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34 out of 39 people found the following review useful:

Engaging and well researched documentary, just don't expect a good review in The Sun

Author: Dave Taylor from England
16 January 2010

Starsuckers is a documentary by Chris Atkins which concerns our obsession with celebrity and explores how we are genetically predisposed to want celebrity for ourselves. It shows how the media use this to manipulate us. While, for me, this was preaching to the converted I still found it interesting and the arguments presented seem well researched and sound. I was lucky enough to also see it with a Q and A from Atkins which was informative, compelling and funny.

The manner in which the film is tied together is also interesting. Atkins uses images of magic tricks and illusion to tie together his arguments and this is, obviously, what the media and PR do. It also, and this was a point Atkins made during the Q and A, doesn't offer any solutions and really I suspect the only solution would be for us to stop absorbing and buying the media which obviously feeds us false and misleading stories to fill newspapers and airtime.

As it attacks the media expect it to get either panned or ignored but see beyond that, seek this film out and watch it.

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13 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Over a year on IMDb and... just 185 votes cast.

Author: neil-upto11 from UK
24 January 2011

It's probably testament to the truth of the film that it receives no support from the various film (and media) corporations.

It's a very interesting documentary and a very useful educational tool. I think that people are fairly easy-going, generally speaking, but one thing that is universally loathed is hypocrisy / cynical dishonesty. The film does a good job of exposing this pervasive nightmare and asks people to have a think about it. And I say fair enough. No-one's saying you cant watch X-Factor/ American Idol, if thats the sort if thing you enjoy; just don't let the media machine make a d1ck out of you. At the very least, try to be aware of the manner of the manipulation that accompanies the bright lights and bells.

The media control of government is something that shouldn't surprise people but it probably will. It's frightening.

I particularly enjoyed seeing arch lie-teller Max Clifford being dragged into the light (again)! I thought he would have learned his lesson after Louis Theroux caught him with his metaphorical trousers down some years ago but it seems hubris knows no bounds.

A noble effort.

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14 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

Pertinent but self-regarding

Author: paul2001sw-1 ( from Saffron Walden, UK
20 April 2010

'Starsuckers' is an entertaining and pertinent documentary about our celebrity-obsessed media that is ultimately just a little too pleased with itself. While it's always useful to be reminded of just quite how powerful the media is, and of who really benefits from its wielding of power, most of what is presented here is something that a Guardian-reading liberal will already be familiar with. And some of the stunts seem counter-productive: demonstrating that newspapers are happy to print rubbish, as long as it's rubbish that will sell, by feeding them rubbish to print doesn't really hurt them at all - did director Chris Atkins really think that the popular press wouldn't be delighted to print the story of Amy Winehouse's hair catching fire, even if it wasn't true? Exposing it as false after the fact doesn't hurt a newspaper that already cares more about its reputation for entertainment than its reputation for truth. In among the stunts, however, there are some serious points - the one which struck me was that the proportion of children who think of themselves as important has risen 5-fold (to 80%) in the last 50 years. The real message we should be teaching is that you can be valuable yet unimportant (except at a local level); but sadly nothing in our culture seems to be moving in this direction.

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Media fire.

Author: morrison-dylan-fan from United Kingdom
18 October 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

During the very disturbing revelations about the law firm Carter-Ruck trying to put a super-injunction on media outlets reporting on the oil firm Trafigura illegal dumping of toxic waste.Whilst most of the attention was (understandabre) being focus on that subject.I,was hearing some people mention a recent case,where Carter-Ruck tried to stop a film from being released.

Now that I have had the excellent opportunity to see the film,I feel that it is a very,very strong documenter,with a completely eye-opening expose of how much of a head-lock the mass media has on how news stories should be "presented"

Note:Due to the first and second half of the film looking at two different parts of the media,I am going to spilt the outline of the documenter in two.

The outline of the documenter: In the first half of the film,the film makers show how the media create "illusions" to make the public think that they can all become future superstars.This is shown by looking at Public Realations (PR) firms,that are paid by companies and stars, to hire rent-a-mobs and to create completely made up negative stories (Such as drug addictions and protests)so that they are able to stay as much in the spotlight as possible.

It is also shown that hardly any of the gossip columns/celebrity magazines spend anytime to check if any of the stories that they print are accurate at all.This is shown by the crew ringing up the gossip columnist with totally made up "tips",which,all end up being printed in newspapers around the world!

With the second part of the film,the documenter makers show how mass media try to make the public believe there "illusions".The film shows how a huge amount of newspaper companies (from the "Red Tops" to the "Broadsheets)are more than willing to illegally pay huge amounts to view people private medical records.

To show,what the makers say is the "Grandest Illusion",the film makers look at the horrible truth about the hugely self-indulgent, mass ego-tripping Live Aid/8 events.The film first shows how lots of the original goals that the event was meant to archive (such as the huge amount of food and water shortage that people living in Third World countries sadly have to suffer.)completely got pushed to the side and diluted.So,that the events would just become some average music concerts(which seemed to mostly be used to boost album sales).

The movie than shows the disgusting truth about what happened to a big amount of the cash that was given/raised from Live Aid.The documentary makers shockingly revealed that money that was raised from the event went to The Tigrayan Peoples Liberation Front.Who,instead of using all the money for food,used it to mostly buy weapons for "ethnic cleansing".Which led to over 100,000 people being brutally murdered.

View on the documentary:

Something,that I have to say I was very Impress with,was how writer/director Chris Atkins used the idea of how magicians do tricks to fool their audiences,as a good narrative device to make each section of the documentary feel very cohesive.

Even though,the film has lots of stunning footage,I do have to admit,that I am a little bit disappointed that Atkins mainly aimed the film at the "Red Top" newspapers,and seemed to stay away from the "broadsheets". (such as The Guardian and Daily Mail Media Groups)Which,I feel would have hit the jugular of a few of the media companies that little bit harder(though Atkins does say on the DVD Making Of,that he was annoyed when The Guardian broke the story of what had been exposed in the film,with a front page that was half filled with a picture of Amy Winehouse!).

When thinking back about the film,the thing that I think hardly anyone will be able to forget,is the shocking exposing of the "History making" Live Aid/8 events.The film makers show how the "Stunning achievements" that the organisers claim were due to the concerts,had actually been decided on along time ago.Also,it is suggested that (the charity) Make Povity History was pushed to the side,so the events could just become a huge big concerts (the footage from the event of one of the people that was "saved" by Live Aid,(although she was actually saved by a independent film maker who had been making films about her quite a while before the event was staged)got quickly taken off the stage when Madonna appeared on stage to do the famous peace anthem-Like A Prayer.)

I also have to say that I feel extremely sad for the millions of people who kindly gave money to a cause that was meant to save people,not kill them.

Final view on the film:

An stunning achievement,that is miles better than any of the watered-down so-called Media Studies,which is also a must see film for anyone with even the slightest interest on how news companies decide what stories to run.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Money For Nothing

Author: valis1949 from United States
12 July 2013

STARSUCKERS (dir. Chris Atkins) The only beef I have with the film is its unfortunate title, however this clever and informative documentary shows how 'The News and Infotainment Industry' has morphed into such an overwhelming behemoth that it now controls and commands nearly all aspects of life in the 21st century.

Although the science of the film might be a bit questionable, the film's conclusions are undeniable. Misdirection and hypnosis by the media have convinced the weakest and most gullible that regardless of talent, background, or education, they have a god-given and constitutionally protected right to succeed in life, and an entire industry is poised and ready to sell them this wholly unrealistic and delusional point of view.

The section of the film that dealt with parents who, against all odds, insist that their remarkably ordinary children are 'reality stars' of the future was particularly revealing albeit depressing. Also the documentary demonstrates how the News Media has all but capitulated, and we have now become a 'post-truth' society. It's no longer of any importance that verifiable facts are presented just as long as the overall message is delivered in an uplifting and entertaining manner. Fact checking is for suckers, and this is why Sarah Palin (and others like her) can entertain hopes of becoming world leaders.

Citizens of planet Earth have devolved into 'Believers' instead of 'Thinkers', and it was most certainly NOT a natural process. MUST SEE

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The title is a trick.

Author: carbuff
11 May 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This film managed to draw me in as it went along.

Given the materials I read, there was hardly any new information in it for me, but the way it was presented made me feel much more vulnerable to media manipulations than I felt before watching this.

Some stuff is just off base, such as suggesting that all of us really want to be on reality TV or be in the entertainment industry- -I don't have the slightest interest in either of these. I have never watched more than a few snippets of any reality show in my entire life, because I really detest them and can almost literally feel brain cells die when I'm exposed to them.

On the other hand, it made me feel much more vulnerable to the desire for fame than I am comfortable admitting. Some other stuff was just annoying--in particular, the narrator's superior nerdy tone and the fame-craving little boy and his screwed-up parents that the film kept checking back on. Personally, I wish this kid would just go away, and maybe if we can get enough other people to agree, we can stop his fame train before it gathers too much more steam.

Overall, this production starts a bit slow and is a bit condescending throughout, but the pace picks up as it moves along, and I was left satisfied that it coalesced pretty well at the end.

Lastly, I can't let it pass that the title of the film is an obvious allusion to another term, and it was clearly chosen for it's prurient draw (which is why I put it in my queue--I guess it worked), but it's just a tease. I was really expecting (and, no doubt, hoping for) some salacious material, of which this film has only the most meager amount. Oops. I probably just killed the interest there. Sorry.

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9 out of 53 people found the following review useful:

Wow what a load of crap!

Author: Jon Death from United States
6 May 2010

When there is a lot of controversy, gossip, rumor, claim and other promotion of a person or event, people do 1 of 2 things. They ignore it or give it some attention. But are they invested in what's being promoted through these means?

Typically not! Which is exactly what this documentary fails to acknowledge. They completely ignore the reality of just how much people actually care and jump right into the reality of corporate brainwashing in their actions. That's the truth of these things, there's two realities. The corporate reality and the individual reality. For some reason, these people can't seem to understand this so they make the most obnoxious, arrogant, foundation lacking claims they can.

This really isn't a documentary, it's a propaganda film. They showcase the morons that buy into everything they see on television or read in corporate publications while editing out the population smart enough to read a contract before signing it. This is nothing more than an insult, avoid it at all costs. The film maker set out with the intention of selling a lie while insisting documentary. It's propaganda.

While some are obsessive, most people view celebrities as a novelty when all is said and done.

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