Saturday, September 30, 2017

Blu-ray/Digital/DVDebut: Jonathan Teplitzky's remarkable, stirring docudrama, CHURCHILL

CHURCHILL got past me when the film hit theaters earlier this year, but I'm very pleased to have caught up with it for its home video debut. It represents the best work director Jonathan Teplitzsky (Burning Man, The Railway Man) has so far given us, and it has a screenplay written by historian and first-timer screenwriter Alex von Tunzelmann that is remarkable in its ability to produce singular moments of great drama with subtlety, elegance, wit and feeling. One of the most memorable scenes I can recall in a long while is here: between Winston Churchill (a great Brian Cox) and King George VI (James Purefoy, as moving and surprising as you will have seen this versatile actor ).

The above scene, as well as several more equally as fine, dot this quiet but surprisingly suspenseful, compelling movie that details the enormous burden Churchill experienced, as D-Day approached, and the Prime Minister -- still experiencing the trauma of the earlier wartime blunder/ massacre he had been large responsible for at Gallipoli -- felt so strongly against the approaching operation. As written, acted by an ace cast, and directed with wonderful elegance and restraint by Teplitzky (shown above), these scenes combine to form one of the better docudramas of recent times. This is an intimate movie, using mostly interiors, with the exteriors located at the seaside or in country houses, so there's little need for big-budget sets and scenes flooded with extras.

Instead we get the drama of decision-making, of politics behind the scenes, and of relationships -- Churchill's with his wife, Clementine (the wonderful Miranda Richardson, above, with Mr. Cox); and with everyone from The King to General Eisenhower (John Slattery, below, left), Field Marshall Montgomery (Julian Wadham), and especially his aide-de-camp (a lovely, smart and deeply felt performance from Richard Durden).

This is one chapter of Winston Churchill's life for which the man would probably not want to be best remembered, but it's an important one nonetheless. TrustMovies must admit to half expecting the movie to be something of a "duty" he needed to view. Nonsense. Instead it proved surprising, thrilling in its singular manner, and full of pulsating life. It's a beautiful film in every way. Stick it on your "must" list.

From Cohen Media Group, Churchill arrives on DVD, Digital and Blu-ray (the transfer is impeccable, and the "making of" bonus feature quite worth seeing) this Tuesday, October 3 -- for purchase and/or rental.

Friday, September 29, 2017

J.D. Salinger again -- this time in Danny Strong's narrative bio-pic, REBEL IN THE RYE

Great American writer (thought by some to be one, anyway) J.D. Salinger is back on screen again. He never seems to be away for all that long, what with a couple of of documentaries (1999's   J D Salinger Doesn't Want to Talk and 2013's critically reviled but actually pretty-damned-good  Salinger) and a number of adaptations of the guy's short stories, one of them unauthorized, and another (the first to reach film: My Foolish Heart) said to be the reason J.D. would never again let Hollywood near any of his writing, in particular any adaptation of his landmark and major novel, The Catcher in the Rye.

The above is by way of introducing the latest in Salinger-iana, a new bio-pic entitled alliteratively but foolishly REBEL IN THE RYE based on the biography of Salinger by Kenneth Slawenski, which has been adapted and directed by Danny Strong (shown at left).

On the plus side of this new film are some fine period detail and cinematography (by Kramer Morgenthau) and yet another commanding performance by Kevin Spacey. Is there nothing this fine actor cannot do? From playing singer Bobby Darin to that fictional/ memorable  President Francis Underwood to this latest gig, essaying Salinger's teacher/mentor, Whit Burnett (shown below), Spacey is consistently terrific.

Performance-wise Mr. Spacey is the main reason to bother with this too-by-the-book bio-pic. The Burnett character is by far the most interesting and full-bodied of anyone in the film. And that includes Salinger himself, played by British actor Nicholas Hoult, below, who can be very good at times but here is made to tow the line of mostly worshipful biography. Oh, the Messieurs Strong, Slawenski and Hoult may imagine that they're giving us the warts-all-all treatment, but most of the details they offer seem second-hand and all too typical of the telescoped storytelling found in movie bios.

So we get numerous scenes of the writer at his typewriter, having love trouble, war-time trouble, and post-war-trauma trouble, and the further along the movie goes, the more of a slough it becomes. In its most embarrassing scene, it even hands us Catcher in the Rye's famous where-do-the-Central-Park-ducks-go-in-the-winter moment, and couples it to Salinger getting mugged. (This may indeed have happened, but as shown here, it seems instead a kind of pandering to the book's many fans.)

The very able cast includes Sarah Paulson (above, left, and just fine as Salinger's agent), Victor Garber as his stern father, and Hope Davis as his loving and supportive mom. They're all as good as they're allowed to be, and along the way we get even more fine actors (Brian d'Arcy JamesEric Bogosian and Jefferson Mays) playing, respectively, famous literary folk such as Robert GirouxHarold Ross and William Maxwell, to not a whole lot of avail.

But then there's Mr. Spacey, who pretty much single-handedly makes the movie worthwhile. His Whit is initially stern, funny, ironic and finally encouraging and equally believable in each state. As his encouragement becomes more forceful, and may be turning into something like a very genuine-if-closeted love, Spacey's performance grows deeper, sadder and finally even desperate.

He's the emotional center and the great strength of the movie, despite its being "about" Salinger.

For his part Hoult touches all the proper bases, but can't bring to much life this man who seemed to prefer "not being there." (Hoult is also far too good-looking for the role. The late Jack Webb -- yes, of Dragnet -- would have made a much better visual Salinger. But of course he predeceased the author by about 30 years.)

From IFC Films and running 109 minutes, Rebel in the Rye opens here in Florida today, Friday, September 29, in Miami at the Regal South Beach 18, in Boca Raton at the Living Room Theaters, at the Movies of Delray and Movies of Lake Worth, and in Orlando at the Regal Winter Park.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Business saves the planet in Mark van Wijk and Pedram Shojai's documentary, PROSPERITY...

...and not just any Capitalistic business. Oh, no: It's "conscious business," rather than the unconscious variety we're evidently more used to, that is going to do the trick here. If TrustMovies sounds a tad unconvinced, this is only because it seems a little late in the game to be offering up -- as does the new documentary PROSPERITY -- a very small-potato/band-aid solution to something so major, even as climate change and warming/rising oceans flood entire islands and shorelines and cause hurricanes to hit more often and more strongly. But, hey: Every little bit counts. Or does it?

It does indeed, according to director Mark van Wijk (shown at right) and his subject/narrator Pedram Shojai (below) who together travel some of the globe to interview examples of this new-ish business trend and explain how Conscious Capitalism/Business works, while in the process helping just about everyone. It is indeed encouraging to see and hear some of these business "leaders" explain what they're doing and why: among them, Paulette Cole, a lady who owns ABC Carpet and Home; Naomi Whittel, whose cocoa business out of
Panama is also going great guns; and Thrive Market, which brings healthy organic food to America's heartland at a reasonable price. Unfortunately, among other businesses included here is Whole Foods, the main purpose of which, other than making very rich its owner, has been to provide the elite with food to eat (together with the ability to feel so good about their going organic) and has by now been involved in enough scandals to disqualify its inclusion. The recent sale of Whole Foods to Amazon immediately lowered many of the prices, but against Amazon's increasing monopoly on business worldwide, I am not sure whether all this will play in any kind long-term positive fashion. Of course, neither am I sure that our planet itself will play out in any long-term positive fashion.

The movie grows more interesting when it deals with a company like The Container Store that appears to be dedicated to its employees, who in turn seem very dedicated to their clients, us consumers. You can still make money, some of these business owners assure us. Profit will be there, but it will simply be a smaller one. Of course, that's anathema to many Capitalists.

Things grow even more interesting when we arrive at The Stakeholder Theory vs The Shareholder version. Sustainable investing -- and how to democratize this  -- comes into play, as well, and we even learn about banks that have a conscience!

The documentary ends with a section on how to act regarding all this and what, specifically, we, as individuals, can do. Shops more wisely, support businesses that give back to society, you know the routine.  Many of us have been doing this for years, so perhaps we can be forgiven for not noticing much change -- except for the worse.

Still the movie is beautifully filmed, and it is always encouraging to note even a dent being made in plastic recycling/reduction (toward the end of the film, no less than Proctor & Gamble gets involved with the native Panama community). In my estimation, individuals can help, but for all this to actually "take off," one might think a good push from government would be in order. Good luck with that.

Prosperity, from, and running 84 minutes, hits theaters (the IFC Center in New York City and Laemmle's Music Hall 3 in Los Angeles)  According to the distributor, the film will also be available via via's Global Online Free Screening as of October 5, 2017.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Nepal's culture, history and current politics blend in Deepak Rauniyar's moving WHITE SUN

So what do you know about the country of Nepal? The adult son of a good friend of mine (who produced an Oscar-nominated short some years back) has spent a lot of time there and loves the place, yet other than realizing that Nepal borders on India to the south and the now-China-conquered state of Tibet to the north, TrustMovies knew little else, except that its capital is Kathmandu and the world's highest mountain -- Everest -- is located therein. After viewing the new film WHITE SUN, I suspect that you will, as did I, want to know more about this fascinating and, from the looks of it, quite beautiful Himalayan country.

As written and directed by Nepalese filmmaker Deepak Rauniyar (shown at left), this gentle, humorous and finally surprisingly moving film explores family life and current politics, even as it surveys both tradition and the changes that have now come to this little country. While these changes have resulted in war, death and families seemingly as divided as were some of ours here in the USA during the Civil War, the movie itself -- because it takes place post-war, as divisions are being healed and accommodations made to politics and modernity -- proves much quieter and concerned more with healing than with that earlier fracturing.

The tale told here is beautifully conceived and executed by Mr. Rauniyar to both encompass and lay bare his theme of monarchy vs Maoist, tradition vs change. Further, the details he offers enable us to follow and appreciate most of the story, even if some of the ironies and subtleties are undoubtedly lost on us in the process.

The sudden death of the father of a family reunites those long separated by politics and familial divisions, even as this event offers a terrifically cogent means to bring the idea of progress and what this means to the forefront. The filmmaker does not, so far as I could tell, come down hard on either side of the debate. Rather he finds the irony and humor under the surface, allowing these to bubble up in ways quite charming and surprising.

In addition to its main theme, the film also delivers nods to paternity -- real, imagined and desired -- and feminism along the way. Rauniyar has corralled a fine cast that delivers excellent performances throughout. Granted there is occasional overplayed exposition, as when a villager in the funeral procession explains to his friends (but really to us) things about his family that those villagers would clearly already know. But this is minor when compared to this writer/director's accomplishments in demonstrating both the pros and cons embedded in warring ideologies.

Many of the adults here may be overly set in their ways, but it is the children, finally, who command the filmmaker's (and our own) respect and caring, and White Sun's finale seems both unexpected yet exactly right and wonderfully just.  The movie will be this year's submission from Nepal for Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. I should think that our Academy will take note and perhaps shortlist the movie, if not nominate it outright.

From KimStim Films, the movie, which opened in New York City earlier this month to very good reviews, hits Los Angeles this Friday, September 29, opening at Laemmle's Music Hall 3. Click here and then scroll down and click on PLAY DATES to view all past and future cities and theaters at which the film will screen. (I would think we'll also have an eventual VOD/DVD release.)

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

In LITERALLY, RIGHT BEFORE AARON, Ryan Eggold offers up a smart, off-the-wall rom-com

Slightly psychotic, as is its very troubled hero (played by Justin Long with finesse, humor and enough believability to win us over), LITERALLY, RIGHT BEFORE ARRON proves an unusual mix of movies that include everything from My Best Friend's Wedding to just about any and every they're-going-to-get-married movie you'll have so far seen. And yet it still manages to seem surprisingly original, if somewhat problematic. The work of actor, Ryan Eggold (shown below, who with this, his first full-length film, has written, directed, edited and composed), the film tracks the coming apart of a young man named Adam, from the time he learns of his ex's impending wedding until the event itself -- in which he plays, well... an unexpectedly major role.

What Mr. Eggold has done here is explore -- at length, in some depth and mostly humorously -- a man's growing and non-stop obsession with a love relationship that, although ended, has not at all gone away. Mr. Long (shown below as the ex who came "literally, right before Aaron," as another character helpfully points out) gives one of his best performances out of many very good ones, as he takes that ball of obsession and runs with it, scoring touchdown after touchdown, even if these are all, in the end, against his own team. Via flashback and fantasy, as well as quite real-if-bizarre situations and supporting characters, the filmmaker gives us this man's about-to-implode life -- work life, love life, family life and more -- as he begins and then continues his sad but pretty funny descent.

Highlights here include a "proposal" scene that is certainly among the oddest ever, with results that will leave your mouth, as it does that of the recipient, hanging open, right through to a wedding reception that is one for the books. Along the way we meet a number of supporting characters, all of whom exist to keep Adam on track, from which, of course, he consistently derails.

Even that would-be love of his life (played by Cobie Smulders, above right) seems to come to life only through Adam's eyes. The groom, too (a hot, hirsute Ryan Hansen, above left) exists more as the antagonist-to-be-toppled than a full-bodied character. But all this is by intention, I suspect, and much of it, but not all, works to the film's advantage. What is missing, is any sense of who this Adam character was prior to his knowledge of his great love's impending marriage.

Clearly he had some major problems, or the earlier pairing would have remained in place. But could he have always been such a desperate jerk? Probably not, but that's what we see here, so we'll just have to take the rest on faith. Among the supporting cast are John Cho (above, right) as Adam's best friend, Kristen Schaal (below, left) as his very bizarre "wedding date," Lea Thompson (shown at bottom) as his mom (looking young enough here to be his sister), and Dana Delany as the bride's mom -- who in a particularly telling scene, intimates that she preferred Adam's Mr Fuck-Up to Aaron's Mr. Perfect.

If you approach Literally, Right Before Aaron with expectations of oddity rather than mainstream romantic comedy, I suspect you'll have a pretty good time. At the very least, you'll get a step-by-step lesson on what not to do so far as your ex -- along with just about everybody else -- is concerned.

From Screen Media Films and running 103 minutes, the movie opens theatrically in a limited run this Friday, September 29 -- in New York City (at the Village East Cinema), Los Angeles (at Laemmle's Monica Film Center) and in Arizona (at the Harkins Shea 14 in Scottsdale) plus another dozen cities over the weeks to come. Click here to see all currently scheduled venues.

If you don't live near any of the current venues, relax: The movie will simultaneously hit VOD this Friday, as well.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Andreas Johnsen's edible-insects documentary, BUGS, offers a whole new kind of food porn

Part slasher/torture porn (with insects the recipients), part food documentary, part globe-trotting travel movie, part environmentally-conscious, What-will-future-generation eat? treatise, BUGS, the new doc from Danish filmmaker Andreas Johnsen is quite something: consistently interesting; peopled with smart, thoughtful, caring characters; and often a lot of weird, expand-your-horizons fun. Recommending it to mainstream audiences, however, comes with a few caveats, beginning with the fact that entomophagy has an eeewwww! factor that is awfully high.

Mr. Johnsen, shown at right, above with his three "stars": left to right, Josh Evans, Roberto Flores and Ben Reade, manages, in just 76 minutes, to introduce us to the idea of actually eating insects and enjoying the experience via the two young gentlemen above, Josh and Ben, who seem to think of themselves as "food adventurers," courtesy of the Nordic Food Lab that sponsored their work. That work consists of traveling the world, trying various insects treats -- from Australia to Kenya, Mexico to The Netherlands and even to Italy to try some cheese filled with worms. (If I recall correctly, one of our heroes reaction to the latter is, "It tastes good. But I prefer Camembert.")

Generally, though, the gourmet palates of these two plucky fellows (and the intern, Roberto, who eventually becomes their chef) seem to greatly appreciate the various insects they try. And to their credit, not once do we hear the reaction, "It tastes like chicken!" Oh, no. In fact, one juicy delectable (I think it was ant larvae) is said by Josh to smell like goat cheese and by Ben (above) to taste like avocado." So there.

The movie begins with our chef and what we are told is a skillet filled with maggot fat (ummm!). Very soon, a group of intrepid folk are given what is referred to as "airplane food for the 22nd Century." The menu here is impressive indeed.  One of the more interesting of the team's adventures take them to Kenya, where they discover how tasty termites can be -- especially their hive's queen, who turns out to be more liquid than anything else. Particularly when, by accident, she is squashed.

TrustMovies is making jokes of all this, but Josh and Ben take it very, very seriously. The idea of sustainable food production plays a large part in the movie, late in which, Josh goes to an important meeting in Switzerland, the point of which I wasn't sure I fully understood. (As a filmmaker, Johnsen is bigger on showing than on telling, so we have to make do with what we can garner from the occasional off-the-cuff conversations we overhear via sound design that it not all it might be.) It seemed clear to me that the meeting did not go all that well, yet Josh and the Nordic Food Lab persevere.

You'll grow fond of these two lads, and of Roberto, too, even as some questions do arise. We see an awfully lot of insects killed, often cooked alive, which I guess, depending on your idea about the sanctity of life of species other than human, you will view with alarm or understanding. I can imagine a spin-off from PETA -- People for the Ethical Treatment of Insects -- arising out of this documentary.

But someday, long into the future, when your great-grandkids invite you for a holiday dinner of wasp, cricket and grasshopper stew, preceded by an appetizer of sauteed queen termite (above), just remember: You saw it here first at New York City's Film Forum.  That's where BUGS, from Kino Lorber, opens for its U.S. theatrical debut this coming Wednesday, September 27, for a one-week run. It will also play Seattle at the SIFF Cinema Uptown on October 6, in Los Angeles at Laemmle Monica Film Center on October 13, and elsewhere, too. Click here and scroll down to see all currently scheduled playdates, cities and theaters.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Blu-ray Debut: Sergio Martino's 1975 genre-jumper,THE SUSPICIOUS DEATH OF A MINOR

Is it a giallo? A police procedural? Thriller? Murder mystery? Political/economic/ social canvas of a particular Italian era? All of the above and more. In fact, the IMDB lists the film (under the aka title of Too Young to Die) as a comedy, mystery and horror film. Take your pick; I guess it's all here. And it's all -- much of it, anyway -- pretty damned good. Less violent and misogynistic than most genuine giallo, the movie also jumps genres with utter abandon.

This is the work of a probably-less-noted-than-he-should-be Italian director, Sergio Martino (shown at right, whose most famous films on this side of the Atlantic may be Torso and The Strange Vice of Mrs Wardh), a filmmaker best known for his action movies than the several other genres in which he labored. Martino was relatively prolific -- 66 titles in all, the last made for Italian TV in 2012 -- and he was also skilled in many genres. In THE SUSPICIOUS DEATH OF A MINOR, he has so many of these bumping up against each other that the effect, finally, seems almost as though Martino has melded them all into a single unit. With one exception -- which would be comedy. I don't think this genre was anything near his forte.

The comedy here mostly takes place around the 40-minute mark -- in the midst of murder, possible underage sex trafficking and more -- as a car chase which goes on and on for so long that you eventually wonder if Martini is trying to set some new car-chase endurance record. Plus, the comedy is so heavy-handed and misplaced that it reaches the humor level of a cretin.

Then suddenly it ends -- in a wonderful surprise that sets the movie off on a totally new track. From there on, Suspicious Death... gets better and better, as one surprise is followed by another that makes the movie as timely as Goldman Sachs. "Are you asking us to investigate the government -- or overthrow it?" wonders Mel Ferrer (who may be the biggest "name" in  the cast, but who has but a supporting role in these goings-on).

The actual star is a fellow named Claudio Cassinelli, who makes a most interesting near-anti-hero. He uses brass knuckles to fight and is not above having sex with those under investigation. But he has a soft spot for the young thief (Adolfo Caruso, below, right and further below, prone) whom he takes under his wing and teaches the tricks of the trade. Cassinelli had a nice film career that was cut suddenly short by an accident that Signore Martino tells us about in the excellent interview, shot only recently, that appears in the disc's Bonus Features. This is a "must" to watch.

There's a gun battle on a roller coaster, a couple more murders, and an investigation that leads all the way to a top-tier banker (Ossessione's Massimo Girotti) and a load of truly nefarious doings. Some of the dialog along the way is terse and smart, too: Notes our hero, after he has been bribed by the villain, "If we have to serve the big interest, we really ought to make it pay."

The movie's original title, as we learn from that Bonus Feature interview, was Violent Milan, until the distributor stupidly changed it something longer and dumber. As both decent entertainment and a look into what Milan and Italy was going through during that 70s era (and the Western world is still going through today), the movie proves an interesting time capsule that holds up pretty well.

From Arrow Video, distributed here in the USA by MVD Entertainment, The Suspicious Death of a Minor, running 100 minutes, in Italian with English subtitles (or dubbed into English, if you prefer) hits the street on Blu-ray and DVD next Tuesday, October 3, for purchase and (I hope) rental.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

On video -- at last -- Richard Brouillette's brilliant, necessary economic-theory twosome: ENCIRCLEMENT and ONCLE BERNARD

Twelve years in the making -- and worth every last minute of those years -- ENCIRCLEMENT is the documentary product of French-Canadian filmmaker Richard Brouillete in which, via economists, philosophers and (in the words of the film's press material, with which I would agree) "some of the world's most transformational thinkers," he confronts the west's ideological conformism and brainwashing regarding the neo-liberal philosophy that still controls so many of today's so-called western "democracies."

One of those "thinkers" is Bernard Maris, aka Oncle (Uncle) Bernard, whom we see bits of in Entitlement. In ONCLE BERNARD, the 80-minute interview devoted entirely to the noted economists's views, we get the full dose of the late M. Maris, and it is a revelation. I have never heard any economist speak more intelligently, cogently, forcefully or entertainingly about the situation in which the western world has placed itself, thanks to the idiocy and horror of neo-liberalism -- the primary tool of the wealthy, corporate and powerful.

What M. Brouillette, shown at right, has done here is simply give us the major explanation for why the world and its people, particularly in the west, but also in most-if-not-all developing countries, is growing poorer, while the rich, as ever, grow richer and "business" and the banks keep reaping larger profits at the expense of the populace. Yes, this is "left-wing" stuff, but so expertly and honestly do these talking heads, in particular Oncle Bernard, lay out their case that anyone with a genuinely inquiring mind will have trouble negating what s/he has learned here.

TrustMovies watched Oncle Bernard first, since this doc lasts only 80 minutes, while Entitlement goes on for two hours and 23 minutes. (I needn't have worried about length, however. Once into the latter film, I was soon and permanently hooked.) Bernard Maris (shown above and below) is simply an amazement: Listening to and learning from him proves an unalloyed treat. Whether he's talking about economic theory as a kind of religious faith or the pointless and perverse pretense of confidence and transparency, the "neutral" unemployment rate, and inflation and lending, Maris is an alert, funny and exemplary teacher.

This black-and-white film, during which, every ten minutes or so, the reel must be changed, has a delightful, old-fashioned (the interview was filmed in March of 2000), off-the-cuff charm that is contagious. By the time our "Uncle" arrives at derivatives and pension funds (remember: this interview took place well prior to the upcoming financial crisis), as well as how the banks (even back then) were reporting only half of their transactions and so were consequently under no real government control, it will hit you just how special this economist was and what a loss it is to have had him murdered at the hands of the terrorists who attacked Charlie Hebdo in 2015.

In fact, watching and listening to Maris and how he takes apart France and its governments, you may find yourself wondering if, after all, that Charlie Hebdo massacre wasn't an inside job. Really: How could a man this set on telling truth to power -- and then spreading that truth all around -- be allowed to live?

The subtitle of Encirclement is NEO-LIBERALISM ENSNARES DEMOCRACY, and once you've experienced this combination of history, economic theory, and very, very smart talking heads, you wont just understand this ensnarement and how it has happened, but you'll probably be quite able to explain it all to your children and parents, too. The documentary is that clear, concise, and rigorous. My biggest quibble is that I wish that M. Brouillette had identified all his speakers as each first appeared, rather than waiting until the end to show us their names. Consequently, although I can remember what was said, I can't recall in many cases who said it.

Still, what an array of speakers we have here, and after all, it's what they say that proves most important. One early fellow explains how both left and right adhere to this same neo-liberal theory,  (I did not know that Socialist Prime Minister Lionel Jospin's government transformed public companies into private at the same rate as did right-wing governments.) We get plenty of theory here, as well as some interesting info on the men who gave it to us. I did not realize that Hayek -- Friedrich not Salma -- held Utopian views that benefited society's strongest, rather than its under-privileged. (One of the many speakers here is the stalwart Noam Chomsky, below.)

Rather than simply giving us the Collectivist/Socialist talking heads, Brouillette allows neo-liberal thinkers to pontificate, too. And he offers them plenty of time -- and rope -- with which to hang themselves. They do. After one fellow's lengthy, ridiculous speech, my spouse (who does not follow economics at all closely) called out from the bathroom, "What a bunch of bullshit that was!"  Another Libertarian tries to explain how privatizing water would help solve both our environmental and economic problems, and the result is pure, sad hilarity.

Toward the end of this truly monumental undertaking, Susan George (the political scientist, rather than the actress) and others tackle the WMF, World Bank and WTO and show us, point by point in wonderful detail, how these organizations have toppled democracy and especially how they are decimating developing countries. The doc was made prior to the 2008-and-beyond financial collapse, but what these organizations have done since the turn of the century -- hello Greece! -- is equally disgusting. Another quibble, however: I do wish the filmmaker had not used such heavy-handed piano music on his soundtrack. The information we get here is troubling and important enough not to need unnecessary goosing from the musical score.

Otherwise, Encirclement is a masterwork of its kind. I can't imagine any intelligent, pro-active viewer who cares about the direction of western society not immediately giving it a view. Or two. From IndiePix Films, both Encirclement and Oncle Bernard will be available as of this coming Tuesday, September 26, on DVD, digital HD and via IndiePix Unlimited's new streaming service -- for purchase and/or rental.