by Leslie Raymond
One duty of my cherished job
as an Information Desk Clerk
at the Ann Arbor District Library
has been to write DVD reviews.
Here they are...
A Decade Under the Influence: The 70s
Films that Changed Everything
By Richard LaGravenese and Ted Demme, 2003
The distinct cultural landscape of the early 1970s developed
the widespread socio-political tendencies of the late 1960s.
specific to the time included a humanist response to war, respect for
rights of women and minorities, and a healthy skeptisicm regarding
With a style that grew out of prevalent popular attitudes, early 70's
challenged the Hollywood industry star-system model that had dominated
movie-making for over half a century. Distinguished by an irreverent
make movies for the sheer fun of it, friends and associates worked with
budgets, for little or no pay, often shooting during the off hours of
production in order to borrow the movie camera.
What they lacked in resources they made up for with determination and
Thanks to the support and enthusiasm of B-movie mogul Roger Corman, this
movement spawned the next generation of Hollywood stars-- in both
production-- including Jack Nicholson, Dennis Hopper, John Cassavetes,
Scorsese, Robert Altman, and Francis Coppola to name a few. With
popular success of Easy Rider, the gilded gates of Hollywood opened,
this fresh new energy into the dusty fold.
Lara Croft Tomb Raider
directed by Simon West, 2001
While the often-criticized storyline of this action narrative may leave
something to be desired, the star of the movie IS something to be
real gem of Tomb Raider is Laura Croft, played by Angelina Joline, the
powerful, sexy, intelligent, athletic, and FEMALE protagonist. This is
be underrated. In a market overrun by stale male and female
Laura Croft character is a refreshing change. Although the film
accused of being sexist, most reviewers themselves have objectified the
in terms of her body—her smile, her breasts, her thighs, etc.
More images of
robust, sturdy, formidable women in our media landscape would be a
reflection of and inspiration to people of every-day life.
Born from a video game, the action-hero Laura Croft has been compared
female Indiana Jones-plus-Batman character, but should be taken as one
most dynamic female characters of contemporary western pop culture in
right. Angelina Joline underwent considerable training to
Croft, to the degree that she did many of her own stunts, and even
two stunt-women in one instance.
Joline herself is known as strong, talented, gorgeous, capable,
fully non-traditional woman, carrying herself with respect while
notions of how women conduct themselves. We need more of this
kind of model--
especially on the Big Screen—- a model of the fully capable,
Third Annual Media that Matters Film
People and stories go hand-in-hand. Where Hollywood conveys the
metastory, independent media imparts details about who we are and how we
live, depicts the world’s variety, and often seeks common ground while
The Media that Matters Film Festival has been awarding and providing an
outlet for short films and videos on such subjects as human rights,
media rights, sustainability, and civic engagement since 2000. The
festival tours the globe, streams on the internet, and is distributed
The Third Edition DVD contains public service announcements, personal
documentaries, and experimental films. Subjects include a celebration of
teenage girls’ individuality, bullying in school, prison rape, and
explorations of racial stereotyping.
Voyage in Time (Tempo di Viaggio)
by Andrei Tarkovski and Tonino Guerra, 1983
Voyage in Time is a journal-film made by the distinguished Russian
filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky, chronicling an exploration of the Italian
landscape with Tonino Guerra, eminent Italian screenwriter, as they
discuss and create the groundwork for Tarkovsky’s film Nostalgia.
Guerra’s endearing devotion to his native soil is apparent as they tour
significant Italian sites of interest, but Tarkovsky seeks a setting
that will mirror his internal world that is occupied by a quiet
melancholy for his Russian homeland. This dynamic enriches their
friendship and dialog as they collaborate on the new film, one that will
masterfully construct the sense of dislocation that consumes the Russian
director in his exile.