May 29, 2012

Forks Over Knives (2011)

Hey kiddos, I'm back with a short series on some documentaries I've seen recently that I enjoyed.
Simul-posted here: The Movie Advocate

Forks Over Knives
When I order a pizza, I order it gluten-free and with soy cheese.  And I top it with sausage and pepperoni.  Generally Pizza Fusion (the only place I can really get away with this kind of pizza), informs me that that's not vegan, to which I reply that neither am I (I'm just intolerant).  See, I have no morals when it comes to food.  And this is directly related to the fact that I've seen so many food-related documentaries.  Ten minutes into Food Inc., I was a vegetarian.  Twenty minutes in I was vegan.  Thirty minutes in, I'd given up, because it showed that nothing is safe.  King Corn proved that corn is essentially evil too.  Fast Food Nation proved that Avril Lavigne should stick to music.

There are no safe foods to choose from, morally, other than the ones you grow yourself (and even then you have to think about the soil and the fertilizer and the gardening tools and economy and fact that Americans stole the land they live on and global warming and...).  Forks Over Knives, thankfully, approaches the scary-food-documentary angle a little differently, focusing more so on the physical ramifications of ingesting the food many people ingest.  The filmmakers get technical, with big science words and statistics, but keep it fairly down to earth and explain the theories they support in a way that isn't Michael Moore-ish (condescending), but still simple and relatable.  I can't speak to whether or not the theories presented ring true, but I can say that their arguments were convincing, and that when I order a Pizza Fusion pizza next time, their employees may not need to inform me that I've ordered a fairly contradictory sounding pizza.

May 24, 2012

SLM Mixtape #17: from on high

High Priestess - Active Child
Lampare - Egisto Macchi
Wait - M83
California - EMA
Amplified Emotion - The Dragons
Be Brave - My Brightest Diamond
Kaykay Filu - Ocelote Rojo
Breaking Down - Florence and the Machine

May 22, 2012

Strange Powers: Stephin Merritt and the Magnetic Fields (2010)

Hey kiddos, I'm back with a short series on some documentaries I've seen recently that I enjoyed.
Simul-posted here: The Movie Advocate

Strange Powers: Stephin Merritt and the Magnetic Fields
I like the Magnetic Fields.  I've liked them for a good long while.  I wasn't "there" when they hit the scene or anything, but I am no neophyte.  Strange Powers is not really a documentary for me.  While it delved into Stephin Merritt's past, revealing things I myself would probably have never known had I not seen the movie, I didn't really feel the need any more depth to his story.  I enjoyed his rather anonymous presence in my world.

The movie also chronicles tMF's rise to less-obscurity, which I was sort of there for, so I didn't really need that either. Strange Powers is a documentary for people who haven't heard of the Magnetic Fields.  The only real problem is that I don't think people who don't know about Stephin Merritt are really going to be interested in seeing this doc.  Not that it's a bad documentary, but that, unless you already know about tMF, it just may not jump out at you.  And I don't think Stephin's story is so engaging that I would be able to recommend watching it unfold.  So, if you're a tMF fan, or would like to be, maybe check it out.  Otherwise, I think you can do without seeing it.

May 16, 2012

SLM Mixtape: #16: i almost can't believe it.

Internet Warrior - Oh No Ono
Hello Sadness - Los Campesinos!
Charlyne - Mister Heavenly
Partyland - Detektivbyrån
Noche Nada - Givers
Benny And The Jetts - TV Girl
Fliers - Dada Trash Collage
Icicles - Oh No Ono

May 15, 2012

Chasing Ghosts: Beyond the Arcade (2007)

Hey kiddos, I'm back with a short series on some documentaries I've seen recently that I enjoyed.
Simul-posted here: The Movie Advocate

Chasing Ghosts
The King of Kong: Fistful of Quarters came out the same year as Chasing Ghosts (2007).  Both are preceded by High Score (2006).  High Score sets the stage for documentaries about people who are overly obsessed with retro videogames.  Chasing Ghosts gives the audience a fair amount of background in regards to the world of retro videogame players of yore.  And King of Kong tells a story within this world.  I'd seen both High Score and King of Kong years ago, so it was kind of interesting to fill in the gaps by watching Chasing Ghosts, but if I were to recommend a documentary about retro videogame players, it would hands down have to be King of Kong.  Chasing Ghosts feels like a sort of Silmarillion, or a prequel, giving back story and filing in action that isn't entirely necessary, but is still fairly interesting.  In the end, only for those interested in expanding the story of King of Kong.

May 9, 2012

SLM Mixtape #15: fine. let's dance.

I'm An Indian Too (12" Version) - Don Armando's Second Avenue Rhumba Band
Paradisco - Charlotte Gainsbourg
The Prescription - Edit
Numb - Oh Land
Wild Window - Fool's Gold
The Shots - Dance Disaster Movement
The Crises At Alpha Centauri level 1 - Producer Snafu
Silver Surfer - Silver Surfer

May 8, 2012

You're Gonna Miss Me (2005)

Hey kiddos, I'm back with a short series on some documentaries I've seen recently that I enjoyed.
Simul-posted here: The Movie Advocate

You're Gonna Miss Me
The 13th Floor Elevators/first psychedelic rock band's lead man Roky Erickson's documentary.  I can really only compare this documentary to The Devil and Daniel Johnston, if you took out the support system that Daniel Johnston has.  Everyone in Roky's life, at the beginning of the doc, either wants nothing to do with him (for various personal reasons), or wants to control him in the way they see fit.  And by the end of it, people's roles may change, but it's essentially the same situation.  This one is a downer.  It's a musician's window into mental illness. You're Gonna Miss Me is most terrifying when you realize that it's not a warning against drug use, or the dangers of Rock 'n' Roll, but a story about how some people are just born unlucky, and there's nothing you can do about it.

May 2, 2012

SLM Mixtape #14: ORLY?

Shake Some Action - The Flamin' Groovies
Kids (Don't Know) - Orange Mothers
S.T.H.D. - Ladyhawk
Dum-Dum - The Vaselines
Failure - My Robot Friend
Cálculo Utilitarista - Guatafán
Fred Astaire - Lamps
A・N・A - ミドリ

May 1, 2012

The Big One (1997)

Hey kiddos, I'm back with a short series on some documentaries I've seen recently that I enjoyed.
Simul-posted here: The Movie Advocate

The Big One
I think Michael Moore is a great filmmaker.  The guy knows how to make an engaging documentary whose end message appears to have been reached by accident.  It's manipulative for sure, because he talks in this faux-ignorant tone, both as narrator and as interviewer, as though he thinks that he will find pure and good in the world, and then attempts to come off as surprised when the head of Nike doesn't want to go see the sweat shops they own.  Yes, his digging up painful histories and embarrassing current practices, he is doing one heck of a service for mankind, because these things do need to be talked about.  But ... I can't help be feel condescended upon, as though the only way he's going to get his message across is to say it slowly and in simple words, presenting the facts as though he himself just learned them 10 minutes ago and is telling about them at the dinner table.  I'm troubled by the possibility, however, that this presentation method really is the best way to present an idea so that it sticks and gets you as angry as he was when he decided to make the movie.  I'll probably continue to see his movies, because he knows how to present a frustrating world fact ... but I can't say I enjoy Michael Moore's "Michael" character he performs as in his movies. Anyway, about The Big One: See it if you enjoy his style, because it is signature MM, but the topic it's discussing feels dated (though, terrifyingly enough, it most likely is not a dated topic at all).