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"Capitalism: A Love Story" review and Alternative Cinema Houston weekend preview [10/01/2009 08:22:00 PM]:
Capitalism: A Love Story Reviewed by Creg Lovett

At the preview screening for Michael Moore’s new movie Capitalism: A Love Story people hissed, booed, gasped in horror, applauded, laughed out loud and cried real tears. Liberal Democrats Chris Dodd and Barney Frank bore the brunt of the films heavy handed guilt trip, and Republican congressman Ted Poe from Houston was cheered loudly as he, like Dennis Kucinich, denounced the TARP bailout in a rousing speech on the floor of the House of Representatives.

The movie covers much of the same ground, and in much the same way, as recent episodes of investigative television programs like PBS Frontline, but with Moore’s well-timed comic narration. The guilty and the great speak for themselves in Moore’s films, and the filmmaker delivers punch lines in voice over. His sight gags and physical comedy stunts are welcome comic relief because the sad truth is, once again, SO sad.

Years ago I hated the guy on sight just for his appearance. I was vaguely aware that he was a consumer advocate, but I preferred Marvin Zindler’s lightning war to the bookish longwind of Nader or Moore. It wasn’t until his appearances on Bill Maher’s Politically Incorrect that I discovered Moore was devoted to uncovering things I wanted uncovered. Who knew that Canada had fewer murders in a year than Houston has in a month? Bowling for Columbine, Fahrenheit 9/11 and Sicko were, for me, eye opening examinations of the central conflicts in our culture, while for gun owners, hawks and the well insured, the films represented an unwelcome insult to valued American traditions. Still others, never affected by guns, war or ill health found little interest in these downer documentaries.

But everyone whose 401k was affected by the ongoing economic collapse should take notice of Capitalism. Your unemployed friends and neighbors would understand if you watched it by bit torrent. But go into it understanding that he’s really advocating socialism. Michael Moore asserts that postwar England, Germany, Italy and Japan have both free markets and mandated socialist policies. He includes long explanations from Presidents Jimmy Carter and Franklin Roosevelt as well as priests, a bishop and Vermont’s Socialist Senator. Moore includes newsclips of then-candidate Barack Obama promising “the change you need” which brings to mind the choruses or friends, neighbors and coworkers who rebutted “Socialism isn’t the change I need!.”, and it’s then that Capitalism shows us both the numbers and the faces of homeless children explaining their place in the world with uncommon wisdom and we learn that it isn’t about us. It’s about them.

Capitalism: A Love Story opens wide on Friday
Written, Produced and Directed by Michael Moore for Overture Films www.overturefilms.net
117 minutes Rated R

DUELING DOCUMENTARIES-since Capitalism: A Love Story is opening wide, it might not count as Alternative. But MFAH is showing For All Mankind all weekend. So we're including our review below.

For All Mankind Reviewed by Adam Woodyard

For All Mankind, screening this weekend, Oct. 2-4, at the MFAH is the rare example of spectacle at its most moving. The towering 300-foot vertical Saturn V rocket, footage from the lander, and the moon itself, cannot be captured in mere words, it must simply be experienced, as director Al Reinert is comforable to sit back and let you do. Never intrusive, always respecting the footage, there is perhaps not a spot on Earth than can compare to the grandiosity of the giant leap for mankind that took place not just when our species first set foot on the moon, but on the sheer science and drive that got us there in a scant six years, from the time Kennedy made his iconic speech (at Rice University) to the departure of the Apollo VIII mission on December 21st, 1968.

Nominated for a best director Oscar in 1989, Reinert's film is comprised solely of NASA footage, the voices of astronauts, and music from Brian Eno's soundtrack album Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks. He has created a fascinating and jaw dropping collage of what today we think of as commonplace. If you were born from 1975 on, no one has walked on the moon in your lifetime, and yet we take it for granted.

The sci-fi promise of moon bases and residential space-stations has fallen by the wayside, as hi-def shots of Saturn's moons aren’t considered front page news. For All Mankind comes from a time of newspapers and network news. It offers more charm than the internet can muster.

Unlike another documentary that might be opening this weekend, For All Mankind is apolitical, inoffensive, and as moving as if you were told tomorrow that America is going to put a human on Mars. The logistics of putting people on the moon is no less complex, and we did it with 1968 technology. You will never see a grander spectacle than footage shot from the hull of the Apollo spacecraft on its way to the moon, hovering mere feet above it, close enough to touch.

For All Mankind screens as a part of the Cosmic Celluloid Series at MFAH.
Directed by Al Reinert
Featuring music by Brian Eno
USA, 1989
80 minutes

Show Times are Friday, 10/2 7:00pm, Saturday, 10/3 7:00pm and Sunday 10/4 at 5:00pm.

Also at MFAH on Sunday afternoon at 1:00 is the 14 minute short film from 1903 A Trip to The Moon about a group of astronomers travelling to the moon.

Following is a 3 minute short film, Goodnight, Moon narrated by Susan Sarandon.

AND E.T. The Extra Terrestrial screens at 2:00pm Sunday as part of Target Free First Sundays: Family Flicks Film Series. IT'S FREE! It's ET on a big screen!

The last thing is the one I'm most excited about. Rice Media Center's Asian Film Festival is this weekend. Friday through Sunday at 7:00 pm are free screenings of films never seen before in Houston. These are all free and open to the public. Rice Cinema is an amazing thing that we only have because we live in a huge giant concrete city. Don't miss this. www.ricecinema.rice.edu

and email me all innuendo, insults and adulation at "creg" at "spacecityrock dot com", or call me at 867-5309.

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