The Mars Underground (Updated Edition/Director’s Cut)

 

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Leading aerospace engineer and Mars Society President Dr. Robert Zubrin has a dream. He wants to get humans to the planet Mars in the next ten years.

Now, with the advent of a revolutionary plan, Mars Direct, Zubrin shows how we can use present day technology and natural resources on Mars to make human settlement possible. But can he win over the skeptics at NASA and the wider world?

The Mars Underground is a landmark documentary that follows Zubrin and his team as they try to bring this incredible dream to life. Through spellbinding animation, the film takes us on a daring first journey to the Red Planet and envisions a future Mars teeming with life and terraformed into a blue world.

A must-see experience for anyone concerned for our global future and the triumph of the human spirit.

 

 

Cropsey

 

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Growing up on Staten Island, filmmakers Joshua Zeman and Barbara Brancaccio had often heard the legend of ‘Cropsey.’ For the kids in their neighborhood, Cropsey was the escaped mental patient who lived in the old abandoned Willowbrook Mental Institution, who would come out late at night and snatch children off the streets. Sometimes Cropsey had a hook for a hand, other times he wielded a bloody axe, but it didn’t matter, Cropsey was always out there, lurking in the shadows, waiting to get them.

Later as teenagers, the filmmakers assumed Cropsey was just an urban legend: a cautionary tale used to keep them out of those abandoned buildings and stop them from doing all those things that teenagers like to do. That all changed in the summer of 1987 when a 12-year-old girl with Down syndrome, named Jennifer Schweiger, disappeared from their community. That was the summer all the kids from Staten Island discovered that their urban legend was real.

Now as adults Joshua and Barbara have returned to Staten Island to create Cropsey, a feature documentary that delves into the mystery behind Jennifer and four additional missing children. The film also investigates Andre Rand, the real-life boogeyman linked to their disappearances.

Embarking on a mysterious journey into the underbelly of their forgotten borough, these filmmakers uncover a reality that is more terrifying than any urban legend.

 

 

The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz

 

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‘Friends and family recall an idealist’: Aaron Swartz, the subject of The Internet’s Own Boy. Photograph: Noah Berger Noah Berger/PR

 

by Mark Kermode

This engagingly constructed (if somewhat hagiographic) documentary offers a very moving account of the life and death of “hacktivist” Aaron Swartz, who killed himself in January 2013 while facing jail time for downloading academic journals. Director Brian Knappenberger argues that the case against Swartz was overzealously pursued in order to make an example of him and on the evidence presented here it’s hard to disagree. High-profile advocates such as Tim Berners-Lee talk passionately about Swartz’s extraordinary abilities (as a sparky teenager, he helped develop RSS), while news footage documents his key role in derailing congressional support for the notorious Stop Online Piracy Act (Sopa). Meanwhile, friends and family recall an idealist with little interest in money who saw open access to information as a human right.

 

[H/T The Guardian]

 

 

Newton: The Dark Heretic

 

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Delve into a frighteningly brilliant but deeply troubled mind…

This documentary reveals a very different Isaac Newton from that of popular myth – a much more fascinating and complex man than the powder-wigged puritan of the history books.

Newton locked himself away to pour over the apocalyptic books of the Bible, maniacally searching for the date of the end of the world – an event for which he constantly prayed. Decoding long-hidden manuscripts, this documentary reveals Newton’s prediction of the apocalypse.

At the heart of this documentary is an amazing paradox. How could a man driven by religious zealotry go on to develop our rational notions of science, and in turn destroy the notion of an omnipresent God, which he held so dear?