by Jeff Niesel
This weekend, Bruno and I Love You, Beth Cooper will battle it out for the top spot at the box office. If you're in the mood for a something different, check out Duncan Jones' directorial debut, Moon, or the documentary Food Inc., both of which open at the Cedar Lee this weekend. Here are our capsule reviews of the films.
Food Inc. Yet another documentary about our screwed-up food production system, Food Inc. starts with a look at how McDonald’s has had an immense impact on how food is produced and distributed. Back in the ’50s, McDonald’s took a factory mentality to the making of its food, and distributors followed suit. Because the McDonald brothers needed big suppliers who could keep up with demand, the little guy got shut out of the equation. Now, the top four beef makers control 80 percent of the market. “Even if you don’t eat at a fast-food restaurant, you’re now eating meat produced by that system,” says Fast Food Nation author Eric Schlosser, one of several pundits interviewed in the film. It’s not just beef. Chickens have also been genetically designed to have bigger breasts to keep up with the demand for white meat, and they’re now raised in windowless coups where they can barely walk, let alone fly. Robert Kenner’s film has graphic footage of the mistreatment of animals. We see cattle walking around ankle deep in feces (and you wonder why there are outbreaks of e coli) and pigs being shoveled off to slaughter. A hidden camera captures chickens getting manhandled by a group of workers. There’s also a good segment on the illegal immigrant labor force enlisted to do the dirty work. While the film is almost relentless in the way it delivers the bad news, it also offers some hope, profiling the ever-growing Stonyfield Farms brand of organic yogurt and milk products, and showing how even Walmart has decided to start stocking organic food and milk without growth hormones. But in the end, the message is clear. If you are what you eat, we’re in big trouble. *** (Jeff Niesel)
Moon Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell), a Lunar Industries worker stationed on the moon, is coming to the end of a three-year stint, and the isolation is getting to him. He’s talking to himself and hallucinating, even though he has companionship of sorts from a robot named Gerty (voiced by Kevin Spacey). Sam’s thrown for a loop when another Sam Bell, an apparent clone (also played by Rockwell), shows up. The two find that they’ve been programmed with the same memories of their wife and daughter, and after arguing about who’s original and who’s not, they ultimately figure out they’re the latest in a long line of clones. The directorial debut from College of Wooster grad Duncan Jones, David Bowie’s son (which would perhaps explain his infatuation with outer space), Moon is a trippy flick that hearkens back to sci-fi flicks like Alien and Outland. While its slow pace is sometimes aggravating, its old-school visuals are terrific, and Rockwell is great as a clone who just wants to phone home. *** (Niesel)