02
Jan
09

A Dozen Docs – The best socially conscious documentaries

Film has the power to inspire change or make an important message known, so let’s celebrate the best documentaries that do just that. Feel free to share your faves!

 

Fog of War

Fog of War

Famed documentarian Morris (‘Mr. Death,’ ‘The Thin Blue Line’) spent 20 hours interviewing McNamara, the secretary of defense during the Johnson and Kennedy administrations. Though McNamara is largely remembered as the prime architect of America’s military involvement in Vietnam, the film actually dissects much of McNamara’s adult life, not just the war years. -Moviefone

 

 

 

 

 

Religulous

Religulous

The documentary RELIGULOUS follows political humorist and author Bill Maher (“Real Time with Bill Maher,” “Politically Incorrect”) as he travels around the globe interviewing people about God and religion. Known for his astute analytical skills, irreverent wit, and commitment to never pulling a punch, Maher brings his characteristic honesty to an unusual spiritual journey. -Official site

 

 

 

 

 

OutfoxedOutfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism

Fox News Channel’s “Fair and Balanced” slogan infuriates critics who believe the channel skews rightward, but Greenwald’s much-ballyhooed documentary uses interviews with disgruntled staffers, leaked internal memos, and the channel’s own coverage to make the case that FNC doesn’t merely put a conservative spin on news but unduly favors President Bush and the Republican party. -Moviefone

 

 

 

 

 

The End of AmericaThe End of America

From the award-winning filmmakers of The Devil Came on Horseback and The Trials of Darryl Hunt, Annie Sundberg and Ricki Stern, comes THE END OF AMERICA, a stunning indictment of the sweeping policy changes enacted during the Bush Administration.

Made in collaboration with best-selling author Naomi Wolf (The Beauty Myth), the film makes a chilling case that American democracy is under grave threat. Investigating parallels between our current situation and the rise of dictators and fascism in other once-free societies, Wolf uncovers a number of deeply unsettling similarities — from the use of paramilitary groups and secret prisons to the targeted suspension of the rule of law. With this galvanizing call to arms based on her recent book, she urges regular citizens to take back our legacy of freedom and justice. -Official site

 

 

Super Size MeSuper Size Me

A McDonald’s lover subjects himself to a month of nothing but the restaurant’s food, eating it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. A cavalcade of horrified doctors, nutritionists, and obesity experts weigh in on Spurlock’s experiment, the country’s eating habits, and resulting obesity epidemic. Winner of the Director’s Award for documentary at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival. -Moviefone

 

 

 

 

 

Fahrenheit 911Fahrenheit 9/11

With his characteristic humor and dogged commitment to uncovering the facts, Moore considers the presidency of George W. Bush and where it has led us. He looks at how – and why – Bush and his inner circle avoided pursuing the Saudi connection to 9/11, despite the fact that 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudis and Saudi money had funded Al Qaeda. Fahrenheit 9/11 shows us a nation kept in constant fear by FBI alerts and lulled into accepting a piece of legislation, the USA Patriot Act, that infringes on basic civil rights. It is in this atmosphere of confusion, suspicion and dread that the Bush Administration makes its headlong rush towards war in Iraq and Fahrenheit 9/11 takes us inside that war to tell the stories we haven’t heard, illustrating the awful human cost to U.S. soldiers and their families. -michaelmoore.com

 

 

 

ENRONEnron: The Smartest Guys in the Room

Based on the best-selling book of the same name by Fortune reporters Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind, [the film is] a multidimensional study of one of the biggest business scandals in American history. The chronicle takes a look at one of the greatest corporate disasters in history, in which top executives from the 7th largest company in this country walked away with over one billion dollars, leaving investors and employees with nothing. The film features insider accounts and rare corporate audio and video tapes that reveal colossal personal excesses of the Enron hierarchy and the utter moral vacuum that posed as corporate philosophy. The human drama that unfolds within Enron’s walls resembles a Greek tragedy and produces a domino effect that could shape the face of our economy and ethical code for years to come. -imdb

 

 

The BetrayalThe Betrayal (Nerakhoon)

Filmed over the course of 23 years, THE BETRAYAL (NERAKHOON) is an astonishing tale of perseverance – one family’s struggle to survive their journey from war-torn Laos to the streets of New York. Eloquent yet devastating, renowned cinematographer Ellen Kuras’ directorial debut is a remarkable collaboration with co-director Thavisouk Phrasavath – a documentary that reveals the hidden, human face of war’s “collateral damage”. -Official site

 

 

 

 

 

Standard Operating ProcedureStandard Operating Procedure

“Standard Operating Procedure” provides an examination of the unintended consequences of the Iraqi war with a focus on events at Abu Ghraib prison which began to appear in global media in 2004. The prison quickly became notorious for the shocking photos of the abuse and torture of terror suspects by military men and women. Ultimately, it is the story of soldiers who believed they were defending democracy but found themselves plunged into an unimagined nightmare. -Fandango

 

 

 

 

 

Waltz With BashirWaltz with Bashir

This animated documentary begins one night at a bar, when an old friend tells director Ari about a recurring nightmare in which he is chased by 26 vicious dogs. Every night, the same number of beasts. The two men conclude that there’s a connection to their Israeli Army mission in the first Lebanon War of the early eighties. Ari is surprised that he can’t remember a thing anymore about that period of his life. Intrigued by this riddle, he decides to meet and interview old friends and comrades around the world. He needs to discover the truth about that time and about himself. As Ari delves deeper and deeper into the mystery, his memory begins to creep up in surreal images… -Moviefone

 

 

 

An Inconvenient TruthAn Inconvenient Truth

Meant as a companion documentary to the book of the same name, ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ chronicles the career of former-Vice President Al Gore as he focuses on potentially one of the biggest issues facing future generations, global warming. Gore lays out the case for the causes of warming, and traces his concerns with this phenomenon, from his early days in politics through the aftermath of the 2000 Presidential election. -Moviefone

 

 

 

 

 

Trouble the WaterTrouble the Water

Relegated to the role of refugees in their own country the moment the levees broke, New Orleans residents Kimberly and Scott Roberts document their harrowing struggle against the forces of nature and the evils of man as they nobly attempt to rebuild their lives amidst one of the greatest natural disasters ever to befall the United States. Kimberly Rivers Roberts is a musician and filmmaker who was living in New Orleans with her husband, Scott, when the force of Hurricane Katrina transformed their once-happy hometown into a waterlogged wasteland. In the aftermath of the disaster, the nightly news was filled with images of looting and chaos. Now, as the masses finally receive the opportunity to witness events from an insider’s perspective, it quickly becomes apparent that the rampaging waters were only the beginning of the problem, and that the ineptitude of the government and the media in dealing with the disaster did nearly as much damage to New Orleans as the forces of Mother Nature. -All Movie Guide

10
Dec
08

Movies About Movies

We all love our trade, so why not post a groovy representation of that love through film?  As such, I have compiled a list of the top movies about making movies:

Tropic Thunder

Tropic Thunder

Through a series of freak occurrences, a group of actors shooting a big-budget war movie are forced to become the soldiers they are portraying.

S.O.B.

S.O.B.

A film-within-a-film: a fading movie producer has a plan for a successful movie: get a actress famous for her wholesome image to appear in the nude on the screen…. much like this film itself.

The Deal

The Deal

A down-and-out film producer agrees to make his nephew’s film about 19th century English statesman Benjamin Disraeli, but can only get financing if he casts a well-known action star. Production is halted however, when the lead actor is kidnapped from the European film set, so the producer hatches a scheme with a struggling creative executive to save the star and the movie.

Ed Wood

Ed Wood

The mostly true story of the legendary director of awful movies and his strange group of friends and actors.

Bowfinger

Bowfinger

When a desperate movie producer fails to get a major star for his bargain basement film, he decides to shoot the film secretly around him.

Sunset Blvd.

Sunset Blvd.

A hack screenwriter writes a screenplay for a former silent-film star who has faded into Hollywood obscurity.

The Last Tycoon

The Last Tycoon

F.Scott Fitzgerald’s novel is brought to life in this story of a movie producer slowly working himself to death.

The Player

The Player

A studio executive is being blackmailed by a writer whose script he rejected but which one? Loaded with Hollywood insider jokes.

Swimming With Sharks

Swimming With Sharks

A young, naive Hollywood studio assistant finally turns the tables on his incredibly abusive producer boss.

The Party

The Party

A clerical mistake results in a bumbling film extra being invited to an exclusive Hollywood party instead of being fired.

Hollywood Ending

Hollywood Ending

A has-been filmmaker is hired to direct his ex-wife, who’s now dating the studio boss. But when he arrives on the set, he develops a case of psychosomatic blindness.

Sullivan's Travels

Sullivan's Travels

A director of escapist films goes on the road as a hobo to learn about Life…which gives him a rude awakening.

Chaplin

Chaplin

A film about the troubled and controversial life of the master comedy filmmaker.

Adaptation

Adaptation

A lovelorn screenwriter turns to his less talented twin brother for help when his efforts to adapt a non-fiction book go nowhere.

The Purple Rose of Cairo

The Purple Rose of Cairo

In 1930s New Jersey, a movie character walks off the screen and into the real world.

Get Shorty

Get Shorty

A mobster travels to Hollywood to collect a debt and discovers that the movie business is much the same as his current job.

The Muse

The Muse

A comedy about a neurotic screenwriter and his modern-day muse.

The Bad and the Beautiful

The Bad and the Beautiful

An actress, a director, and a writer are asked to help revive the career of ruthless Hollywood studio bigwig Jonathan Shields. However, all three are reluctant because they have all been used and betrayed by him in the past.

Barton Fink

Barton Fink

In 1941, New York intellectual playwright Barton Fink comes to Hollywood to write a Wallace Beery wrestling picture. Staying in the eerie Hotel Earle, Barton develops severe writer’s block. His neighbor, jovial insurance salesman Charlie Meadows, tries to help, but Barton continues to struggle as a bizarre sequence of events distracts him even further from his task.

Day For Night

Day For Night

A committed film director struggles to complete his movie while coping with a myriad of crises, personal and professional, among the cast and crew.

Singin' in the Rain

Singin' in the Rain

A silent film production company and cast make a difficult transition to sound.

8 ½

8 ½

A harried movie director retreats into his memories and fantasies.

Hollywoodland

Hollywoodland

A detective examines the mysterious death of George Reeves, TV’s Superman.

Last Action Hero

Last Action Hero

A young movie fan gets thrown into the movie world of his favourite action film character.

Man Bites Dog

Man Bites Dog

A camera crew follows a serial killer/thief around as he exercises his craft. He expounds on art, music, nature, society, and life as he offs mailmen, pensioners, and random people.

The Stuntman

The Stuntman

A fugitive stumbles on a movie set just when they need a new stunt man, takes the job as a way to hide out, and falls for the leading lady.

State and Main

State and Main

A movie crew invades a small town whose residents are all too ready to give up their values for showbiz glitz.

Ulysses Gaze

Ulysses Gaze

“A,” a Greek filmmaker living in exile in the United States, returns to his native Ptolemas to attend a special screening of one of his extremely controversial films.

Cinema Paradiso

Cinema Paradiso

A filmmaker recalls his childhood, when he fell in love with the movies at his village’s theater and formed a deep friendship with the theater’s projectionist.

For Your Consideration

For Your Consideration

Three actors learn that their respective performances in the film “Home for Purim,” a drama set in the mid-1940s American South, are generating award-season buzz.

JCVD

JCVD

Between his tax problems and his legal battle with his wife for the custody of his daughter, these are hard times for the action movie star who finds that even Steven Seagal has pinched a role from him! In JCVD, Jean-Claude Van Damme returns to the country of his birth to seek the peace and tranquility he can no longer enjoy in the United States.

Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang

Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang

A petty thief posing as an actor is brought to Los Angeles for an unlikely audition and finds himself in the middle of a murder investigation along with his high school dream girl and a detective who’s been training him for his upcoming role…

*All of the descriptions are provided via IMDB




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