Jun 5, 2008

Documentaries

Documentaries are cool. It's like learning for people who hate to read.

Here's a few documentaries that I've watched recently and recommend for all of you.

In the Realms of the Unreal
By day, Henry Darger was a reclusive janitor who had few -- if any -- friends. But at night, he became a literary artist with a unique vision. Darger's 15,000-page novel is a wonderland of imagination as it details the exploits of seven angelic sisters who lead a rebellion against child-enslaving men. Featuring the voices of Dakota Fanning and Larry Pine and the work of talented animators, this film tells the story of Darger's hidden world. - trailer

My Kid Could Paint That
Amir Bar-Lev directs this thought-provoking documentary about a precocious 4-year-old artist whose abstract works have drawn critical comparisons with modernist greats such as Kandinsky, Picasso and Pollack -- and whose talents have already profited her more than $300,000. Is her gift with a paintbrush just an illusion, or is she truly an artistic visionary trapped in the body of a child?
-trailer

Popaganda The Art & Crimes of Ron English

In this critically acclaimed documentary (filmed in an appropriately guerilla style), director-producer Pedro Carvajal captures vigilante artist Ron English as he makes a series of thought-provoking -- and sometimes just plain odd -- statements. The film also serves as a biography, chronicling English's evolution from a simple painter to an activist-instigator who skewers just about everything -- from Ronald McDonald to the war in Iraq. -trailer

Born Rich
The heir to the Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical empire, Jamie Johnson, points his documentary lens in the direction of some privileged children who stand to inherit millions in the not-so-distant future. Johnson manages to pry revelations from heirs with some famous last names -- Trump, Bloomberg and Vanderbilt, to name a few. They speak frankly about money, family pressure and their often extravagant lifestyles. -excerpt


and a few notable ones from the past year or so.

Iraq For Sale (the war profiteers)
Private contractors are getting rich while everybody else is suffering: This is the point director Robert Greenwald makes -- passionately -- in this 2006 documentary. Using whistleblower testimony, firsthand accounts, financial records and classified documents, Greenwald levels charges of greed, corruption and incompetence against private contractors and shows the subsequent devastating effect on Americans and Iraqis. -trailer

Who Killed the Electric Car'
Amid ever-increasing gas prices, this documentary delves into the short life of the GM EV1 electric car -- once all the rage in the mid-1990s and now fallen by the roadside. How could such an efficient, green-friendly vehicle fail to transform our garages and skies? Through interviews with government officials, former GM employees and concerned celebs (such as EV1 driver Mel Gibson), Chris Paine (former EV1 owner) seeks to answer the question. -trailer

Jesus Camp
This riveting Oscar-nominated documentary offers an unfiltered look at a revivalist subculture where devout Christian youngsters are being primed to deliver the fundamentalist community's religious and political messages. Building an evangelical army of tomorrow, the Kids on Fire summer camp in Devil's Lake, N.D., is dedicated to deepening the preteens' spirituality and sowing the seeds of political activism as they're exhorted to "take back America for Christ." -trailer

Helvetica
We use it every day on our computers, we see it on street signs -- and we take it for granted. Now, Gary Hustwit's unique documentary introduces us to Helvetica, whose readability has made it the most popular font in the world. Interviews with designers and artists offer insight into the development, use and universal acceptance of Helvetica as the typeface of choice for everything from writing letters to creating corporate logos. -trailer


and these are all available on Netflix. Most of them you can watch instantly online.
www.netflix.com

also if you are not a netflix subscriber, sometimes you can do a Google video search and find full length versions.
Google Video
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