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The Wizard of Oz in One Sentence

 

A Classic ‘Feel Bad’ Movie About Progress

The new documentary “Surviving Progress” takes a cautionary view of modern advancement and sees major problems at every juncture.

 

Documentary Frames Graphic Art’s Political Ferment

A stirring compilation of instances where the pen, or brush, was equivalent to the sword raises the question of whether it can compete with the keyboard.

 

From Modern Albania, A Feudal Tragedy

“The Forgiveness of Blood” looks at a Balkan nation that has left behind feudalism and then communism but not the traditions of the blood feud.

 

A Masterful Look at Anti-Apartheid

South Africa’s painful journey from white minority domination to democracy, and the roles played by the rest of the world, is chronicled in a five-part documentary airing on PBS.

 

Two Russian Films Give Differing Views of Motherland

“Khodorkovsky” and “Hipsters,” two wildly different films currently making rounds of U.S., suggest that each step forward in Russia is greeted with one step back.

 

Searing Look at Rio’s Homicidal Police

As Brazil prepares to host two high-profile global events, filmmaker José Padilha suggests that while improving security is a worthy goal, its methods and rationale are deeply flawed.

 

Reintroducing Paul Goodman, the ‘Public Intellectual’

A new documentary film, “Paul Goodman Changed My Life,” tells the at-times risqué story of the seminal public intellectual of the American left whose impact evaporated after his death in 1972.

 

Film Recalls U.S.’s First Overseas Guerilla War

The latest headlines from Afghanistan repeat the old stories Americans first heard from the Philippines, suggests the newest movie by independent filmmaker John Sayles.

 

‘Sky Island’: Climate Change and an Alpine Oasis

A documentary film airing on PBS looks at New Mexico’s Jemez range, and gently and sparely shows how changing climate affects these unique “sky islands.”

 

The Last Mountain: A Scary Movie About … Coal

In his film review of “The Last Mountain,” Lewis Beale describes a horror flick about environmental degradation and predatory capitalism.

 

Lessons Learned From School and War

Reviews of two serious feature films examining true occurrences: the uplifting “The First Grader” and the brutal “City of Life and Death.”

 

Documentary Tells Story of Art Saved from Stalin’s Fury

The documentary ‘The Desert of Forbidden Art’ tells the story of the Igor Savitsky Museum, a remote refuge for Soviet-era art that ran afoul of Stalin’s diktat.

 

A Hiding Place for Nuclear Waste

A new film documenting Finland’s effort to seal away nuclear waste for the next 100 millennia asks how one predicts 100,000 years into the future.

 

Bhutto Soap Opera Makes for a Compelling Film

The murders, intrigues and expanses of Pakistan’s first female prime minister seem made for the big screen, and a new documentary is a game first step in that direction.

 

Eliot Spitzer’s Rise and Fall, and Potential Return

Eliot Spitzer, the shooting star of New York state politics, takes part in the documentary “Client 9,” which looks at the sex scandal that doused his light.

 

Mixed Report Card for ‘Waiting for Superman’

New documentary on schools shines a spotlight on the plight of low-income and minority children, but the film flops when it comes to solutions.

 

‘Carlos’ Brilliant Look at Real Terrorist

“Carlos,” a monumental feature film about the 1970s terrorist Carlos the Jackal, covers the bases historically and still provides a crackling good experience cinematically.

 

‘Howl’: Sex, Poetry and America in the ’50s

A new movie looks at the seminal 1955 obscenity trial centering on Allen Ginsberg’s epic Beat poem ‘Howl.’

 

It’s the End of the World as We Blow It

‘Countdown to Zero,’ a documentary history of nuclear weapons and possibility of radioactive terrorism, offers a cautionary tale for atomic powers.

 

Chinese Audiences Give Two Thumbs Up

Looking for lesson in cross-cultural psychology? Look no further than the different ways Americans and Chinese react to good, bad movies.

 

‘Harlan’ Documentary Examines Nazi-Era Film Director

A documentary examining the life of Veit Harlan, a film director responsible for films favored by Nazis, provides back story for a new and controversial feature film.

 

How to Film Nazis

… And how not to. The rules are changing, just as the human memory of Nazism fades.

 

Cloaking a No-No As a Win-Win

‘The Art of the Steal’ paints of picture of moneyed, but likely well-meaning, interests having their ways with a cloistered collection of art.

 

Review: The Importance of Being Not So Earnest

The documentary “The End of Poverty?” takes an impassioned if clunky look at international capitalism over the last half millennium. Guess what it finds?

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Your Brain Decides Whether to Trust Someone in Milliseconds

We can determine trustworthiness even when we’re only subliminally aware of the other person.

Young, Undocumented, and Invisible

While young migrant workers struggle under poor working conditions, U.S. policy has done little to help.

Education, Interrupted

When it comes to educational access, young Syrian refugees are becoming a “lost generation.”

No, Smartphone-Loss Anxiety Disorder Isn’t Real

But people are anxious about losing their phones, even if they don’t do much to protect them.

Being a Couch Potato: Not So Bad After All?

For those who feel guilty about watching TV, a new study provides redemption.

The Big One

One in two full-time American fast-food workers' families are enrolled in public assistance programs, at a cost of $7 billion per year. July/August 2014 fast-food-big-one

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