It is not very often that I have felt a full-body shudder of horror from watching something on screen. But early in the documentary Collective, about the investigation and cover up following the deaths of dozens of people in a rock club fire, there is video footage from one of the club-goers. A metal band …

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Darkest Hour

Darkest Hour covers Churchill’s first month as British Prime Minister, a role he is reluctantly thrust into after Parliament’s dissatisfaction with Neville Chamberlain’s inaction in response to the rise of Hitler. It’s May 1940, and Hitler has just steamrolled through France, is threatening to invade the British Isles, and the Allied army is surrounded and …

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The opening credits of Confirmation offer a quick history lesson. In 1991, President George H.W. Bush was struggling to appoint a judge to the Supreme Court to fill the seat left vacated by the first African-American Supreme, Thurgood Marshall. Robert Bork was shot down, then Bush selected a conservative African-American judge named Clarence Thomas. Though …

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The Casual Vacancy

Wikipedia helpfully explains the odd title of this 3-hour adaptation of J.K. Rowling’s first “adult” novel: In politics, a casual vacancy is a situation in which a seat in a deliberative assembly is vacated during that assembly’s term. Casual vacancies arise through the death, resignation or disqualification of the sitting member. Needless to say, this …

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Wag the Dog

Wag the Dog is one of those films that will probably have cyclical relevance through the years, depending on who is in the Oval Office. There will be years that the premise will seem outlandish, and other times (like during Dubya’s reign) where it will seem like non-fiction, inducing queasy, uncomfortable laughter from the audience. …

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