Jordan Chodorow reviews movies on a scale of zero to four stars. Find reviews of all the latest releases here, along with a searchable database of all reviews from January 2012 to today.
Sunday, February 20, 2011
The Oscar-Nominated Documentary Shorts
"Strangers No More"
"Killing in the Name"
draw the stark contrast between Israel and radical Islam - the former, representing the best of humanity; the latter, incompatible with civilized society. The standout
the one feel-great short in an otherwise endless litany of woe, introduces us to the Bialik-Rogozin school in Tel Aviv, where students from 48 countries, many of them poor immigrants, are welcomed with open arms and nurtured to become color-blind friends and academic achievers.
focuses on the groom whose 2005 wedding was bombed by an Al-Qaeda operative, killing his father and 26 family members. The man, Ashraf Al-Khaled, has become a crusader against terrorism, and we watch him argue in vain with young jihadist disciples. But his argument is not so much against killing per se; rather, it's against killing that happens to imperil Muslim bystanders, as though it would be hunky-dory otherwise. Also in the program:
"Sun Come Up,"
the touching story of Carteret Islanders who must travel to neighboring Bougainville, hat in hand, to beg for land to resettle to as their island sinks slowly into the sea;
"The Warriors of Qiugang,"
about the victimized villagers leading the embryonic environmentalist movement in China; and a possible upset winner,
about Robynn Murray, an all-American cheerleader turned Army poster girl turned antiwar activist with PTSD. Murray is a rarely eloquent and reflective subject, and might just make the Oscar stage next Sunday night.