MCPL Sights and Sounds

Confessions of a Superhero

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They hang out on Hollywood Boulevard and if you vacation near there you are likely to meet them and partake of their services. Their costumes are usually colorful and flamboyant. They are hard to resist. Each one leaves their home in the morning not knowing how much money they will make. A bad day could net them as little as ten to thirty dollars, a good day as much as five or six hundred.

Winnebago Man (2009)

Winnebago Man, a documentary about one director's search for his favorite YouTube sensation, begins with said sensation, Jack Rebney, yelling at the director to just leave him alone. This is an interesting place to start because it kind of sets up the director, the person we'll be following on his journey to find Jack, as a jerk. Lucky for the viewer, this does not end up being the case. Rather, Winnebago Man becomes a humorous exploration of Internet fame and the responsibility of the fan/filmmaker. Read more »

American Teen

What is it like to be a teenager in America? American Teen takes us back to high school to find out. The film, a documentary, follows the lives of five high school students in their senior year at Warsaw Community High School in Warsaw, Indiana. These students have been deliberately cast into and portrayed as stereotypes. Read more »

Catfish

Wow! This will most likely win an Oscar and probably be the best documentary film of 2011. And no, this is not a documentary about fishing. It's too difficult to describe it without giving away the ending. Even if I describe how it starts, you'll already be lead to think about what the conclusion will be. Read more »

We're No Angels

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We're No Angels possesses perhaps the dryest humor of any movie I've ever seen. The film stars Humphrey Bogart as Joseph, Aldo Ray as Albert and Peter Ustinov as Jules escaped criminals from Devil's Island prison and passing themselves off as convict workers until they escape from the island onto a passing ship. In an effort to hide themselves they work for an inept storekeeper and his family. For some unknown reason they take a shine to the family and help them through both their financial and personal problems. They are aided in their efforts by their companion Adolphe, a small Eastern Coral Snake kept as a pet by Albert. Read more »

Downton Abbey

The year is 1912 and news of the Titanic's sinking has reached the fictional English estate Downton Abbey, home of the Earl of Grantham and his family. Unfortunately, the closest male family heirs were on board the ship and are presumed perished. Downton Abbey follows the family from this point forward as they deal with inheritance issues as well as the trials of day to day life.

The Lottery

If you've been following the news I'm sure you are well aware of the state budget crises and the effect this is having on teachers and other public service employees. Adding to their woes are two new documentaries about public schools and education. I had a chance to see "The Lottery". Read more »

Animal Kingdom (2010)

There are several things that make Animal Kingdom a great crime drama. Have a list:

    1. Is there a better title for a movie about a crime family slowly tearing itself apart than Animal Kingdom? Truthfully? If you can think of any I would be very curious to hear them.

 

    1. Guy Pearce is still making movies! Just back in Australia! And surprise, surprise they're the best movies he's been in since Memento!

Judgment day: Intelligent design on trial

Yesterday I watched, "Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial." This is a documentary about the Dover, Pennsylvania's public school system and its legal battle over whether or not to teach "Intelligent Design" alongside evolution. Of course there are two sides to every story, but one would not expect a small public school system to be in federal court on constitutional challenges to the first amendment.

On one side are the public school science teachers who prefer to only teach evolution in their classrooms because they believe that "Intelligent Design" is the same thing as biblical creationism. On the other side you have parents and a couple members of the school board who believe that evolution is a theory and that "intelligent Design" is just another alternative theory that should at least have some honorable mention.

Normally such matters would be resolved locally but this case makes it all the way to a federal courtroom to prove either that Intelligent Design is science, or that Intelligent Design is a cover for biblical creationism.

It's a tense documentary but a good one.

The End of Poverty?

Over the weekend I watched "The End of Poverty." This film has been in just about all of the previews of other new documentaries that I've watched so I thought it had to be a good one. The preview (see below) does grab your attention, but after watching it, I have mixed feelings about it.

We all know that poverty exists and there are some individual choices we can make to help those in need, but I don't see how we can completely reorganize our entire country to help poorer countries. Would the sum of all individuals make a collective decision to consume less and conserve more energy? That seems to be the rhetorical question that the film is asking. The answer lies with us.

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