Nick’s Picks 05/16/12
FEATURED FILM REVIEW
Over 13 million American kids will be bullied this year, making it the most common form of violence experienced by young people in the nation. The new documentary film Bully, directed by Sundance and Emmy-award winning filmmaker Lee Hirsch, brings human scale to this startling statistic, offering an intimate, unflinching look at how bullying has touched five kids and their families. Bully is a beautifully cinematic, character-driven documentary. At its heart are those with huge stakes in this issue whose stories each represent a different facet of America’s bullying crisis. Filmed over the course of the 2009/2010 school year, Bully opens a window onto the pained and often endangered lives of bullied kids, revealing a problem that transcends geographic, racial, ethnic and economic borders. It documents the responses of teachers and administrators to aggressive behaviors that defy “kids will be kids” clichés, and it captures a growing movement among parents and youths to change how bullying is handled in schools, in communities and in society as a whole.
Alex, 12 — For 12-year-old Alex of Sioux City, Iowa, the slurs, curses and threats begin before he even boards the school bus. A sweet-natured kid just starting middle school and wanting more than anything to fit in, Alex assures his worried parents that the kids who taunt and hit him are only “messing with him.” But bullying has trailed Alex thorough life like a shadow, and as his seventh grade year unfolds, the bullying only escalates.
Kelby, 16 — Since 16-year-old Kelby came out as a lesbian, she and her family have been treated as pariahs in their small town of Tuttle, Oklahoma. The onetime all-star athlete, Kelby has faced an outpouring of hatred from classmates as well as teachers, and has been forced to leave her sports teams by attacks. Refusing her parents’ offers to leave Tuttle, the gutsy teenager is bolstered by her adoring girlfriend and a few staunch friends, resolving to stay in her town and change a few minds.
Ja’Meya, 14 — In Yazoo County, Mississippi, 14-year-old Ja’Meya was picked on every morning and afternoon of the hour-long bus ride between home and school. On the morning of September 1st, the quiet, unassuming girl had had enough and brandished a loaded handgun she’d taken from her mother’s closet to scare off her tormentors. Incarcerated in a juvenile detention facility and charged with multiple felony counts, Ja’Meya fearfully awaits the outcome of her case, supported by her loving mother.
David and Tina Long — In October 2009, 17-year-old Tyler Long of Murray County, Georgia, hanged himself after years of abuse at the hands of his classmates and indifference from school officials. As his parents, David and Tina Long, mourn the loss of the son they tried to protect, and demand accountability from the school that failed him so miserably, his death has sparked a war in a community forced to face its bullying demons.
Kirk and Laura Smalley — Following the bullying-related suicide of their 11 year-old son, Kirk and Laura Smalley are determined to prevent other children from suffering Ty’s fate. As schools around the country prepare for the start of a new academic year, Kirk launches an anti-bullying organization, Stand for the Silent, coordinating a series of vigils that underscore the high stakes of America’s bullying crisis.
Starring: Ja’Meya Jackson, Londa Johnson & Alex Libby
Director: Lee Hirsch
Company: The Weinstein Co.
Now Showing: In Local Area Theatres
MPAA Rating: PG-13
FREE DVD GIVEAWAY
We are doing a Free DVD Giveaway! If you are interested in a chance at winning a free copy of W.E., Lidia Celebrates America, Art:21, Grand Coulee Dam, Great White Shark, Big Cats, Secrets of the Sun, Jesse Owens, Something Ventured, Tim & Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie, Playback or Vegas: Season Three Volume One, it is really easy! All you have to do is send me an email at HoustonMovieGuy@gmail.com. The subject line of the email should read DVD GIVEAWAY. In the body of the email, be sure to put your name, full mailing address and which DVD or Blu-ray you would like. Winners will be selected by random drawing. Best of luck!
THE UNIVERSE: Season Six – A&E
The Universe is entertaining and thought provoking in each incredible episode that takes a unique look at the mind blowing secrets of the universe. Taking the viewers where few have ever gone before, some of the episodes focus on planet catastrophes, worst days on the planet and even God and the universe. There are also fascinating looks into collisions, eruptions, extinctions and other orbital events that are sure to spark water cooler discussions throughout the workplace or
even your own home. The Universe is a must own!
VEGAS: Season Three, Vol. One – CBS Paramount
In this popular series, handsome, fun loving, private eye, Dan Tanna, drives around Las Vegas in his vintage Thunderbird solving private cases but is also on retainer to a wealthy casino owner to keep crime out of his hotels. He is helped by his smart and sexy assistant and his enthusiastic, yet inept, legman.
PLAYBACK – Magnolia
While digging into their town’s infamous past, a group of high school students unwittingly unlock an even darker secret. Now, an evil spirit has been awakened and will stop at nothing to find his true heir.
TIM & ERIC’S BILLION DOLLAR MOVIE – Magnolia
Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim specialize in a style of comedy in which the awkward pauses between laughs are at least as important as the actual jokes. When taken in the 15-minute chunks of their various television projects for Adult Swim, the results can be both strangely hilarious and cerebrally upsetting–the sort of thing David Lynch might produce if given the keys to a public access studio. Watching their first feature, however, can leave the viewer feeling like they’ve been locked inside with Lynch for a four-day weekend. All of the duo’s trademarks are present and are down right hilarious!
SOMETHING VENTURED – Zeitgeist Films
Directed by Emmy-Award-winning filmmakers Dan Geller and Dayna Goldfine (Ballets Russes), Something Ventured maps the creation of an industry that went on to become the single greatest engine of innovation and economic growth in the 20th century. The story is told through the visionary risk-takers who dared to make it happen: Tom Perkins, Don Valentine, Arthur Rock, Dick Kramlich and others. The film also features some of the country’s finest entrepreneurs and their stories with the venture capitalists to grow world-class companies like Intel, Apple, Cisco, Atari, Genentech, Tandem and others. Beginning in the late 1950s, this small group of high rollers fostered a one-of-a-kind business culture that encouraged extraordinary risk and made possible unprecedented rewards. They laid the groundwork for America’s start-up economy-providing not just the capital but also the guidance to allow seedling companies to reach their full potential. Our lives would be dramatically different without the contributions that these venture capitalists made to the creation of PCs, the Internet and life-saving drugs.
JESSE OWENS – PBS
On April 2, 1936, when the 22-year-old son of a sharecropper entered the Olympic Stadium in Berlin, he was barely able to control his anger in the face of Nazi racism. But instead of letting himself be distracted, the young athlete channeled his emotions into one of the most remarkable achievements in athletic history: four gold medals in two days. Beginning in the poor Cleveland neighborhood where Owens grew up, American Experience details his early career; describes Adolf Hitler’s outsized ambitions for the 1936 Olympics; explores the movement in Western democracies to boycott the event; and explains the pressures on Owens to attend. The film also reveals why, despite his success in Germany, Owens struggled to find a place for himself in a United States that was still wrestling with its own deeply entrenched racism.
SECRETS OF THE SUN – PBS
Now, with the help of new spacecraft and Earth-based telescopes, scientists are seeing the Sun as they never have before and even re-creating what happens at the very center of the Sun. Their work will help us understand aspects of the sun that have puzzled scientists for decades. Secrets of the Sun reveals a bright new dawn in our understanding of our nearest star, one that might help keep our planet from going dark.
BIG CATS – PBS
Most wildlife documentaries focus on animal behavior, but Inside Nature’s Giants goes inside the largest animals on the planet to explore their anatomy, reveal their intricate inner workings and uncover their evolutionary secrets. In this episode, veterinary scientist Mark Evans and comparative anatomist Joy Reidenberg dissect a lion and tiger at the Royal Veterinary College in the UK. On the outside, the lion and the tiger look very different; but once their skins are removed, even the experts find it hard to distinguish the two. One of the first questions they tackle is the anatomy of the roar–a characteristics that separates big cats from small. Then they move on to the big cats’ powerful forearms, protractile claws, and powerful killing bite in an attempt to dissect the anatomy of the kill. Finally, the team travels to South Africa’s Welgevonden Game Reserve to observe the lion in the wild to try and discover whether something about the cats’ social lives can account for their wildly different appearances.
GREAT WHITE SHARK – PBS
Most wildlife documentaries focus on animal behavior, but Inside Nature’s Giants goes inside the largest animals on the planet to explore their anatomy, reveal their intricate inner workings and uncover their evolutionary secrets. In this episode, veterinary scientist Mark Evans and comparative anatomist Joy Reidenberg travel to South Africa’s KwaZulu Natal Coast, where miles of beach protection nets have been put in place to safeguard humans from a deadly threat: the great white shark. Usually the sharks they catch are quite small, but they’ve just pulled up the body of a giant, weighing in at over 2,000 pounds and measuring almost 15 feet–this is the largest great white caught in the nets since 2002. It presents an international team of experts with a rare opportunity to explore this hunter’s anatomy to find out how it has evolved into the oceans most feared predator.
GRAND COULEE DAM – PBS
When Grand Coulee Dam was being built during the depths of the Great Depression, everything about it was the biggest in the world. The mile-long behemoth was the largest hydroelectric power-producing facility in the world and was completed just in time to power the nation’s defense plants and the atomic reactors for the Manhattan Project. But despite its tremendous achievements – including the plentiful production of clean energy – the negative consequences of its construction are equally noteworthy. In a single stroke, Grand Coulee prevented access to one of the greatest salmon rivers in the world, threatening huge populations of fish with extinction, depriving the local Native people of their most important economic and spiritual resource. This American Experience film explores how the crucial tension between technological achievement and environmental impact hangs over the project’s legacy.
ART:21 Season Six – PBS
Season 6 of the Peabody Award-winning series “Art in the Twenty-First Century” includes featured artists Marina Abramovic, Ai Weiwei, David Altmejd, El Anatsui, assume vivid astro focus, Lynda Benglis, Rackstraw Downes, Glenn Ligon, Robert Mangold, Catherine Opie, Mary Reid Kelley, Sarah Sze, and Tabaimo.
LIDIA CELEBRATES AMERICA – PBS
When immigrants came to America, they brought with them not only their grandmothers’ recipes, but also centuries-old traditions. Join beloved chef and cookbook author Lidia Bastianich on an eye-opening culinary journey as she visits with families sharing their traditions, getting a rare and deeply personal glimpse into the wonderful diversity of American culture and food. From jumping the broom to tying the knot, wedding celebrations in America are as diverse as the nation itself, and Lidia cordially invites viewers to be her “plus one” on this cross-country matrimonial odyssey.
W.E. – Anchor Bay
Madonna’s Academy Award nominated film (2011 Best Achievement in Costume Design, Arianne Phillips) delivers an elegantly stylish and beautifully dramatic look into the lives of two fragile yet passionate women intertwined across the decades. In 1998, New Yorker Wally Winthrop (Abbie Cornish) becomes enamored with what is believed to be the greatest romance of the 20th century – King Edward VIII’s (James D’Arcy) surrender of the crown for the woman he loved, the chic and charismatic American, Wallis Simpson (Andrea Riseborough). Through a series of secret letters, Wally discovers the lifetime of romance Edward and Wallis shared together.
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