Tuesday, January 10, 2012

It’s Showtime!

It’s time for the Golden Globes, which gets me thinking about movies.  Now, I’m no movie expert, but frankly, neither are a lot of the other people who are out there writing movie reviews.  I will begin by telling you about my biases when it comes to movies: 
  • my favorite movies last no more than 90 minutes;
  • I hate previews and commercials (the movie should start as my derriere hits the seat in the movie theater – don’t waste my time with the other stuff);
  • if the movie includes talking animals, I’ll probably love it. 
Here are some of the movies I’ve seen recently that have some sort of environmental tilt to them:
Vanishing of the Bees:  Excellent overview of colony collapse disorder and the importance of honey bees in today’s agricultural and natural environment.  We keep bees at our house and even the kids enjoyed this documentary – they were so moved by it, that they wrote a letter to President Obama (beekeeper in chief) about the issue.
Dirt! The Movie:  Interesting topic, although the consensus at my house was the point could have been delivered in half the time.  The movie raises many interesting issues about various agricultural methods and new initiatives underway.  Filmmakers ignore the elephant in the room – the issue of human population.  I loved hearing the interview with Nobel Prize winner Wangari Maathi (what a loss when she died this past year) – her hummingbird story will be repeated in our house frequently!  Movie ends with a positive message.
Dolphin Tale:  Sugary sweet tale about efforts to save a dolphin with a damaged tail.  Morgan Freeman is always fun to watch and the setting in which the two child characters are growing up definitely looks like fun.
Rio:  90 minutes – check!  Talking animals – check!  I loved this movie about two endangered parrots and the effort to save them.  Parade scene is very funny.
David Attenborough’s Life Series: One of the best nature documentary series I’ve seen.  Fascinating natural history information delivered in a calm, British accent (and admit it fellow Americans, they just sound smarter than we do with that accent).  The photography is unbelievable – you’ll spend as much time wondering how they got the shot as you will marveling over the beauty and complexity of nature.
We Bought a Zoo:  Not really an environmental movie, but I enjoyed this one – I’ve always wanted to buy a zoo (my husband says we already live in one….)
Happy Feet:  Loved the talking, dancing penguins!  Unfortunately, the message at the end of the movie was a little heavy-handed for a kids’ movie.  Still worth a rental.
Frontline’s Poisoned Waters:   It’s loooong (2 hours), but well worth your time.  A comprehensive overview of the issues in two major U.S. waterbodies, the Chesapeake Bay and Puget Sound.  The conclusion emphasizes the need for public involvement, education, and action.
A few classics to consider on movie night:  Never Cry Wolf, Born Free, Erin Brokovich, and Babe (OK, not environmental, but it’s meat-free AND it has talking animals!).
If you’re popping your popcorn for movie night and really need help deciding which environmental film to watch, check out Grinning Planet.  Anybody else have suggestions for environmental movie night?
Eagerly awaiting The Lorax and GreenFire – I’ll keep you posted!

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