UPDATE 12/19/12…Due to the Newtown CT tragedy, Django and other movies have been pulled or cancelled from airing.
Tarantinto…“I was always amazed so many Western films could get away with not dealing with slavery at all,” Tarantino said. “Hollywood didn’t want to deal with it because it was too ugly and too messy. But how can you ignore such a huge part of American history when telling a story in that time period? It made no sense.”
This Earth Day consider adding a few of these these mainstream and indie documentaries to your must-see list.
In an apocalyptic 2012, is there a better time than Earth Day to remind ourselves just how lucky we are to be spinning through the void of space on this life-giving rock? From rapidly acidifying oceans and shortsighted deforestation to perpetually pollutive wars and the propping up of obsolete markets, Earth is taking killer blows that we’re going to seriously regret delivering.
Like the worsening news about the future of our planet, the following films have recently arrived in short bursts. They deal out often visually spectacular but emotionally devastating losses of sea ice, as well as the unheard voices of nations beneath the rising waves. Some consider the double-edged sword of technological innovation, whose parasitic profit motive has compromised its earthly host. Others analyze those natural resources that so-called progress continues to exhaust in search of the new shiny.
But these Earth Day offerings are timely snapshots, because the slow-dawning realization that we’ve unplugged from a lethal, consensual hallucination can be screened far and wide in our pop-cultural productions. You’ve seen it in the post-apocalyptic allegory of The Hunger Games, last seen slaying the box office, whose forthcoming king will no doubt be The Hobbit, which takes place in a bucolic Middle-Earth bouncing its way toward an epochal world war. You can throw in Game of Thrones’ murderous power grabs, Don Draper’s advertising fetishism and plenty more.
But the mainstream and indie documentaries below pull away that fictional prism for convincing think pieces on sustainability and survival. Thanks to the death of appointment viewing, you’ll get to watch them anytime, most likely on any platform, sometime this year.
I seldom go to the movies these days. Hunger Games was so well reviewed I had to see it. I was not disappointed. I highly recommend this movie to everyone and be sure to take the kids. Hope, Love, Courage, Survivalism, Loyalty and Community are key themes.
…a gripping story set in a postapocalyptic world where a replacement for the United States demands a tribute from each of its territories: two children to be used as gladiators in a televised fight to the death. Katniss, from what was once Appalachia, offers to take the place of her sister in the Hunger Games, but after this ultimate sacrifice, she is entirely focused on survival at any cost. It is her teammate, Peeta, who recognizes the importance of holding on to one’s humanity in such inhuman circumstances. It’s a credit to Collins’s skill [the writer] at characterization that Katniss, like a new Theseus, is cold, calculating and still likable. She has the attributes to be a winner, where Peeta has the grace to be a good loser. It’s no accident that these games are presented as pop culture. Every generation projects its fear: runaway science, communism, overpopulation, nuclear wars and, now, reality TV. The State of Panem—which needs to keep its tributaries subdued and its citizens complacent—may have created the Games, but mindless television is the real danger, the means by which society pacifies its citizens and punishes those who fail to conform. Will its connection to reality TV, ubiquitous today, date the book? It might, but for now, it makes this the right book at the right time. What happens if we choose entertainment over humanity? In Collins’s world, we’ll be obsessed with grooming, we’ll talk funny, and all our sentences will end with the same rise as questions. When Katniss is sent to stylists to be made more telegenic before she competes, she stands naked in front of them, strangely unembarrassed. They’re so unlike people that I’m no more self-conscious than if a trio of oddly colored birds were pecking around my feet, she thinks. In order not to hate these creatures who are sending her to her death, she imagines them as pets. It isn’t just the contestants who risk the loss of their humanity. It is all who watch. Katniss struggles to win not only the Games but the inherent contest for audience approval. Because this is the first book in a series, not everything is resolved, and what is left unanswered is the central question. Has she sacrificed too much? We know what she has given up to survive, but not whether the price was too high. (Publishers Weekly)
Grade 7 Up -In a not-too-distant future, the United States of America has collapsed, weakened by drought, fire, famine, and war, to be replaced by Panem, a country divided into the Capitol and 12 districts. Each year, two young representatives from each district are selected by lottery to participate in The Hunger Games. Part entertainment, part brutal intimidation of the subjugated districts, the televised games are broadcasted throughout Panem as the 24 participants are forced to eliminate their competitors, literally, with all citizens required to watch. When 16-year-old Katniss’s young sister, Prim, is selected as the mining district’s female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart, Peeta, the son of the town baker who seems to have all the fighting skills of a lump of bread dough, will be pitted against bigger, stronger representatives who have trained for this their whole lives. Collins’ characters are completely realistic and sympathetic as they form alliances and friendships in the face of overwhelming odds; the plot is tense, dramatic, and engrossing. This book will definitely resonate with the generation raised on reality shows like ‘Survivor’ and ‘American Gladiator.’ (School Library Journal)