Examined Life Director: Astra Taylor Stripped to its bare bones, Examined Life sounds like an intriguingly studious project: Astra Taylor's documentary features nine philosophers and activists talking about issues they deem the most relevant to themselves and to the world. But just as she made Slavoj Zizek's musings accessible by filming the Slovenian philosopher while on his lecture tour, Taylor has added potency to her subjects by bringing their thoughts out of lecture halls and into the streets, allowing their discourse to flow along shopping boulevards, lush parks, rubbish dumps and even in a cramped car crawling through Manhattan during rush hour. And it's within Manhattan's grid that the documentary begins and ends, when Cornel West - most well known outside academic circles for his contributions to the Matrix films - lets loose his thoughts on the worldly aspects of truth. And then there's Peter Singer, who wrote the seminal animal rights tome Animal Liberation, reflecting on the moral underpinnings (or the lack thereof) of modern consumption as he strolls down New York's Fifth Avenue; meanwhile, Kwame Anthony Appiah talks about the alienating nature of cosmopolitanism inside an airport, the most alienating and inhuman non-space created by the need for international connection. Gender studies legend Judith Butler and wheelchair-bound artist-activist Sunaura Taylor - who's also the director's sister - are seen ambling along San Francisco streets, discussing the way social conventions disable those whose bodies do not conform to so-called healthy norms; it's an issue which Martha Nussbaum, walking past all walks of life in a lakeside park, speaks of when she outlines the need for social justice for the disenfranchised and marginalised - an idea which shares similar underpinnings to United States President Barack Obama's healthcare reforms. (The interviews were filmed before the US presidential elections in 2008.) The more interesting juxtapositions happen with Empire co-writer Michael Hardt, who theorises about revolution while undertaking what he deems an upper-class leisure activity: rowing a boat in Central Park. And of course here's Zizek again (above), demanding a re-evaluation of rubbish in his subversive take on the green movement. Examined Life doesn't offer full-fledged introductions to its subjects' ideas, but it is visually interesting and a good starting point for further discussion and debate. Extras: additional excursions; Q&A sessions; trailer.