The Bang Bang Club

Based on a true story of a group of combat photojournalists as they capture images of the final days of apartheid in South Africa from the period 1990-1994. This Canadian-South African 2010 drama/documentary style film grips you from the very beginning in many edge of your seat clips as well as graphic scenes of the violence.

From the opening frame to the last portrays the frustrations of four photographers and their friends as they snap photos of the inhumanity of civil strife as it tears apart a country. Although the violence is upsetting it is a film worth watching. The Bang-Bang Club members star Ryan Phillipe as Greg Marinovich,  Taylor Kitsch as Kevin Carter, Neels Van Jaarsveld as João Silva and Frank Rautenbach as Ken Oosterbroek as a tightly knit group to get the story of country caught in turmoil through the lens of a camera.

Grab the popcorn, put some butter on it and pick out another snack that suits your fancy although I will warn you that watching the compelling scenes you may just forget you have any snacks at all.

Inside Job

This 2010 documentary is narrated by Matt Damon and was a well done film. It did what documentaries should do and that’s to get you excited, riled, angry, beyond angry, and I can’t believe we’re getting screwed like this angry – did I forget any adjectives?

Topics like sub-prime loans, derivatives, mortgage loans, savings plans, 401K plans, and predatory loans given to lenders the bankers knew could not repay them yet still allowed it to happen are discussed. The Securities and Exchange Commission virtually washed their hands of what was going on.

The one aspect of this documentary that just galled me to no end was the interviews with some of the bankers and hot shots who run our financial institutions were their answers to some of the questions.They really believed they did nothing wrong – can you believe it?? (yes, this deserved a double question mark) Do they think we’re just naive or just really stupid? Yes, this is a rhetorical question.

I would suggest not having butter on the popcorn as you will tend to get upset and throw the popcorn at your TV and then you’d have to clean it, etc. Oh, and no candy either, as these sugar and chocolate morsels can do incredible damage flying at high speeds 🙂

The Greatest Movie Ever Sold

This 2011 documentary is about a guy trying to publish this aforementioned title to subsidize his documentary. Every frame is about a spiel to advertisers to fund this documentary. That’s it, plain and simple, nothing more, nothing less. I can’t even give you a semi-intelligent review of this as I said it all in the first sentence. Unfortunately, my rating system does not allow me to give less than 1 popcorn box. So with that, don’t waste your time renting this, even if it’s for free, do not put any butter on the popcorn, do not get any candy, do not get any fig pudding, do not get any holiday cookies, do not pass go, do not collect $200. As a matter of fact, don’t waste your time reading this review…

Radio Bikini

This 1987 documentary is about the sailors, soldiers, and other military personnel engaged in a “scientific experiment” set in Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands of the South Pacific. The unsettling aspect of this documentary is the reassurance from military leaders is the mention of “you are not in any danger” from this experiment. Yet the sheep are strategically placed on ships after being sheared of their wooly cover. Obviously it was done to see the effects the bomb had on bare skin. Although not a great documentary it was very effective depicting the times back in the 1980s and you don’t realize the effects of the documentary till the very end. No butter on the popcorn nor do you want any other candy, just the popcorn and maybe a diet soda.

Buck

Documentary – 2011.

Buck Brannaman had a tough life growing up with an abusive father but Buck didn’t let this dominate the way chose to live. An  inspiration and consultant to Robert Redford’s The Horse Whisperer, this documentary chronicles Buck’s busy life from when he first started working with horses at a young age. He conducts behavior clinics on horsemanship, colt starting, cow working, and rope riding to name a few throughout the world and has a pretty busy schedule. He teaches riders patience and respect with and for equines through Natural horsemanship which involves the horse’s nature and rider as one. Winner of the U.S. Documentary Competition Audience Award in this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

Blood Into Wine

Documentary (2010). Recommended by a winery staff person.

Front man for Puscifer, Tool, and A Perfect Circle, Maynard James Keenan gives up the Rock and Roll lifestyle. Leaving the L.A. scene in the Mid 1990’s to start up a vineyard in Arizona, Keenan banks on a dream to produce remarkable wines from an unorthodox wine region.

There are a few slow spots in this documentary but get past them as this depicts a dream come true and some astonishing moments. 3 1/2 popcorn boxes. Do they make wine Raisinets? Be sure to visit their website @ www.caduceus.org  It’s incredible so take time to read the “stories”.

 

 

Yellowstone: Battle For Life

This 3 episode BBC documentary unveils the daily struggle of grey wolves, bison, antelope, grizzly bears, foxes, and other creatures that call Yellowstone National Park Home Sweet Home. Okay, maybe that’s stretching it a bit, but life can be cruel as well as rewarding. The scenery is awesome as well as the trials and tribulations wildlife encounter in their fight for survival. 2 1/2 popcorn boxes.

Wild China

BBC Documentary.

A BBC documentary consisting of six episodes depicting the Yunnan Forest, the Tibetan Plateau, the Mongol Steppes, the Silk Road, and of course, the Great Wall. The most enchanting aspect of this documentary is the vast natural habitats within China we seldom get to see or hear about. Natural wonders and breathtaking scenery will delight all. 4 1/2 popcorn boxes with butter, a box of Dots, a box of Milk Duds (for the wine you will be drinking), a box of Sno-Caps (for the extra wine you’ll be drinking), and a box of Good & Plenty.

Hiroshima: BBC History of World War II

Documentary.

This film chronicles the events leading to the atom bomb attack on Hiroshima in the summer of 1945 and the subsequent attack on Nagasaki. It looks at a period from when the bomb was tested in New Mexico until the fatal moment that ended the war. The BBC mixed dramatizations with real war footage along with interviews from some of the participants. It will bring tears to your eyes as well as make your blood boil. Throughout the film I couldn’t help wondering why the bomb. I’m not convinced it was necessary. Anyway, again I debated whether or not to post this film but the BBC does great documentaries. 4 popcorn boxes.