documentary

Formula One -Derland: 1: Life on the Limit

by Jamie Sanford on March 25, 2014

Click here for all Formula One-related posts on JamieSanford.com.

Formula One has had quite a few movies emerge as of late—Senna, Rush, and now 1: Life on the Limit. I wrote about Senna in 2011, and you can see see my post here. I also saw and greatly enjoyed Rush, a dramatized version of the story of James Hunt and Niki Lauda and their famous rivalry. 1: Life on the Limit absolutely fits into the F1 fans’ movie collection, and is a must-see for anyone who enjoys the sport.

Here’s the trailer:

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Watching Formula One nowadays is to see the great care taken in terms of safety for all involved – drivers, crew members, and spectators. However, in the earlier days of the sport, even into the 90s, the safety standards were pathetic at best. 1 addresses this topic head on, and it is hard to watch while multiple people die in the name of motorsport.

There are interviews with past and present F1 drivers, as well as other associated with the sport. It is definitely worth a watch.  The movie is now available on DVD and Blu-Ray here from Amazon.

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Vanishing of the Bees (100 Films in 2011)

by Jamie Sanford on November 21, 2011

86. Vanishing of the Bees (Available for streaming on Netflix and Amazon)

Here is the trailer for Vanishing of the Bees.

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Vanishing of the Bees is a 2009 documentary about the disappearance of bee colonies in the United States, later defined as Colony Collapse Disorder.  Narrated by Ellen Page, the film focuses on both commercial beekeepers who travel the country specifically to bring bees to farms that need their help in pollination, and organic beekeepers who are trying to give bees a more natural experience.

The honeybee disappearances started happening in the United States in 2007.  In addition to the immediate impact on commercial beekeepers, the bigger issue of the environmental factors that lead to CCD comes to light in the film.  The movie suggests that the widespread use of systemic pesticides, in which the pesticides are introduced into crops from germination (as opposed to the topical spraying of pesticides as done in the past) are creating a dangerous situation in which populations of not only honeybees but frogs and butterflies are facing certain death.

Much like the pharmaceutical industry, the research being done on the long-term effects on animal and insect populations of these systemic pesticides are being completed by the manufacturers of said pesticides, which is certainly worrisome – however, the film complains about this but does not address the fact that funding for these studies, outside of the big manufacturers, is hard to come by.

The story of the discovery of CCD in the United States, and the steps taken by the commercial beekeepers to research the issue and try to impart changes to sustain their business, is covered in the film.  The organic beekeepers who are more interested in letting the bees do their own thing (while still getting to collect delicious honey) have their own ideas about how the farming system in the United States is what is causing problems with the natural existence of bees, and necessitates the commercialization of honeybees.  It’s a vicious cycle, it seems.

Vanishing of the Bees is available on DVD from Amazon for $11.99.

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Senna (100 Films in 2011)

by Jamie Sanford on October 24, 2011

80. Senna (Not available to stream via Netflix or Amazon)

Here is the trailer for Senna.

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Senna is a documentary that presents the life and death of Formula 1 driver Ayrton Senna.

(I think I’ve mentioned here that I have been exposed to Formula 1 racing for the first time this year.  My husband wanted to start watching it and I got completely sucked in.  I have quickly become versed in things like DRS and KERS, so much so that I explained them to the dentist a few weeks ago. While I’m talking about this, go check out the Wiki on my favorite driver, rookie Paul di Resta.)

Anyway, back to the movie.

Senna was born in Brazil, and started his racing career there in kart racing.  His talent was apparent, and he ended up racing in Europe and eventually transitioning into Formula 1.  My favorite part of this movie was the recap of his Formula 1 career, and his rivalry with fellow driver Alain Prost.  Much like today, the drivers tend to act very classy in public, but you can see that there is a lot of drama going on in the background.  Senna was a brilliant driver who took risks in order to win, and was even shown in the movie that saying that day that a driver doesn’t take the risks anymore, that’s the day they are no longer a driver.

Senna was LOVED in his native country of Brazil, and eventually won a race there, which had been a lifelong goal.  At the end of the film, he is back in Brazil, this time being buried after a fatal accident on the race track.

A large part of Senna’s legacy is in the safety standards and practices that are alive today in Formula 1, many enacted after Senna’s death, which happened during the same weekend as the death of another driver as well.  While accidents will always happen, a driver hasn’t died in Formula 1 since the accident that took the life of Ayrton Senna.

This film was super interesting to me, and it gave a very different view of Formula 1, since I have only started watching this year.  I can imagine though that Senna’s story is what is the most interesting, and would be so if he were in any number of sports.  I cannot recommend this enough.

This INSANELY EXPENSIVE Blu-Ray and the super-rare metal miniature of Senna’s Lotus car is on back order from Amazon for a whopping $679.99. I am having trouble finding a DVD or Blu-Ray available in any other way, but I’m sure it will be available soon.

UPDATE: Senna is available on Blu-Ray from Amazon for $16.38.

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His Name Was Jason (100 Films in 2011)

by Jamie Sanford on October 14, 2011

76. His Name Was Jason: 30 Years of Friday the 13th (available to stream on Netflix and Amazon)

Jason in Times Square!

Here is the trailer (of sorts) for His Name Was Jason: 30 Years of Friday the 13th.

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His Name Was Jason: 30 Years of Friday the 13th is a television documentary show covering the yeas-long span of the Friday the 13th film series.  Hosted by Tom Savini, it’s an enjoyable ride through movies that were classics in the 80s horror genre.

Tom Savini walks through many of Jason’s best kills while hosting the show.

Kane Hodder, who played Jason in 4 films, was one of the many cast members interviewed for this documentary recap.

This is a really enjoyable to watch.  Some of the cast members seem to have vanished from the Earth since their appearance in these movies, so it’s fun to see how everyone looks now.  Betsy Palmer, who played Mrs. Voorhees in the first movie, looks spectacular! (Granted, this was released in 2009, but still.)

I am a little grossed out by really graphic horror movies, but these movies, especially the early ones when it was more about the buildup and just WAITING for something to happen.  Plus, Kane Hodder said that his favorite Jason kill was the one where Jason slams someone in a sleeping bag up against a tree – and that is my favorite too.

I really love October, I love Halloween, so this was a good way to gear up. I will have to watch some other horror movies before the month is out.

His Name Was Jason: 30 Years of Friday the 13th, is available on DVD from Amazon for $11.49.

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Cropsey (100 Films in 2011)

by Jamie Sanford on September 24, 2011

68. Cropsey (available for streaming via Netflix and Amazon Instant Video)

Here is the trailer for Cropsey.

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SPOILER ALERT.

Cropsey is a documentary about the legend of Cropsey, a story that spread in Staten Island, New York, an alleged boogeyman who kidnaps and kills children.  Eventually, the movie focuses on a man named Andre Rand, a convicted kidnapper and suspected killer of multiple children.

Cropsey is creepier than horror movies I have seen.  There were numerous children that disappeared from Staten Island that are covered in the movie, and only 1 body was ever found. Rand was convicted of kidnapping 2 of the missing children.

A big part of the investigation in the movie is regarding Willowbrook, a long-abandoned mental hospital on Staten Island, exposed by a young Geraldo as an absolute nightmare in terms of treatment and care for children with severe mental illness and/or physical issues. Rand worked at the hospital and had expressed feeling sorry for the children there, suggesting that he wanted to remove children that weren’t perfect from the world to spare them the same kind of fate.

Oh yeah, it is messed up.  I literally had moments watching this film where my stomach tightened with anxiety, and for a documentary, I find that very impressive. If you can handle the creepiness, Cropsey is well-done and interesting.

Cropsey is available on DVD from Amazon for $14.45.

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