'Unconstitutional: The War on Our Civil Liberties,' 'Unprecedented: The 2000 Election,' 'Soldiers Pay'

Religious ConflictsElectionsCivil UnrestMoviesEntertainmentDVDs and MoviesRobert Greenwald

Three new documentaries — "Unconstitutional: The War on Our Civil Liberties," "Unprecedented: The 2000 Election (2004 Campaign Edition)" and "Soldiers Pay" — take the Bush administration to task on the Patriot Act, the manner in which it took office and the war in Iraq, respectively.

Nonny de la Peña's "Unconstitutional" focuses on what the filmmaker contends is widespread abuse of civil liberties carried out in the wake of the USA Patriot Act and other administration policies. Executive produced by Robert Greenwald ("Uncovered: The War on Iraq"), the film follows the passage of the controversial legislation through Congress, the effect critics say it had on Arabs and Muslims in the U.S., and the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.

De la Peña expertly personalizes the stories of Aquil Abdullah, a 2004 U.S. Olympic rower who happens to be Catholic but turned up on no-fly lists because of his name; the Hamoui family, Syrians living in Seattle who were detained by federal agents; and A.J. Brown, a North Carolina college student visited by agents investigating her "un-American" activities.

Directors Richard Ray Perez and Joan Sekler's "Unprecedented," an expanded version of the film shown last year as part of Laemmle's Documentary Days, looks at the Florida portion of the flawed 2000 presidential election. New material includes an introduction by Danny Glover and a segment on the hazards of electronic voting.

The fascinating "Soldiers Pay," directed by David O. Russell, Tricia Regan and Juan Carlos Zaldîvar, is an antiwar documentary that centers on military men and their families. Originally planned as part of a theatrical and DVD re-release of Russell's 1999 Gulf War film, "Three Kings," the 35-minute "Soldiers Pay" was picked up for distribution by Cinema Libre after Warner Bros. dropped it and is being screened on a double bill with Greenwald's "Uncovered."

The filmmakers interviewed the soldiers from the Army's 3rd Infantry Division who had found $300 million inside a gardener's cottage in a Baghdad palace complex and attempted to keep some for themselves. Those events are set against the soldiers' and servicemen's grim depiction of their realities: They portray a war in which the U.S. forces were ill-equipped, fighting without proper gas masks, water supply or flak vests.

'Unconstitutional: The War on Our Civil Rights'

MPAA rating: Unrated

Times guidelines: Adult subject matter

A Robert Greenwald and Public Interest Pictures, in association with the ACLU, presentation, released by Cinema Libre. Director-writer-producer Nonny de la Peña. Executive producers Robert Greenwald, Earl Katz, Dan Raskov. Cinematographers Bestor Cram, Jennifer Lane. Editors Joseph G. Bini, Greg Byers. Music Michael Brook. Narrator James Hanes. Running time: 1 hour, 7 minutes. With "Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Election (The 2004 Campaign eEdition)."Exclusively at Laemmle's Sunset 5, 8000 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, (323) 848-3500; and Laemmle's Old Colorado, 42 Miller Alley, Pasadena, (626) 744-1224.

'Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Election (The 2004 Campaign Edition)'

MPAA rating: Unrated

Times guidelines: Adult subject matter

A Robert Greenwald and Public Interest Pictures, in association with the NAACP and PFAWF, presentation, released by Cinema Libre. Directors-writers-producers Richard Ray Perez, Joan Sekler. Executive producers Robert Greenwald, Earl Katz. Director of photography Richard Ray Perez. Running time: 57 minutes. With "Unconstitutional: The War on Our Civil Liberties."Exclusively at Laemmle's Sunset 5, 8000 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, (323) 848-3500; and Laemmle's Old Colorado, 42 Miller Alley, Pasadena, (626) 744-1224.

'Soldiers Pay'

MPAA rating: Unrated

Times guidelines: Adult subject matter

Released by Cinema Libre. Producers-directors David O. Russell, Tricia Regan, Juan Carlos Zaldivar. Editors Paul Covington, Claudia Finkle. Camera operators Dustin Thomas Cartmill, Tricia Regan, David O. Russell, Juan Carlos Zaldivar. Running time: 36 minutes. With "Uncovered: The War on Iraq."Exclusively at Laemmle's Sunset 5, 8000 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, (323) 848-3500; Laemmle's Old Colorado, 42 Miller Alley, Pasadena, (626) 744-1224; and Regency Laguna South Coast Cinemas, 162 S. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, (949) 497-1711.

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