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4 reviews in total 
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7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
One of the Best Documentaries Ever Made, 28 June 2004

The Hunting of the President is one of the best documentaries made. In what has turned out to be such a banner and distinguished year for documentaries, including Morgan Spurlock's "Super Size Me," Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11", as well as "The Control Room" and "The Corporation", this one stands out above the pack.

The film makes a step-by-step examination of the attempted character assassination on then Governor of Arkansas (and later current President Bill Clinton), from 1990, before his ascension to The White House in 1992, to the year 2000, when the investigations into Clinton's financial and personal affairs were basically over.

With its clear focus and incisive interviews with some of the key spinsters who worked both for and against Clinton at the time, this documentary makes you aware of the kind of back room wrangling and political positioning that goes on when the two main political institutions are vying for power and public attention.

The film does not use heavy handedness, at all, in its treatment of the subject matter. Instead, it is its real seriousness and mature focus on the topic at hand that provide the fuel and fire that lead you to its firm conclusions. This may turn-off some viewers, but no one will be able to deny the film's findings or minimize its well thought-out examination of past political goings-on.

This documentary, like Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11", is both instructive and historical and should not be missed by anyone. Overall grade: solid A.

7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Winning Combination: Underdogged, but Not Darkhorsed, 21 June 2004

Shirley Chisholm's run for the 1972 Democratic Presidential ticket will never be a textbook case on how to run and win an election. But it does demonstrate how far determination, in overcoming insurmountable obstacles, can go in striving towards a goal. These alone are noteworthy lessons that can be uncovered in this historical and informative documentary.

Because of the fact that she was a woman (and black at that), this in no way prevented Shirley Chisholm from seeking the Presidency in 1972. In fact, that she managed to stay in the race as long as she did, with at least a dozen other Democractic candidates, including front runners Muskie, Wallace, and McGovern, meant that she stayed true not only to her constituents, but also to herself.

With her lippy and bold, Martin Luther King-like, impassioned vocal deliveries, Chisholm gradually won-over voters to her candidacy, and likewise scores several political talking points with its movie-viewing audience. Without the use of a narrator, it is through selective interviews with the key campaigners, strategists, politicians, and commentators of the era, that we get an undiluted, behind-the-scenes viewpoint into the financial, racial, sexual fireworks and political machinations of the era, that can taint even today's politics.

However, it is the film's vibrant colors and really bouncy and funky soundtrack that really transports you into the heart and soul of this historic 1972 election that, at the same time, helps keep you genuinely interested in the dynamic politics examined by this special, unique documentary. Overall grade: B+.

My Girl (2003)
16 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
Deserves an American Audience, 7 June 2004

This Thai comedic drama deserves American distribution, at least on the independent film circuit. The young cast, and team of directors and producers who all worked on this film, deserve applause for making such a tender and nostalgic look at youth and growing up.

In exploring these universal themes, which have been portrayed by many other movies in the past, this film makes a mature and inquisitive portrait into a child's point of view of growing up within a particular rural family community and interacting with the adults, parents, and childhood peers of that surrounding neighborhood group. Upon viewing the film, many audience members will probably fondly remember how growing up, as portrayed in the film, was so tentative, yet joyful and at other times sad and disappointing. This is the gritty reality of life that rings so true for all of us, who have grown up, and is so boldly explored in this courageous film.

The fact that the subject matter and themes dealt with by the film are notoriously taboo in Thai society makes this film even more of a cinematic celebration, particularly by members of the Thai community. And don't be surprised if the film forces you to cry at a couple of points in the film, as it makes its emotional impact in subtle and realistic ways.

To be commended for their acting portrayals are the young boy and young girl leads, who play Jeab and Noi-Naa respectively, as well as the standout performance by the enterprising bully, who I believe was called Jack in the film. The rest of the cast also give quite credible performances of their characters. Overall grade: A-.

6 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Nice Try, But Doesn't Score a Hole-in-One, 7 June 2004

This coming of age comedy drama has a young, mature, and sexy and attractive cast. The trio of budding males, who are out to sow their oats on a scenic Greek island, have spent most of their lives studying and growing up in Italy. Their parents are, surprisingly, very unmeddling and quite supportive of their maturing sons.

This genre, particularly in America, has been done continuously as in such films as American Pie and Fast Times at Ridgemont High, etc. As previously mentioned, the movie has an attractive cast that acts well, the locale is spectacular and makes you want to immediately go on vacation, and the music fits its scenery.

But it is the script, cowritten by the talented, and still young, Italian actor/writer Silvio Muccino (who also stars in the film), with its lack of focus and diverse set of messages, that makes the film lose its hold over you. The film attempts to incorporate both seriousness and laughs, where it might have been better to focus more on one or the other. Its message is just too diffuse and doesn't quite have the impact that it strives for.

Hopefully this is the first of many cinematic learning experiences and is a start-up spark plug for Mr. Muccino's film career, who obviously has enough energy and charisma to carry a film on his own. Let's all hope he continues his writing and acting (and maybe even begins some directing) and develops his own style to one day become Italy's answer to Quentin Tarantino. Overall grade: B-.