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Freakonomics
BLU-RAY disk
02.10.2011 By: J.A. Hamilton
Freakonomics order download
Director:
Alex Gibney, Eugene Jarecki, Heidi Ewing, Morgan Spurlock, Rachel Grady

Actors:
Steven Levitt
Stephan Duber

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A journalist and economist blow the top off many a topic as they theorize experiment and explore the unseen side of a great many things going on in the world today.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Itís not very often that I find myself overly excited about a documentary. There are only three that come to mind; the first was SUPERSIZE ME for obvious reasons, being that we live in a day and age where everyone has or does eat McDonalds (consequently I donít anymore) and I dug the concept. The second was a documentary about steroids that came out back in 2008 called BIGGER, STRONGER, FASTER which interested me because I go to the gym six days a week and used to be a personal trainer and lastly thereís THE PEOPLE VS GEORGE LUCAS simply because one of my REQUIEM FOR NACHOS comic strips is featured in the film (HOLA!). Now it seems that I need to add yet another to my list because FREAKONOMICS opens up quite a provocative can of worms.

My best friend Aaron has been in the Real Estate business for years now, a field that I personally have an interest in but like most of us, donít know much about beyond the basics. The opening moments of this film explore a brief look into selling your home and actually break down a frequent scenario into (as Eddie Murphy would say) rich dummy terms. It was here, within the first five to ten minutes of the film that I knew Iíd stumbled upon something special and was in for a real treat.

What follows are a series of scenarios and experiments that revolve around human behaviour, causality and the old carrot on a stick method of thinking that have all been run through the eyes of two men, Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner. Now in all fairness, the look into sumo wrestling did kinda drag a bit. Now donít get me wrong, I found the idea of them rigging the matches interesting but in all fairness what sport doesnít rig their matches, especially when large sums of money are concerned? And bribing kids with money and limos so theyíll get better grades, shit son, Iíd have been all over that had they come to my school but they didnít so all that did was make me jealous.

FREAKONOMICS may be a documentary at heart but it explores many interesting things that we may not think about every day but are still cool to see. The bit about abortions and crime rates was easily the most intriguing aspect of the film for me, one that clearly must have rubbed a good many people the wrong way in light of these guysí findings but good for them I say for having the balls to throw that one in there. I havenít read nor had I heard about the novel this film is based upon but in light of this, I may indeed check it out when I have the time. There may not be much in the way of replay value here but Iíd definitely recommend checking this out when you get the chance.
THE EXTRAS
Commentary: Producers Chris Romano, Dan OíMeara and Chad Troutwine give us a documentary within a documentary as they go through the film and add their own opinions on each scenario.

Additional Interviews with Steven Levitt and Stephen Duber: Now seeing as how this film jumps from each individual scenario to these two sitting together and chatting about whatís going on (much like they do in this feature) this really isnít anything new or exciting.

HDNet: A Look at Freakonomics: This short four minute segment pretty much plays like a trailer of what to expect in the film and book.

Freakonomics Books: This gives us a one page ad (like reading the back of a novel) about the Freakonomics books with a website attached so you can learn more.

Previews: There are a handful of trailers here from Magnolia Pictures.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Some of this stuff will roll right off your back, because at the end of the day if youíre not Japanese you probably donít dwell on the topic of sumo wrestling all too often but there are however enough smart ideas and clever insights to keep you interested and maybe even save you a buck or two.
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