THE POPCORN REEL EDITOR'S DESK - a weekly word about the movies                      

Monday, October 2, 2006


If politics makes for strange bedfellows then films and documentaries spend more than their fair share of time in bed this month in the U.S.  In case one hasn't noticed, The Popcorn Reel is dedicating the whole of this month of October (including Halloween) to focusing on politically-themed films and documentaries that are either currently in release in North America, or will be opening this month ahead of November's important elections across the U.S.  Not since 2004 have there been so many politically-themed film releases concentrated over such a short period of time.  In the space of seven weeks about 18 films and documentaries have or will be released in North America.  Some of them are high-profile releases like "Man of The Year", which stars Robin Williams.  Others, like Robert Greenwald's word-of-mouth, neighborhood home-screened documentary "Iraq For Sale: The War Profiteers" and the documentary "Red State", are not so high-profile, but are gaining ground.  Then there are other films that fall somewhere in between the two polar opposites, such as "The Queen" and "The Last King of Scotland", films which feature sure-fire Oscar nomination performances by Helen Mirren and Forest Whitaker respectively.

Then there are the electrifying documentaries like "The U.S. vs. John Lennon", which will keep audiences riveted and rocking -- the film is like a rock concert of politics, featuring a notorious who's-who of entertainment, media and politics.  And audiences will be kept laughing and thinking with "Al Franken: God Spoke", while they will be shaken and angered by the incredibly heartbreaking but deeply absorbing and powerful "Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple".  These are just a few of the films -- and there will be more in November and December, including Robert De Niro's second directing feature film "The Good Shepard", about the inner-workings of America's super-secret Central Intelligence Agency.  Next year, politics will continue to feature as the film "Against All Enemies", based on former counter-terrorist czar Richard Clarke's book of the same title, will be released.  Clarke was prominently featured in the fictional and widely-reported inaccurate political television docudrama "The Path to 9/11" last month.  Also next year: Michael Moore's latest documentary "Sicko", which will concentrate on America's troubled healthcare industry.

If you are fed up with the amount of films with political themes that are coming to your local movie theater, including such films as Jesus Camp, then there's one thing you can do when November comes: vote.  Maybe after that simple action such a proliferation of politically-themed films will be less abundant.

As October goes, "So Goes The Nation".


Omar P.L. Moore
The Popcorn Reel

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