Tag: drugs


Icarus

February 6th, 2019 — 1:58am

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Icarus-nf

 The title of this documentary film comes from Greek mythology where Icarus was the son of a man who created a huge maze under the court of King Minos of Crete where a half man half bull creature lived. While the connection to this film may be somewhat convoluted there are at least two characters in the movie who can be viewed as larger than life evil people. One being Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, the man who is in charge of the anti-doping lab for Russian athletes and the other I would identify as Russian premier Vladimir Putin who supported and promoted this immoral and illegal activity.

We may have missed the exact details how and why the producer first became connected with Dr. Rodchenkov. It appears that the movie maker Bryan Fogel was an amateur competitive cyclist. He somehow learned that Dr. Rodchenkov located in Russia not only ran the Russian testing labs for Russian athletes but also knew how to have athletes inject themselves with performance enhancing drugs and not be caught when there was subsequent urine testing. We are not sure how and why the good doctor, after several Skype conversations with Bryan Fogel, agreed to teach him how to inject himself and significantly improve his competitive cycling performance.

However this amazing film then goes on to show in vivid documentary form how the Russian competitive athletes who are competing in a variety of international sports including the Olympics regularly, illegally injected themselves with performance enhancing drugs. In addition, Dr. Rodchenkov was the person who designed an elaborate testing procedure for all athletes during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. The procedure as it appeared to the outside world was foolproof with several techniques to guard against illegal cheating and manipulation of urine samples. However, in fact, the set-up allowed the Russians to cheat and have their athletes test clear while they were doped up with these illegal drugs. The movie ends with Dr. Rodchenkov going into the witness protection program in the United States and Bryan Fogel producing this award winning, fascinating and very revealing documentary movie. (2017)

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Comment » | 4 Stars, Crime, Documentary, Sport

GIrl On the Edge

May 29th, 2015 — 6:04am

****Screen Shot 2015-05-28 at 10.51.41 PM

Girl on the Edge-sp

This is an independent film based on Director Jay Silverman’s real life experience with his daughter. It is very well done with an excellent screen play by Joey Curtis with the help of Jay Silverman and writer Joe Gamache. There is an outstanding acting job by Taylor Spreitler. Although over 18 years old, she did get into the shoes of the 14-year-old main character that she played. Likewise, Gil Bellows was superb as the father ,who once he woke up to what was happening to his daughter, became appropriately angry and frustrated. Amy Price-Francis did a very believable job as the stepmother. Kudos are also given to the late Elizabeth Pena for her sensitive performance as one of the staff people at the rehabilitation center who understood the role that horses could play in therapy for young people. Peter Coyote could not have been better as the understanding empathic director of the rehabilitation program to which the young girl was sent.

This movie really presents us with two aspects of what this 14-year-old girl had to face. The first is that we could see what could happen to a young girl who begins to experiment with alcohol, perhaps with drugs and sex, and gets slipped a date rape drug where she doesn’t remember what happened to her. That is until she sees naked pictures of herself on the Internet and the terrible consequences in her life after such widespread exposure.

The other part of the story is about what a treatment program away from her loving family might be like. In this case, it was with a sensitive caring staff as well as interaction with other girls in the treatment program. It showed how horticulture therapy (teaching the young people to appreciate the value of growing plants and food) could be therapeutic as well as learning to interact with horses. The scenes of the equine therapy were quite moving. Watching the horse that the girl connected with, as it mirrored her actions, was quite amazing.

In a post-film discussion with the movie director, Jay Silverman, most of the audience acknowledged that they had a close relative or friend who had experienced similar issues and problems to that of the main character of the film. While most people might not be able to afford the kind of rehabilitation treatment that this girl did have, the emotions engendered are universal. This movie has been winning various awards at film festivals throughout the country and internationally. We believe it is a worthwhile experience to see this movie in theaters as well as at home with family . It also should be shown in middle schools and high schools to young people and should be a stimulus for discussion with teachers, counselors, and parents. It probably won’t be available until later in the year but keep it on your list of movies to see. (2015)

Comment » | 4 Stars, Drama

Taking Woodstock

September 9th, 2010 — 2:31am

Taking Woodstock* * * *
Taking Woodstock
– nf – Woodstock was a massive event in which hundreds of thousands of people descended on a small town in upstate New York in 1969 to listen to music and experience peace, love, drugs and rock and roll. It also was also an historic event in that it has come to be the defining moment of that generation. Rather than try to recreate the entire event Director Ang Lee used the screen play based on Elliot Tiber’s memoir to focus mainly on one twenty something young man (played by Demetri Martin) and his parents who are holocaust survivors and owners of run down motel in the Catskills. They follow his odyssey as president of the dinky local chamber of commerce as he entices the organizers of the concert to come to his town after another town where they were planning to hold the concert rejects them. You meet the farmer on whose land the gathering was held and see how the plans for the event take root. You watch how it then grows in an inevitable manner, as it becomes a magnet for the hippies of the peace and love generation. At the same time the film takes us on the journey of this young man who ultimately comes to realize that this is his time to join his generation and move away from his needy parents although his Dad is able to gently give him a push onward. Ang Lee has done a masterful job of capturing the atmosphere, sights and sounds and even an LSD experience of that conglomeration that was Woodstock. He did this with many extras that swayed with the music and imaginary images, took off their clothes, played in the mud while communing with nature and each other. He chose not to show any newsreel clips of the actual music performers although that would have been fun to see. Since most people we know missed being at Woodstock in person or in spirit by being too old or too young, this film almost makes you feel as though you really didn’t miss it and all the planning and drama that led up to it. It was a special experience. 2009

Comment » | 4 Stars, Comedy, Drama, Musical

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