The American Media & The Second Assassination of John F. Kennedy is a searing, enraging, and eye-opening documentary about how Jim Garrison, New Orleans' District Attorney from 1962-1973, had set out to prove, using the American justice system, that the CIA was actually behind the assassination of JFK on November 22nd, 1963, and that the mainstream media was responsible for covering up the truth with fake news/propaganda. Essentially, the mainstream media were like "Good Germans." Garrison was far from a Good German, though, as he dared to question the Warren Commission report which included very weak and even fabricated evidence that pointed to Lee Harvey Oswald as the lone gunman. He was not afraid to kick the hornet's nest, so-to-speak. The CIA wanted the public to believe that the bullet that killed JFK entered through the back of his head instead of the front like expert pathologists had observed but were suppressed. No one in the media questioned why JFK's motorcade route's plan was changed at the very last minute or why the car's bubble top was removed---or who made those decisions to begin with.
Director John Barbour blends archival footage from his 3-hour interview with Jim Garrison as well as video of the Zapruder tape, interviews with witnesses, and clips which show concrete evidence of how the mainstream media mislead the public with false information. There's even a clip of Noam Chomsky making a very callous statement about how little he cares about the JFK assassination or who was behind it. It's very suspicious that many witnesses and people related to the investigation died of "suspect" suicides after the assassination while no witnesses died during other well-known investigations like the O.J. Simpson murder case. Bravo to Jim Garisson and John Barbour for being true patriots, unlike the mainstream media who's has been and still is in bed with the U.S. government. The government is essentially a pimp while the mainstream media serves as its prostitutes. Media figures, i.e. Dan Rather, who helped the government spread misinformation to cover-up the truth about JFK's assassination became more wealthy and successful.
The film's running time of 2 hours and 10 minutes might seem a bit lengthy at first, but it does cover a lot of ground, and there's never a dull moment to be found. The crisp, fast-paced editing also helps to enliven the film. The narration by Barbour himself is humourous and witty at times---humor, after all, is a great way of hooking audiences. In other words, he manages to find just the right balance between entertaining the audience and provoking them emotionally as well as intellectually just like a truly great documentary ought to do. By the end of the film, you will never look at the mainstream media nor the CIA the same way again. Consider it your patriotic duty to see The American Media & The Second Assassination of John F. Kennedy. It opens at Cinema Village.
Dawson City: Frozen Time, directed by Bill Morrison, is a consistently fascinating documentary. In 1978, Michael Gates, the former curator of Collections for Klondike National Historic Sites, and Kathy Jones-Gates, director of Dawson City Museum, discovered 533 nitrate silent film reels that were considered lost for years. The films were made and shown in the Canadian town of Dawson City in the 1910s and 1920s. Michael and Kathy eventually got married. Morrison doesn't begin with their heartwarming, uplifting story; he starts by introducing audiences to the history of Dawson City, including the Klondike Gold Rush, and the process of how nitrate film is made. He shows many clips from the unearthered silent films many of which have suffered water damage. There were other silent films from Dawson City that had been tragically dumped into the Yukon River and lost forever. Like Morrison's prior films, there's no narration; he trusts the power of the images and some captions on-screen to enlighten the audience. Seeing this doc on the big screen would be ideal given the power of the archival images which would be diminished somewhat on the small screen. Although the running time of 120 could've been trimmed down a bit with less footage from the silent films, Dawson City: Frozen Time is nonetheless mesmerizing, illuminating, and a must-see for film and history buffs. It opens via Kino Lorber at IFC Center.
It Comes at Night
Moscow Never Sleeps
Valery (Yuri Stoyanov), an actor with a terminal illness who has merely a few weeks to live, escapes from a hospital and ends up kidnapped by Arto (Rustam Akhmadeyev) and his friends. Ilya (Oleg Dolin), Valery's son, stalks his ex-girlfriend, Ilya (Oleg Dolin), who's now a pop singer in a stale marriage with her husband, Anton (Alexey Serebryakov), a businessman. Meanwhile, Vladimir (Mikhail Efremov) has to deal with a promiscuous daughter, Kcenia (Lubov Aksenova), and his stepdaughter, Lera (Anastasia Shalonko), who's desperately searching for her biological father. He's also in the process of putting his elderly mother, Vera (Tamara Spiricheva), in a nursing home.
How each of plot strands described above come together during Moscow's City Day will not be spoiled here, but it's a testament to the well-written screenplay by writer/director Johnny O'Reilly that Moscow Never Sleep does not become a convoluted, overstuffed mess. The plot is complex without being too complicated or headache-inducing. O'Reilly also incorporates many heavy and dark themes about these lonely, unhappy souls who come from broken homes. Most of the characters aren't particularly likable, but that's alright because it makes the film more unflinching when it comes to how flawed and fallible human beings are, regardless of whether they're rich or poor. Flawed characters, after all, area lot more interesting than decent characters.
Could Moscow Never Sleeps have been more biting and gritty? Probably, but then it would have risked veering into preachy territory while becoming exhaustingly, monotonously grim. This isn't the kind of film that has a lot of edge-of-your-seat suspense, action sequences and thrills. Suspense can be found here, but it's more low key with more of an emphasis on character development. Kudos to O'Reilly for trusting the audience's patience. There are even some lighter moments of levity to be found on occasion which lift the film up from its serious tone. The natural performances with no overacting or underacting along with the exquisite cinematography help to further enrich the film which is bookended by a breathtaking view of Moscow. It's also worth mentioning the very memorable and creative opening credits sequence. At a running time of 100 minutes, Moscow Never Sleeps is a compelling, moving and gently suspenseful tapestry of dysfunctional lives.