Results tagged “Documentary”

Gordon Lightfoot: If You Could Read My Mind DVD Review: Something Very Special

If you aren't already a fan, this documentary makes the case for what an immense talent he is.
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Named after Canadian troubadour Gordon Lightfoot's 1970 breakout hit in the United States, Martha Kehoe and Joan Tosoni's biographical documentary makes mind reading unnecessary because what his songs don't tell you about the man, he and the other interviewees fill in the rest. Right from the start, it's clear that the man from Orilla, Ottawa remains a perfectionist about his work, as revealed by other musicians later in the film. “For Lovin' Me” was released on his debut album in 1966, but it had already been recorded by folk artists Peter, Paul, and Mary and Ian & Sylvia and would

Where She Lies Movie Review: 'It Was a Different Time'

A heartbreaking story about searching for the truth that lies between reunion and grief.
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There is a point in the new documentary, Where She Lies, where one of the interviewees uses the phrase, “It was a different time.” This is a phrase that gets tacked onto horrendous stories from decades past. For many people, it serves as a way to excuse things like abuse, assault, and manipulation. But this flippant phrase does more than that, it also silences the stories and the humanity of the victims who experienced these horrendous things. While researching another project, filmmaker Zach Marion read a short article about a woman named Peggy Williams who was raised in these “different

Alex Gibney's Damning Documentary, 'Totally Under Control', Available for Free Today Through Election

It will be a generation before we know the full extent of the damage wrought by this pandemic, but Totally Under Control will stand as the definitive account of the Trump administration’s incompetence, corruption and denial in the face of this global pandemic.
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Press release: Beginning today through Election Day on Tuesday, November 3rd, NEON has made Alex Gibney’s Totally Under Control available to stream for free on its website. The company is also setting up high profile Twitter Watch Parties throughout the week along with Q&As with directors, Alex Gibney, Ophelia Harutyunyan & Suzanne Hillinger. Totally Under Control filmed quietly over the last few months and was completed just days prior to its launch on October 13th. The film, which debuted at #2 on Apple its opening week, is currently streaming on Hulu. Read Ram Venkat Srikar's review. This week the striking

AFI Fest 2020 Review: Belushi

A wonderful remembrance yet also a great frustration.
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Set to air November 22 on Showtime, R.J. Cutler's Belushi is a standard biographical documentary that tells the regrettably all-too-familiar tale of the rise of a talented individual who succumbs to personal demons. In case the title isn't enough to go on, the subject is John Belushi, who became a household name in the latter half of the '70s as an original member of Saturday Night Live's Not Ready for Prime Time Players. He went on to have a successful career in movies and music as well. In 1978 at only 30 years old, he added a #1 album with

Totally Under Control Movie Review: Timely and Timeless

A conscientiously infuriating and trepidatious documentation of a systemic failure.
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The obligation while reviewing documentaries that has always challenged and fascinated me is to create a clear distinction between the film's subject matter and filmmaking craft. Totally Under Control is no exception, and is, perhaps, a bigger challenge as compared to other documentaries ascribed to its germane nature with which it addresses the prevailing COVID-19 situation. One certainly cannot - and should not - overlook its relevance. After all, the film’s fundamental motive is evolving as you read this. Probably the most felicitous film you can get your hands on at the present, Totally Under Control is a conscientiously infuriating

Pizza, A Love Story Movie Review: A Loving Tribute to New Haven's Tomato Pie

The only drawback is that it will undoubtedly leave you hungry for some tomato pie, and wondering how soon you can book a trip to New Haven, long lines or not.
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Pizza wasn't invented in New Haven. It was perfected there. That's the tagline to MVD Entertainment Group's Pizza, A Love Story, now available September 29 on DVD. While die-hard fans of their local pizzerias may initially object to New Haven's claims to the very best of all American pizzas, by the end of the film director, writer, and cinematographer Gorman Bechard has made a pretty good case for the famous Connecticut tomato pies. Helping Bechard tell his story are lots of faithful local patrons as well as celebrity pizza fans such as Lyle Lovett, Henry Winkler, Michael Bolton, and Connecticut

Beyond the Visible - Hilma af Klint Blu-ray Review: An Artist for the Ages

Through this documentary and hopefully, more exhibitions of her work in the future, we will watch, in real time, as art history is rewritten.
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The pictures were painted directly through me, without any preliminary drawings, and with great force. I had no idea what the paintings were supposed to depict; nevertheless I worked swiftly and surely, without changing a single brush stroke. - Hilma af Klint Hilma af Klint is (finally) having a moment. The Guggenheim Museum in New York featured her abstract work, some paintings exhibited for the first time, in 2018. The brilliant, reclusive artist, who had been unknown by many throughout her life and through art history, is now being heralded as the first Western abstract artist. Art history, like

'Ronnie Wood: Somebody Up There Likes Me' Virtual Cinema Starts September 18, 2020

A film tracing his 50-year journey.
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Press release: Eagle Rock Entertainment proudly presents the first in-depth film biography of iconic musician Ronnie Wood with the release of Somebody Up There Likes Me. An official selection at both the Tribeca Film Festival 2020 and the BFI London Film Festival 2019, the film (by acclaimed director Mike Figgis) will be available in North America as a Virtual Cinema release starting September 18 at www.ronniewoodmovie.com, running through October. This will be followed by a DVD, Blu-ray and deluxe hardback book release on October 9. Pre-orders are available now. Those who purchase a ticket ($11) will also be treated to

Town Bloody Hall Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Verbal Battle of the Sexes

An often funny, manic, and sometimes raunchy document of the continuous discussion of gender politics.
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Documentaries, more than any other category of film, successfully (or sometimes unsuccessfully) captures reality at its most uncomfortable means. Whatever the topic is, such as interesting, controversial, and often timely topics on all sides of humanity, you're obviously going to be exposed to different points-of-view, especially in terms of debate. And speaking of debate, the neverending theme of gender politics (whether sexual or otherwise) is always going to come up, at some point. This is the case with Chris Hededus and D.A. Pennebaker's brisk 1979 documentary Town Bloody Hall, which captured for a moment in time, the sometimes toxic elements

Coup 53 Movie Review: Transmutes Intricacy into Intrigue

With a plethora of material at disposition, Taghi Amirani's skillfully made documentary assures the intrigue remains intact.
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The facet of documentary filmmaking that excites me most is the aftermath of the release. Documentaries affect the real world and real people; wider the subject matter, wider the impact. On this premise, I'm certain that Coup 53 will have a profound impact on an entire generation of Iran, offering a bit of closure to some, and furthers the existing material pertaining to the Iranian coup d'état, while also instigating a sense of treachery they’ve been subjected to 67 years ago. More importantly, the film factually addresses the major role of the USA and Britain in operation Ajax, whose involvement
With the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 remake dropping in a couple weeks (September 4, 2020 to be exact), what better time to review how we got to where we are? Director Ludvig Gür gives us a look at the evolution of skateboarding culture, the rise (and fall) of the game franchise, and how the two have informed one another over the last 30 years. The movie opens by looking at the rises and falls of skateboarding's popularity from the '70s through the '90s. It got its start with an emphasis on verticality, but as skate parks started

America as Seen by a Frenchman Blu-ray Review: A Fascinating Snapshot in Time

A glimpse into my country's past a viewed from a foreigner.
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I've been lucky enough to have done a bit of traveling in my life. I've lived in France, Belgium, and China. I've seen most of Western Europe, a good chunk of Eastern Europe, and bits and pieces of Asia. Wherever I go, I take a camera with me. I'm not a professional, nor an expert photographer but I enjoy the process and sometimes the result. I try to take lots of photos of different things. I hit the big landmarks of course. I have lots of photos of the Eiffel Tower, the Great Wall of China, Big Ben, etc., but

Athlete A Movie Review: Moving Documentation of an Immense Tragedy and a Gargantuan Triumph

The new Netflix original is another crucial addition to the studio's growing library of powerful documentary titles.
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The greatest achievement of any great documentary is that it can actually change lives. Indirectly, they can inspire and instigate a conversation about a particular subject matter, thereby holding the potential to alter viewer perceptions. In a direct sense, the best of the documentaries empower the humans whose story they are capturing on camera and give a voice to them. The Paradise Lost documentary trilogy by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky and the Peter Jackson-produced West of Memphis cumulatively played a vital role in cleansing the public image of three wrongfully convicted teenagers in 1993’s triple homicide case. The aforementioned

Suzi Q Movie Review: Looks at the Groundbreaking Career of Rocker Suzi Quatro

Quatro's success inspired the Runaways, Chrissie Hynde, and many female musicians to pursue careers in hard rock.
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Australian director Liam Firmager spent four years working on Suzi Q, the definitive documentary of Detroit-born rock star Suzi Quatro, who rocketed to fame in the UK and Europe in the 1970s. His modus operandi draws heavily on Quatro’s sometimes difficult relationship with her sisters, as well as her music and indefatigable spirit. Even after over 50 years as a rock star and musical icon, it took almost a lifetime for Quarto to acquire perspective and peace about her relationship with her parents and siblings. Through original and vintage interviews, film clips, and a slew of newspaper and magazine clippings,

Disclosure Movie Review: Emotionally Informative

A requisite doc about on-screen trans representation told in a stirring, matter-of-fact manner.
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Disclosure is a look at the way the trans community is represented in the media told through the voices of artists such as Laverne Cox, M.J. Rodriguez, Chaz Bono, Alexandra Billings, and Jamie Clayton. As the doc has them express the trials they’ve faced in their careers in the entertainment industry, it also forces cis artists to take a hard look in the mirror and rethink the way they portray the trans experience. It explores the history of trans representation from the days of silent cinema to the present where a series like Pose has become a TV sensation. Even

Mirador Movie Review: Captures The Ethos of Comraderie

Antón Terni's provocative documentary underscores the beauty of companionship.
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In Spanish, Mirador means "lookout." The word has multiple connotations. Alertness, observation, prediction, or a person assigned to keep an eye on his surroundings. The last of the aforementioned undertones befit the documentary’s subject matter, that encircles three friends and the solidarity among them. The irony, though, is all of them are visually-impaired, meaning they can’t keep an eye on each other literally, but their support is persistently up for grabs, figuratively. The locale is a secluded and sylvan rural part of Uruguay, where the film’s prime subject, Pablo Zelis, leads a simple and tranquil life. He records and listens

The Booksellers DVD Review: Like a Good Book, You Won't Want It to End

The overall experience of The Booksellers is a positive one - books are special and so are the people who collect and read them.
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Calling all bibliophiles - The Booksellers is a documentary that you won't want to miss. And like a good book, you won't want it to end. Director D. W. Young (A Hole in a Fence) takes viewers on a colorful behind-the-scenes tour of New York's collectors and dealers of rare books. A dedicated and passionate community, rare booksellers come from varied ethnic and financial backgrounds, but they all seem to share an enthusiasm for books and book lovers. The film highlights dedicated collectors and collections of a wide range of subject matter, from singular items like a Gutenberg bible or

When We Were Kings Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Marvelous Time Capsule of Muhammad Ali in 1974

Criterion's inclusion of Soul Power makes this a must-own.
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Leon Gast's When We Were Kings documents the "Rumble in the Jungle," the legendary boxing match between undefeated heavyweight champion George Foreman against former heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali. The bout took place in Zaire, Africa (now Democratic Republic of the Congo) on October 30, 1974, and became the world's most-watched live television broadcast at the time with an estimated one billion viewers worldwide. Gast spent two decades editing the film. Promoter Don King was involved in setting up the championship match as well as Zaire 74, a three-day music festival that featured James Brown, B.B. King, Bill Withers, and a

The Painter and The Thief Movie Review: Therapeutic Portrayal of Uncommon Intimacy

Benjamin Ree's documentary is a memorable, atypical tale of friendship, redemption, and solicitude.
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Benjamin Ree’s The Painter and The Thief is a musing, contemplative portraiture of juxtaposing individuals, that captures the gentle deliquesce of dissimilitude between them. The Norwegian documentary finds its fons et origo in the pilfering of Barbora Kysilkova’s - the eponymous painter - paintings, and swiftly molds into a vignette of her relationship with Karl-Bertil Nordland, the thief. The film is neither about unearthing the whereabouts of the stolen painting, nor about finding the burglars involved in the subject. It pivots around the idea of empathizing with the adversary, trying to learn and apprehend the latter and his/her inducement, thereby

In Search of Dracula Blu-ray Review: A Bloody Good Documentary

Before he was Saruman, Christopher Lee starred ten times as Dracula. He narrates this informative feature-length exploration of the infamous count and the history of the vampire.
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In Search of Dracula, originally released in 1975, and directed by Calvin Floyd (Terror of Frankenstein, The Sleep of Death), has been remastered in 2K by Kino Lorber. A feature-length exploration of the infamous count and the history of the vampire, the documentary features archival footage, artwork, location photography (principally of Transylvania), as well as film clips from popular vampire films. Narrated by actor Christopher Lee, the film is both informative and entertaining. Before he was Saruman, Christopher Lee starred ten times as Dracula, starting in 1958 with Horror of Dracula (widely considered one of the best Dracula films), and
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