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All posts by Noel Murray

Noel Murray is a freelance writer who has contributed regularly to The Dissolve, The A.V. Club, The Los Angeles Times, and Rolling Stone. He lives in Arkansas with his wife, two children, and a TV that is never off.

12 Documentaries About the Vietnam War on the American Homefront

On Sunday, September 17th, PBS will debut the latest project from Ken Burns and his frequent collaborator Lynn Novick: the ten-part, 18-hour series The Vietnam War. Just like Burns and Novick’s previous films The War (about WWII) and Prohibition (about American culture in the 1920s), the new documentary combines a broader historical overview with compelling … READ MORE

10 Great Animated Documentaries

Keith Maitland’s animated documentary TOWER [on Independent Lens Tuesday, February 14 at 10pm; check local listings] has left critics and awards-voting bodies alike flummoxed as to how best to categorize it. This is a visionary work, no doubt, that uses voice-actors and vintage audio to reconstruct what happened back in 1966 when a sniper shot dozens of … READ MORE

Losing Your Religion: Nine Movies about Crises of Faith

Abigail Disney’s documentary The Armor of Light takes an unusual but illuminating approach to the gun control debate. In the film, Reverend Rob Schenck — an evangelical Christian who gained some cachet on the right decades ago via his leadership of anti-abortion Operation Rescue rallies — talks to Disney about how he’s lost support from his … READ MORE

More Than Rain Man: Autism Portrayals on Screen

For a long time, the Oscar-winning 1988 drama Rain Man wasn’t just the best-known representation of autism on film, it was a lot of people’s only frame of reference for autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in general. But over the past decade or so, as more and more kids have been diagnosed as on the spectrum, … READ MORE

Nine Movies about the Power of Cinema

In Ilinca Calugareanu’s documentary Chuck Norris vs. Communism [premiering Monday, Jan. 4 on PBS; check local listings], a handful of Romanians who endured the Cold War reminisce about congregating surreptitiously in cramped apartments to watch American action films on illegal VCRs. Some parts of the experience they recall fondly: like the camaraderie of movie nights, … READ MORE