In an inspired creative decision, Spike Lee updated a Classical Greek comedy (Aristophanes’s Lysistrata) to the current climate of Chicago.
In Aristophanes’s original play, the women of of Greece withheld sex as punishment for fighting in the Peloponnesian War. In Lee’s update, Lysistrata pledges to refrain from sex with her boyfriend until there’s a peaceful resolution between rival gangs.
With this film, Lee reminds us of the pliability of art. A play first performed over 2400 years ago, still contains enough truth to speak to present day situations. This is humbling, comparable to people finding inspiration in Blade Runner in 4500 AD.
Despite its explosive subject matter, the movie largely avoids racial politics which makes the film more poignant and accessible.
The cast, featuring Samuel L. Jackson, Nick Cannon, Wesley Snipes, Jennifer Hudson, Angela Bassett, Dave Chapelle, Isiah Whitlock Jr., and John Cusack is uniformly excellent, making Lee’s first musical one of his best films in years.
In 2010, Andrew Jarecki directed All Good Things, a film about multimillionaire Robert Durst and his alleged involvement in the disappearance of his wife.
After Durst saw the film, he was so impressed he agreed to let Jarecki interview him. These interviews, along with interviews Jarecki conducted as background for the previous film resulted in this documentary.
During the trial for his murder of a New Orleans man, Durst admitted to cutting the man into pieces and dumping the body into the water, but claimed it was self-defense. To the astonishment of many watching the case, he was acquitted.
At the end of this chilling documentary, Jarecki confronts Durst with damning evidence linking him to another murder. A visibly frustrated Durst goes to the restroom and (unaware his microphone is still recording) appears to admit to killing several people.
Everyone who watched this fascinating look at the special protection afforded the wealthy will instantly elevate the frail, elderly, constantly blinking Durst into their pantheon of scariest people in the world.
Documentarian Alex Gibney traces the life of L. Ron Hubbard and his founding of the Church of Scientology, then explores criticisms of the sect and its current leader David Miscavige.
Beyond the usual claims of indoctrination and brainwashing, this film alleges physical abuse and imprisonment for those daring to expose questionable church practices or question its leadership.
Gibney depicts an organization willing to bully and intimidate any former members who speak publicly about their experiences.
Exposing the ways religion has been used and manipulated for the personal gain of a selected few, this film is a must see for anyone interested in a serious discussion of the role of faith in 21st century America.