First and foremost, More Than Honey is a love story to the bee. Director Markus Imhoof grew up in a family of beekeepers, so he truly understands and respects these remarkable little creatures. And even though my favourite thing about bees is running away from them, thanks to the thoughtful narration and absolutely breathtaking micro shots of the bees, I found myself with a newfound respect for them. Enough so that, the next time I am running away from a bee I’ll make sure to shout, “I respect you and think you are amazing!”
I want to say this is more of a nature documentary than a scientific or educational documentary. Yes, there is certainly a lot to be learnt about bees and bee culture—particularly the differences between European and U.S. beekeeping culture. For instance, I had no freakin’ clue that bees were traveling around the United States, pollenating all of our crops. Mind = blown. But, the doc doesn’t bombard us with science or facts. Instead, we get almost more personal stories from all of these different players in the bee world, from scientists to bee keepers and everyone in between.
The most interesting bit for me was finding out that parts of China have been pollenating their own plants because the bees had died out. That’s right: they are up in trees, with pollen, dabbing it on freakin’ blossoms. (What. The. Fuck. I’m pretty sure an entire documentary could be made about this craziness.)
The prettiness of More Than Honey luckily doesn’t completely take away from the fact that the bees are in trouble, even if it is just a subtext. And since they are in trouble, we are in trouble. Enjoy your fruits while you can, kids. And also this trailer!
Inequality For All is one of those rare documentaries that covers a serious topic—like income equality in the United States—in an incredibly fun and engaging way. And that is only because of Robert Reich, author, professor and former U.S. Secretary of Labour. (Or do I have to say it “labor” since we’re talking about ‘Muricaland?)
The documentary is presented by Reich and he takes us on an informative, but never boring, and sometimes with info-graphics (yay!), journey into the history behind the United States’ problem with income equality. And you know what the key to a healthy, profitable society is? The middle class! (Sorry Rich Kids of Instagram, but you don’t need any more bottles of Dom to shower on your dogs.)
I’m embarrassed to say I wasn’t familiar with Reich before this documentary but I’ve found him so engaging and inspiring that I want to read all of his books. And I don’t even like economics.
Inequality for All will have a fall release thanks to RADiUS-TWC and I’m hoping that it will be a louder voice for Reich’s important work—work which everyone, no matter how many bottles of Dom they can afford to shower on their dog, needs to know about.
The Human Scale is a documentary that examines the worldwide boom of urban “megacities” and wonders just how beneficial they are to a healthy human existence. As it turns out, not very.
I’ll be the first to say that NYC is one of my favourite places on earth—I love all of the skyscrapers and the hustle and bustle and, most importantly, how I can find pretty much anything and everything I need (read: fro-yo and/or breakfast), at any time of day. And, I mean, we need a place to put all of these people, right? Our only option is to build up and out. Wonder Twin powers activate; form of: MEGACITY!!!!!!
But what The Human Scale focuses on is how all of these megacities have been designed with vehicles in mind, with everything a means to get from point A to point B and not much thought about the inbetween. Cities aren’t designed to encourage human interaction, or even human relaxation for that matter. Architect Jan Gehl was most curious about the “life between buildings” rather than the buildings themselves. He studied people patterns—particularly pedestrian ones—and applied the statistics to his design work.
The film highlights Gehl’s work in Copenhagen, a city that banned vehicles from its downtown area to create “walking streets”, and the influence that had on other cities around the world. The cinematography is beautiful, featuring gorgeous shots of amazing cities like New York, Melbourne, and Chongqing and the information presented is interesting and not too heavy to digest.
Parts of this doc made me want to run for the countryside and never look back to a city again. Or, at the very least, move to a city that is designed with people in mind. NYC is starting to make strides; over the last few years, intersections of Broadway have been expanded and pedestrianized to include chairs because, fuck yeah, I do want to sit down. And when I watched this doc, I happened to be in Seattle—a city I realized is actually very “people minded”. I don’t think you can go more than a few blocks without coming across some sort of pretty little sitting area. And, damn, is that city clean.
They were all so, so good. So good. I can’t recommend one more than another; each varied from the others so much. BUT, as I love Greta Gerwig enough to suffer through Arthur, I think Frances Ha was my fave of the trio.
I think my very favourite thing about this film was the trailer. Sigh, actually. It was just so good, but that might be because I have a huge boner for that Sleigh Bells song. I think I was also expecting the entire movie to be a glorious, music extravaganza (like Marie Antoinette), but alas, it was rather lacking in that department.
But The Bling Ring did teach me one very important thing:
Celebrities do not believe in security systems. Or locking their back doors. Seriously, Paris Hilton? You just left your keys underneath the front door? But, okay, fine, maybe you’re worried that you’ll forget which of your thousand purses you stashed your keys in. But what about your security system? Girrrllll, you gots ta start enabling your ADT. *snaps fingers* Mmhmm.
Sure, I’ve left my door unlocked occasionally. But I don’t have anything worth stealing. Take my shit! Whatever! (Just leave my Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy’s poster alone, please and thank you. It compliments my kitchen area.)
I found the story itself to be very jumpy in the editing. The opening scene and credit sequence was awkward. Then then the movie couldn’t decided if it wanted to be from the point of view of flashbacks after the kids got caught or in the present. So weird and unfortunate.
Emma Watson and Taissa Farmiga stood out for their performances of disillusioned, wealthy prats. (Like, oh my gosh, your butt does look good in those jeans.) And Leslie Mann as a The Secret-addicted mother was also brilliant.
And my other favourite part was the running commentary from the elderly couple sitting in front of me:
I wasn’t overly keen on seeing this movie. Mostly because I find myself in a constant state of wanting to punch James Franco in the face. Sorry, James Franco. Not really. But, I enjoyed Super Bad, and begrudgingly thought Pineapple Express was hilarious, and I might have been the only person who thought The Watchwas funny (I’ll love you forever, Richard Ayoade), so I figured that This is The End couldn’t be all bad. Right?
Actually, it was fucking fantastic. God damn you, Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen. And you too, James Franco. And Jay Baruchel—you glorious Canadian, you. (PMK fo’ life!) And don’t think I forgot about the rest of the gang. I just find myself too lazy to keep typing their names. Ugh, too many.
But most importantly, Craig Robinson’s monkey flashlight keychain, Terrence Peterson. Because you lit everything when it was most dark.
Bless you, Terrence Peterson.
I should have figured I’d like it, because I do so love when celebrities make fun of themselves. And in This is The End, everyone is playing a slightly-to-very warped version of themselves. (Because I’m sure Michael Cera isn’t actually a coke-addicted jagweed. Sure. And Rihanna probably has better things to do than go to James Franco’s house warming party. Totally.)
And, anyway, yeah, so everyone is partying hard at James Franco’s new place, complete with gorgeous James Franco original paintings and a giant penis sculpture (don’t try to understand the art of the elite, kids) when suddenly, the world is ending! AUGH! Pretty much everyone dies and it’s just Franco, Rogen, Baruchel, Robinson, McBride, Hill, James Franco’s Urban Outfitters wardrobe, and Terrence Peterson boarded up in James Franco’s place.
With only one Milky Way Bar. I mean, among other food items, but who the fuck cares because:
One. Fucking. Milky Way.
Hilarity ensues in the form of many a dick and jizz joke and some gangnam style dancing, but shit actually does get real when the guys start to realize the moral implications of the end of the world. What? I know—there’s actually kind of a nice story here, guys. One, two, three: BROMANCE! And you even learn something about religion. Religion and neapolitan ice cream.
I think I need to see this again so I can really absorb all of the subtle jokes but mostly so I can see that ending again. Yeah, that ending, wow. I can’t give it away. But at a proud kid of the nineties, it was maybe one of the more glorious movie moments I’ve ever experienced.