October 9, 2015
SOMM takes you through the world of sommeliers, including what it all entails to be one. The doc then focuses on a fairly diverse group of guys who are all studying to earn their Master Sommelier accreditation (the highest achievement for sommeliers).
October 3, 2015
Winnebago Man is the story about tracking down the unintended ‘star’ of an outtakes video for a Winnebago industrial tape. Huh? Well, the outtakes video – originally distributed to friends via VHS – made its way onto YouTube eventually and from there it became a viral sensation. It features Jack Rebney cursing profusely as he tries to make the video while dealing with the heat and flies of the Iowa summer.
The documentary maker seeks to find Jack and determine what he thinks of his digital fame. This proves to be not an easy task, but eventually contact is made. Jack is a bit of a recluse – very much different from his previous life in media.
June 27, 2015
Penthouse North is the story about a former actress/model who lives in a subsidized (I think) apartment in Manhattan, but struggles to pay the rent. The in-and-out of various roommates is documented, as is the acting history of this woman.
A good chunk of this film displays the attempts of her various friends who try to help this former actress as she slowly fades away from her former self and former life.
June 13, 2015
The best part of the documentary Beijing Ants is everything you see in the trailer:
Living on One Dollar
June 13, 2015
Living on One Dollar follows four guys from the US who decide to live on one dollar a day (i.e. how many in the world do) for 56 days. To do that, they move to a Guatemalan farming village and live as locals.
Welcome to Leith
May 2, 2015
Welcome to Leith documents the crazy story of how one of the most prominent white supremacists tries to take over the small town of Leith, North Dakota. Slowly, the new resident of Leith (that initially kept to himself) starts buying up plots of land in town in hopes of starting a community of white supremacists (i.e. get enough of them to move and purchase land – and then take over town council with the votes). The townspeople get wind of this and the battle begins to chase him (and another hate-filled family) out of town.
Above and Below
May 2, 2015
Above and Below melds three very different ‘living situations’ together into one documentary: A couple living in the storm sewers below Las Vegas; A man living alone in a abandoned army base in the desert; and a woman living in a Mars simulation world in the desert. Oh, there’s another guy who lives in the sewers too (but he seems to have a lesser role the documentary).
April 25, 2015
Dreamcatcher follows around Brenda, a former prostitute who runs a foundation that helps women in Chicago going through the same plight that she went through. Both through her foundation and through her day job, she counsels women who have been sexually abused, those in prostitution, and those who may be on the verge.
Straight Up: The Issue of Alcohol in Ontario
November 22, 2014
Straight Up: The Issue of Alcohol in Ontario is all about the ridiculousness of how alcohol is sold in the province of Ontario. It talks about the history of how the LCBO (government owned) and The Beer Store (owned by three private multinational breweries) began, and how smaller producers of beer and wine in this province are at a huge disadvantage. Also, of note, is the select few ‘wine stores’ that are also limited to a handful of owners.
It generally shoots down many of the arguments that are used to defend the ‘controlled’ environment that alcohol is sold in, in Ontario:
- More availability = more consumption problems (then why has the LCBO and The Beer Store expanded greatly of late? Why are stores becoming larger, with more attractive environments? Why does the LCBO promote extensively — from advertising to free high-gloss colour magazines?)
- The need to control who has access (can a group that has been trusted for years to keep tobacco and lottery tickets out of the hands of youth not be trusted with alcohol sales?)