Solomon Vesta

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Tales of the Rat Fink Review


Grim
This animated presentation of hot rods as redesigned by artist-specialist Ed Roth (who became the "Big Daddy" of collector cars), will appeal to car lovers, Roth followers, and automotive hobbyists. For those who don't share the obsessive compulsion about wheeled creations, it's a ho-hum but amiable history of Roth's artistry as it evolved from beat-era printed T-shirts trademarked with the green rat fink image to car model kits and auto detailing. With the advent of fiberglass, Roth's inner muse found the freedom to devise new expression in the use of the hot rod as the motif for a unique, award-winning brand of counter-culture sculpture.

Roth's story includes the elements of iconoclastic rebellion and mechanical genius right up to his death in 2001. The film is immersed in animation by Mike Roberts and a CGI boost to animate available archive stills, all of which suggests the rebel's own grand cartoonish style.

Continue reading: Tales of the Rat Fink Review

Go Further Review


OK
Noted environmentalist/vegetarian Woody Harrelson takes a road trip with his unabashed hippie friends in Go Further, a crude documentary that follows his crew from Oregon (via bikes and a bio-diesel bus) to southern California, proselytizing all the while.

Nothing wrong with that, but the film is so riddled with cliches and old information that it's hard to muster much interest in the cause or, by extension, enthusiasm for the "film."

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Grass Review


Good
Ron Mann's documentary on the "war on drugs" -- marijuana specifically -- gets points for style and originality, but loses a lot of credibility due to its utter lack of impartiality. But with hemp activist Woody Harrelson narrating the film, I didn't expect much less.

Grass amiably traces the war on marijuana throughout the 20th century, from old archival footage, newsreels, and propaganda films and moving on into 1960s counterculture footage and Presidential speeches. All of it works well in explaining -- to some extent -- the political underpinnings of the drug war. As well, the medical research over the decades (all of which conveniently states there is no basis for the criminalization of marijuana) is trotted out.

Continue reading: Grass Review

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