The Iran Job

The Iran Job Not many Americans would imagine traveling to Iran much less moving there for a year to work, yet that’s exactly what journeyman basketball player Kevin Sheppard did in 2008. The Iran Jobis the brave, often hilarious account of his trip…

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Teddy Bear

Teddy Bear Danish filmmaker Mads Matthiesen’s Teddy Bear is what you might expect if Tom McCarthy had directed The Wrestler: a funny, affectionate tale of a socially awkward hulk of a man looking for love. While Matthisen’s visual stylings take some cues from Darren Aronofsky’s sad film about an aging professional wrestler – notably having the camera follow the main character from behind as he walks through the gym – his storytelling sensibilities are quite different. Teddy Bear tells the story of Dennis, a 38-year-old professional bodybuilder who still lives at home with his tiny-in-physical-stature-yet-overpowering-in-emotional-dominance mother in a tiny town in Denmark outside Copenhagen. His glory days are long behind him, his room full of trophies and photos of when he was at his peak. But this isn’t about Dennis trying to revive his career. Instead, Dennis just simply wants what most people want: to find love.…

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All Is Well

All Is Well Por Aqui Tudo Bem (All is Well), Pocas Pascoal’s semi-autobiographical tale of two Angolan sisters struggling to survive in Portugal, provides a compelling concept but ultimately falls flat due to a threadbare plot and inconsistent characters. We meet Maria and Alda, both in their late teens, just as they’ve emigrated from Angola to escape the rising violence that had already caused the disappearance of their father. They stay in a hotel waiting for their mother to arrive, but delays and lack of money force them onto the streets to fend for themselves. What follows is a tedious string of “and then” events that likely held tons of emotional resonance for Pascoal – who bases the plot and the character Maria on her own experiences – yet fail to connect with the audience on the big screen.…

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Reportero

Reportero Reportero examines the violent world threatening Mexican journalists by focusing on the violent 32-year history of Zeta Weekly, an independent weekly newspaper in Tijuana, and the investigative reporters that risked their lives to provide the news. Back in the early 1980s, Mexico was an authoritarian state where the government owned the press. If you wanted to write an article that the government didn’t like, it didn’t get published. If you wanted to print your own news, you couldn’t because the government owned the only paper company. Tired of being censored out of reporting what he truly saw, Juan Jesus Blancornelas started Zeta Weekly just over the border in California where he had freedom of the press, and shipped the newspaper back over to Mexico to a population ravenous for real news. During its first decade, Zeta’s main source of juicy content involved corrupt politicians; but then the ‘90s hit with its ensuing war on drugs, which gave rise to major drug cartels, who to this day assassinate journalists who publish stories that paint them in a negative light.…

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The Invisible War

The Invisible War The Invisible War is a devastatingly eye-opening experience that exposes us to this sad truth: there is a secret epidemic of rape running rampant throughout all of the branches the U.S. military. Careful not to cast the armed forces, as a whole, in a negative light, The Invisible War focuses on a handful of women – and one man – from the U.S. Coast Guard, Army, Navy, Air Force, and the Marines who share their stories of being raped by their fellow service members, and their subsequently traumatic treatment from both their superiors and the VA after they’ve been reported – which, unconscionably, seem to be even worse than the physical assaults themselves.…

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