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

Documentary Review | The Nazi Officer’s Wife

The Nazi Officer’s Wife (PN 1995.96 .N36 N39 2003) is a thrilling documentary about Edith Hahn, a courageous and brave Jewish law student, and how she was able to survive the holocaust.  This film shows the audience various film reels, photos, and propaganda from Germany and Austria in WWII to help illustrate Edith Hahn’s epic and dangerous life story.  In order to survive the holocaust, Edith Hahn had to adopt the identity of an Aryan German citizen, and blend in with Nazi society, hiding in plain sight.  The interviews with Edith Hahn are especially intriguing, as she provides the audience with her first-hand experiences in Nazi territory, as she attempted to hide her true identity in order to ensure her survival.

This documentary was simply incredible.  The sheer bravery and grit of Edith Hahn is surely enough to win the respect of any person viewing this film.  Her interviews were also deeply touching, as she shared her most intimate feelings with the interviewer and the audience.  She lived a very difficult life, and this film leaves the audience wondering:  what would I do if I had to give up my identity, in order to survive?  I recommend this film to anyone studying history, or even psychology.  They will definitely be intrigued and awe-struck by Edith’s accounts of identity crisis, social conflicts, and outright survival amidst persecution and prejudice.

Written by: Jared McGrail

Movie Review | Jurassic World

Jurassic World (PN 1995.9 .A3 J8723 2015) is a wonderful, fast-paced addition to the Jurassic Park franchise. This addition to the franchise brings in the amazing Chris Pratt (star in Guardians of the Galaxy). The film takes place after the original Jurassic Park movies in a time when scientists have started to breed dinosaurs again and have reopened the Jurassic Park island as the new theme park called Jurassic World. The film includes the classic plot of greedy entrepreneurs, over-ambitious scientists who choose ultimately wrong paths, and people who respect and understand the dangers of dinosaurs who are at some point pushed to step in and save the day.

This film is captivating from the very start. The plot is well thought out and included action, adventure, comedy, romance, and good moral points. The special effects are breathtaking, the dinosaurs look so real, and the acting is on point. For any dinosaur enthusiast like myself, or anyone else who just loves a good action/adventure movie, this film has it all. I would highly recommend this movie to anyone.

Written by: Jeff Stolk

Movie Review | Saints and Soldiers: Airborne Creed

In the German-controlled country of France, three airborne troops find themselves lost behind enemy lines during the tail end of World War II. As they struggle to meet up with the rest of their company, they come across multiple German units as well as French resistance fighters. Decisions of life and death must be made while each reflects on the events that lead them to their current situation. The pressures of war mixed with the complex events of the past make for some challenging personal terrain for each troop.

This film combines the atrocities of war with the question of personal faith in a great World War II classic. I thought that it was a great movie with a good balance of action, character development, and an underlying message. It portrays the horrible nature of war without much of the carnage that other movies might, and it is clean enough for younger audiences. I give this movie a strong 4 out of 5 stars.

Written by: Spencer Bradford

TV Show Review | Arrow (Season 1)

Arrow is a great concept. I was immediately drawn into the story (due in part to the fast-paced nature of the show and in part to Stephen Amell’s beautiful face). A twenty-something man named Oliver Queen washes up on the shores of a deserted Island after a boating accident, where he learns how to survive for five years with the help of a mysterious resident. After being rescued and taken back to his hometown (that happens to be buzzing with drama), Queen works to avenge his father, who also died in the accident, by confronting situations that have to do with a mystery notebook given to him just after the boating accident, with his signature green hood and rustic bow and arrow.

Many of the ideas presented in this TV show are purposely convoluted and mysterious, so I was torn between feeling both lost and on the edge of my seat. I suspect that when I watch more of the series, many of the events that have happened so far will make more sense. Although this TV show is a fun one, I feel like it is a semi-washed up version of other superhero TV shows I have seen before. After the first two episodes it felt very predictable. However, overall the characters are really like-able, and the plot moves fast enough to stay engaging.

Written by: Kelsey Parker

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