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Review: Taking Venice

— by WILLIAM STERR —

In 1964, the United States government, through the United States Information Agency (USIA) supported an entry by several American artists in the Venice Biennale, one of the most prestigious art competitions in the world. “Taking Venice” is a documentary about the campaign – the “engineering” if you will – of American artist Robert Rauschenberg’s selection as the winner of that competition, and the scandal that surrounded it.

While the film is ostensibly about the preparation for, the mounting of, the intrigue involving, and the aftermath of the US entries, it also spends a lot of its runtime describing Rauschenberg and his career, including well beyond 1964. (CONTINUED)


Review: The Ballad of Davy Crockett

— by BEV QUESTAD — “Be sure you’re right and then go ahead! It’s up to you, to do, as Davy Crockett said.” This was the theme song from Disney’s 1955-56 Davy Crockett TV series at a time when Dwight Eisenhower was president, the Supreme Court ruled segregated buses were illegal, church attendance was 73 […][...]


Review: Deadly Justice

— by WILLIAM STERR — The story opens on the set of a TV show, “Real Crime.” Host Dale Jones (Brian Krause – “Charmed”) is interviewing former district attorney Holly Powell (Kelly Sullivan – “The Producers”). Jones is implying that Powell’s conviction of wife killer Judge Halstead (Billy Miller) was motivated by her ambition rather […][...]


Review: Mourning in Lod

— by BEV QUESTAD — As crimson blood courses through circuitous tubes we wonder, “Whose blood is this and where is it going?” As the film continues, we witness in a flashback the murders of two innocent, kind men who were both in transit home to loved ones. But the blood in the complicated tangle […][...]


Review: Lyd

— by WILLIAM STERR — Lyd, also known as al-Lyd, Lydda, and Lod is an almost 5,000-year-old city in southern Israel, between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. In this film, Lyd is a character who tells us her story (voiced by Maisaa Abd El-Hadi – “The Alleys”). The story of modern day Lyd (Lod, in Hebrew) […][...]


Review: Uncropped

— by WILLIAM STERR — Suppose you were invited to visit the New York apartment of a famous photographer, just so you could sit down and have him and some of his friends reminisce about his six-decade career taking pictures of people – famous, infamous, and anonymous. What an experience that would be. Well, you […][...]


Review: Dancing with the Dead

— by BEV QUESTAD — Red Pine is the nom de plume of Bill Porter who grew up in LA, the son of a wildly disturbed, abusive multimillionaire patron of the Kennedys, who owned at least 52 hotels. Bill was sent to boarding school beginning in the fourth grade, so his parents could have more […][...]


Review: Older Gods

— by WILLIAM STERR — Every year – maybe every month – we read about new aspects of our ever-expanding knowledge of the universe. Of creation. And as this knowledge expands, even though our ability to comprehend the wonders of existence expands with it, our actually position in that universe, at least for those who […][...]


Review: Irena’s Vow

— by WILLIAM STERR — Sometimes people find themselves in desperate situations. Situations where they must make life and death decisions. Such was the situation Irena Gut (Sophie Nelisse – “Close”) faced in Lublin, Poland, during the German invasion in 1939. Training as a nurse, the Germans forced her into factory work and then into […][...]