Wednesday, April 20, 2011

10 Documentaries You MUST See

One of the biggest reasons why I love Netflix is because I can stream an endless supply of movies to my Xbox. I love a wide variety of movie genres, but my absolute favorite is the documentary film. Why? Because it's fascinating to see how many bizarre, obscene, heartfelt and thought-provoking TRUE stores are out there.

If you're looking for a good documentary to watch, here are 10 that I would highly recommend:

1. "Kimjongilia" - 2009

Director - N.C. Heiken

Synopsis - This powerful documentary explores the communist dictatorship of Kim Il Sung and his son, Kim Jong Il. Heiken interviews North Koreans who risked their lives to escape the isolated nation. They share their stories of living in modern-day prison camps, of starvation, and of being repressed.

2. "The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters" - 2007

Director - Seth Gordon

Synopsis - Steve Wiebe, a teacher from Washington, sets out to break the highest score for the arcade game Donkey Kong. But Billy Mitchell, the legendary gamer who has held the highest score for the past 25 years, isn't happy about this. Can Steve do it? You'll have to watch it to find out.

3. "The Parking Lot Movie" - 2010

Director - Meghan Eckman

Synopsis - Over the course of three years director Meghan Eckman films a rag-tag group of  Charlottesville, Virginia parking lot attendants. Working at what is known as "The Corner Parking Lot," these attendants deal with a wide variety of people, from drunken frat boys to pretentious SUV-drivers.

4. "Skid Row" - 2007

Directors - Ross Clarke, Niva Dorell, Marshall Tyler

Synopsis - Pras Michell, who is better known as 1/3 of the hip-hop group The Fugees, goes undercover as a homeless person in Skid Row. He has to live without his phone, food, money and shelter, and sees firsthand how drugs and the loss of hope run rampant in the streets of downtown Los Angeles.

5. "Bigger, Stronger, Faster" - 2008

Director - Chris Bell

Synopsis - Director Chris Bell  grew up idolizing body-builders and stars like Sylvester Stallone, Hulk Hogan and Arnold Schwarzenegger. He explores how steroids have positively and negatively effected him and his brothers, and how they play a major role in the "American Dream."

6. "Defamation" - 2008

Director - Yoav Shamir

Synopsis - Yoav Shamir examines a contemporary view of anti-Semitism by interviewing people such as Anti-Defamation League director Abraham Foxman and Norman Finkelstein, a self-described "old fashioned communist." He also follows a group of high school Israeli students as they tour Auschwitz.

7. "Waste Land" - 2010

Directors - Lucy Walker, Karen Harley, Joao Jardim

Synopsis -Brazilian artist Vik Muniz decides that his next project will be to turn trash into works of art, so he goes to Jardim Gramacho, the world's largest landfill in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. With help from some of the garbage pickers, he turns recyclable garbage into life-size mosaic portraits. The film proves that beauty can be found in the most desolate and poorest places on Earth.

8. "Restrepo" - 2010

Director - Sebastian Junger, Tim Hetherington (R.I.P.)

Synopsis - American journalist Sebastian Junger, also known for writing The Perfect Storm, and British photojournalist Tim Hetherington, spend a year in Afghanistan with Second Platoon, B Company. They stay in the Korengal Valley, which at the time was considered one of the deadliest places on earth. The film features interviews with soldiers discussing everything from being deployed to losing their friends in an enemy ambush.

9. "Food, Inc." - 2008

Director - Robert Kenner

Synopsis - Robert Kenner reveals the inhumane and environmentally harmful practices of major  American farming corporations and how they are destroying the livelihood of individual farmers.

10. "Cocaine Cowboys 2: Hustlin' with the Godmother" - 2008

Director - Billy Corben

Synopsis - Billy Corben tells the tale of Griselda Blanco, one of the most notorious cocaine drug lords of the 70's and 80's. Also known as the "Black Widow," Griselda draws small-time drug dealer Charles Cosby into her lair, making him both a millionaire and a target for murder.

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