Locating Famous Music in ‘Muscle Shoals’

Music evokes connections to places: Seattle grunge. Kentucky bluegrass. Delta blues. The Greg “Freddy” Camalier-directed Muscle Shoals (2013) offers another musical connection to consider, this time to a small town in Alabama. Not one, but two, legendary recording studios contributed to the developments in popular music history. The first, FAME Studios, was co-founded by Rick Hall, a… Read More Locating Famous Music in ‘Muscle Shoals’

The Mind-Bending Twister of ‘The Unknown Known’

The Unknown Known represents Errol Morris’s attempts to understand the complexities of 81-year-old Donald Rumsfeld, former Secretary of Defense under Presidents George W. Bush and Gerald R. Ford. Despite the extended character portrait, however, the known still remains unknown at the end of this documentary. No one else could have created this portrait of such a… Read More The Mind-Bending Twister of ‘The Unknown Known’

‘Urbanized’ Focuses on Design in Cities

Urbanized is the third part in a trilogy directed by Gary Hustwit about the roles of design in contemporary society. This 2011 documentary focuses on the roles of design within city planning. Cities represent a confluence of people and interests, and citing planning reflects the complexity of those intersections. The range of interviews represents that complexity… Read More ‘Urbanized’ Focuses on Design in Cities

Design Plays Role for Everyday Things in ‘Objectified’

Objectified is the second part in a trilogy directed by Gary Hustwit about the roles of design in contemporary society. This 2009 documentary focuses on the seemingly invisible role design plays in the creation and application of everyday objects, from something as simple as utensils to something as complex as cars. Much thought goes into the… Read More Design Plays Role for Everyday Things in ‘Objectified’

‘Helvetica’ Uncovers History of Ubiquitous Font

Helvetica is the first part in a trilogy directed by Gary Hustwit about the roles of design in contemporary society. This 2007 documentary focuses on the more than 50-year-old typeface that still appears on signage, advertising, and other documents around the world. Because of its age, Helvetica offers an interesting look at the changing nature of… Read More ‘Helvetica’ Uncovers History of Ubiquitous Font

‘The Armstrong Lie’ Uncovers Truths about Former Cyclist

The Armstrong Lie is a well-made documentary about a man whom I just can’t like and like even less after sitting through this two-hour film from Alex Gibney. Lance Armstrong used to be known in the cycling world for his seven wins of the Tour de France, his comeback from cancer, and his philanthropy through the… Read More ‘The Armstrong Lie’ Uncovers Truths about Former Cyclist

‘Rain’ Tells a Subtle Story, Shot by Shot

YouTube offers a treasure trove of older titles, though some offerings raise questions. Is the title part of the public domain? Is it made available through fair use? A handful of descriptions claim public domain, while most others claim nothing at all. The murkiness of copyright laws makes these claims questionable anyway. I would prefer… Read More ‘Rain’ Tells a Subtle Story, Shot by Shot