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by Cynthia Fuchs

24 Mar 2011


Part political investigation and part cultural critique, Alex Gibney’s brilliant documentary is also a series of intricate performance pieces. As Eliot Spitzer and others describe the trajectory of his New York career, all do their best to shape the story, and also to make their versions seem honest and insightful. As AG and as governor, Spitzer pursued Wall Street corruption, inspiring the enmity of some very powerful usual suspects. While the movie doesn’t defend Spitzer’s deception of his wife and family, or excuse his ridiculous choice to patronize the Emperor’s Club VIP, it does situate that bad behavior in multiple broader contexts, all in flux by definition. Spitzer is not deviant or even exceptional. He is, instead, a participant in a game that is at once mundane and creepy, one that no one seems inclined to challenge, but only to play as brutally as possible, and above all, to play well.

Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer is screening as part of Maysles Cinema’s “True Crime” series. The 24 March show will be followed by a Q&A with Alex Gibney.

See PopMattersreview.

by Cynthia Fuchs

23 Mar 2011


“The reason that they’re not going to jail is not that they didn’t commit crimes,” Charles Ferguson tells Nell Minow. “It’s because there’s been no effort to enforce the law, an even more disturbing phenomenon.”

This year’s Academy Award winner for Best Documentary, Inside Job traces the intertwined histories of deregulation, credit default swaps, subprime mortgages, and ideological Kool-Aid drinking. Interviewer and director Ferguson encourages his subjects to tell their stories. Some of these are convincing, others are cringeworthy, as lobbyists, bankers, and academics spin themselves into deep holes. It may be that Inside Job‘s greatest effect is that, as the interviewees reveal themselves, they become less central to the story. Increasingly, the film lays bare a culture based on greed and short-sightedness, one that produces a mindless focus on profits, whether ideological, political, or financial.

Part of Maysles Cinema’s “True Crime” series, the screening of Inside Job on 3/23 will be followed by an audience-led discussion with Gale and Ben Armstead, humanitarians, and long-time Harlem residents. On Friday, 3/25, the screening will be followed by a Q&A with Carl Dix.

See PopMattersreview.

by PopMatters Staff

15 Mar 2011


Former Clash man Mick Jones and filmmaker Don Letts bring their Big Audio Dynamite project back on the road this spring with a series of dates in the UK and US. Highlights include appearances at Coachella, as well as high profile gigs at London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire and New York’s Roseland Ballroom. Full dates after the jump.

by Cynthia Fuchs

15 Mar 2011


Barbara Kopple’s Academy Award-winning documentary is as crucial now as when it was made, nearly 40 years ago. Nominally a documentary about the 1973 strike by Kentucky mineworkers, Harlan County U.S.A. observes a way of life in transition. As miners and their families protest unconscionably dangerous working conditions, they find a collective purpose and voice. At the same time, the film itself becomes integral to these 180 families’ experiences, as they come to see the usefulness of being filmed and being so visible. With multiple focuses on the community’s resilience and faith, humility and intelligence, with scenes on the picket line and in meetings conducted by wives and daughters, it illustrates the toughness of a long-lived, deeply meaningful culture, manifest in music and dialogue and dress. Working together, the film crew and the community made history.

The screening tonight, which closes Stranger Than Fiction‘s Winter Season, is followed by a Q&A with Kopple.

See PopMattersreview.

by J.C. Sciaccotta

14 Mar 2011


As anticipation for TV on the Radio’s latest LP, Nine Types of Light, gets heavier by the day, the band recently threw the world another musical bone in the form of “Caffeinated Consciousness”, doing little to alleviate expectations. With a back-breaking riff that brings to mind vintage Living Colour, the track resides in a decidedly different timbre than that of first single, “Will Do”. Type your email address into the widget below to receive a free high quality mp3 download.

In other news, we now have complete dates for the band’s upcoming world tour, which kicks off March 17-19 at the SXSW Festival. Various appearances include the Wireless Festival in London (July 3) as well as a headlining gig at Chicago’s Pitchfork Music Festival (July 17) to wrap things up. See all the shows after the jump.

 

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