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glad I live in Europe
I did not enjoy Michael Moore's 9-11 movie because it was perhaps a bit too much of one- sidedness. I did enjoy Bowling for Columbine so I did not know what to expect from watching his latest movie, Sicko. It was a fascinating examination of the American health system which offers some of the best care to those who have the financial backing to pay for it and offers practically nothing for those who cannot. The film looks at the health care industry from a variety of angles which is very helpful and it seems the health care industry is primarily focused on profits and not adequate health care for Americans. It is very sad. In Europe where I live we have excellent health care and while we pay for it through our taxes there is also more of a focus on, I think, personal health and wellness than there is in the United States (if those reports about obesity rates are true). One can imagine what the US health care system might be like in another 50 years. Perhaps Michael Moore will make a follow-up documentary then to see if its worse or better.
No Country for Old Men (2007)
Moody and brilliant
I have loved many of the Coen Brothers films like Fargo, The Big Lebowski, and so on. They have made some disappointing films as well, but No Country for Old Men just might be their best film to date. The performances were all outstanding, the photography was excellent as was the script. Everyone felt completely authentic in their parts - even Brolin who I have not seen in many films. I was surprised at the lack of music in the film and the ending was expected since everyone had warned me about it. I very much felt as if the Coen Brothers had taken me to a new land and time, which is such a rare thing in cinema these days. I will look forward to the DVD with their commentary on it.
This was playing at our theater in Amsterdam and the film we wanted to see was sold-out so we went to this, not knowing anything about it other than it was a documentary about the planet. We were very happy at our misfortune as this was a very powerful film about life and the delicate balance we all share with the rest of the inhabitants of Earth. This film has some of the most breathtaking photography I have ever seen in a film and took me places from deserts to oceans to rain forests and displayed things I have never seen in a film, TV or book! "Earth" is a film that every student should see before they become jaded. I will encourage my niece to see this film since she will be inheriting the planet we leave her. This is also a film to see on a theater screen or a very big television since the photography is so powerful and exotic.
Quirky film of ice and snow
I had no expectations for this new film from Werner Herzog. I have seen many of this maverick filmmakers films before and some are good and some didn't quite live up to Herzog's previous efforts. "Encounters at the End of the World" was very interesting and funny. Now, I admit that I have never seen a film made in Antarctica, so I knew I would at least enjoy the visuals that Herzog has found on his journeys. This film, however, was full of very interesting and funny and quirky people who live in Antarctica. It is so far away and so cold, that probably, the truly insane and/or adventurous go there to get away from the rest of us in our big cities and such. The visuals of life in Antarctica and life under the ice were quite moving and powerful. I will never go to Antarctica, but thanks to Mr. Herzog, I do not have to!
Provocative and Meditative
This film won the Best Short Film Award at this year's IDFA (International Documentary Film Festival) in Amsterdam and it certainly was profound and challenging, making you think about things in our world. The film "Choices" looks at climate change in our world and using a unique and special combination of images, information and music, forces the audience to look at this issue in a new light. It was shown before some films during the festival that shared its themes. While a very simple film, it was, however, quite powerful to see as a viewer and my three friends and I were quite moved at the end of it. It is hard to have a film make you feel inspired, but this film did that for us. Hopefully it will be shown again here in the Netherlands.