In God's Hands

Those old enough to remember the ‘60s might remember a seminal film called Endless Summer. This semidocumentary followed the adventures of a band of surfers as they traveled the world in search of the perfect wave. In God's Hands is the latest attempt to measure up to it, but it falls short. The filmmakers certainly did their best to make their movie a visually stunning experience. They captured astonishing footage of surfers handling, or not handling, massive waves. They set their film in far-flung and highly photogenic corners of the world. And they hired expert wave-riders who have the experience and the ability to attempt surfing the enormous breakers whose power could easily kill them. What the filmmakers did not do is concoct an integrated plot. In God's Hands loosely follows the adventures of three surfers as they train to handle the earth's biggest waves. Although the film tries to make the men interesting, they don't have much intrinsic personality to offer. What they do have is impressive athletic ability and uncanny fearlessness. That's the intriguing aspect of In God's Hand.

Fast, Cheap & Out of Control

This is a rare find, a truly unique film. Produced and directed by the noted documentary filmmaker Errol Morris, Fast, Cheap & Out of Control explores the work of four men who seem to have little in common. Dave Hoover is wild-animal trainer for a traveling circus who has made a study of the big cats he works with every day. George MendonÇa is a gardener who has been shaping topiary animals at a Newport, R.I., estate for decades. Ray Mendez is a nature photographer with a special interest in naked mole rats, a unique species of mammals with many of the attributes of insects. And Rodney Brooks is a robot scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who loves building mobile machines that look uncannily like insects. All four men are masters of their crafts and obsessed by what they do. They make fascinating comments about the natural world and man's place in it. Morris has assembled some unusual footage to go along with the documentary treatment of his subjects, and the results are exhilarating.

— Loretta G. Seyer