Results tagged “Documentary”

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

In Search of Kundun Movie Review: For the Love of Scorsese and His Pictures

Capturing the essence of Scorsese's style of filmmaking and passion for the craft, In Search of Kundun is a joy for cinephiles.
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When Martin Scorsese is the focal point of conversations between cinephiles, it is highly likely that the master’s gangster-films - which made him the filmmaking brand he is - permeate the circumference of the discussion. Agreed, Scorsese’s vision added a layer to the aforementioned genre, and his films have become the calibration standards to evaluate contemporary films falling under the gangster’s umbrella. Scorsese gained prominence among film enthusiasts, like myself, for his insanely popular mob dramas. Ranging from his Boxcar Bertha to his latest The Irishman, his films carried an ethnographic through the characters, their accents, their ideologies, and the

Circus of Books Movie Review: Mom and Dad Run a Porn Shop

A sincere and simplistically topical look at an adult store that became a landmark.
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When Karen and Barry Mason opened up Circus of Books, an LA gay-porn shop, at first, it was a simple business venture for them. A way for them to get by. However, their willingness to open up a place where gay men were free to explore their pleasures became a form of allyship. After 35-plus years, they still saw Circus of Books as a successful venture, yet the documentary named after said shop shows how it became a place of community. Directed by Karen and Barry’s daughter Rachel, who makes her documentary debut, Circus of Books features interviews of the

Circus of Books Movie Review: Love over Sexuality

A gentle 'be kind' note to the world camouflaged as a lovely, intimate portrait of a family.
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At the center of Rachel Mason & Kathryn Robson's Circus of Books is the bookstore run by the former's parents, which predominantly houses gay pornography. Barry & Karen Mason ran the store - that established itself as the heart of the gay universe, in the neighborhood - for 30 years. "It's a long time to do anything", says Karen, as she sits on a couch with Barry in their living room. She wears a red top, she is an aggressive woman; he wears a Hawaiian shirt, he is full of joy with a consistent smile. The film lets us into

Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band Movie Review

Even with its narrow focus, anything that shines a spotlight on The Band is well worth giving one's attention.
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Even before learning that the film was based on Robbie Robertson's memoir Testimony, his name separate from “The Band” in the title and the fact that three of its members are dead (Rick Danko, Levon Helm, and Richard Manuel) suggested this documentary was going to be not so much their story but his. Yet even with that narrow focus, anything that shines a spotlight on The Band and their music is well worth giving one's attention because as Springsteen says, “there is no band that emphasizes coming together and becoming greater than the sum of their parts than The Band...[which

TV Review: The West Memphis Three: An ID Murder Mystery: A Documentary Miniseries by the Book

Despite the staggering subject matter, the new documentary lacks the punch.
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The West Memphis Three: An ID Murder Mystery is a fly-on-the-wall documentary primarily chronicling the court trial of the murder of three eight-year-old boys in Robin Hood Hills, that shook America in the year 1993. This isn't the first piece of cinematic documentation based on the tragedy. Well, two tragedies to say. One in the woods, where three young boys were brutally murdered. The second one in the court, where three teenagers were wrongfully convicted. Over the years, there have been three films preceding this three-episode series. Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills, Paradise Lost 2: Revelations,

How to Fix a Drug Scandal Series Review: Ripples of a Sweeping Tragedy

Premiering on Netflix April 1, the limited documentary series is thrilling, suspenseful, entertaining, and profoundly informative.
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How to Fix a Drug Scandal is the dictionary definition of infotainment. It's thrilling, suspenseful, entertaining, and profoundly informative. I might just use my new-found knowledge in dinner-table conversations with my family to sound intellectual. It's such a meticulously researched tale that deeply explores the subject matter. Directed and produced by Erin Lee Carr (Thought Crimes: The Case of Cannibal Cop and Mommy Dead and Dearest), the limited series is on the same lines of Netflix’s earlier releases - The Devil Next Door, The Confession Killer, and The Trails of Gabriel Fernandez - which revolve around one particular incident subsequently

Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice DVD Review: A Fantastic Appreciation

It's so easy to fall in love with Ronstadt and her music.
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Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice is a biographical documentary that Ronstadt was involved with as she introduces the telling of her story and reveals she no longer sings because she has Parkinson's, although she was later diagnosed with progressive supranuclear palsy. As I put the disc in the player, I realized I hadn't heard much of Ronstadt's music on the radio in years. As I watched the film, I couldn't understand why because she has a collection of hits that should be staples on rock and country radio stations. But don't take my word for it as the

Miles Davis: Birth Of The Cool Available in Multiple Formats on April 10

With bonus Montreux Jazz Festival footage from 1973, 1984, and 1985.
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Press release: Following a successful theatrical run, grossing over $1 million at the box office, Miles Davis: Birth Of The Cool - produced by Firelight Films for Eagle Rock Entertainment and American Masters Pictures in association with BBC Music - will be released as a Blu-ray+DVD and 2DVD with bonus Montreux concert footage and a 16-page hardcover book, as well as digital formats on April 10. A historic pillar of music history, Miles Davis is wholly revered for his immeasurable contributions as a trumpet player, bandleader, and composer. This consummate innovator and trendsetter not only broke evolutionary ground in jazz

Antonio Gaudí Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: A Tone Poem of Gaudí, Barcelona, and Art

After watching Antonio Gaudí, the viewer will not only want to start looking up flights to Barcelona, but need to learn more about this distinctive artist.
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Antonio Gaudí, a film by Japanese director Hiroshi Teshigahara (1927-2001), is a tone poem of Gaudí, Barcelona, and art - filled with vibrant color and music. The restored 72-minute film from 1984 is not your typical artist biography. There is barely any dialogue. Or narration. Or biography. Teshigahara instead creates a collage of dazzling images featuring the unique architecture of Antoni Gaudí (1852-1926). Teshigahara, the first Asian director to be nominated for an Academy Award and probably best known for his avant garde feature film Woman in the Dunes (1964), started his career in documentary film. Here, he seamlessly melds

Marcel Duchamp: The Art of the Possible Movie Review

A fascinating feature-length documentary film that highlights an innovative and influential artist who can truly be called the father of modern art.
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Available on iTunes and Amazon on March 10, 2020, comes a new documentary film from Electrolift Creative Productions, Marcel Duchamp: The Art of the Possible. Directed by Matthew Taylor and produced by Michelle Taylor, the 90-minute film mixes biography and opinion to create an intriguing portrait of artist Marcel Duchamp. Marcel Duchamp was born in Normandy, France in 1887. The film begins with family photos and a quick introduction to Duchamp's youth and then, like the artist himself, quickly sets off for Paris and the art world. Duchamp's primary artistic mentors were his older brothers, artists Raymond Villon and Jacques

Tread Movie Review: A Captivating Cinematic Recreation

Although it feels like it takes sides, Tread is a moderately neutral documentary.
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Tread is more of a cinematic recreation of real events than a documentary. It's so cinematic that if it wasn't a true story it would have been a perfect revenge thriller. It's what I would call the marriage of tragedy and a vigilante revenge thriller. Marvin Heemeyer, the subject, is treated as the tragic hero with a proper hero's arc. All he wants is a peaceful life free of hurdles but when the world throws hindrances at him and keeps doing that for over 13 years, it's time for the working-class hero to pick up his weapon and fight back.

Chasing Whiskey Documentary Brings the Untold Story of Jack Daniel's to Cinema Audiences Nationwide - May 11 Only

Journey across the globe to discover the heart and history of Jack Daniel's Tennessee whiskey.
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Press release: The new documentary Chasing Whiskey - The Untold Story of Jack Daniel’s premieres in movie theaters across the country as a one-night event on May 11. More than a simple narrative of the origins and impact of Jack Daniel’s, the documentary joins Tim Matheson, Shooter Jennings, Eric Church, John Grisham, Tina Sinatra and more, on a 57,000 mile journey across five countries and 17 time zones that is equal parts thought provoking, insightful, moving and hilarious. Tickets for “Chasing Whiskey” can be purchased at www.FathomEvents.com and participating theater box offices. Fathom Events and Movie City Films, in association
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