THE MARTHA MITCHELL EFFECT – Review by Jennifer Merin

This June marks the 50th anniversary of the Watergate break-in and the political scandal that led to President Richard Nixon’s eventual resignation from office on August 8, 1974. It was a turning point in US history, one in which Martha Mitchell played a role, Martha was the whistleblower wife of former US Attorney General John Mitchell, a close Nixon advisor and ally who was jailed for his complicity in the Watergate case. Two films currently in release commemorate the Watergate events and era by taking another look at Martha’s perspective on Watergate, how it happened and its impact on our nation.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK May 20, 2022 – FANNY: THE RIGHT TO ROCK

If you heard that David Bowie told Rolling Stone in 1999 that a group popular in the 1970s was “one of the finest f–ing rock bands of their time,” who would you guess he was talking about? Led Zepplin? The Who? Deep Purple? Wrong, wrong, and wrong. He was heaping praise on Fanny, the groundbreaking all-female band formed by Filipina sisters Jean and June Millington, whose story is told in Bobbi Jo Hart’s rousing documentary Fanny: The Right to Rock.

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FANNY: THE RIGHT TO ROCK – Review by Jennifer Merin

Fanny: The Right to Rock is filmmaker Bobbi Jo Hart’s completely captivating documentary about the first all-girl rock band, Fanny, and how this sisterhood of talented and tenacious Filipina women musicians almost became the female equivalent of The Beatles — but didn’t. But hopefully this lively film will bring them the recognition — read that as adoration — they deserve.

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FANNY: THE RIGHT TO ROCK – Review by Susan Wloszczyna

There was a time when girl groups like the Ronettes, the Crystals and the Supremes would simply sing, prance and dance while providing eye candy on stage. But everything changed in 1969, when two sisters of Filipina descent, ended up living in Los Angeles and forming a backyard rock band. Lead guitarist June Millington and her bass-playing sibling, Jean, decided to upset the norm, as they strapped on their axes and beat male rock bands at their own game.

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FANNY: THE RIGHT TO ROCK – Review by Liz Whittemore

Sexism, racism, and rock & roll, Fanny: The Right To Rock is the story of how two Filipina American sisters started Fanny, the legendary rock group you may have never heard of until now. Jean and June Millington used to gather a crowd in their California backyard. After they decided to put together a band comprised of extraordinarily fearless and talented female musicians, the road to Fanny began.

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TO WHICH WE BELONG – Review by Jennifer Merin

To Which We Belong is an informative and encouraging advocacy documentary from filmmakers Pamela Tanner Boll and Lindsay Richardson. The subject is climate change, and the fundamental message is that we humans can actually manage the use of our land to protect our planet from its demise and, ultimately, our own. As illustrated in the film, what is most immediately needed is restoration of healthy soil. which is not all that difficult to accomplish.

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LADY BUDS – Review by Jennifer Merin

Chris J. Russo’s engaging and informative first feature documentary, Lady Buds, is an enlightening tell all about the troubles currently impacting the lives and careers of women who are working in the weed trade in Northern California. The film chronicles the struggles of six independent female cannabis growers and distributors who were once worried about facing criminal charges for their chosen careers, but are now fighting to hold their ground against Big Agro companies that are — with the complicity of local authorities — moving in to take control of the burgeoning medical and recreational market for marijuana.

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SHADOW OF AFGHANISTAN (2006, 2012) – Retroview by Jennifer Merin

Shadow of Afghanistan is a primer about the history of Afghanistan. Providing extensive coverage and analysis of developments in the nation from 1959 to 2012, the documentary is a comprehensive overview of incidents and events that are extraordinarily entangled and complex. It’s a heartbreaking look at a devastated nation. There seems to be no end to the strife and anguish experienced by the people of Afghanistan during recent history.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK August 6, 2021: BRING YOUR OWN BRIGADE

Wildfires aren’t a new phenomenon in California, but it’s only in the last few years that the idea of “fire season” has become an inescapable fact of life. Lucy Walker’s viscerally powerful documentary Bring Your Own Brigade expertly explores the complex factors that have led to that devastating reality (hint: It’s more than climate change), not just in the Golden State but around the world, and offers the hopeful possibility that it’s not too late to turn things around.

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BRING YOUR OWN BRIGADE – Review by Jennifer Merin

Bring Your Own Brigade is filmmaker Lucy Walker’s courageous and compelling documentary about an extremely hot topic: the ongoing inferno of wildfires in Southern California and elsewhere on the West Coast and, by extension, across the nation. Walker’s eye witness camera captures close up images of the uncontrolled fires cutting through affluent communities in wide paths of devastating destruction. She follows local residents who are fleeing their homes on car-congested bands of blacktop cutting through raging flames and she records up close and personal accounts of survivors whose property was miraculously spared and others who lost all of their worldly goods to the to the rampaging blaze.

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