Documentary 2008 NR 87 minutes. Documentarian Carole Poliquin uses wit, intelligence and common sense to unravel bureaucratic red tape and illuminate the science of the more than 100,000 chemicals created since World War II that contaminate mammals, plants, fish and even human DNA. Poliquin examines the prevalence of estrogen-mimicking compounds resulting in a lower birth rate of human males and the mutations of various species, and how science and governments are reacting. See Full Review
Documentary 2010 NR. This award-winning documentary follows ecologist and cancer survivor Sandra Steingraber during one pivotal year as she travels across North America, working to break the silence about cancer and its environmental links. No one wants to live in a polluted area that will very likely harm them and their children. Yet, through greed and corruption of local, state and federal governments and courts biased toward corporate interests aimed at deflecting accountablility covering up and misrepresenting the actual magnitude of these man-made disasters, that is exactly what a large sector of Americans are made to do.
Documentary 2010 NR 107 minutes. In this Oscar-nominated documentary, director Josh Fox journeys across America to examine the negative effects of natural-gas drilling, from poisoned water sources to kitchen sinks that burst into flames to unhealthy animals and people. See Full Review
Documentary 2009 NR 1hr 16m. The struggle between preserving public health and public treasures and satisfying the economy's never-ending hunger for new energy sources is played out in the scenic landscape of Garfield County, Colo. Narrated by Ali MacGraw, the film details the oil and natural gas industry's legacy of environmental damage and pollution in Colorado and elsewhere, as well as residents' battle to protect their health and their clean water supplies.
State of the Planet 2009
Documentary National Geographic 2009 NR 50 minutes. This National Geographic special gives planet Earth a head-to-toe checkup, examining the overall health of our environment through an in-depth analysis of global development and how it has affected our natural resources. With a nod toward the future, the documentary also spotlights a number of corporations, people and government agencies making an effort to adopt ecofriendly policies and behaviors.
Documentary 2013 NR 44m. With an oil pipeline proposal comes talk of what there is to be gained. STAND asks the question, 'What do we stand to lose? The cinematography is spectacular, and that's the one aspect of this film I'll offer unequivocal praise. Some white guy paddleboarding the tanker route is just about the least interesting hook for a documentary I can imagine. This guy makes it all about his own personal journey to paddleboard the tanker route, and uses indigenous people and communities as a backdrop for his own spiritual journey. He has a lot of great footage and good interviews with First Nations people, which he peppers in with much longer scenes of him just talking about himself and his feelings. It's a wasted opportunity, and an unfortunate misuse of some fantastic material. The interviews with Heiltsuk youth and the backgrounder on the Haida struggle on Lyell Island are the best partsI'm disappointed because I expected facts, not just attempt to emotionally sway with BC's natural beauty. We hear a lot of talk about the Northern Gateway pipeline here in British Columbia, but not too many realize what's actually at stake should something go wrong. Stand takes us on a trip into on of the last pristine wilderness areas on earth and uses surfing as a vehicle to showcase the beauty of BC's north coast. It's beautifully shot and is well worth a watch. If the area does experience devastation from an oil spill, this documentary will be the lasting record of the beauty existing there prior to it.
Documentary 2009 NR 53m. Decades after being declared a Superfund cleanup program, the community in an environmentally devastated lead-mining area of Oklahoma continues to struggle. People ate lead chips as children. Also, turns out, they were fed lead-laced water. Horrifying story of people living on lead contimatinated land in Oklahoma. The land is utterly lifeless. The air is carcinogenic. The Environmental Protection Agency embezzles clean up funds. The Council Members of the EPA get away with taking money. It's a disgrace to the nation. This doc is at the top of my "great" list due to its straightforwardness and down-home honesty. I adore the narrator and his vernacular, and I pray that the director of this pic does something else real soon. Even the soundtrack moved me. Scary that this nightmare exists, yet wonderful that it is brought to light. Watch and get mad and sad.
An Inconvenient Truth
Documentary 2006 PG 96 minutes. Director-producer Davis Guggenheim (HBO's "Deadwood") captures former Vice President Al Gore in the midst of waging a passionate campaign -- not for the White House, but for the environment -- in this Oscar-winning documentary. Laying out the facts of global warming without getting political, Gore makes a sobering impression on the audiences who hear his message, urging them to act "boldly, quickly and wisely" ... before it's too late.
The Spill (in 2010)
Documentary Frontline 2010 NR 53 minutes. This installment of the PBS documentary series investigates the disaster involving Deepwater Horizon, the BP (British Petroleum) drilling rig that exploded in April 2010, killing 11 workers and causing the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history. Focusing on BP's appalling record of safety violations, this program paints a scathing portrait of a company callously committed to profits despite repeated pledges to better protect its workers and the environment. Long before the Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf, BP was widely viewed as a company that valued deal-making and savvy marketing over safety, a "serial environmental criminal" that left behind a long trail of problems -- deadly accidents, disastrous spills, countless safety violations -- which many now believe should have triggered action by federal regulators. Could the spill have been prevented? Through interviews with current and former employees and executives, government regulators, and safety experts, Frontline correspondent Martin Smith joins with the investigative non-profit ProPublica to examine the trail that led to the disaster in the Gulf. From BP's vast oil fields in Alaska to its refineries in Texas and its trading rooms in New York and London, the film raises new questions about whether BP's corporate culture will finally be forced to change.
The Last Mountain
Documentary 2011 PG 1hr 35m. This is a gripping documentary that follows ordinary citizens in West Virginia's Coal River Valley as they wage a campaign to prevent the infamous Massey Energy Company from expanding ruinous mountaintop removal mining operations. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and the people of Coal River for show us that corporations have to be held accountable for their greed and belief that profits trump life. See Full Review
Documentary Frontline 2012 July24. Frontline probes the fault lines of a growing battle in the Bristol Bay region of Alaska, home to the world’s last great wild sockeye salmon fishery – and enormous mineral deposits. The EPA’s final assessment is the latest setback for the proposed Pebble Mine project, which would be one of the largest open-pit mines in the world. Link to View This Frontline Story for Free (Listed by Date 2012 July24): http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/view/
Koch Brothers Exposed
Documentary 2012 NR 1hr. Koch Brothers Exposed reveals that the Koch Brothers have launched a large network attacking American values -- from their environmental pollution, to their efforts to dismantle social security for working Americans. This revealing film investigates the richest 1% in America at its very worst -- the Koch brothers' racist, and anti-environmental, and anti-middle class politics. The Koch brothers’ net worth tops $50 billion, and they pledged to spend $60 million to defeat President Barack Obama in 2012. See Full Review
If a Tree Falls
A Story of the Earth Liberation Front
Documentary 2011 NR 85 minutes. Filmmakers Marshall Curry and Sam Cullman examine the case of Daniel McGowan, a member of the radical environmental group Earth Liberation Front who was arrested for committing arson against two Oregon timber companies.
The Age of Stupid
Docudrama 2008 NR 1hr 28m. In the desolate future of 2055, an archivist combs through a vast collection of videos to learn what went wrong with the planet. His research points to the first decade of the century, when humans blithely ignored the warning signs of climate change.
Documentary Frontline 2008 NR 116 minutes. "Frontline" producer Martin Smith investigates the environmental impact of big business. For years, corporations fought against compliance. That all changed when investors, advocacy groups and governments pressured companies into responsibility. But going green isn't necessarily the norm in developing countries, as Smith reveals in his journey around the world to learn how businesses everywhere are dealing with the issue.
Trading on Thin Air
Documentary 2010 NR 1hr 18m. Warning: Poor sound quality. Looking at the "green" movement from a different perspective, this provocative documentary asks whether big business is capitalizing on the public's interest in environmentalism just to turn a buck. This is a difficult subject to tackle but the explanations of the carbon credit schemes and what they have in store for us and the environment were done in a way easier to understand.
Documentary Humor 2010 NR 79 minutes. With a humorous tone, Suzan Beraza's documentary follows average guy Jeb Berrier as he embarks on a personal quest to figure out where plastic bags come from, why they're so ubiquitous and where they end up after they're thrown away. People joke that the New York state flower is a plastic bag stuck in a tree. Another humorous bit points out that Evian spelled backwards is Naive. And Bag It is defined as 1. Put in a bag or 2. Stop doing it.
Vanishing of the Bees
Documentary 2009 NR 87 minutes. This documentary details the economic, political and ecological consequences of a dwindling world honeybee population. It's a phenomenon with a name -- Colony Collapse Disorder -- The cause and effect relationship of Bayer's systemic chemicals used in France, and subsequently banned (with the bees returning within a year) as well as the studies done in the U.S. (proving the chemicals build up in the honey/pollen of the hives) and why so few studies have actually been done (the companies profiting from the chemical sales are responsible for doing the studies - a policy of the EPA.) The monoculture discussion was very clearly an explanation of why the farmers must use these chemicals - because with monoculture a single pest is able to become a massive problem when the entire farm is a food source. This is also why they recommend eating organic (no pesticides), using your local farmer's market (no monoculture) or even setting up your own garden (full control over what's put on your crops.) This was not "leftist propaganda." It was an explanation of the problem, the primary and most likely cause - based on facts, science, and experience; and a series of potential solutions. See Full Review
2009 NR 1hr 24m. What is bee
colony collapse disorder and how does it impact America's food supply? This
documentary explores how the deaths of millions of bees threaten the
livelihoods of many beekeepers and the nation's crops.
Queen of the Sun
What Are the Bees Telling Us?
Documentary 2010 NR 1hr 21m. This film documents the surprising importance of the lowly honeybee, describing how bees' pollinating activities play a crucial role in the food chain and how recent catastrophic "colony collapses" could interrupt global food production.
Documentary Frontline 2009 NR 120 minutes. Turning a critical eye toward the growing problem of water pollution, this sobering installment of "Frontline" examines the conditions that lead to water contamination and the danger it poses to human health. The program exposes the worsening conditions of Puget Sound on the West Coast and Chesapeake Bay on the East Coast, pointing to the threat of continued runoff from development, agriculture and industry. See Full Review
World Water Wars
Documentary 2009 NR 89 minutes. This award-winning documentary posits that we're moving closer to a world in which water -- a seemingly plentiful natural resource -- could actually incite war. As water becomes an increasingly precious commodity, corrupt governments, corporations and even private investors are scrambling to control it which leaves everyday citizens fighting for a substance they need to survive.
Documentary 2009 NR 1hr 15m. The high cost -- to both the environment and our health -- of bottled water is the subject of this documentary that enlists activists, environmentalists, community leaders and others to expose the dark side of the bottled water industry. Americans may rethink their obsession with bottled H20 when they learn of the unregulated industry's willingness to ignore environmental and health concerns, and the problems that arise as a result. The issues surrounding bottled water -- there are no standards, no controls, plastic bottles are a mass-produced waste product that clog our landfills, and plastic bottles give off chemicals that we ingest along with the water itself. See Full Review
Documentary 2009 NR 1hr 39m. This documentary examines the ways in which plastic saturates our modern lives, and how our dependency on this petroleum product harms ourselves and our planet. See how plastic's toxic chemicals enter the food chain and other disturbing secrets. See Full Review
Addicted to Plastic
Documentary 2008 NR 1hr 25m. Focusing on manufacturing, environmental effects and solutions, a documentarian journeys around the world to trace the life cycle of plastic.
The End of the Line
Documentary 2009 PG 1hr 22m. Filmmaker Rupert Murray traverses the world exposing the devastating effects that overfishing with modern technology is having on fish stocks and exploring the real solutions to solve the crisis. See Full Review
Burning the Future: Coal in America
Documentary 2008 NR 89 minutes. David Novack directs this compelling documentary that explores the effects the nation's coal dependency has on the residents of the Appalachian states, a region plagued by toxic water, devastating floods and disappearing mountain ranges. Novack's cameras observe as West Virginian activists mount a seemingly impossible battle against the U.S. government-backed coal industry to save their families, their communities and their way of life.
Documentary National Geographic 2008 NR 90 minutes. With the aid of eye-opening visuals, this National Geographic special illustrates the true nature of the "footprints" human beings leave behind on the planet. By tracing the arc of an average person's life -- a time period that spans about 2.5 billion seconds -- the program reveals how much energy a person consumes, how much waste he or she produces and even how many people they will have met by the time they die.
The World According to Monsanto
(Le Monde Selon Monsanto)
Documentary 2008. Directed by Marie-Monique Robin. Originally released in French, the film is based on Robin's three-year long investigation into the US agricultural giant Monsanto corporation's practices around the world. The World According to Monsanto is also a book written by Marie-Monique Robin winner of the Rachel Carson Prize (a Norwegian prize for female environmentalists). See Full Review
Documentary 2008 PG 93 minutes. Drawing on two books Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation and Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma, director Robert Kenner's provocative, Oscar-nominated documentary explores the food industry's detrimental effects on our health and environment. For the already well informed Food, Inc. breaks into no new information. Though a well done and thoroughly researched documentary, they don't take us too far into the behind-the-scenes food industry so the potential for great impact is sorely missing. It served however as a great reminder to buy local and organic whenever possible, and again puts into light the great disservice we as a nation are doing to the animal kingdom when we continue to purchase meat from meat factories instead of farms or independent butchers. Not an essential documentary for the already knowledgeable, but perhaps an eye opener for the previously unaware.
Planet in Peril
Documentary 2007 NR 180 minutes. CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and Animal Planet host and wildlife biologist Jeff Corwin take viewers around the globe for a two-part documentary on the threats to the world's environment. Filmed in 13 countries, "Planet in Peril" brings viewers the stories behind the statistics, uncovering places where environmental change is not a theory or a future forecast but a crisis happening in real time.
The 11th Hour
Documentary 2007 PG 92 minutes. Actor Leonardo DiCaprio's documentary on the global environmental crisis paints a portrait of a planet at risk while also offering some exciting and radical solutions for making life on earth sustainable. Tapping the brains of leading scientists and thinkers -- including Stephen Hawking and Mikhail Gorbachev -- the film ultimately delivers a hopeful message: Our planet may be in crisis, but that doesn't mean it's too late change. In many ways, The 11th Hour is nothing more than An Inconvenient Truth with less teeth and more star power (Roger Ebert called it a bore, urging people to rent Gore’s film instead). Still, it deserves credit for at least attempting to contribute something to the canon of 2000s-era enviro-docs, even if lacks the punch packed by certain of its contemporaries.
Documentary 2007 NR 93 minutes. Robert Redford and Terrence Malick executive produce director Laura Dunn's vivid examination of unchecked development at the expense of environmental sustainability, specifying the Barton Springs aquifer of Austin, Texas, as case in point. The documentary draws on archival footage and interviews with Redford, former Gov. Ann Richards, lobbyist Dick Brown and Austin land developer Gary Bradley to contemplate the true cost of the American Dream.
Strange Days on Planet Earth
Documentary Series 2005-2008 6 episodes. Around the globe, scientists are racing to solve a series of mysteries. Unsettling transformations are sweeping across the planet, and clue by clue, investigators around the world are assembling a new picture of Earth, discovering ways that seemingly disparate events are connected. Crumbling houses in New Orleans are linked to voracious creatures from southern China. Vanishing forests in Yellowstone are linked to the disappearance of wolves. An asthma epidemic in the Caribbean is linked to dust storms in Africa. Scientists suspect we have entered a time of global change swifter than any human being has ever witnessed. Where are we headed? What can we do to alter this course of events?
Documentary 2005 NR 124 minutes. For nearly 30 years, residents of the quaint town of Libby, Mont., worked for the multinational corporation W.R. Grace, mining and processing an insulation product known as vermiculite. Little did they know, they were risking their lives. This compelling documentary follows the plight of these courageous Americans as they band together to lift one another up from throes of illness and take on the all-powerful corporation. WR Grace, a US multinational corporation, knowingly exposes a trusting community of workers and their families to asbestos for over 40 years, then shifts billions in assets to avoid liability. WR Grace corporation disregarded safety concerns that led to death and damage of a whole town. They then declared bankruptcy and left the bill to the government. Ronald Reagan placed Mr. Grace in charge of a federal position to trim the size of the government, thereby preventing anyone in power from actually taking action or easily ruling against Grace. The story of Libby, its residents and the workers of Grace Co. is moving, infuriating and a real indictment of the deregulation spree of the Reagan years, continued by Bush One, not helped much by Clinton, and taken to an obscene extreme by Bush Two. It is one more important documentation of the failure of Free-Market Gone Wild. An especially timely documentary when Republican and Tea Party stooges whine that corporations need weaker environmental laws. It's a lesson in just how bad things get without strong government intervention. One expert says you expect environmental travesties of this magnitude in poor countries, but not in the US. The film concerns the biggest environmental-crime prosecution in U.S. history. Isn't it odd that everyone knows of BP's oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, and the Exxon Valdez oil spill, yet most of us are unaware of how The Grace Corporation left a Montana town to die. See Full Review
Documentary 2002 PG 1hr 29m. Naqoyqatsi chronicles the most significant occurrence of the last 5,000 years -- the transition from a natural environment to a technological reality.
Docudrama 2000 R 131 minutes. Julia Roberts earned an Oscar in this unconventional drama based on actual events for her portrayal of Erin Brockovich, a twice-divorced mother of three who sees an injustice, takes on the bad guy and wins -- with a little help from her push-up bra. She develops a case against PG&E for poisoning the water of the community of Hinkley, CA, with the carcinogen, hexavalent chromium. See Full Review
Fooling With Nature
Documentary Frontline 1998. Frontline examines new evidence in the controversy over the danger of manmade chemicals to human health and the environment, thirty-five years after Rachel Carson first raised concerns of an impending ecological crisis. Currently, millions in research and public relations dollars are being spent in the battle, and President Clinton is calling this one of his top environmental priorities. The film takes viewers inside the world of scientists, politicians, activists, and business officials embroiled in this high-stakes debate that threatens the multibillion dollar chemical industry.
Drama 1995 R. Julianne Moore gives an astonishing performance as Carol White, a suburban housewife whose affluent environment suddenly turns against her. All seems well until the day Carol claims everyday environmental toxins are making her increasingly ill. Director Todd Haynes' breakthrough feature is a bold, darkly comic, completely original drama depicting Carol's descent into the horrors of modern-day living. Yes, the majority of the population does not have chemical sensitivity. Safe seems to be out of print so blame the studio not Netflix for Netflix not being able to get it. Once their copies were damaged or lost they couldn't get more. You can buy your own copy for anywheres up to $100. Oh well. Another movie that just fell between the cracks.
Secrets of a Bomb Factory
Documentary Frontline 1993. Wes McKinley didn't know what he was getting into when, in 1990, he was chosen as foreman of a special grand jury investigating potential crimes at the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant in Colorado. But what McKinley and the other grand jurors learned in their two-and-one-half years of listening to testimony and examining other evidence disturbed them enough to risk prosecution themselves by going public. Frontline, in co-production with Oregon Public Broadcasting, examines what the grand jury learned and what led to their rebellion.
The Burning Season
Docudrama 1994 English Color 123 min. The story of Brazilian labor leader Chico Mendes and his fight to preserve the Amazon rain forest and the jobs and way of life of the rubber toppers offers the viewer a debate between alternative development strategies. Frankenheimer sides with the environmentalists. Dir. John Frankenheimer. With Raul Julia, Sonia Braga, James Edward Olmos.
FernGully: The Last Rainforest
Animation 1992 G 80 minutes. When a sprite named Crysta shrinks a human boy, Zak, down to her size, he vows to help the magical fairy folk stop a greedy logging company from destroying their home, the pristine rainforest known as FernGully. Zak and his new friends fight to defend FernGully from lumberjacks -- and the vengeful spirit they accidentally unleash after chopping down a magic tree. This fun, animated film features the vocal talents of Tim Curry and Robin Williams.
Global Dumping Ground
Documentary Frontline 1990. Correspondent Bill Moyers investigates America's shadowy new industry-the international export of toxic waste-revealing how shipping deadly wastes to third-world countries has become an enormous business in the US.
Decade of Destruction
Documentary Frontline 1990 Part 1: Ashes of Forest. Adrian Cowell's epic, ten-year-long series begins with a tale reminiscent of the American Wild West. A Brazilian settler brings his family to live deep in the Amazon, in Indian territory. Two of his sons are murdered and another is kidnapped by a renegade Indian tribe. For four years, a government expedition searches for the Indians and the child. Meanwhile, the colonists' expansion continues to encroach on the Indians' land. The series follows landless peasants as they are lured to the forest with promises of free land and big harvests. As the forest is slashed and burned, the crisis is taken to the US Congress, where under pressure, the World Bank finally changes its policies toward Brazilian development.
Decade of Destruction Part 2: Killing for Land. Part II follows the land wars which broke out as millions of poor farmers migrated to massive ranches in the Brazilian rain forest. As squatters, they begin to work the land until absentee landlords hire gunmen to kill these peasants. The peasants take up arms themselves, and the result is a lawless gun battle.
Decade of Destruction Part 3: Mts. of Gold. Part III follows the gold rush of 200,000 illegal prospectors who swarm over private gold reserves in the rain forest. As security forces track the prospectors, the government fights to protect the world's largest untapped gold reserves.
Decade of Destruction Part 4: Chico Mendes. The series concludes with the story of Chico Mendes, a rubber tapper whose murder in 1988 brought worldwide attention to the problem of Amazonian deforestation. Mendes had become a symbol of the struggle between the rubber tappers and landowners. After surviving attempts on his life, Mendes was finally murdered by gunmen allegedly from a neighboring cattle ranch.
Murder in the Amazon
Documentary Frontline 1989. Chico Mendes was an environmentalist and a leader of seringueiros, Brazilian rubber tappers, who struggle to defend their forests from destruction by cattle ranchers and developers. Mendes's murder in December 1988 focused international attention on the ecological pillage of millions of acres of Amazonian rain forest.
Who's Killing Calvert City?
Documentary Frontline 1989. Calvert City, Kentucky, is at war with itself over the legacy of pollution and toxic waste from the chemical plants that are the heart of its economy. Frontline examines the struggle between citizens and industry giants, like GAF and BF Goodrich, to find the truth about what's happening to Calvert City.
Yellowstone Under Fire
Documentary Frontline 1989. President Reagan's Interior secretaries, James Watt and Donald Hodel, may have altered the landscape of the Yellowstone Park area more dramatically than the fires that ravaged it in the summer of 1988. This program examines the impact of eight years of accelerated development of minerals, timber, and tourism on America's most famous wilderness.
Poison and the Pentagon
Documentary Frontline 1988. The military is America's largest producer of toxic waste. Frontline reporter Joe Rosenbloom investigates the Pentagon's poor record of cleaning up its pollution that contaminates the ground water in communities across the country.
In Our Water
Documentary Frontline 1983. Frank Kaler's story begins simply enough when he requests a water test. Why? Because his children develop skin lesions after bathing in it. Frontline chronicles Kaler's six-year battle with local and federal officials over the chemical pollution of his drinking water.
Experimental 1983 NR 87 minutes. Koyaanisqatsi, which marks Godfrey Reggio's debut as a film director and producer, is the first installment of the Qatsi trilogy. The title is a Hopi Indian word meaning "life out of balance." Created between 1975 and 1982, the film is an apocalyptic vision of the collision of two different worlds -- urban life and technology versus the environment. Philip Glass composed the film's musical score.
The Dust Bowl
Documentary Ken Burns 2012 NR. This TV miniseries chronicles the worst man-made ecological disaster in American history, when a frenzied wheat boom on the southern Plains -- followed by a decade-long drought during the 1930s -- nearly swept away the breadbasket of the nation.
Surviving The Dust Bowl
Documentary 2007 NR 56 minutes. Liev Schreiber narrates this hourlong documentary that chronicles the stories of the Southern plains farmers who persevered through the terrible eight-year drought and dust storms that plagued the region from 1931 to '39. Though some headed west as relentless heat and overplowing began turning the once-rich topsoil into dust, most remained and learned how to take innovative conservation measures that would help save the land.
The Grapes of Wrath
Drama 1940 B& W. 128 min. The Joad family flees the Dust Bowl during the Great Depression in film version of Steinbeck's commentary on social justice in America. Film reminds us that the land is a fragile resource, subject to misuse by its human inhabitants, often with tragic consequences. Dir. John Ford. With Henry Fonda, Jane Darwell, John Carradine.
Must-See Movies—For What You Need to Know
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