Few had the magic touch quite like James “The Amazing” Randi. Born Randall James Hamilton Zwinge, the eighty-six year old Canadian-American is much more than just a magician; Randi is a born raconteur and a phenomenal showman. The new documentary about his life, An Honest Liar, opens with archival footage of Randi placed in a straightjacket and hung from the rafters by his feet. A young lady sings “The Magic Touch” while Randi struggles to escape, which he does, just as she is wrapping up the song. Escaping for a straightjacket isn’t really a trick, it’s a skill learned and … Continue reading AN HONEST LIAR

Starz Denver Film Festival: Day 8

Lost in America The residents of Los Angeles have a nickname for the Antelope Valley. They not-so-lovingly refer to it as “The Awful Valley” and that’s not far from the truth. A residential development from the 1960s, Lake Los Angeles was promised as paradise, a resort town for all those who came. It was a lie, as they often are, and now the failed development hangs on for dear life while the wind and desert threaten to swallow it whole. Francisco (Roberto Sanchez) hails from Havana, but he came to this country seeking a better life. What he has found is far from it. Looking for day-work … Continue reading Starz Denver Film Festival: Day 8

Movie Beat – 09.20.13

After Tiller – Since the Supreme Court legalized abortions in 1973, eight abortion clinic workers have been murdered. Dr. George Tiller of Wichita, KS was the most recent, and one of the most controversial considering that he openly practiced third-trimester abortions. This is a heavily debated political issue, but this documentary is not interested in weighing this side versus that side, it wants to answer basic questions: Why does the mother decide that they cannot go through with the birth this late in the game? Why do these clinic workers, who are constantly in danger, continue to do the work … Continue reading Movie Beat – 09.20.13