Life In a Day

IMAX Blue Planet DVD Crop

Earth Day was set up in conjunction with the growing environmental movement, and after 44 years that remains the main purpose of the occasion. But we can also think of this day as a time to celebrate the planet like it’s her birthday. Happy 4.54 billionth, Earth! Again! Therefore I’d like to not just devote the day to listing environmental issue films. Instead, I’ve compiled the best documentaries about Earth, as in the planet is the subject and these are portraits of her, both negative and positive. It’s a fairly brief list, because there aren’t a whole lot of nonfiction films qualified as being about or of the whole world. And I don’t want to just include them all just to fill the space, even though most of them are pretty good. I highly recommend all seven of the following nonfiction films to everyone living on Earth, which should be all of you (if not, hello extraterrestrial readers!), because it’s a good idea to know your home. READ MORE AT NONFICS


This Week in DVD

Today’s edition of This Week In DVD is brought to you from the Brazilian city of Manaus where I’m currently winding up a week of fantastic film festival fun. The only downside is that I’m on Brazilian time which means I’m not on time with this column. But it’s here now, so let’s get to it. Not a lot came out today, most likely because this week’s biggest release is a mighty one. The final installment of the Harry Potter franchise is here along with Catherine Breillat’s The Sleeping Beauty, the holiday horror film you never knew you wanted, Thankskilling, the classic Dragon’s Lair cartoon series, and more. As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Little Big Man (Blu-ray) Yes, this week’s pick is a bit of a cheat seeing as it’s a Blu-ray and not a DVD, but none of today’s DVD releases really deserved the honor. Arthur Penn’s 1970 classic however, does, and one viewing will show you why. Dustin Hoffman stars as an old man named Jack Crabb who reflects on his life with tales of action, drama, and absurd comedy. He was abducted and raised by the Cheyenne from the age of 10 before being “rescued” by US soldiers six years later and later went on to cross paths with Wild Bill Hickok and General Custer. The film is an emotional ride at times but rarely strays from the laughs for long as it uses crimes and fictions […]


The Reject Report

Some aliens are stupid. Other aliens are crazy. Some aliens are just in love, but we usually don’t see these aliens between May and August. No one wants to see alien love in their Summer blockbusters. They want explosions and people shooting those aliens with well-placed bullets. Which brings us to this weekend, where two films about aliens getting blasted by pesky humans find release. Of course, one is having a much larger opening than the other, and neither of them feature Smurfs. That’s right. I said Smurfs. We’ll talk about them here, too. Enjoy this week’s Reject Report, and if you want loving aliens, come back in November.


Want to feel insignificant? Stop reading this review and take a second to contemplate 6.8 billion. It’s an extraordinarily vast, staggering sum, almost unfathomable. And yet, throughout the world, every day, 6.8 billion people laugh and cry, love and fight, experiencing the joys and heartbreaks that are fundamental to life, as their own stories are written. Last summer, YouTube put out a global call for user-generated submissions of home movies depicting life on July 24, 2010. Life in a Day, the resulting film (assembled by director Kevin MacDonald, with an assist from producer Ridley Scott), culled into an hour-and-a-half from 90,000 entrants, is an extended montage of select clips drawn from the submissions.


Well over a billion opinion-owners have commented about the power and innovation of YouTube, but while watching videos of cats in sinks, it somehow feels like it’s not living up to its potential. Now it might be on the right track. Director Kevin MacDonald and Producer Ridley Scott will be showing their latest film Life in a Day on YouTube at the same time that it debuts at Sundance. The film especially belongs on Youtube, though. It’s a film created by exhaustively combing through over 4,500 submissions of daily life shot by people all over the world on July 24th, 2010. The crowd-sourcing technique was done a bit earlier with the Beastie Boys’ Awesome; I Fuckin’ Shot That (a title which screamed out its method), but the subject matter here lends itself completely to a deeper documentary film. From all the people that sent in tapes, 26 were chosen from a startling variety of countries, and the film will air for free on its official YouTube page; once on January 27th at 8pm EST and once again on January 28th at 7pm Local Time. Check out one the teaser clips for yourself:

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