Categories
documentary

Maxed Out

Maxed Out

Maxed Out (trailer) is a fascinating documentary about our “credit” culture.

Maxed Out takes viewers on a journey deep inside the American style of debt, where things seem fine as long as the minimum monthly payment arrives on time.

With coverage that spans from small American towns all the way to the White House, the film shows how the modern financial industry really works, explains the true definition of “preferred customer” and tells us why the poor are getting poorer while the rich keep getting richer.

Hilarious, shocking and incisive, Maxed Out paints a picture of a national nightmare which is all too real for most of us.

Categories
documentary

The Bridge

The Golden Gate

More people choose to end their lives at the Golden Gate bridge than other other place in the world. A couple of years ago I read an article about this fact in the New Yorker titled, Jumpers by Tad Friend.

The article inspired director Eric Steel to film the Golden Gate Bridge for a year. His film crew caught 23 suicides, missed one and also recorded a man saving a girl from jumping by grabbing her jacket and physically pulling her off the edge of the bridge. They also captured a failed attempt when a boy survived his jump and was kept afloat by a Bay Area seal until the coast guard arrived to rescue him.

The camera crew vigilantly called the bridge authorities when they observed clear signs of someone about to jump. In doing so, they foiled six near suicides.

Steel took criticism for the film after he lied about his intentions in order to get permission, saying it was a documentary about a day in the life of the Golden Gate Bridge.

The film is called, The Bridge (trailer). It first aired in September 2006 and was released on DVD June 12th, 2007.

San Francisco columnist Violet Blue gives a very interesting review of the film and includes a Q & A mp3 with director Eric Steel.

Previously: Golden Gate Bridge: Suicide Magnet and If People Played More Boardgames.

A few notes on a Golden Gate Bridge suicide barrier after the jump:

Categories
documentary Health

SiCKO

I just finished watching Michael Moore’s new movie, SiCKO.

A lady in Utah once broke into conversation about the differences in superiority between the health care system in the United States and the one in Canada. It took me a moment to process her argument that the United States system was far superior because it allowed anyone to pay for any treatment they needed without delay.

I asked her, well isn’t it better that people in Canada who couldn’t afford health care in the States can go to a hospital and not be refused treatment? Her rebuttal, though with no apparent reason for saying so, was that, “no, the American system is much better.”

And now you can make your own decision as Michael Moore takes a look at health care around the world, and in the good ol’ US of A.

Hit play or watch SiCKO fullscreen at Google Video. The video is down, but you can still see it in theatres when it comes out June 29th.

Universal health care, just one more reason I’m glad to be a Canadian.

Oh and for you conspiracy theorists out there, check out what appears to be a secret handshake 38 minutes and 04 seconds into the movie.

Categories
documentary nature

After the Warming

“After the Warming”, stars James Burke, whom you may remember from the days when TLC actually showed educational television and not just a bunch of reality-tv remixes in various flavors of “how to buy a house”, “how to fix up a house”, “how to flip a house”, or “how to be an cretin while making motorcycles”.

“After the Warming” is like a special edition of Connections (wikipedia) in which we learn how changes in civilization, the weather, and industrialization brought on the current climate crisis we now face.

Hit play or watch full screen at Google Video.

[“After the Warming” is] an early documentary about global warming. It theorizes and tells facts about the effects global weather has had on our history. It then theorizes a lot more about its effects on our future and especially the way in which we will overcome it’s bad effects. If you don’t mind some, not proofed, theorizing from a reasonably intelligent guy, and are interested in our climate, this is probably a must see.

I found the news clip style predictions of an increase in hurricanes, rising oceans levels, and the devastation of New Orleans particularly chilling. Some of the prediction dates were a bit off, but interesting to think about anyway.

(via)

Categories
documentary entertainment games

The Top Ten best 8-bit Games

Check out the top ten best 8-bit games as rated by the Game Trailer Countdown. A couple of my favorite 8-bit games, Tetris and Excitebike, didn’t make the cut, but the GT list does have some classics.

Categories
documentary movie religion

The Mormons

“I find the whole business of religion profoundly interesting. But it does mystify me that otherwise intelligent people take it seriously.”

-Douglas Adams

Twenty years ago today, I was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. That’s right, the Mormons. At this time, I won’t go into any detail how that’s worked out for me.

I will point out though, that a couple of days ago, the American channel PBS aired a documentary titled “The Mormons” which offers at least a relatively fair look at the church, its inspiring history and many of its blemishes. If you’ve ever wondered what the Mormons are all about, this documentary is a good place to start.

The Mormons (PBS Documentary)

I believe the author and producer, Helen Whitney, tries to come off as impartial, however, she did make the impression to one of her interviewees that she really didn’t want to hear any negative comments about the church, even if they are true. In an off camera pre-interview he asked her, “If you love the church so much, why don’t you join it?” She responded, “well maybe if I were younger.” It gives cause to wonder at her true impartiality.

Still the documentary will probably show you whatever you are looking to find, whether it’s support for the church or evidence that Joseph Smith was a con man who was so convincing that he even had himself fooled.

You can view it online in its entirety at pbs.org/mormons/.

Categories
documentary Photography Politics

The Kurds of Northern Iraq

During a seven-week stay in 2005 in Iraq, photojournalist Ed Kashi captured thousands of images that were used in this interesting flip-book style animation, “Iraqi Kurdistan“.

Iraqi Kurdistan is an expansive look into the daily lives of the Kurdish people of northern Iraq. These images provide an alternative perspective on a changing culture, one different from the destruction and discord that dominates so much media coverage of the region.

Here are policemen seated on the floor, eating lunch and laughing, old men taking care of their fields and young girls celebrating at a suburban birthday party.

There is also hardship and tribulation, to be sure; the Iraqi Kurds endured generations of brutality under Saddam Hussein. His genocidal campaigns cost close to 200,000 lives. But as Iraqi Kurdistan documents, the region is mostly peaceful today. The people enjoy more autonomy and women’s rights continue to grow stronger.

Very compelling on a social studies level, but also I also found the images themselves to be fantastic—they are not only beautiful but also capable of stirring a variety of emotions.

I had a hunch he was using a Canon 5D and though I’m still not 100% sure, I saw the Canon logo in one of the photos with a mirror in it. I would love to get myself one of those.

Categories
documentary religion

Jesus Freaks

Back in the 60’s and 70’s there was a “Jesus Movement” in the United States where a lot of young people involved in drugs, rock & roll, and the anti-establishment hippie culture found “salvation in Jesus” and turned to writing music centered on Christ. Pretty soon, there were enough people interested in the genre, that in 1979 Creation Festivals were started as an alternative venue to traditional rock concerts.

[..]Creationfest, [is] a four-day Christian rock show-cum-revival held every summer in Eastern Washington where religion, politics, and music collide. It is here that thousands of eager young Christians gather to worship, save souls, and get “Crunk on Christ”. Jesus Freaks takes you deep into the heart of this contemporary Christian culture where religion and rock n’ roll make strange bedfellows. (25 mins)

Quotable quote: “I betcha Jesus can, like, ya know, he’s the baddest b-boy in the world, ya know what I’m saying—he can do the windmill while doing the robot and the electric boogaloo at the same time, ya know.”

(via Smashing Telly)

Categories
documentary religion

The Most Hated Family in America

Who is the most hated family in America? Well it might just be the Fred Phelps family. As a result of their extremist family religion preaching hatred and intolerance, protesting at the funerals of US soldiers killed in Iraq, and being all around not nice people, nobody seems to like them.

Louis Theroux of the BBC presents the documentary “The Most Hated Family in America” (Wikipedia link).

Warning: this video contains offensive attitudes from homophobic nutcases!

Fantastic Louis Theroux documentary about homophobic, anti-semitic religious lunatics (Fred Phelps’ Westboro Baptist Church) in the USA. Originally aired on BBC2 (UK). If you can look past the epithets without being offended, it’s a laugh riot. Fred Phelps comes across as REALLY stupid!

Originally aired on BBC 2, UK, April 2007

(via Waxy)

Categories
documentary entertainment

This American Life

If you missed the first episode of This American Life on Showtime last night, you can catch it online on Showtimes website. Or if you’re in a country other than the US of A, you’ll have good luck with a bittorrent search. I just finished watching it, and it really is as good as the radio version.

Also of interest, the This American Life Parody.