All posts tagged: Preview

5 Essential Food & Agriculture Docs on Netflix

I believe that it is immensely important that we know where our food comes from. Not only is it in our best interest, but it’s our right! These five documentaries listed below, which are all available on Netflix, provide a quality starting point for learning about food production and consumption in the U.S. Check them out and be sure to let me know about some of your favorite food and agriculture documentaries in the comment section below!   GMO OMG (dir. Jeremy Seifert, 2013) In GMO OMG father and filmmaker Jeremy Seifert investigates GMOs: what are they, what do we know about them, and how is our government involved with the protection of huge agricultural businesses such as Monsanto? Even if you know about GMO’s and steer clear of them already, Seifert’s critical examination of GMO’s and “big ag” is interesting and powerful. And his kids are super cute!   Food Inc. (dir. Robert Kenner, 2008) I think of Food Inc. as the ultimate documentary about food in the United States. From plant-agriculture, to factory farming, big ag, fast food, organic farming, politics, animal welfare, health, poverty, …

“Under The Gun” – Examining the Gun Debate

Last week I had the chance to attend the Los Angeles premiere of Under the Gun, directed by Stephanie Soechtig and executive produced by Katie Couric. The film examines America’s complex gun problem, from Sandy Hook to the streets of Chicago, and takes aim at the gun show loophole and the country’s most powerful lobby, the National Rifle Association. Although the documentary certainly leans left, the film also gives a voice to gun advocates who hold their right to bear arms dearly. Under the Gun concludes with a positive outlook and a common thread: though we may disagree about guns, we’re (mostly) in agreement that they should stay out of the wrong hands. On January 8th, 2011 my Congressional Representative, Gabby Giffords, and 18 others were shot at a grocery store in Tucson, AZ. Six people died. Every Tucsonan was devastated, and the memory of that day will always remain with me. Under the Gun begins in Tucson with Gabby, who is alive, but dealing with the effects of her brain injury every day. She is a fighter and an …

Gender & Representation

A couple of years ago I stumbled across Miss Representation on Netflix, and after reading the film’s description, I decided to give it a watch. The documentary, which examines how women are represented in the media, is a must see for all. I credit the film for solidifying my interest in studying how representation (or rather misrepresentation or lack there of) in media both reflects and shapes our society. I’d argue that media has the ability to inform and influence change more than anything in our culture. And because of the impact of images in film and television, media makers have a special responsibility to be conscious of their influence and power. Now on Netflix is a new documentary from The Representation Project, The Mask You Live In, which analyzes American masculinity and the mounting pressures of manhood. I had the chance to watch this documentary with my boyfriend, and afterwards, as we often do when we watch a film together, we debriefed. It was especially insightful to hear his stories of bullying, the pressure to “be a man”, and the complexity of male …

Michael Moore’s Open Letter to Donald Trump

Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to see Michael Moore’s newest documentary, Where to Invade Next, followed by an entertaining and insightful Skype Q & A with Moore. Unsurprisingly, he was just as funny as he is in his documentaries, using humor to carry information that is often quite difficult to swallow. Where to Invade Next is one of my favorite films of the year and an absolute must-see for Americans everywhere (though let’s be honest, those who really need to see it won’t come close to anything with Moore’s name attached to it). The film was initially set to hit theaters this month, but is now being pushed back to February. Either way, if you’re looking to truly “Make America Great Again” (and not in the manner that’s intended by Donald Trump’s campaign slogan) then please watch the film, and if you like it, tell others to watch it and share what you’ve learned. Now back to Donald Trump! The fact that Trump may be the Republican presidential candidate is quite terrifying. For a short while his shenanigans were slightly entertaining and didn’t …

Watch the Inspiring Trailer for ‘He Named Me Malala’

Emotional films often bring tears to my eyes, but only the most touching previews are capable of doing so. The trailer for He Named Me Malala is one of those rarities. Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani activist fighting for education rights for girls and young women, is both a survivor of an assassination attempt and the and youngest ever Nobel Prize laureate. Like millions of people across the globe, I look up to her strength and courage immensely, and am in awe of all she has accomplished thus far. Please share the trailer for He Named Me Malala and be sure to see it when it hits theaters in October. And if you’re interested, visit the Malala Fund to find out how you can make a difference.

Bob Marley Honored with Year Long Celebration for His 70th Birthday

Bob Marley’s music has inspired those young and old from all over the world for decades. Even 31 years after his death, he remains an icon whose music and spirituality continues to influence people to this day. This year he would have turned 70 years-old. In honor of his legacy, the Marley family will be commemorating his work with a year-long celebration of his music and global influence. Throughout the year Universal Music Group will be working with the Marley family to share unreleased material to the public. The first release is Bob Marley & The Wailers – Easy Skanking in Boston ’78. The footage was shot by a fan who was given permission by Marley to sit at the front of the stage, and has remained with the Marley family until now. Because the concert was shot with film and the cinematographer needed to change the roles during the show, there are gaps in the footage that have been replaced with beautifully animation while the audio continues to play. Easy Skanking in Boston ’78 will be available on Blu-Ray, DVD, and CD and in …

All This Mayhem

Like many 10-year-old boys in the early years following Y2K, skateboarding got into my blood. Halcyon days spent outside sliding on curbs and flying off ramps were what awaited me and my friends after school. We all wanted to be the next Tony Hawk. The dream of two young Australian skateboarders, Tass and Ben Pappas, was to beat ‘Hawk’. All This Mayhem encapsulates the youthful ambitions of the infamous Pappas brothers, whose dreams of becoming the most iconic skateboarders in the world were torn asunder. When competing at the highest level, the brothers became disillusioned, alienated, and eventually exiled due to the corporate sponsored underworld of skateboarding, and a few youthful mistakes sprinkled in for good measure. Consequently, the audience is hurled with great alacrity into the cyclonic lives of the ill-fated brothers. Both invigorated by the possibilities of what the passion of their lives might bring about for them, their love of skateboarding is at first brimming with promise, but ultimately leads them to corners darker than comprehensible. The story descends into an adrenaline and drug-fueled …

Roger Ebert & ‘Life Itself’

I don’t want to review a film when I know I won’t do it justice. I particularly don’t want to review a film when I know I won’t do it justice and it’s about the most well known film critic in American history. So just heed my advice and go see Life Itself. Somehow, being the emotional individual that I am, I found myself teary eyed within the first 30 seconds. It’s truly a wonderful viewing experience. Go. If Life Itself isn’t playing at a theater near you, it’s now available on iTunes.

Thoughts on Alfonso Cuarón’s ‘Gravity’

If you spend any time on the internet (and you obviously do) you’ve probably heard all about Alfonso Cuarón’s visual masterpiece, Gravity. At one point over the weekend ‘Gravity’ was the top trending hashtag on Twitter. It premiered on Friday and earned over 55.5 million in theaters, taking the number one spot at the box office. I opted to see it in XD & 3-D, but if there was an IMAX nearby I would have gone in a heartbeat. After a few days to think about the movie separate from the overwhelmingly positive opinions of others, I’ve determined that Gravity is not a typical film but rather an engrossing visceral experience. Co-written, co-produced, co-edited and directed by Oscar nominee Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity stars Oscar winners Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as Ryan Stone and Matt Kowalski, astronauts who are left drifting in space after a massive accident and must work together in order to survive. In a large, dark, and chilly theater, it’s nearly impossible not to find find yourself completely immersed in the story – free from any ounce …

Interview with “Autism in Love” Producer, Carolina Groppa

What is love? What does love feel like? How do you know that you’ve fallen in love? Romance and relationships mesh together in a jumble of complexities that inhabit an elaborate region in our hearts and minds. And for those with autism, the journey and discovery can be even more complicated. Autism in Love is a feature length documentary that examines and explores romantic love through the lens of autism. Based in Los Angeles, the team behind the film includes producer Carolina Groppa and director Matt Fuller, both of whom are award winning filmmakers and advocates of social change. Along with Dr. Ira Heilveil, an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at UCLA Medical School, they are working to create a remarkable documentary that is not only about love, but also about overcoming obstacles and re-defining the status quo. I was lucky enough to talk to the film’s producer, Carolina Groppa, to hear what she has to say about Autism in Love and the journey she’s been on while filming for the past year. JVV: What …