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Movie Review: Control Room

Alternate Title: All the News That's Fit to Watch

Story: If you are already a cynic about the world news that you are watching, hearing or reading this film will do nothing to quash that uneasy feeling.

Directed by seasoned documentarian Jehane Noujaim (Startup.com) we get an upclose and personal look inside Al Jazeera, the Arab world's leading news service seen by over 40 million Arabs around the world.

The story covers the period right before our invasion of Iraq (from about March 23 - April 9, 2003) and other than file footage, we are in only two locations - Centcom (the US military's headquarters where daily briefings are heard and at the Al Jazeera home base, only 20 miles away in Doha, Qatar).

The main theme of the film concerns 'objectivity' in the news. What that term means clearly seems to depend on which side your allegiances belong.

The Western view of Al Jazeera has often been depicted as wrong, lopsided, skewed or simply not fair and balanced, with the implication being that what we are seeing on our TV is, in fact, the fair and balanced news. There is no way you can leave the theater without having food for thought and much fodder for conversation.

I highly recommend this film to any of you out there who are politically aware.

Predilection: I like documentaries and I am politically engaged (and often enraged).

Theater Audience: It was very crowded for a midweek, midday showing. I went to this film with a young male friend of mine who described himself as a conservative. But after we started to itemize those things that define one's politics, it seems we were not that far apart at all on may a subject.

Squirm Scale: The images that are seen in the file footage are a bit brutal for some of the more squeamish viewers out there.

Predictability Level: If we only knew how this all was going to end...

Tissue Usage: The whole situation makes me cry.

Oscar Worthy: No

Nit Picking: No nits to pick.

Big Screen or Rental: If you can find it, go to the big screen. I always feel it is important to support documentarians.

Length: 90 minutes,

LOBO HOWLS: 7