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Tuesday, August 13 2013

‘Runner’: Mary Decker’s Many Races

This story is complicated by multiple factors, not least being Mary Decker's long history of injuries (the film shows a chart of her multiple surgeries and other sorts of repairs since her start as a 12-year-old prodigy).


Tuesday, August 6 2013

‘The Diplomat’: Olympic Gold and the Stasi

The Diplomat shows how microphones were planted in apartments and athlete's mail was monitored.


Monday, August 5 2013

HBO’s ‘Casting By’ Highlights Film’s Creative Rapports

"I don't like casting," says Woody Allen, in his version of how crucial he finds his longtime collaborator, casting director Juliet Taylor, "I don't like to meet people in any area."


Wednesday, July 31 2013

‘Swoopes’: The Basketball Star’s Remarkable Life and Career

Sheryl Swoopes' journey has included many turns, some sudden and some not so sudden.


Thursday, July 25 2013

‘The Crash Reel’: Snowboarder Kevin Pearce’s Fall and Recovery

Along with snowboarder Kevin Pearce's accident and remarkable recovery, the film looks at the institutional structure and risks of extreme sports -- as a business.


Wednesday, July 24 2013

‘No Limits’: Freediver Audrey Mestre’s Last Dive

This film makes clear the thrill of freediving in some sensational underwater shots, arranged in split screens so that time ticks away while you see the athletes at work from various angles.


Friday, July 19 2013

New Fox Animation: ‘Axe Cop’ + ‘High School USA!’

Axe Cop and High School USA! recapture a sense of insanity that hasn't been seen in cartoons since the heyday of Aqua Teen Hunger Force.


Tuesday, July 16 2013

‘Let Them Wear Towels’: Women Sports Reporters at Work

The idea that sports both reflect and transform their broader contexts is at the center of the documentary Let Them Wear Towels.


Thursday, July 11 2013

‘Orange is the New Black’ Is Imprisoned Between Comedy and Drama

As its characters remain thinly rendered types and the situations predictable, Orange is the New Black veers from melodrama to slapstick.


Wednesday, July 10 2013

‘The Bridge’: Crossing and Recrossing Borders

In The Bridge, the detectives find two half bodies laid out as if one, on the US-Mexican border, symbolic in a way that is both crass and inexplicable.


The Lost Middle Class: ‘Frontline: Two American Families’

Both the Stanleys and the Neumanns are living paycheck to paycheck. The reasons are at once as individual and common as you might imagine, having to do with decisions concerning education and downturns in local and national economies.


Tuesday, July 9 2013

‘Pat XO’: The All-Time Winningest Coach in NCAA Basketball History

Pictured in scratchy-seeming, anti-slick, internally framed clips, the interviews here create a sense of the subjects' personal experiences with coach Pat Summitt.


Monday, July 8 2013

What’s Going on in Your Backyard? Fracking Is Revisited in ‘Gasland II’

Many property owners take the only option they can, which is to sign deals with the gas-drilling companies whereby the must move off their land, leave behind their homes, and never speak of what's happened, owing to non-disclosure clauses.


Thursday, July 4 2013

‘Special Flight’ Shows What It’s Like to Live in a Suspended State of Asylum

When Geordry left his home and applied for asylum in Switzerland, he didn't guess that he'd be captured and incarcerated at Frambois Prison in Geneva, caught for long months between nations and governments.


Monday, July 1 2013

‘Venus Vs.’: The Fight for Equal Pay in Tennis

Speaking now, Venus Williams looks confident and self-aware, a woman who knows how to use the camera, and yet another version of the tennis player who turned professional at age 14.


Friday, June 28 2013

‘Anna Nicole’s Story of Sheer Shamelessness

This made for TV movie walks a line between camp and earnestness, much as Anna Nicole herself blurred the distinction between tackiness and glamour.


Wednesday, June 26 2013

‘Mad Men: Season Six’: Steps Back and Forward

In this uneven but revelatory season of Mad Men, Don Draper’s mask of identity slipped and his performance became more difficult to maintain.


Tuesday, June 25 2013

‘Frontline: Rape in the Fields’: The Open Secret of Abused Female Farm Workers

This program, developed over a year and featuring interviews with law enforcement authorities as well as victims and accused perpetrators, reveals longstanding, systemic, and overlooked abuse of women.


‘Perception’: Professor Pierce, Again in Pursuit of Abnormalities

As the show takes Dr. Pierce's cue, pinning criminal behavior to a physical location in the brain, it argues that criminals cannot be changed or rehabilitated.


TV Is Put to Good Use With ‘Sex: How It Works’

The research is delivered by individuals willing to talk about sex frankly but intelligently, whether they are academic scholars or “ordinary people” on the street.


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