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Movie Recommentations

Page history last edited by LJCohen 12 years, 7 months ago

* All reviews are abridged from various sources.


Dirt! The Movie (2009): We're talking dirt! Not soil, not earth, not loam, not dust, just plain old dirt, which this lively and enlightening documentary asserts is the planet's protective skin that contains all those other things, but also a whole bunch more. The gist is to show the bad ways we can and are destroying dirt, from strip-mining and mountaintop removal, to deforestation and continuing the agri-killing practice of monoculture--growing only one crop over and over again across huge areas of land (dirt). The evidence that monoculture caused the dust bowl has only vaguely been taken to heart, and the message that dirt heals the earth is still widely ignored.


The End of the Line (2010): The End of the Line is a gripping, sobering documentary for anyone who loves fish, the ocean--and the health of the earth's entire ecosystem. British filmmaker Rupert Murray has created a must-see film--a true call to action--that compellingly makes the case that the earth's oceans must be preserved, like great areas of the land, for future generations, to prevent the emptying of the seas of fish. Murray examines modern fishing practices, and the lack of agreement in the global community on what's acceptable.


Fast Food Nation (2006): If you're still eating that fast-food burger after watching Super Size Me, you might not feel too hungry after watching Fast Food Nation, a fictionalized feature based on Eric Schlosser's bestselling nonfiction expose. Director Richard Linklater, who cowrote the screenplay with Schlosser, guides a topnotch ensemble cast through a peek behind the veil of how that Big Mac is born. Much of the film focuses on the illegal immigrants who work in the loosely regulated meat-packing industry.


Food, Inc. (2008): For most Americans, the ideal meal is fast, cheap, and tasty. Food, Inc. examines the costs of putting value and convenience over nutrition and environmental impact. Director Robert Kenner explores the subject from all angles, talking to authors, advocates, farmers, and CEOs, like co-producer Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation), Michael Pollan (The Omnivore's Dilemma), Gary Hirschberg (Stonyfield Farms), and Barbara Kowalcyk, who's been lobbying for more rigorous standards since E. coli claimed the life of her two-year-old son.


Food Matters (2009): Let thy Food be thy Medicine and thy Medicine be thy Food Hippocrates. That is the message from the founding father of modern medicine echoed in the controversial new documentary film Food Matters from Producer-Directors James Colquhoun and Laurentine ten Bosch. With nutritionally-depleted foods, chemical additives and our tendency to rely upon pharmaceutical drugs to treat what s wrong with our malnourished bodies, it s no wonder that modern society is getting sicker. Food Matters sets about uncovering the trillion dollar worldwide sickness industry and gives people some scientifically verifiable solutions for curing disease naturally.


Forks Over Knives (2011): Lee Fulkerson's illuminating documentary serves as a natural successor to Food, Inc. in taking a critical look at the consequences of Western dietary habits. While some might view the lower-budget Forks over Knives as a long-form commercial for veganism, Fulkerson's evidence supporting the benefits of a plant-based diet is too compelling to dismiss (and he never claims that a small piece of cheese ever killed anyone). The filmmaker builds his case around the work of two doctors who grew up on farms where cow's milk was considered "nature's perfect food," as Dr. T. Colin Campbell puts it, and went into different fields of medicine, but their research led them to the same conclusion.


The Future of Food (2007): This movie offers an in-depth investigation into the disturbing truth behind the unlabeled, patented, genetically engineered foods that have quietly filled U.S. grocery store shelves for the past decade. From the prairies of Saskatchewan, Canada to the fields of Oaxaca, Mexico, this film gives a voice to farmers whose lives and livelihoods have been negatively impacted by this new technology. The health implications, government policies and push towards globalization are all part of the reason why many people are alarmed about the introduction of genetically altered crops into our food supply.


Garden (2009): This Oscar-nominated documentary may have been made on the fly and a shoestring, but the impact of the issues it addresses about race, politics, class, wealth, corruption, and the heat of human emotion more than make up for the patchwork of video interviews and jerky vérité action. The subject is the South Central Farm, a 14-acre patch of blighted city blocks located in the area of Los Angeles that was terrorized by the Rodney King riots in 1992. After acquiring the land from a notorious developer to aid in the healing, the city entrusted it to a group that grew in number at the same time it grew bounteous plots of fruits and vegetables, making the project the largest community garden in the United States by its heyday in 2004.


King Corn (2008): Picking up where Super Size Me left off, King Corn examines America's health woes through the multifaceted lens of one humble grain. Director Aaron Woolf and co-writers Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis offer irrefutable proof that the US is virtually drowning in the stuff. Corn meal, corn starch, hydrologized corn protein, and high fructose corn syrup fuel a multitude of products, from soft drinks to hamburgers. The starchy vegetable grows with ease and government subsidies insure over-abundant production. Woolf documents the 11-month effort of college friends Cheney and Ellis, who trace their ancestry to the same small Iowa town, to raise their own crop.


One Man, One Cow, One Planet (2008): One man takes on a dying planet. Simple, heart felt and inspired. Peter Proctor is a gentle man that quietly goes about the business of changing the way we farm. The dead soil of India, stripped of it's nutrients by harsh fertilizers and pesticides is turned back into rich earth though the practice of Biodynamic farming. Dying land and desperate farmers are saved by this unlikely hero.


The Real Dirt on Farmer John (2008): The award-winning true story of third-generation American farmer John Peterson's hero's journey of success, tribulation, failure and rebirth. Peterson is a true American original. His story parallels that of the family farm in 20th Century America. What makes The Real Dirt on Farmer John so special is the fact that John Peterson is not only a farmer....he's an artist, too. (Includes Farmer John Music Video, Photo Gallery, recipes from Farmer John's cookbook and information on organic farming, CSA's and more.)


What’s On Your Plate? (2009): What's on Your Plate? is a witty and provocative documentary about kids and food politics. Over the course of one year, the film follows two eleven-year-old multiracial friends from New York City as they explore their place in the food chain. Sadie and Safiyah talk to food activists, farmers, and storekeepers, as they address questions regarding the origin of the food they eat, how it's cultivated, and how many miles it travels from farm to fork. Sadie and Safiyah visit supermarkets, fast food chains, and school lunchrooms. But they also check out innovative sustainable food system practices by going to farms, greenmarkets, and community supported agriculture (CSA) programs. They discover that these options have a number of positive effects: they are good for the environment, help struggling farmers survive, and provide affordable, locally grown food to communities, especially lower-income urban families.

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