JeffVice's Review of Apollo Cinema Presents ... Academy Awards Documentary Shorts 2006

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Like some of the earlier movie compilations put together by this film distributor, "Apollo Cinema Presents ... " is a program of Academy Award-nominated documentary shorts that is definitely a mixed bag. However, that's more a reflection of the nominations process and the state of the documentary genre than the Beverly Hills-based firm, which deals almost exclusively in short-film projects. Two of the four featured shorts are so interesting that you wish for the filmmakers to get a chance to turn them into longer, more-in-depth works. The most noteworthy is this year's Oscar-winner, "A Note of Triumph: The Golden Age of Norman Corwin." Filmmaker Eric Simonson looks at the career of Corwin, the radio host whose historic broadcast about the conclusion of World World II is the stuff of legend. While it's not as poetic, "The Mushroom Club" is also effective in its examination of the lasting physical and psychological effects of the U.S. bombings in Hiroshima. "The Life of Kevin Carter" profiles the late South African photojournalist who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1994 for his striking photo of a starving girl being stalked by a hungry vulture. "God Sleeps in Rwanda" is a rather by-the-numbers look at Rwandan women who survived that country's genocide, and despite some emotional testimony from its subjects, it feels surprisingly half-hearted and unfocused. Both "Note of Triumph" and "Mushroom Club" are fascinating, however, and on whole the compilation is worth a look — especially for those with an interest in documentary films. "Apollo Cinema Presents ... Academy Awards Documentary Shorts 2006" is not rated but would probably receive an R for footage of war violence (including shootings and beatings), other disturbing and sometimes gory imagery, scattered use of strong profanity, nude photos and artwork, and discussion of some adult themes (including genocide and rape). Running time: 132 minutes. E-MAIL:
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Okfor ages12+