The Redemption of General Butt Naked
Directors. Daniele Anastasion, Eric Strauss
Stars. Joseph Blahyi
From 1989 to 1996, Joseph Blahyi (aka General Butt Naked) estimates he was responsible for the deaths of 20,000 Liberians. But in 1996, he left the civil war to become an evangelist and preach the gospel.
The thought-provoking documentary follows Blahyi as he attempts to reconcile with the families of those he killed and the child soldiers whose lives he destroyed. The Redemption of General Butt Naked will force audiences to grapple with the question, “Just because a man is now good, should he be forgiven for his past sins?”
Director. Bess Kargman
Stars. Aran Bell, Gaya Bommer Yemini and Michaela Deprince
Kargman puts six gifted young dancers from around the world under the microscope for nearly a year as they prepare to compete at the potentially career-launching Youth America Grand Prix. These kids, from 6 – 19 years of age, don’t lead normal lives. They’re isolated and dependent on anxious parents and teachers. They push their bodies hard. Injuries are common, and you can feel their all-consuming need to be perfect.
It’s fair and unsentimental and riveting, following an African adoptee, a dirt poor Colombian, a middle American “princess” and the “star”, a boy so talented and blasé that he comes off like a glorious freak of nature.
Director. Michael Winterbottom
Stars. Freida Pinto, Riz Ahmed
Loosely based on Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles, Trishna will captivate audiences from the opening scene until the final fateful movements.
Trishna (Pinto), the daughter of a poor truck driver in rural India, doesn’t have a say in the direction of her own life. When she develops a relationship with Jay (Ahmed), the son of a wealthy hotel-owner, she believes her life will finally change for the better. But she soon discovers that society and power can even destroy the hero.
Director. Mike Clattenburg
Stars. Will Sasso, Charlie Murphy
Moving Day was not a good move for Trailer Park Boys creator Mike Clattenburg. A clumsy comedy starring Will Sasso (The Three Stooges) as a chunky, cola-guzzling furniture mover who simply dreams of a “city job”, Clattenburg’s latest film wanders without much progression or many laughs. In fact, without a pronounced performance from Eddie Murphy’s less famous brother Charlie Murphy, Moving Day is pretty motionless.
Director. Jeffrey Schwarz
Stars. Vito Russo
Schwarz’ glowing portrait, gleaned from interviews with subject Vito Russo before his death from AIDS in 1990 celebrates the New York film critic, TV host, LGBT rights and AIDS activist who joined the charge at Stonewall and founded GGA, GLAAD and ACT UP. Also, his decade long research into gay images in cinema resulted in the landmark film and lecture series The Celluloid Closet. Colleagues, friends and family are in awe of him still and distraught to have lost this beacon for change. This award winning film reminds us what strides have been made since 1969 and stops just short of hagiography.