Inside Job (2010)

A film about the 2008 global economic crisis, documenting the events that happened and explaining in some detail how the financial system collapsed. This award winning feature focuses on the avoidance of political process by the financial industry to build their fortunes. It is not an objective look at the crisis but a piece aimed at displaying the ‘crimes’ that were committed and have gone unpunished. The film uses animation to explain the structure of the financial industry, though even with some went well over my head. The film does use a lot of techniques to make it more appealing, the most obvious is the narrator, actor Matt Damon and the use of interviews with front line economists.

Overall this was a good film though it did feel at times to be applying too much emphasis on getting its anger portrayed.

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Howl (2011)

Based on the works of  Allen Ginsberg, “Howl” is more discussion than a theatrical drama, although it is presented as such. A strong mix of poetry, flashbacks, cross-sectioning and animation to illustrate the work and the life of a literary phenomenon.

Unveiled through a mix of animated works depicting Ginsberg’s poems, the drama unfolding in the trial of the book “Howl” on if it is ‘obscene’, and the documentary/ interview style of Ginsberg telling the tale of how he came to write poetry.

It is very well made and cleverly depicts the sentiment of Allen’s poetry as well as the literary judgement of such, including its place in society. So much more than a tale of a writer, “Howl” is the tale of modern thought development and opens the world of Ginsberg back up to public attention. As the world when the original “Howl” book was written(1955), is not so different than the one we live in now, although censorship has certainly eased, the liberal ideas focused in his work are ideas that still hold today.

Exit Through The Gift Shop (2010)

I don’t think i’ve ever seen a documentary more interesting than this unlikely film by street artists Banksy. It documents the journey of Thierry Guetta, a French shop keep and amateur film-maker, as he stumbles upon the world of street art. Thierry is a fantastic, whimsical character. His hand has always a camera and he is always filming.

As he falls in love with street art on a trip to Paris and in is home, LA, he finds himself following street artists and even becoming an accomplice to their acts. He tells them that he is making a street art documentary, though he has no intentions of doing so. As he gets more involved he figures if he is going to be filming about street art he needs to be-friend the worlds most notable. By chance he does meet Banksy and form a completely surprising friendship. A film maker and the elusive street artist.

Banksy has Thierry edit his footage and make the documentary he told all he was making. His efforts are like 2 hours of epileptic brainwashing. From this Banksy decides to give it a go and sends Thierry on his way, suggesting he put on a small show to show off his own street art.

This is when the film gets really interesting, instead of the modest show Banksy had thought, Thierry creates the largest art showing in LA, ever and probably one of the largest by an individual. He gets carried away, hires sculptors, painters, and an entire team capable of producing commercial amounts of work.

The documentary really takes an interesting look at the art world; even at points mocking the sincerity of it all. A wonderful insight into a hidden world of the most visible art. Thoroughly entertaining and uplifting. Now i’m to go make some art.

Catfish (2010)

As far as documentary films go, this is one of the better i’ve seen. It had a plot, even a narrative and wasn’t so washed out with “artisticness” that so many before fall foul of.

It tells the story of  a New York photographer who comes to have a romantic relationship with someone via facebook. Of course it turns out that this person doesn’t exist, it is in fact a sad tale of a middle aged woman seeking a piece of the life she never could have. I found it quite moving, though at some points you think it’s too much to be ‘real’ and you can easily believe that it is an exaggerated version of a true tale.

I think the story would make a better book then it does a documentary but i’m not dismissing the movie. It’s the type of movie I think they should show in schools, it has the facility to promote thought, while being entertaining and current. The main point of the entire production doesn’t emerge until the end when the title “Catfish” makes any sense. I know many won’t like it, they perhaps don’t have the emotional or artistic temperament that I do, but I would suggest all to give it a watch, at under 90 minutes it’s not going to break the time bank.