Our growing list of favs, all available on Netflix and a few on Youtube. We would love to know your favs, so please post in comments.
Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower
1 hour 19 minutes | Documentary | Trailer
The superpower being China. It’s likely if you live in the Western world you haven’t exposed yourself to this story. Perhaps because your own democracy has never been threatened like this… yet? We are privileged. As more authoritarian governments and leaders are “elected”, it’s important to know this story of Hong Kong. China’s president, Xi Jinping, elected in 2013, removed term limits for the presidency making himself leader for life. Since then he has attempted to clamp down on Hong Kong’s freedoms. Hong Kong is desperately trying to hold tight to their democracy and human rights. Taiwan is watching in solidarity because China’s regime is a constant threat to Taiwan as well. WE STAND WITH HONG KONG! POWER TO THE YOUNG GENERATION! POWER TO THE LEADERFULL MOVEMENT OCCURRING TODAY. September 2019
The Great Hack
1 hour 53 minutes | Documentary | Trailer
A dark reality of our times. If you use Facebook it’s using you. Unless data protection laws are made (which seem unlikely since we have yet to make smart gun laws), this scenario will replay itself and you can kiss fair and ethical elections (a.k.a. democracy) GOODBYE! Misinformation is real. Improve your media diet. Improve your media literacy August 2019
1 hour 55 minutes | Documentary | Trailer
WATCH THIS! Fascinating and empathetic look at American and Chinese cultures coming together and not coming together. Most of the film takes place in Ohio, today. P.S. This movie is a metaphor of our life abroad! August 2019
2 hours 12 minutes | Comedy, Drama, Thriller | Trailer
Director by Bong Joon-ho who also directed Okja (which is also written up here). This film is all about class. We saw it in our Taiwan theater in Korean with English subtitles. It’s not quite as scary as the trailer suggests (and I don’t do scary). I slept fine afterward. Joon-ho is a brilliant storyteller! August 2019
2 hours 10 minutes | Biography, Comedy, Drama | Trailer
Takes place in early 60s and is based on the true story of Don Shirley’s music tour (as a jazz pianist) in the deep south and his white, Italian driver/bodyguard Frank “Tony Lip” Vallelonga. Illuminating in many ways.
Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead
1 hour 20 minutes | Documentary | Trailer
Inspiring story about the choices we make (and don’t) regarding our health, diet and lifestyle. No fancy cookbooks, fad diets or gym memberships required – just WILL POWER (and supportive humans in your life never hurt).
The Central Park Five
2 hours | Documentary | Trailer
Highly recommend. Not a light movie, but an important one if you want to form empathy for what African Americans are up against in the American legal system. Recommend watching When They See Us (below) as well. This is about the criminal case based on the assault and rape of Trisha Meili in Central Park, New York City, 1989. Five juveniles’ lives were ruined because of the racial injustice.
When They See Us
4 hours 56 min | Biography, Drama, History | Trailer
Watch this along with the The Central Park Five documentary (above). This is the dramatized version, yet accurate story of the above film, The Central Park Five.
1 hour 38min | Documentary, Biography | Trailer
A role model for all humans. Two of her traits that most impressed: (#1) she never raises her voice or yells and (#2) she seeks out commonalities amongst her peers and colleagues. RBG is a true-hearted and fair uniter, not a divider. We could all benefit as a country to see more of this mindset serving the higher courts of our country.
“I ask no favor for my sex; all I ask of our brethren is that they take their feet off our necks.” – RBG
Seattle is Dying
1 hour | Documentary | Watch now on YouTube
A stark look at the reality of many of our cities today, specifically Seattle. This one hit close to home. You could call this Portland is Dying and it wouldn’t be too far off. Until we fund, set-up, and implement smart rehabilitation systems and adjust the legal system we will continue to see people who are homeless and addicted to drugs be marginalized.
Wild Wild Country
6 hours 43 min | Documentary | Trailer
Oregon in the 80’s = holy crap. WE. HAD. NO. IDEA. Must have been preoccupied with frosted lipstick and crimping my hair because I missed ALL this. This is about the controversial cult Rajneeshees, which started in India but then set up in rural Oregon. This is a fascinating series. Highly recommend!
The China Hustle
1 hour 22 minutes | Documentary | Trailer
An unsettling and eye-opening Wall Street horror story about Chinese companies, the American stock market, and the opportunistic greed behind the biggest heist you’ve never heard of. – IMDb (Internet Movie Database)
1 hour 43 minutes | Crime/Drama/Thriller | Trailer
The protagonist is a dog groomer who is quite likable and relatable, but there’s a dark side to this sleepy Italian town in the form of a bully. Bullies ruin everything, but just wait because karma is legit. A little dark, but the protagonist mellows it out.
Woman at War
1 hour 41 minutes | Action/Drama/Thriller | Trailer
Loved this film for two reasons. 1.) The protagonist is a strong and clever woman both mentally and physically and 2.) The setting is Iceland, which is gorgeous. Overall it’s a beautifully shot film. I didn’t want the story to end!
Behind the Curve
1 hour 36 minutes | Documentary (or comedy depending on your viewpoint) | Trailer
This is about the people who believe the world is flat. For real. Now nothing will surprise us.
Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
1 hour 34 minutes | Documentary | Trailer
Fred Rogers is the original uniter. No one will ever replace this his empathetic heart and brain. No one. Inspiring movie showing what real kindness and empathy looks like, walks like and talks like.
1 hour 37 minutes | Comedy | Trailer
I need to preface this review with I LOVE MELISSA MCCARTHY and I will watch ANY movie with ANY cast member from SNL. Screw the low ratings on IBDM, this movie is hysterical and if you are a woman you will likely understand 100% of it. Pickles did not. His loss. Just thinking about this movie cracks me up still.
79 minutes | Documentary | Trailer
Filmed in New Zealand (my favorite place on earth) this is an up-close look at what it takes to be a female sheep shearer which has long been a “man’s craft”. So much (more) respect for this craft now! Released fall 2018.
The Incredible Jessica Jones
1 hour 25 minutes | Comedy | Trailer
Light and funny starring Jessica Williams, formerly a correspondent on the Daily Show. I (Passionfruit) watched this while home sick, which I found to be perfectly delightful.
2 hours | Documentary | Trailer
You will never look at competitive sports the same way after this film. Absolutley unbelievable! If Edward Snowden is our hero-whistleblower on US surveillance, then Grigory Rodchenkov is our hero-whistleblower on sport doping. Incredible.
1 hour 17 mins | Documentary | Trailer
Released July 4th, 2017. This is slice of life that we didn’t know much about – infertility. We are happily child-free, but many people are child-less and not by choice. The director, Amanda Micheli and her husband are friends of ours from San Francisco and this topic is a personal one for them. Here’s her story or listen to the podcast called Baby Steps. Her other films include La Corona (Oscar Nominated), Double Dare and One Nation Under Dog to name just a few.
2 hours | Action, Adventure, Drama | Trailer
We both cried and I may stop eating meat, again.
2 hours 20 minutes |Action, Adventure, Drama | Trailer
Entertaining. Robin Wright crushed it too. Would love to see a movie just about the Amazon’s magical world – sans men, sans war.
2 hours| Documentary | Trailer
Everyone needs to see this movie to understand the true and hidden brain power behind NASA. And why wasn’t this wasn’t taught in our high school’s curriculum? Maddening to say the least.
The White Helmets
41 minutes | Documentary | Trailer
The Syrian war is the worst war of our times. It’s difficult to comprehend that there are countries… and people who think killing civilians like this is justifiable. The countries who refuse refugees fleeing this terror is criminal. The footage in this film is unbelievable and horrifying. Watch the film and learn more about these compassionate ‘White Helmets” here.
Shot in North Korea, this is a behind-the-scenes look at a poor country that casts itself as an abundant paradise, and a filmmaking coup of sorts. Director Vitaly Mansky spent two years negotiating with the North Korean government over permission to film a documentary in one of the world’s most inaccessible countries. Under the terms of their agreement, North Korea wrote the script and selected the subjects. Mansky and his crew were allowed to film only approved scenes in specific locations, and the North Koreans would delete any footage they deemed unacceptable.
The director says he found life there to be more restricted than his childhood in a post-Stalin era. “In the Soviet Union, people still had private lives. In North Korea, people don’t belong to themselves.”
But Mansky had a plan to get around the censors and capture unscripted footage of life in the reclusive state: He left the digital cameras rolling all day as the team of North Koreans assigned to oversee the shoot manufactured each scene, coaching subjects on what to say and how to say it. At the end of each day, the North Koreans would go through the day’s shoot, but in a risky move, in a country where foreigners who act out sometimes spend years in jail, the crew kept duplicate memory cards of all footage, that they then snuck out of North Korea.
The Future of Cities
18 minutes | Documentary | Watch now on YouTube
Shenzhen: The Silicon Valley of Hardware
1 hr 7 minutes | Documentary | Watch now on YouTube
This helps explain the cultural differences between Asia and America when it comes to the maker movement, tech and innovation. There are some things America could learn because quite frankly we’re lagging compared to the rest of the world.
1 hr 26 minutes | Documentary | Trailer
This is the rad tale of the the early days of rock climbing in Yosemite. We had no idea there was a rivalry back in the late 60s, between Robbins (the intellectual purist) verses Harding (Mr. party pants). My dad spent a month at the famous camp 4 around ’68, mostly belaying these nutters. Sadly he missed the the plane carrying 6,000 pounds of weed that went down in Merced Lake. Now that’s a another rad story within the story.
4 Part TV Mini Series (found on Netflix) | Trailer
This is the film version of Michael Pollen’s book, Cooked. We felt a bit guilty indulging in ordered-in pizza during while watching this, as our favorite quote from the series went something like this… “Sure, eat as much as you want, of anything… pies… cake… pizza… etc, BUT one catch, you must make it yourself”. Consider me inspired Mr. Pollen! Inspired to make bread with WILD YEAST (not commercial, store bought packets). I have fond memories of making bread with my mom and sister when I was a kid. I recall kneading it, loving the way the house smelled while it cooked and then slathering butter over the hot from the oven slabs. Looking back, I feel grateful to have had that experience. I’m also fortunate to have a step-mother who bakes her own bread, weekly. “It’s like therapy”, she says. I’d like to add it’s like exercise too (which you’ll understand after you watch the series). She uses her own sour dough starter so her bread is the real-deal delicious and one of the most heavenly things to eat when I’m home. My sour dough, wild yeast starter is currently on day 3 of doing it’s natural wild thang!
Happy People: A Year in the Taiga
Documentary | 1 hr 30 minutes | Trailer
One of the most beautiful films I’ve seen lately. It was so peaceful and relaxing to watch. Snow, dogs, wood working, craftsmanship, trapping, fishing, canoe building, simple living, contentment and happiness sums it up. My eyes welled up at the summer garden bit. It’s been 10 months since I’ve dug around in my own garden back in Portland. Home grown tomatoes get me a bit verklempt.
The Birth of Saké
Documentary | 1 hr 30 minutes | Trailer
After traveling to Hokkaido, Japan we were curious how Saké is made. Turns out the traditional way is pretty darn labor intensive. Learn how a small, family-owned brewery, Tedorigawa Brewery, in northern Japan makes their Saké and we guarantee you’ll appreciate your next sip a little bit more.
Documentary, Crime, Drama | 1 hr 46 minutes | Trailer
Based on the true story of Margaret Keane, the artist who paints those sullen doe-eyed little girls, circa 1960. Incredible story and outcome. Margaret is 89 years old today and resides in Napa, CA.
Documentary, Biography | 1 hr 54 minutes | Trailer
This is amazing footage – real time – Edward Snowden. What happened in this film effects everyone. Everyone must watch this.
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