Stolen Seas

Last nights Doc Soup here in Toronto was a good one: All about Somali piracy — i.e. taking over ships and demanding millions of dollars from the shipping companies before the ship and crew will be released. The doc was much more extensive than I thought it would be, meaning they went deeper than the actual kidnapping events and went into why this was happening and some means in place to possibly prevent it — including the days when the communists and the West (i.e. US) were at each other in the region. Ditto a ‘black hawk down’ mention.
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Putin’s Kiss

November’s Doc Soup at the Hot Docs Bloor Cinema was actually a good one (sorry, most aren’t from my experience?!). It’s a documentary about Putin’s government in Russia and a “youth movement” that they have created to brainwash/control the messaging. Think fun camps and such – and thus a bunch of kids who grow up very much pro-Putin and Putin-policies, marking everyone who disagrees with Putin as ‘enemies’. It’s quite the propaganda machine. The documentary focuses on one young lady who has moved up through this youth movement (to an upper level) and, upon making a new group of friends, starts to see things very much less black and white. I thought it was quite well done, and very interesting. I recommend! There was a Q&A with the director after the showing as well.
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The Yes Men Fix the World

Ahhhhhhh… Amazing what you can pull off w/ a fake web site pretending to be a major multinational corporation. That’s how The Yes Men start – and get invited to many events —- intended for someone else. Can they become a Dow Chemical representative on BBC? Yep…. and more. The Yes Men Fix the World is an entertaining look at two guys who basically ‘represent’ companies and groups in a manner how they wish those companies/groups would actually behave. Thus, fixing the world.
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How To Make Money Selling Drugs

Last night I took in the documentary “How To Make Money Selling Drugs” as part of the Toronto International Film Festival. The topic of drug dealing is definitely presented in an entertaining manner.

It’s also very smart how the documentary unfolds: Start with flash of the “How”, interviewing many-a-past-drug-dealer (characters indeed) and then, near the end, hit them with the real message — Things would be better if we legalized drugs — even hard drugs. The intriguing title and production gets people listening — then sell them the serious message further on in the doc. I don’t think anyone can say the “War On Drugs” is working (hello Mexico?), so is this alternative worth trying? One briefly cited example is Portugal (where personal possession was decriminalized).
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An Unreasonable Man

Yeeeeeeeears after it being released, I finally watched the Ralph Nader documentary (“An Unreasonable Man“). I didn’t really know too much about Nader other than him running for election and the fact that he’s “pro-consumer” (for lack of a better description). An Unreasonable Man takes you back to Nader’s first point of activism — namely, car safety — the introduction of seat belts and air bags. It finishes with the Al Gore election loss to Bush – and many of Nader’s supporters eventually turning on him.
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The Waiting Room

You wonder, as this Canadian does, what it would be like living in “America” w/o any health insurance. This documentary shows you. It is filmed at Highland Hospital in Oakland — a public hospital that, for many, is the last resort for care. It serves as a good reminder (possibly even eye opener) as to what those less fortunate in the ‘States go through. See it: 4/5 @ HotDocs.
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Finding Truelove

Finding Truelove — not a typo. It’s “Finding Tim Truelove”, the guy from an old high school yearbook found at a Value Village. The guys purchase this yearbook and then become obsessed w/ those in the graduating class of that year. That leads them to wanting to hunt down their favourite from the yearbook — Timothy Truelove. They get in a minibus and travel to Chico California and and become part of the high school reunion party. It rolls from there…
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Brooklyn Castle

Brooklyn Castle is a feel good documentary about a wildly successful chess program at a Brooklyn school where over 60% of their kids are living below the poverty line. Chess becomes the thing they focus on (and excel at) – keeping them from getting into trouble in their neighbourhoods while strengthening their overall learning skills.
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Call Me Kuchu

The death penalty for being gay? Many want that. Being outed in the papers (photos and address) – for being gay? That’s reality. Welcome to Uganda:
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No Room For Rock Stars

I’m a big music fan, but not really of the bands that normally play The Vans Warped Tour. That said, I’m up for a music doc. At HotDocs last night I took in “No Room For Rock Stars“, a doc made following the tour from city to city across North America. It’s not focused on the performances, but the personalities — and the wide spectrum of personalities. It also follows around a group of kids in a band who just want a chance to be on the bill. They were selling CDs to people waiting in line to get into the festival – at every tour stop.
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