Category Archives: Films we like

New, old, used, rare

“You are everything — to understand is to transform what is”

Jiddu Krishnamurti “To understand is to transform what is”

Zeitgeist: Addendum “…attempts to locate the root causes of this pervasive social corruption, while offering a solution. This solution is not based on politics, morality, laws, or any other “establishment” notions of human affairs, but rather on a modern, non-superstitious based understanding of what we are and how we align with nature, to which we are a part. The work advocates a new social system which is updated to present day knowledge, highly influenced by the life long work of Jacque Fresco and The Venus Project.”

Stolen Childhoods

From the Stolen Childhoods website:

Stolen Childhoods is the first feature documentary on global child labor ever produced. The film features stories of child laborers around the world, told in their own words. Children are shown working in dumps, quarries, brick kilns. One boy has been pressed into forced labor on a fishing platform in the Sea of Sumatra, a fifteen-year-old runaway describes being forced into prostitution on the streets of Mexico City, while a nine-year-old girl picks coffee in Kenya to help her family survive.

The film places these children’s stories in the broader context of the worldwide struggle against child labor. Stolen Childhoods provides an understanding of the causes of child labor, what it costs the global community, how it contributes to global insecurity and what it will take to eliminate it.

Shot in eight countries (Brazil, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, Nepal and the United States), the film includes slave and bonded labor footage never seen before. It has framing interviews with U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (the leading legislative advocate for global action to eliminate child labor) and human rights advocates for children: Bruce Harris, Pharis Harvey, Inderjit Khurana, Wangari Maathai and Kailash Satyarthi.

The film shows best practice programs that remove children from work and put them in school, so that they have a chance to develop as children and also have a chance of making a reasonable living when they grow up. Stolen Childhoods challenges the viewer to help break the cycle of poverty for the 246 million children laboring at the bottom of the global economy.
more

screenings of Stolen Childhoods

In the news: A Diplomat’s Unlikely Rise to ‘Slumdog’ Acclaim

A Diplomat’s Unlikely Rise to ‘Slumdog’ Acclaim
By MARK McDONALD Published: April 1, 2009 NYTIMES

HONG KONG — It’s an impossible story, really, how a modest fellow from a family of lawyers becomes a back-office diplomat in the Indian Foreign Service, writes his first novel in a feverish two months, finds a clientless agent over the Internet and has a British director turn his mid-list book into a movie that wins the best-picture Academy award and seven other Oscars.

The recent career trajectory of Vikas Swarup is nearly as preposterous as the plot of his novel, “Q & A,” the tale of an uneducated waiter from a Mumbai slum who wins a billion rupees on an Indian quiz show. Mr. Swarup, 47, recently found himself onstage at the Academy Awards, celebrating in the joyous scrum of young Indian actors from “Slumdog Millionaire.”

“Quite amazing,” he said in an interview here. “This kind of thing happens to Tom Cruise, not to authors. But I console myself that this too shall pass and life will return to normal.”

Any return to normal for Mr. Swarup, if that’s even possible now, could begin in Osaka, Japan, where this summer he will take over as consul general. His wife, Aparna, a painter, and their two sons will soon start packing for the move from their current posting in South Africa.

Mr. Swarup, during a brief Hong Kong vacation, was staying at the home of the Indian consul general, a longtime friend from the foreign service. During a long, animated conversation at the official residence on The Peak, an upscale neighborhood, the writer seemed genuinely amazed by his good fortune — with the film, with a renewed interest in his novel, at his luck in even being published at all.

And it’s luck that animates his novel, which is substantially different from the film. Mr. Swarup allows himself the occasional grimace in talking about the numerous changes in the script. But, ever the diplomat, he says the screenwriter, Simon Beaufoy, and the director, Danny Boyle, stayed “faithful to the central narrative structure.”

That narrative is a series of flashbacks from the young waiter’s life — episodes that are by turns poignant, violent, whacky, woeful — that explain how he knows the answers to each of the quiz-show questions. Set against the poverty and predations in the slum of Dharavi, the novel (and the film) amount to a kind of docu-fable.

The word slumdog, an invention of the filmmakers, caused an immediate furor, as they no doubt expected, and criticism of both the novel and the film was deep and angry. It was particularly acid from within India.

“Poverty porn” has been a commonly heard label, and nationalistic critics have assailed the book for portraying some of India’s darkest sides — poverty, crime, violence, police torture, incest, child prostitution. The novelist Salman Rushdie savaged the novel as “a corny potboiler” and “the kind of fantasy writing that gives fantasy writing a bad name.”

Mr. Swarup was certainly stung by the criticisms, but said he understood the strong reactions.

“Indians are sensitive to the way their country is represented, but the film was not a documentary on slum life,” said Mr. Swarup. “Slums provide the backdrop to the story of the courage and determination of this boy who beats the odds.”

Beating the odds in “Q & A” required correct answers to a set of questions. So, in that spirit:

You arranged to get passports at the last minute for the two youngest kids in the film — who actually do live in a Mumbai slum — so they could travel to Los Angeles for the Oscars. They had no birth certificates?   more

First day at AYRI

posted be ebean

Back when it was still AYRI, Nick Rosen, the main character of the film Enlighten Up! experiences his first day of practice.

Enlighten Up!

posted by eb

I’m sure we’ve all seen the trailer, but soon we can see the real thing!

New York City, NY 4/1/09 IFC Center
Los Angeles, CA 4/17/09 Monica 4-plex
Pasadena, CA 4/17/09 Pasadena Playhouse 7
Irvine, CA 4/17/09 Edward’s Westpark 8
San Francisco, CA 5/1/09 Embarcadero Center Cinema
Berkeley, CA 5/1/09 Shattuck Cinemas
San Diego, CA 5/8/09 Ken Cinema
Santa Cruz, CA 5/8/09 The Nickelodeon
St. Louis, MI 5/8/09 Tivoli Theatre
Seattle, WA 5/15/09 Varsity Theatre
Portland, OR 5/15/09 Cinema 21
Bend, OR 5/15/09 Regal Pilot Butte 6 Theaters
Tempe, AZ 5/22/09 Harkins Valley Art Theater
Atlanta, GA 5/29/09 Midtown Art Cinema
Philadelphia, PA 5/29/09 Ritz at the Bourse
Washington, DC 6/5/09 E Street Cinema
Cleveland, OH 6/5/09 Cedar Lee Theatre
Kansas City, MO 6/5/09 Tivoli Cinema
Chicago, IL 6/12/09 Century Centre Cinema
Minneapolis, MN 6/12/09 Landmark Theatres – TBD
Austin, TX 6/19/09 Regal Arbor Cinema @ Great Hills
Ann Arbor, MI 6/26/09 Michigan Theater
Madison, WI 6/26/09 Sundance Cinemas
Sacramento, CA 6/26/09 Crest Theatre

Potheads Make the Best Athletes (Top 10 Pothead Athletes of All Time)

posted by Alcmaeonid

Popular belief would say that marijuana makes its users slothful and ineffective.  Essentially all potheads are lazy and overweight couch potatoes, right? Wrong!  In the wake of the Michael Phelps bong photograph, it is clear that stoners make some of the best athletes.  With this in mind I give you the Top 10 Pothead Athletes of All Time.

Now on the one hand I could rank the athletes based on who are the heaviest smokers, but that is subjective because we cannot really gauge who smoked more than others.  My main criterion here is on-the-field success, while taking into account the fact that the particular athlete regularly smokes marijuana.  Here is my top 10:

10. Carmelo Anthony, Basketball, Denver Nuggets

The small forward for the Denver Nuggets has a long history of marijuana usage dating back to college, where he won a national title with Syracuse.  If nothing else, his nickname, Melo,  should give away his penchant for smoking (i.e. “mellow”).  A few years back, Melo’s car was being driven by a friend in Denver, and he was pulled over.  The officer found a large bag of weed in the car, allegedly belonging to the Nuggets forward. In true pothead fashion, the driver told the officer he was holding it for a friend.

9. Ricky Williams, Football, Miami Dolphins

The veteran running back had a great stint at the University of Texas before being drafted into the NFL by the New Orleans Saints.  Over the years, Williams has been suspended a number of times for marijuana use, and has continually been brought back from suspension. However, a spiritual crisis led to Williams’ departure from the game, and into a Buddhist Temple in South Asia.  A few years and countless joints later, Williams is back in the NFL with the Miami Dolphins.  There is certainly no better place for a recovering drug addict than… Miami!

8. Michael Vick, Football, Atlanta Falcons

Vick transformed the quarterback position  with his athleticism and his style.  He dominated football at his high school in Virginia and in college at Virginia Tech, and had great success in the NFL with the Atlanta Falcons, winning multiple playoff games.  During a routine inspection at an airport, Vick was found hiding marijuana in a thermos.  This is quite surprising because we all know how good Michael Vick is at hiding illegal activities.

7. Randy Moss, Football, New England Patriots

As a wide receiver coming out of high school, Moss was one of the most highly touted prospects ever, for any sport.  His freakish athletic abilities would have sent him to Florida State if not for multiple incidents of marijuana use (he told a reporter he smoked crack too!).  Randy’s love of weed led him to Marshall University, and eventually to the NFL with the Minnesota Vikings.  Moss remains a top player in the NFL, and consistently smokes in the off-season.  Based on his often lackluster effort on the field, one wonders if he only smokes in the off-season…

*From here, the Top 6 athletes are champions at the professional level:

6. Rasheed Wallace, Basketball, Detroit Pistons

As a better shot-blocker and rebounder than most big men, and a better shooter than most small guards, Rasheed Wallace is unparalleled in his athletic ability.  Wallace had great success at the University of North Carolina, and has been an all-star in the NBA. He was drafted by the Portland Trailblazers (obvious enough?) and won an NBA title in 2004 with the Detroit Pistons.  A policeman found weed in his car while he was still with the Blazers, riding with fellow NBA player/pothead Damon Stoudemire.  ‘Sheed remains a top player in the league, although NBA scouts note that he tends to be lazy on the court for some odd reason.

5. Santonio Holmes, Football, Pittsburgh Steelers

Holmes has recently become a big star after his amazing touchdown catch and MVP award from this years Super Bowl.  As a young man in Florida, he admits to having sold marijuana on the streets, and I wonder if he followed Crack Commandment #4? (If you don’t know B.I.G., I feel for you) More recently, Holmes was arrested for marijuana possession in October of 2008.  It’s amazing how quickly we forget such transgressions in favor of Super Bowl highlights, unless you are…

4. Michael Phelps, Swimming

The best swimmer, and perhaps best Olympian of all time, Phelps has brought swimming to the forefront in America. He has become a multi-million dollar empire of t-shirts and autobiographies, and more recently, a notorious pothead.  Phelps is pictured smoking out of a bong at a Carolina college party, and the photo has become widely circulated around the globe.  As a result, Phelps has lost his squeaky-clean image and millions of $ in endorsements.  But the greatest tragedy of all is that by losing his Kellogg’s sponsorship, Phelps has squashed the pothead dream of having a lifetime supply of Frosted Flakes.

3. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Basketball/Actor/Cool Dude

Born Lew Alcindor, Kareem is an icon of civil rights, religious freedom, and athletic greatness.  He dominated the NBA with the Milwaukee Bucks, and later won multiple titles with the “Showtime” L.A. Lakers.  Kareem was famously a student of Bruce Lee (he was in Game of Death, see it!), and regularly appears on film and on television.  In his retirement years, Kareem admitted to smoking marijuana throughout his career to relieve pain and stress.  Does that mean Bruce Lee was a pothead too? Well, that’s another list.

2. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Body-Building/Actor/We got to get to the choppa! Now!

Before he saved John Connor, California, and Christmas (Jingle All the Way, don’t see it!), Arnold was dominating the Mr. Olympia competition.  He won multiple titles alongside fellow thespian Lou Ferrigno through hard work– oops! I meant to say steroids.  In the classic documentary Pumping Iron, Schwarzenegger illustrates how a champion bodybuilder prepares for competition: by smoking a doobie.  That’s right, the governor of California is on film smoking a fatty!  Oh, California…

1. Bill Walton, Basketball/NBA Analyst

Walton is number one because he embodies the main criteria of this list more than any other athlete.  Not only did he win 88 games in a row with the UCLA Bruins, an NCAA title, and multiple NBA titles with the Trailblazers (coincidence?) and Boston Celtics, but Walton is also the biggest hippie ever! I mean come on, UCLA? In the 70’s?  Please.  Not to mention his tendency to ramble incoherently when asked a simple question, or his love of tie-dye shirts.  Not enough you say?  Dude’s got a tee pee in his backyard.  ‘Nuff said.

Naked or Gay? How to Predict an Oscar Winner

posted by Alcmaeonid

With award season comes endless predictions and theories as to what is the best way to determine who will win at the Academy Awards.  Some say skilled acting is key, others say an actor must break the norm, while still others think it’s prestige. But anyone who follows the Oscars knows that the one sure-fire way to win is not acting skill or a good script, but nudity.  That’s right! NUDITY!  Surprised?  Here are some past winners:

Hale Berry: Monster’s Ball

Kim Basinger: L. A. Confidential (no nipples, but it still counts)

Gwenyth Paltrow: Shakespeare in Love

Charlize Theron: Monster (kind of gross nudity, but still nudity!)

Juliette Binoche: The English Patient

..and so on.

With this in mind, I give you my best actress winner:

Kate Winslet for The Reader

and best supporting actress:

Marisa Tomei for The Wrestler , giving her 2 Oscars for her career, placing her amongst the greatest actors to ever live, just kidding.

But that is the point, nudity trumps good acting every time.

Now the best actor category is  a little different. Nude men have notoriously been snubbed come Oscar time (see Willem Dafoe, Harvey Keitel, Kevin Bacon for god’s sakes!).  Instead, the Oscar goes to either the drunkest, highest, or gayest (is that a word?) actor.  Don’t believe me?

Tom Hanks: Philadelphia

Nicolas Cage: Leaving Las Vegas

Jamie Foxx: Ray

Michael Caine: The Cider House Rules

Alan Arkin: Little Miss Sunshine

Phillip Seymour Hoffman: Capote

….etc.

Thus my best actor winner is:

Sean Penn in Milk

This category was tough, because Mickey Rourke was just drunk and on steroids in The Wrestler, but steroids don’t get you high, they make you lie to Katie Couric. Therefore, Sean Penn is way gayer than Mickey Rourke is drunk.

for best supporting actor:

Phillip Seymour Hoffman in Doubt

He was mad gay in this movie. Wasn’t he? I have my doubts. Ha.

Best picture and best director can be easily predicted by combining the criteria for men and women, it’s foolproof.

Best director: Gus van Sant for Milk

I don’t think I need to explain

Best picture: The Reader

Why? Dude have you seen Kate Winslet naked? It’s awesome.

We ♥ Anne Nuotio: Ashtanga Yoga Practice Videos (Primary Series)

When you aren’t lucky enough to practice near a teacher, with other students, in need of some inspiration, or just like to watch, here is a list of Ashtanga yoga practice videos listed in alphabetical order.  By all means, if you know of a video that you think should be mentioned, let us know.

  • ANNE NUOTIO
    Title: Anne Nuotio Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga

    Thoughts
    This video is amazing!  Anne demonstrates the evolution of her practice with commentary.  You can watch her practice 1st, 2nd, or 3rd.  This is perhaps more for observation than for practice.  What is amazing is that you watch a body move through the different series and also that it is *gasp* a woman!  Her commentary is thoughtful and inspiring.  Check out Anne’s article over at Living Mysore
    PS- Anne is currently authorized by the KPJAYI.

    Buy
    You can purchase the video at Anne’s website.

    Preview

  • DAVID SWENSON
    Title: First Series

    Thoughts:
    This is a bit of a cult classic.  That said, there are many things in this video that differ from how ashtanga is currently being taught in Mysore by the KPJAYI.  It is definitely instructional.
    PS- David is authorized and listed on ashtanga.com, but is not listed at KPJAYI.

    Buy:
    Click here to purchase at our Amazon store

    Preview:

  • JOHN SCOTT
    Title: Ashtanga Yoga the Primary Series

    Thoughts:
    People really enjoy this dvd.  It is instructional and inspirational and his accent is adorable.
    PS-  John is certified to teach by the KPJAYI.

    Buy:
    At our Amazon store

    Preview:

  • KINO MACGREGOR
    Title: Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series with Kino MacGregor

    Thoughts:
    We haven’t seen it, but the fact that it features a woman, and a fierce one at that, is enough to convince us.  It is our understanding that the video is instructional.  Be sure not to confuse this with her “A Journey, A Workshop”.
    PS-  Kino is currently listed as a certified teacher with the KPJAYI.

    Buy:
    You can purchase both DVD’s at Kino’s website

    Preview:

  • LINO MIELE
    Title: Primary Series with Lino Miele

    Thoughts: From the trailer, it looks good…  This is probably great for guys who are intimidated by taking instructions from men who look like they have a lifetime of dance experience.  Not sure if this is more instructional or demonstration as we haven’t seen it.  But we agree that this is probably a good choice as Lino is the “correct vinyasa” man.
    PS-  Lino is certified by the KPJAYI

    Buy:
    Check Lino’s site under “resources” or purchase at ashtanga.com

    Preview:

  • MARK DARBY
    Title:
    Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series

    Thoughts:
    We’ve heard nothing but good things.  Mostly instructional.
    PS- KPJAYI certified

    Buy:
    At the Elephantbeans store

    Preview:
    None available

  • MELANIE FAWER
    Title: Mysore Style Ashtanga Yoga:  Primary Series with Melanie Fawer Certified by Sri K.  Pattabhi Jois

    Thoughts:
    …Tumbleweeds…  Maybe you can help us out with this one?
    PS- KPJAYI Certified

    Buy:
    In our store

    Preview:
    None available

  • NICKI DOANE
    Title: There are 2 videos available “Beginners class” and “Introductory poses”

    Thoughts:
    Great for yoga newbies.  Can’t remember the difference between the two.
    PS-  Nick is authorized and listed on ashtanga.com but not KPJAYI

    Buy:
    You can purchase either video here

    Preview:

  • PATTABHI JOIS
    Title: Ashtanga Yoga with K.  Pattabhi Jois – First Series from Yoga Works Productions

    Thoughts:
    Whether you plan on practicing with the video or simply watching, it doesn’t get much more authentic than this.  Guruji counts a full led primary for a class of “big name” yoga teachers  My how yoga clothes have changed!
    PS- Guruji is Guruji

    Buy:
    In our Amazon store

    Preview:

  • RICHARD FREEMAN
    Title: Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series & Introduction

    Thoughts:
    He kind of sounds like a robot but that aside, tons of useful information.  Rumor has it that when asked which western student “gets it”, Guruji repled, “Richard Freeman”.  It is hard to argue with that kind of endorsement!  Mostly instructional.
    PS-  Richard is KPJAYI certified

    Buy:
    Both videos by clicking here

    Preview:

  • SHARATH RANGASWAMY
    Title: Primary Series
    Thoughts:
    If Sharath had a fan club on facebook, we’d join. Oh wait, he does.  And for good reason!  Sharath is the grandson of Guruji and has taken over KPJAYI.  If you can’t study with the source in India, this is the next best thing.  Sharath leads himself through a led primary class.  Read more at Ashtanganews
    PS- Totally certified and come on, it is Sharath!

    Buy:
    Purchase the DVD at the Ashtanga Productions website.

    Preview:

    Do you practice with any of these videos? Which do you like the best?


Top pop-culture gurus

Posted by Wherehaveyoubean

The Elephantbeans crew is pretty sure there’s a lot more to life than being really, really, ridiculously fit and flexible. And we plan on finding out what that is.

Here are some memorable clips of our favorite popular culture heroes, who never fail to inspire us in the path of the spiritual warrior:

-Derek Zoolander

-Yoda

-Tyra Banks

-Beth Ditto & The Gossip

Slumdog Millionaire

posted by ebean

If you haven’t seen it, you should!

Very interesting interview on the Today Show:
Anil Kapoor