Showing posts with label documentary. Show all posts
Showing posts with label documentary. Show all posts

Monday, September 17, 2018

Reviewing Forgotten Ellis Island

Forgotten Ellis Island.
I recently reviewed an interesting book that was set on Ellis Island in 1911. While reading that book I realized how little I knew about the early days of Ellis Island. Immediately after finishing the book, I looked for more factual information about immigration via Ellis Island in the early days.  I found Forgotten Ellis Island based on multiple recommendations. And I'm here to recommend this documentary to you.

In the novel, A Fall of Marigolds, I learned about Nurse Clara and what her job entailed on Ellis Island. That brief visit piqued my interest. I wanted to know more about the doctors, nurses, and healthcare provided in those early days. In the days before antibiotics. While some immigrants arrived with diphtheria, cholera, trachoma, and other severe physical ailments.

Forgotten Ellis Island is a PBS documentary that shows us the inside of the abandoned medical buildings of Ellis Island. Did you know there are 3 islands that are a part of Ellis Island? I had not known that prior to reading this book and watching this documentary. In the documentary, we learn about the medical center being used as the first defense, and attempt, to stopping contagious diseases from spreading through the country. We hear about the treatments used - before medical knowledge grew and provided better treatments for diseases. Specifically for trachoma. 

I enjoyed seeing the photos of the nurses, touring the inside of the buildings, and seeing the fashions during that time period. If you are interested in this time period, in "the great wave" of immigration, or in early medical care, A Fall of Marigolds and Forgotten Ellis Island is a wonderful combination that brings this time period alive. 

There are many ways to view this video; television, streaming apps, or purchasing the DVD. I want to mention that I watched it for free via Amazon Prime. Also, I watched it on my Insignia Roku television. With all of these free and nearly-free shows and movies, I'm LOVING this tv!






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Monday, May 28, 2018

Mindfulness on Memorial Day 2018

Bataan Death March reading.
Today is Memorial Day in the United States. This day is set aside to remember those in our armed services who have given the ultimate sacrifice to defend our nation. The meaning of the day can easily become lost over a three day weekend of travel and barbecues. That is the reason why I've begun to set the day aside to intentionally remember and to learn about someone who has given their life during service to their country. Here I will review some of the books and movies that have helped me to do that.

For all of the families (children, parents, wives, and husbands) who have lost a loved one in service to our nation, you are in my thoughts today and every day. 

Bataan Death March


During my history classes in high school I remember learning about the bombing of Pearl Harbor by Japan. I never heard about Japan also invading the Philippines and the war atrocities that took place there. It was only last year, while channel surfing, that I caught part of a documentary about the Bataan Death March in the Philippines. How was it that I had never heard of this! 

Also last year, I was seeing clips of a 75th anniversary Memorial Bataan Death March. This memorial march occurs annually at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. And I saw video of a Bataan Death March survivor walking the memorial march in Mexico.  

As a result of seeing bits of videos, I made it a point to teach myself more about what occurred in the Philippines to both Americans and Filipinos. And to remember the thousands who were held as POWs from 1942 to 1945 and the thousands who lost their lives during that time. 




Operation Redwings and the Lone Survivor


In 2005, a special reconnaissance mission was occurring in Afghanistan. Four Navy Seals were sent to the mountains on this mission and only one returned. Lone Survivor is ultimately the story of Marcus Luttrell and how he survived. He was saved by an Afghan village and a man in that village who hid Luttrell from the Taliban. Even though that story is about Luttrell's survival, it is also about how others gave their lives. Murphy, Dietz, and Axelson you are remembered.  As are those 16 people on the Chinook who lost their lives when it was shot down during a rescue attempt. 

I prefer the book over the movie because the movie is so condensed. You do not get the feel for the amount of time that passed as Luttrell was fighting for his life in the mountains. But both the movie and the book are a good way to remember those lost during that mission in Afghanistan. 




Practicing Mindfulness on Memorial Day 2017


Last year, I read World Changer: A Mother's Story: The Unbreakable Spirit of US Navy Seal Aaron Vaughn. You can see what I wrote about that story and about Memorial Day here

When someone makes the ultimate sacrifice, they leave families, friends, and battle buddies behind. I am always amazed when those left behind find a way to turn that loss into strength and good things. Karen Vaughn works tirelessly to honor her son's memory and is a dedicated spokeswoman for the current defenders of our nation.

photo courtesy via creative commons CC0


I hope that you are able to take a moment today, no matter your thoughts on politics and military, to think of those who have died in the service of our country.


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Monday, February 5, 2018

Grizzly Man Movie Review

The Grizzly Man: award-winning true story.
Grizzly Man is a heart-wrenching, strange, beautiful, horrifying movie by and about Timmy Treadwell. Who is Timmy Treadwell? Director Werner Herzog attempts to show us who Treadwell was. Yes, was. Past tense.

My family members and I have seen this movie more times than we can count. We make references to it in our daily life and sometimes sing the ending song. Perhaps we are a bit strange for liking a movie this much. I'm not sure. What I am sure of is that I don't believe anyone can see this movie and not have a strong reaction.


Four Reasons to Watch Grizzly Man




It is strange. Who would want to live in the wilderness with dangerous bears for 13 summers? I do mean "with" the bears. Timmy Treadwell would. I'd love to visit and/or live in Alaska, but certainly not “with” the bears. And Timmy's passionate tirades are both moving and disturbing.


It is beautiful. Treadwell filmed the scenery and the wildlife in a way that is breathtaking. His ability to get close-ups of the Alaskan wildlife and document the gorgeous, but rugged, landscape is worth the cost of the movie alone. Grizzly Man was created posthumously - using footage from Treadwell's filming. 

It is Intimate. Treadwell's frequent and long term presence with the bears (and other Alaskan wildlife), allows him to move among them with little notice for the most part. Because of this, we are able to see the animals in a mostly undisturbed state. If you ever wanted to know what bears do naturally, this is a must-see movie. We also get a very intimate look at Treadwell through his story-telling style as well by hearing what others have to say about him.

It is about the difficulties of protecting and conserving. It is a perfect example of a rock and a hard place of conservation. There are always difficulties in the balance of protecting animals and providing for humans. It is a delicate balance that I rarely seem to find being done well. Some animal species go extinct due to human encroachment. Or at the other extreme, humans are at risk while endangered species are being protected. And misguided attempts to conserve wildlife sometimes ends up being detrimental to the very wildlife that is in the process of being protected. 

In my opinion, Treadwell's story is a beautiful and disturbing example of the difficulty of balancing the needs of humans and animals.

You can find this movie on Amazon on DVD/Blu-ray or on Amazon Video.


Warning: Those persons who have nightmares easily might not want to see this movie. I don't consider it to be visually gory. It's more of a psychological twist and the things that can be imagined that brew in your mind for awhile.







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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Where To Invade Next Reviewed

A Michael Moore Documentary



americans can change things
I will be reviewing the documentary film by Michael Moore Where To Invade Next today. Perhaps I should start with saying that I did not think that I would like this movie. In fact, I was more than just a little perturbed at my husband for putting it on our Netflix queue when it arrived in our mailbox.

Suffice it to say, I am not generally a big fan of Mr. Moore. It isn't so much that I disagree with some of his ideals; it is usually the manner in which he decides to expose some wrongful deed by individuals, corporations or our own government. It just seems that most of the time he uses the shock technique to get people to pay attention to what he is exposing at the time. To be fair, I guess most people need to be shocked to listen. His antics in the past usually put me off and the people he is trying to get to admit the errors in their ways just get upset and other than making people aware not much gets accomplished to fix the wrong.

I found, to my surprise, that his latest movie Where To Invade Next was a lot less offensive to my sensitivities. Actually, he was quite respectful in his approach with this movie. I was also surprised at the actual content of the movie. With the name, I assumed that it would be a film about all of the wars that our country has been in and why we should not have been involved, the bad things we did and how we should be ashamed. That couldn't be further from the truth as far as the movie goes. The title is deceiving and the movie was well worth watching. 

Mr. Moore invades (visits) other countries across the globe looking at things that they do better than we do here in America. For instance he spends time in Italy discussing how workers are treated in that country. He talks to both employees and employers about the practice of giving people 8 weeks of paid vacation each year. The concept is simple relaxed employees are more productive than stressed out overworked employees are.

Healthy Lunches For School Age Children




Our first lady has made it one of her causes to make sure that children in school get healthier lunches. She could learn some things from the French, though. In France it is more than just a suggestion; it is the law that children be fed healthy nutritious lunches. The children are fed 4 and 5 course meals that would only be found in expensive restaurants here in America. Lunch is one hour long and is considered a class in France. Children are not only taught about healthy foods but also table manners and even how to serve the other people at the table. One would assume that meals like that would be very expensive but Mr. Moore points out that the French actually spend less on their school lunches than we do here in the United States. Insightful information!

I might move to Iceland


One of my most favorite invasions/visits was to Iceland. Back in 2008 when the entire world found itself in a financial crises thanks to the banks and Wall Street; Iceland was hit very hard. Of all of the banks that failed in Iceland, one did not; only one. That particular bank was owned by women. Those women had not fallen for the quick money to be gained by hedging on bad loans. The big take away for me from Iceland was the treatment of women in the business world. It is the law in Iceland that every company has to have no less than 40% women on their boards. Actually it is a 60/40 split that can be 40% women or 60% women. So, in fairness the women can not represent more than 60% of a board either. I also did not realize that Iceland was the first democratic country to elect a woman as President...back in the 1980s. Ms. Vigdis Finnbogadottir served as the President from 1980 through 1996. What an impressive woman! 

"Fathers know their daughters are smart, brothers know that their sisters are smart"....Vigdis Finnbogadottir


Finland Educates Children Better 


At one time the Finns and the U.S. were pretty equal in the success (or lack thereof) of educating the children in the schools. The people of Finland decided that they wanted to do better. They have gained in their standings by a great deal. Want to know how? They forbid homework! That is right, the children have no homework. They have realized that it is more important for a child to have free time to play, discover and learn from life. Children are less stressed and respond better to school because they are better rested and are allowed to be a child. Also, they spend less hours in the classroom than the children in the United States. Oh and NO standardized testing! 

There were many countries that Mr. Moore chose to visit/invade for their ideas and they were all quite interesting. Every single one of them were things that we as Americans could change and have a better life for all of our citizens. If we decided to embrace one change at a time and we insisted that change be made, we could make it happen. We can't sit back and hope for the change, we can't expect the current politicians to keep their promises; instead we must remind them that they represent you and I and that we want things changed. Changed for the better, not the worse. 

Even though the cover of the movie says that this documentary is hilarious, don't expect a comedy. I honestly did not find anything humorous. Instead, I found Mr. Moore discussing some very valid changes that could be made here in America that would benefit the whole instead of just a few. I found the information worthwhile and inspiring. I actually apologized to my dear hubby for being upset about the movie because I really did find it informative and very much worth watching.





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