Steven Shainberg

Steven Shainberg

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Our Brand Is Crisis Review


Good
In the new political documentary Our Brand is Crisis - or, as it could have been named, James Carville and Friends Go To Bolivia! - a team of blue-shirt and khaki-pants D.C. consultants head south to help run the 2002 presidential campaign of Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada, aka "Goni." A cursory glance at the headlines which have been coming out of Bolivia recently is all the clue you need to see how well that turned out for the consultants, Goni, and the country in general.

The election documentary is a rich field for the non-fiction genre, melding the fly-on-the-wall recordings of nuts-and-bolts decision-making - all those backroom discussions normally never seen by the electorate - with the built-in drama of an impending popular contest. With her first feature release, director Rachel Boynton has chosen her subject perfectly and handles it just about as well, landing Our Brand is Crisis in the company of films like The War Room and the more lighthearted Journeys with George.

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Secretary Review


Excellent
Secret desires and dark, unusual fetishes make for great fiction, but few filmmakers have enough courage to tackle ideas that private. However, Steven Shainberg has more than enough audacity and he doesn't hesitate to push the envelope way beyond the norm with his new movie Secretary, a film which appropriately won a Special Jury Prize for originality at Sundance.

Secretary explodes with juicy innuendo, even from its opening moments. An extending establishing shot plays against mischievously sensual music as a woman seductively strolls through a business office performing secretarial duties. She approaches a desk, staples a few papers, pours fresh coffee into a mug, and then returns to her employer. Sounds ordinary, except that she does these things while locked inside a weird S&M device.

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Steven Shainberg

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