Results tagged “Documentary”

LAFF 2018 Review: The Great Buster: A Celebration

The film is an absolute delight in large part to the many entertaining clips taken from Keaton's filmography.
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Director Peter Bogdanovich pays tribute to the life and work of Buster Keaton in this biographical documentary about one of cinema's greatest filmmakers. Opening with his appearance on The Dick Cavett Show, Bogdanovich starts the “celebration” singing the praises of Keaton. He then presents the story of Keaton in a near-linear manner. Joseph Frank Keaton was born into a vaudeville family in 1895 and at three years old joined his parents' act, thanks to his ability to take a fall without getting hurt. Legend has it, Harry Houdini was responsible for giving young Keaton the name “Buster” after seeing him

LAFF 2018 Review: Making Montgomery Clift

An engaging, informative documentary about the man, his craft, and show business.
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Co-created by Hillary Demmon and Robert Clift, the actor's youngest nephew and son of his brother Brooks, Making Montgomery Clift is an engaging, informative documentary about the man, his craft, and show business. As a fan of classic film but not the gossip associated with it, I knew about Monty's work so was aware that he, along with Marlon Brando and James Dean, were at the forefront of an acting style that embraced sensitivity as a component of masculinity. However, I was unaware that rather than his movie performances, the documentary suggests Marty was better known for allegedly destroying himself

The Public Image Is Rotten Movie Review: Traces the 40-year History of John Lydon and Public Image, Ltd.

What makes the film engaging is the no-BS honesty of all its interviewees.
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Near the beginning of The Public Image is Rotten, a young John Lydon is asked how long he’ll live. “I’m one of the very few people in pop history who will not go away.” Forty years later, he’s still capturing the attention of fans and the media, whether he’s onstage making music or simply walking through an airport. His band, Public Image Ltd., has been together in one form or another for forty years, too. The Public Image is Rotten, a documentary about the band, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival last year and is playing in limited engagement at

Matangi/Maya/M.I.A. Movie Review: Raw/Chaotic/Fascinating

Less a documentary than a lightly curated trip through M.I.A.'s personal video archives, the film explores her wildly unconventional life.
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M.I.A. rose to fame as a recording artist, but her back story is so intriguing that she’d make a superb documentary subject even without her name recognition. Born as Matangi, the daughter of the founder of Sri Lanka’s armed Tamil resistance, then transplanted to England as a refugee immigrant where she adopted the moniker Maya, she found a creative outlet in documenting her daily life via video footage that makes up the bulk of this film. It’s rare for viewers have access to such a vast amount of pre-fame videos of a star, and even more exceptional when those archives

Tea with the Dames Movie Review: An Absolute Delight

A must-see for anyone who is a fan of these four legendary thespians.
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The documentary Tea with the Dames is exactly as it is advertised: A quartet of legendary British dames having a long conversation about their lengthy careers while sipping tea. As a result, we might not see it compete in the Oscar race for Best Documentary since films in that category tend to deal with heftier subject matter. But Tea with the Dames is still a worthwhile experience regardless. It’s an insightful look into the lives of legendary performers that also works as a piece of pure escapism. Seeing Dame Maggie Smith discuss becoming a mainstay in pop culture thanks to

Boom For Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat Movie Review: A Look at the Creative Development of an Art Icon

Sara Driver's documentary uses archival footage and interviews with friends to retrace the artist's creative origins on the Lower East Side.
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An untitled painting of a skull by Jean-Michel Basquiat sold for $110 million in 2017, making it one of the priciest artworks ever auctioned. That astronomical sum is light years away from anything in the New York City portrayed in Boom For Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Director Sara Driver’s documentary traces Basquiat’s creative origins through interviews and archival footage. To set the stage, Driver begins the film with audio of President Gerald Ford essentially telling the broke New York City to “drop dead” over clips of the grimy, abandoned Lower East Side. A Polish bar blared

Documentary Now! Seasons 1 & 2 Blu-ray Review: An Entertaining Anthology

"A [humorous] look back at the films that helped shape and innovate the world of documentary."
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One of the advantages to the expansion of television platforms, from cable to streaming, is that it has allowed network executives to take greater risks on material that doesn't appear to and may not have broad appeal. This provides artists a wider spectrum of possibilities from which to tell stories and entertain, such as the documentary-spoofing Documentary Now! created by Fred Armisen, Bill Hader, Seth Meyers, and director Rhys Thomas, who all previously worked together at Saturday Night Live. Airing on IFC, which seems a natural fit or it would if they were still showing independent films, the premise of

Path of Blood Movie Review: Harrowing and Uncomfortable

A harrowing look into the heart of war that is bound to make some viewers uncomfortable.
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When Path of Blood first opens, there is a video of a group of young jihadists laughing before they are about to carry on a planned mission. Then, there is a freeze-frame shot of one of the jihadists before the film’s title card is revealed. That one shot illustrates the documentary’s main theme. The main objective of Path of Blood is to show that war is a winless battle and it shows how easily youths can get swept into the battle. The film is mainly made up of archival footage shot by Al-Qaeda terrorists and shows their plot to overthrow

RBG Movie Review: Evidence Why Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is Definitely the 'Notorious RBG'

Besides being a great documentary, I can see this film being taught in classrooms across disciplines in the future.
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As a woman living in 2018, it can be easy to take the rights and opportunities that women currently have for granted. These rights and opportunities were never guaranteed to women and plenty of men fought to keep women "in their place." It was not just the natural progression of things that got women things like the right to vote, the ability to work outside the home, the right to get credit without a husband, or the right to join the military. It was the perseverance of activists and advocates that fought against the institution of patriarchy that helped get

The Workers Cup Movie Review: Simplistic Almost to a Fault

Neither sentimental nor filled with heavy dramatic stakes, The Workers Cup is a simple demonstration of why people play sports.
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In 2022, Qatar will host the FIFA World Cup and its stadium is being built by 1.6 million migrant workers. Sixty percent of the workers are some of the world’s poorest people like India, Nepal, and Bangladesh. They work tirelessly to ensure that the one of the world’s biggest events can be held in the world’s richest country. The Workers Cup focuses on a select amount of workers who are chosen to compete in The Workers Cup, a football tournament for laborers. The tournament is sponsored by the 2022 World Cup and 24 construction companies were invited to select teams

Saving Brinton Movie Review: One's Trash is a Treasure for Many

This charming documentary looks at how an avid collector in Iowa comes across some of the first moving pictures that were believed to have been extinct.
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Michael Zahs, a retired history teacher and the subject of the new documentary Saving Brinton, is the very definition of someone who is a gentle giant. His large stature and lengthy beard give him a rather intimidating appearance, but when you hear him speak and get an insight into his life, he’s a lovable teddy bear. He’s the kind of person from whom you could learn a lot, and not just because he once taught history in high school. As we get a look inside his home in Ainsworth, Iowa, we see that he loves to collect things. It has

MGM's The Big Parade of Comedy (1964) DVD Review: When Compilations Were String

For whatever reason, the Warner Archive Collection releases Robert Youngson's effortless cut-and-paste documentary to DVD-R.
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One would expect a collection of clips featuring some of cinema's greatest comedians and comediennes to be a laugh-a-minute mini-fest; a cinematic party tape devoted entirely to some of the biggest names in comedy during their best moments on-screen. And, while such compilation movies surely exist somewhere, you will not find anything remotely resembling such in MGM's The Big Parade of Comedy ‒ a dreadful cut-and-paste wonder from the once-respected mind of documentary filmmaker Robert Youngson. Beginning his career at Warner Bros. in the late 1940s as the director of documentary shorts ‒ two of which won Academy Awards ‒

Unearthed & Untold: The Path to Pet Sematary Blu-ray Review: A Documentary for the Fans

Stephen King's underrated horror masterpiece gets an insightful documentary honoring its history.
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I can remember the first time I saw the film adaptation of Stephen King's Pet Sematary. Suffice it to say, it screwed me up. Not only did it deliver a macabre, yet authentic portrait of grief and questions of the afterlife, but the character Zelda haunts me to this day. As a disabled person there was something inherently horrifying about the character. To this day Pet Sematary remains one of my favorite horror features and it's a sentiment shared by many, especially the filmmakers of Unearthed & Untold. Directors John Campopiano and Justin White create a documentary that aesthetically looks

The Rape of Recy Taylor Movie Review: An Important Story, but a Problematic Film

While there are some things about this documentary I liked, overall I came away disappointed and angry.
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In September of 1944, Recy Taylor and two friends were walking home from church when a carload of six white teenagers came upon them and, under the threat of death, took Recy Taylor and raped her. Each one of the six teens taking a turn. The documentary, The Rape of Recy Taylor, follows the story of Recy Taylor speaking out against her attackers and her and her family's search for justice in the Jim Crow South. In this documentary, director Nancy Buirski uses interviews, footage from race films, artifacts, and music to retell Mrs. Taylor's story. Buirski credits her inspiration

Henri-Georges Clouzot's Inferno Blu-ray Review: Lost Masterpiece or Dodged Bullet?

Documentary details Clouzot's experimental Inferno, using recently discovered footage from the failed production, to mixed results.
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There's a little cottage industry of documentaries about movies that didn't get made. Every few years one of them pops up - Lost in La Mancha about Terry Gilliam's early, disastrous attempt to make The Man Who Killed Don Quixote or Jodorowsky's Dune. Implicit in the premise is that the world of cinema is missing out on a masterpiece - that a world of perhaps game-changing potential is lost to us because of some unfortunate timing, a couple of bad days on a set, or a miscalculation that metastasizes into a disaster. Honestly, whenever I see or read these stories,

Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis (Our Friends) Blu-ray Review: Friendship in the Face of Evil

Heartfelt if slight documentary about a rock band's return to Paris in the aftermath of a terrorist attack.
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Until the Paris Terrorist attack on November 13, 2015 where their concert at the Bataclan was targeted leaving 89 dead, for non-fans Eagles of Death Metal, if they had heard of them at all, were mostly thought of as Josh Homme's other band. Queens of the Stone Age, Homme's central musical outlet, has been a staple of the American hard rock scene for two decades, while Eagles of Death Metal was the weird side project where he co-wrote the songs, was the rhythm section, and hardly ever toured with the band. If the first third of Eagles of Death Metal:

The Concert for George: A Deeply Moving Tribute to a Multifacted Artist

To celebrate what would have been George Harrison's 75th birthday, the 2002 film is being screened in theaters and receiving a re-release in various configurations.
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George Harrison’s life and career may seem impossible to capture in just an hour and a half. Yet his friends and family managed to accomplished such a feat on November 29, 2002. Just a year after Harrison’s untimely death, Eric Clapton organized a concert at London’s Royal Albert Music Hall to celebrate his singer/songwriter friend’s life. “What I wanted to do was...just share our love for George and his music with the people,” says Clapton. Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and Jeff Lynne are among the numerous performers who turn in emotional renditions of Harrison’s best known Beatles and solo compositions.

2018 Oscar-nominated Documentary Short Films Review

And the nominees are...
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ShortsTV, the World’s Only Short Film Channel (www.shorts.tv), working with Magnolia Pictures, is currently showing “THE 2018 OSCAR NOMINATED SHORT FILMS” on more than 500 screens across the United States, Canada, Europe, Latin America, South Africa, and Australia. THE 2018 OSCARS NOMINATED SHORT FILMS will showcase the Live Action, Animation, and Documentary short-film nominees’ compilation as three separate theatrical events. This marks the 13th consecutive year of the Oscar Nominated Short Films theatrical experience. It is the only opportunity for audiences to watch the short film nominees in theaters before the Academy Awards ceremony on March 4, 2018. The Oscars

The Complete Monterey Pop Festival (Remastered) Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review

While the video upgrade and single extra aren't worth a double-dip, this three-disc set is a must-own for fans of classic rock and the '60s.
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Previously released from Criterion in 2009, The Complete Monterey Pop Festival collects three D.A. Pennebaker film's: Monterey Pop, Jimi Plays Monterey, and Shake! Otis at Monterey. That version was previously reviewed at this site. On the weekend of June 16-18, the Monterey International Pop Music Festival helped usher in the "Summer of Love". Filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker and his team captured the event, which was edited down to 79 minutes. The participants included The Mamas and the Papas (John Phillips was one of the co-founders), Canned Heat, Simon & Garfunkel, Hugh Masekela, Jefferson Airplane, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Eric

Chris Claremont's X-Men Movie Review: A Look at the Man Who Single-handedly Reinvented the X-Men Franchise

Chris Claremont looks back at his remarkable career writing the X-Men.
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The X-Men have been one of Marvel’s most successful franchises for some time, both in the comic pages and on the silver screen, but that was not always the case. Created in 1963 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the famed team of mutants was a second-tier book at best and saw cancellation after just 66 issues, with the last new story published in 1970. In 1975, a young writer was given the opportunity to have carte blanche on the X-Men, publishing the team’s first new stories in five years. His name is Chris Claremont and he jumped at the
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