Thursday, May 5, 2011

God Grew Tired Of Us (2006)

This is a remarkable story and an enduring testament to the thousands of peope who flee their homelands, leaving behind loved ones and family, in search of a better life in other countries when their own has become inhabitable be it from war, famine or just basic survival. Considering we live in a country where thousands attempt to enter every day, I will forever look at our refugees in a different light.

The story revolves around 3 men who were part of the Sudan's Lost Boys. I had never heard of them before but their story is beyond horrific and there is a very brief background in the film to give you probably just the basic idea but its enough to tell you what these boys have endured. The US government promised 3800 of these boys asylum in the states and of course, this film follows their story. These young men have never experienced things that we take for granted and you cant help but chuckle when one of them, on the plane to the states, opens a block of butter, sniffs it and pops it in his mouth!eeewww.

Anyhow, the film shows how they have to integrate into American society, their homesickness and loneliness away from the only family they have known (the young men left behind), cultural differences and most poignantly, their guilt at being one of the chosen ones to get asylum. John Bul Dau, whom I immediately took a shining to for his gentle nature, intelligence and perplexity at his new environment (shocking to be told you cannot just walk into your neighbours home LOLOL) , took on 3 jobs at one stage to send money to his family, remaining lost boys in Africa and pay his way.

John Bul Dau-My New Hero

Its a lovely film which will make you laugh, cry and after the credits have rolled, will have you googling to see what you can do to help. Its really a must see and a terrific film about overcoming the odds.

PS: And do yourelf a favour and read about the lost boys of Sudan, every human should KNOW their story.

Kurt Cobain-About A Son (2006)


This doc was a huge disappointment to me and I didnt even manage 30 mins of it. Its basically just audio interviews of Kurt Cobain talking to a slideshow of video and images of what I assume is Seattle people and the landscape. I did jump though to see if there was at least any images of the man himself but nothing...and dont expect any live footage of him either, unless I missed 10 minutes somewhere where they did show footage. A total waste of time unless you are happy to put on headphones and just listen to his voice. Personally I would prefer live footage at the very least.

Walmart-The High Cost of Low Price (2005)

I thought this would be a pretty interesting doc to watch for SA'ers since Walmart has just bought out Massmart (known to us as Makro, Game etc) and I was pretty excited when I heard Walmart might be landing on our shores. However, this doc has absolutely nothing good to say about Walmart and its focuses alot on their very bad work ethics towards their staff which I, in all honesty, found quite shocking myself. It also tells the story as to how this empire invades small American towns, putting out of business family stores that have been running for generations and it was rather heart-breaking to witness. It also focused on the shocking working conditions of people in China who make and run all the stuff Walmart sells.

I really dont see them pulling off half the shit they get up in the states with all our unions here in SA so I dont see me boycotting their stores in any kind of hurry if it will be beneficial to my consumer pocket, especially in this day and age.

This film has a very big David and Goliath feel to it and highly recommended. I would love to know if this doc will influence you into whether or not you will support this co if they do open shop here. Judging from their website, truthfully, I cant wait!! Who knows, maybe I will even start our own “S.A People shopping in Walmart” website hehehe

Monday, February 28, 2011

Dear Zachary: A Letter To A Son About His Father (2008)

I simply cannot go into too much detail about this film and the less you know, the better. The story revolves around Dr Andrew Bagby, who was allegedly murdered by his girlfriend. She then subsequently announces she is pregnant with his son. Andrews life-time friend then sets out to make this moving legacy for Zachary about his father with interviews and short stories from friends and family which clearly show how loved and respected Andrew was. Andrews parents, The Bagby's then try everything in their might to have the young baby near to them considering Andrew was an only child. This little boy was literally all they had left.

 This film was a Tour de Force on the emotions. It stays with you LONG after the credits have rolled and quite frankly, I don't think I will ever forget it. Its very traumatic and as the film hurtles along to its conclusion, which you don't see coming, you will be left shaken to the absolute core, heart-broken and moved beyond anything you might have seen before. It also has to be one of the worst travesties of justice I have yet to witness.

It really is a masterpiece and I HIGHLY recommend it, I have it on all my wish-lists. The film is also in real-time so we see it as it happens. I sincerely doubt the film-maker and friend of Andrew, Kurt Kuenne, could ever in his wildest dreams, imagined what the out-come would be. Just be sure to be seated through-out, should you be standing when all is revealed, its so shocking, its enough to bring you to your knees in disbelief and horror.

Steal it, download it, BUY it....its a must!!!!!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Animals are Beautiful People (1974)

Here's one for us South Africans...who could forget this..well, I did. For 28 years. And I cannot tell you how happy I am that I came across it again after all this time. Formerly known back in the day as just "Beautiful People" the film puts a new(old) spin on nature documentaries.

I can emphatically say that even thou this film was made in 1974, it has not aged a day. I found it just as fantastic, delightful and entertaining as I did when i was a kid. The drama, action, romance, hilarious comedy and musical timing was a treat to watch again. How did I ever forget the drunk animals on marula fruit, the salt eating monkey, the *get away* bird and the poor lost warthog.

Do yourselves a favour and watch this one with your kids..its an absolute gem and a true African classic. What I also enjoyed was there were very few "sad" moments eg: no out-bursts of tears from said little ones when the lion eats the baby buck. It was just pure joy from beginning to end. Maybe a little unrealistic as far as proper nature docs go but still...

 You can bet your arse Ill be sitting this film through again with my little one on the weekend. And quite simply, I cant wait!!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Just a quickie.

I just wanted to add that I get alot of my "what to watch"  from a blog called The Documentary Blog.
Its literally my bible for whats hot in the doc world

They have a list of the 50 top docs of the decade that I have systematically been working through.
Documentary List

When I started, I hadn't watched nor heard of any film (except for Bowling for Columbine) on that list however,  almost a year later and I'm almost through it bar for a few I'm finding almost impossible to download  get my hands on but still searching. I will be absolutely elated the day i can look at that list and say Ive watched them all. Its been an awesome adventure so far and Ive learnt how small my little world was..there is so much happening out there that we don't know about. Everyone has a story, no matter how big or small.

Anyhow, its an awesome blog and its also great for whats currently out there of interest.

Hookers at the Point (2002)

This film is about the hookers who ply their trade in the Bronx, NY along the streets of Hunts Point.
Although I found the characters interesting although sad and depressing sometimes, there are quite a few funny moments. I dont have to tell you that these girls are full of character at the best of times.
There is not much of a story as per say as the camera just follows the stories of the girls who frequent this street and then follows up with them a few years later. I found it quite unusual to find girls in this trade who say they do it for the love of the "game" barring the fact that they are all hooked on some kind of drug or another. In the beginning, I was quite gob-smacked at the outfits these woman wore on the streets, lolol..ive never seen anything quite like...i found myself regularly sniggering and LOL at them and their one-liners are GREAT but they do seem to be victims of their circumstance, trapped in a world almost impossible to leave.

The only thing that put me off was when the girls picked up their dates (hehehe) they kept their mikes rolling so we are regularly subjected to the slurping, sucking and dirty talk emancipating from the vehicles. (nevermind that there is a camera aimed at said vehicle so we get to see it bouncing away with the inevitable head bobbing ) At first, I found it hilarious at the things these chicks would say to their johns, towards the end, i started to find it annoying. You know the saying, too much of a good thing etc etc...its like they read off their script which i suppose they do, just the men changed for each scene.

Anyhow, this film is very watchable and you cant help but feel genuine sorrow for the ladies but its not one Ill add to my dvd collection. If you come across it then yes, watch it (although I seriously doubt any SA peeps will be able to get it anywhere)..dont bother breaking the law to get your hands on it! ;-)

If you really want to watch it and in SA, let me know..sharing is caring!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Zoo (2007)

"We are not who we appear to be"

Well, I just finished watching Zoo, its centred around the man who practically killed himself by doing the deed with a horse in Seattle some years back exposing a group of men who had some kind of bea.stia.lity farm on the go. There really is not much to the story in all honesty and I found it very difficult to follow as actors and voice overs are used and even the actors are somewhat hidden.

 Regarding my feelings following the film, I was actually relieved when it was over. The serene melodic music through-out made me irritated in parallel to the subject at hand. Its almost like the film-maker is trying to evoke feelings of sympathy for the men and the dead man, as we hear from them how normal they are and who is society to judge, how much they love their animals etc etc blah. I mean, come on, ABUSE is ABUSE! I have no idea what the film maker was trying to gain (lolz, maybe someone can tell me??) and it annoyed me to hear their stories of woe after they were bust and most lost everything after being named and shamed.

I would much have preferred it to have been more with hard-facts, more real life stories as it is such a taboo subject and not so focused on these men...who I might add, one even had the gall to say how irritated he was that the death had happened because he had invited his friend to the farm for that weekend. The way he said it, IMO sounded to me like the death was a terrible inconvenience as their weekend get togethers were essentially a thing of the past however, something tells me that it wasnt long before the operation just moved venues.

However, I suppose one does question the morality of it all and yes, who are we to judge althou the movie does bring about the notion that these animals are not harmed. The SPCA person who dealt with the case left me with the most poignant questions and she relates that after dealing with this case, she did extensive research on the subject and has come away with feelings of doubt herself. She says there is a possibility that humans could love another species as intensely, if not more, than their own.She sums it up that these *zoo* people, as they are called, bestow a remarkable about of love,care and devotion upon their animals.
If there was more facts and information, I possibly could have come to the same conclusion but I simply didnt. The men in question annoyed the crap out of me.

Hmmm...I didnt take the bait lolz, didnt go googling afterwards like I usually do (hehehe,thanks, thought I would skip this lesson on s.e.x 101) and finally, its watchable as there are no actual scenes. The filming is rather beautiful in itself with farmlands/views etc.

Psycho, you have to watch this one and tell me if I just didnt get it! lolololol.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Man on Wire (2008)

“If I die,what a beautiful death”- Philippe Petit

There is no chance of really giving any spoilers to this film as the poster clearly tells you what this film is about. And I will say, its a MAGNIFICENT account of Philippe Petit's walk on a tightrope between the once famous Twin Towers in 1974. Philippe basically narrates the story but it does jump back and forth abit between his training, the actual planning of the event, his early years etc and then the re-enactments of actually illegally hauling tons of equipment to the top of the towers undetected. However, the story is very easy to follow and he tells it so well. He's very animated and dramatic besides being a funny guy. He also tells the story with such passion you can hardly contain yourself by the time he actually steps out into the clouds. We are also treated to some footage of when he walked over the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Notre Dame de Paris but obviously these were minor feats compared to his Twin Tower walk.I'm not going to mention the suffering of a serious case of vertigo more than once in my chair, nor the involuntary kegels I kept getting every time the camera panned over the edge of the towers while watching this movie...

Rather you then me!!

He starts basically from the beginning when he heard about the towers being built and actually managed to convince himself they were being built especially for him. You also know from very early in the film that he was going to do this walk, regardless of what stood in his way and if it was the very last walk he ever took. He explains the intricacies involved in detail, such as the tightness of the rope, weather conditions 450m above the ground and of course, the problem of getting his wire from the one tower to the other. His friends who help him achieve this goal, also give very interesting details and interviews regarding the events.

I have to say, when he finally walks out on the rope, its very hard not to feel emotional or moved as it really is beautiful. I found it hard not to cry. For 45 minutes he literally danced, lay down, taunted the police and even saluted. There is no live footage of the actual stunt from the roof tops but the pics really do say it all. Over and above the actual story, I just want to mention that this film has some awesome footage of the building of the towers. I also tried not to think too much of what became of the towers and 9/11 but you cant help but think of the victims who where stuck on the top floors and jumped...this film puts in perspective just how high it actually is up there.

Having a chat with God?

The irony is not lost on me...

I lmao when he said after he came off the rope and was arrested on the spot by police, the most dangerous part of the whole episode was when he was handcuffed and almost shoved down a flight of stairs, nearly breaking his neck. I absolutely LOVE LOVE this film and have it on all my wishlists, this one is a definite keeper.

Please note that if you do download get this from somewhere, make sure you grab the .srt file too as a lot of it is in french and you will need the subtitles.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Exit Through The Gift Shop (2010)

Ive decided to do my first review on Banksy's Exit through The Gift Shop in honour of it being awarded an Oscar nomination. In all honesty, I had never even heard of Banksy before watching this documentary and jumped onto google right after i finished the film. He has an extraordinary history. Basically he is a famous graffiti artist from the UK who has never been seen(bar close associates), is extremely elusive nor does anyone supposedly know his true identity however, he leaves his mark all over the place. Apparently, should you wake one morning and discover you (or your establishment) has been visited by him during the dead of night, the value of your property could fly through the roof as his work seems quite valuable besides the fact, his art really REALLY is a work of genius (and I'm no arty farty).
One of Banksy's Murals
Exit through the Gift shop (despite the movie poster initially giving me no clues as to the content of the story) is a thoroughly enjoyable and riveting story, even if you are not into art. The film is actually about a french amateur film maker, Thierry Guetta who documents the graffiti artists around his city and then decides to track down Banksy who is a legend in his field. Banksy in turn lands up supporting Thierry when he tries his hand at art and turns the camera on Thierry.

It was hard for me to decide if Thierry aka Mr Brainwash (hmmmmm....) was genuinely naive or in on the joke as some of his art is totally outrageous but thanks to a massive campaign lead by top graffiti artists..Mr Brainwash seemed to have found success. This ads to the mystery around the film as to was Mr Brainwash created for the amusement of Banksy and co, or did they really believe he had some talent?? Can anyone just become an artist?? You can be the judge! Even though I was covering my eyes in embarrassment for Thierry in some parts, he is a genuinely likable character and I REALLY wanted him to succeed.Its also an awesome look into the lives of these nocturnal creatures that create art while we all sleep. Besides some truly hilarious LOL moments in the film, its was an eye opener in what people are willing to believe in the name of hot trends, pop culture and celebrities.

This one definitely deserves its Oscar nod and is a remarkable, funny and fascinating doccie. If you hadn't heard of Banksy and his friends before now, you will spend hours after watching the film, trawling the net for info...

PS: Ive tried hard not to add any spoilers as with any doc, the less you know beforehand, the greater the impact when you watch it but if you do watch this one, would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.


I have a blog. I feel all grown up. I was laying in bed last night, way past bedtime after I just finished watching The Oath (review to come at a later stage) when I decided I had to share. I'm just a *normal* person with absolutely no idea about how films are made, the arty side of things nor the direction. I just watch these films and am left with no one to discuss the movie or the impact they have on me, hence the blog ;-)

Unfortunately, living in South Africa, we get no festivals like Sundance, Cannes etc etc and finding some of these gems in Dvd stores are as rare as your 2yr old sitting still for 5 minutes. So you might want to read my review before you add these Dvd's to your uTorrent Take2 wishlist. I'll share my thoughts on docs ranging from politics to the every day man, that I found totally fascinating or just dead boring. Some have me thinking for days, others have me falling asleep 30mins in.

If you have any suggestions for films of interest or need help getting your hands on anything you would like to watch, please let me know. Hehehe, I'm hoping one day to be able to discuss the films with others in the comments but I will add spoiler alerts should it ever come to that!!

Lastly, please note that all views that I share on this blog will be my personal opinion as I have absolutely no credentials when it comes to reviews, just my own thoughts.

TFR!! *insert smiley face*
PS: I'm new to blogging ok, I'm sure there will be plenty stuff-ups along the way but could someone point me in the direction of the smiley faces? lol.