Mark Jonathan Harris

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Darfur Now Review


OK
Unlike when the genocide began over a decade ago in Rwanda -- when the Western world couldn't be bothered to lift its head from its own navel and figure out what to do -- the increasingly desperate condition in the Darfur region of Sudan has attracted enormous amounts of attention from around the world, with activists clamoring for their governments to do more to stop the ongoing disaster. Writer/director Theodore Braun's Darfur Now serves initially as a decent introduction to the efforts of this diverse group of dedicated do-gooders, presenting portraits of six people from completely different walks of life into a generalized mini-lecture on the state of the Darfur conflict. But although it begins with the most honorable intentions, the film ultimately fails to serve as the rousing call to action it desires to be, swaddled as it is in muddle-headed hero-worship and a soft-focus PSA style.

The smartest move on Braun's part was the selection of the people he structures his film around. Ahmed Mohammed Abakar is a Darfurian farmer forced by the fighting into a refugee camp where he serves as a de facto leader in exile. The Ecuadorian Pablo Recalde works with the World Food Program, organizing the seemingly impossible task of keeping the thousands of Darfurian refugees from starving to death in a harsh landscape swept by dry winds and the marauding government-backed Arab tribesman known as the janjaweed (literally, devils on horseback) who helped drive them there in the first place. Adam Sterling is a young UCLA student and waiter fighting with admirable determination and stubbornness to get a bill signed that would divest state of California funds from the Sudanese government, as a way of not indirectly funding genocide. Producer Don Cheadle, who co-wrote a book on the crisis called Not on Our Watch, is profiled as well for his efforts, along with a briefly appearing George Clooney, to increase awareness and to pressure governments which do a lot of business in Sudan, like China and Egypt, to divest.

Continue reading: Darfur Now Review

Mark Jonathan Harris - Tuesday 30th October 2007 at Directors Guild Of America Los Angeles, CA

Mark Jonathan Harris
Mark Jonathan Harris

Into The Arms Of Strangers Review


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Shut your pieholes, all you whiney dot-commers. You lost your job and you think you have it rough? Try being a Jewish kid in Poland on the eve of the Holocaust.

What had the Academy so up in arms they gave this film a Best Documentary Oscar? Well, believe it or not, some 10,000 very such children got the chance of a lifetime: Escape. Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport tells their story, the lucky recipients of a coordinated rescue operation (with the permission of the Third Reich) that removed Jewish and other ethnic children from the ghettos, one boatload at a time.

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The Cutting Edge: The Magic Of Movie Editing Review


Very Good
While "magic" may be a little strong, The Cutting Edge: The Magic of Movie Editing is a surprisingly interesting film. If you're a filmmaker or an aspiring critic, it may well be essential viewing.

This documentary is precisely what it's title purports to be, an in-depth and instructive look at movie editing that literally spans 100 years of film history, from The Great Train Robbery to Cold Mountain. Through interviews with a copious number of directors and editors, The Cutting Edge covers everything from basic editing techniques like the matching of cuts to modern editing theory as inspired by MTV and The Matrix. The film goes into extreme detail in parts, like when we get to see James Cameron's trick of removing one frame per second out of Terminator 2 to give it more momentum and realism. It's all a little bit insidery and self-congratulatory, but the movie works far more often than not. Any film buff will find it hard not to like.

Continue reading: The Cutting Edge: The Magic Of Movie Editing Review

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Mark Jonathan Harris Movies

Into the Arms of Strangers Movie Review

Into the Arms of Strangers Movie Review

Shut your pieholes, all you whiney dot-commers. You lost your job and you think...

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