I will admit that when I read that Errol Morris was going to do a movie on former Secretary of Defense in the George W. Bush administration, Donald Rumsfeld, I was perhaps more excited than usual. Morris had not only won an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature for his interview of former John F. Kennedy/Lyndon Johnson Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara in The Fog of War, but he also tore into the Bush Administration and their handling of the Abu Ghraib scandal in his stunning documentary, Standard Operating Procedure. So here, I thought, would be his chance to really hammer Rumsfeld on what he covered in Standard Operating Procedure and take shots at the ill-conceived Iraq War that he presided over before being sacked in December 2006. And so we are presented with The Unknown Known, whose name was taken from an enigmatic statement Rumsfeld made at one of his many entertaining press conferences : "...because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things that we know that we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns, the ones we don't know we don't know."
"It's a lack of imagination" - Donald Rumsfeld goes before the Interrotron in Errol Morris' The Unknown Known
High school is a weird time for everyone. Everything is awkward and one bad day feels like the end of the world. What if one bad day happened over and over. The same bad day. Personal hell? If I were stuck in high school, definitely yes. But, what if you could go back, knowing what you know now? Would you?
In Premature, Dan Beers brings us his feature debut about a high school kid named Rob. It is a seemingly formulaic set up. Kid needs to nail his college interview, score with his crush, and move on from the expectations of the world around him. You’ve got your checklist for the high school comedy; boy next door, childhood female best friend, vulgar sidekick, prodigy oddball, stereotypical hot blonde, jackass jocks, college admissions interviewer, and overbearing parental units. The twist in this story is that whenever Rob approaches, let’s say, sexual gratification, his day starts all over again, ala Groundhog Day. His terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day… if you will.
What do you do with a loved one’s things once they’ve passed? Sift through all the objects accumulated throughout a lifetime? Do you donate them, sell them, or throw them away? The sum total of these items can tell you a story about a person or maybe even a story about yourself.
In the new film, A Picture of You, two siblings travel from their very separate lives in New York City to clean out their childhood home in rural Pennsylvania. Estranged from each other, Jen and Kyle come to terms with their grief through packing up their mother’s things. She has written in the margins of her books, she has kept old bills, and even has a few hidden secrets stored on the hard drive of her computer. Through flashbacks and a little cyber sleuthing, Kyle and Jen learn more about themselves and what life was really like for their mom in her last few months.