rolling documentary thread 2015

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Col1n B talks to Thom Andersen about his Red Hollywood and related historical matters:

touch of a love-starved cobra (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 3 February 2015 22:44 (seven years ago) link

one month passes...

They released the Hot Docs schedule yesterday:

Expensive as always for anyone without the available hours to warrant buying a pass (I did get a bit of a discount as a Bloor member). So I limited myself to five films: Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck (weird, probably awful title), The Cult of JT LeRoy (about whom I knew nothing till I did some reading yesterday), Best of Enemies (Vidal vs. Buckley), Deep Web, and Akerman's News From Home.

clemenza, Wednesday, 18 March 2015 15:36 (seven years ago) link

You should do some JT LeRoy reading on ILX. I think there were a couple of close personal friends...

Kiarostami bag (milo z), Wednesday, 18 March 2015 15:38 (seven years ago) link

three weeks pass...

coasting on the masters wave, just watched 'the short game', doc about a kids' golf tournament

probably the most feelgood movie i've ever seen, featuring maybe the cutest kids in all of time. one in particular is a bona fide star already

seriously great. by no means all from privileged backgrounds, but i found myself thinking that the ones who were (especially aforementioned star) have ended up exactly like kids from privileged backgrounds should

probably the best sports doc i've ever seen

on netflix too i think

PORC EPIC SAVVAGE (imago), Monday, 13 April 2015 22:08 (seven years ago) link

have you seen Brooklyn Castle? feel good movie about chess and under priviledged kids in Brooklyn. pretty great!
thanks for the recommendation.

Van Horn Street, Tuesday, 14 April 2015 00:06 (seven years ago) link

kingdom of dreams and madness hayao miyazaki documentary is cool

dylannn, Tuesday, 14 April 2015 07:12 (seven years ago) link

Did anyone else see Tales of the Grim Sleeper on Sky Atlantic? Fascinating story but I really wish someone else had made that movie - Nick Broomfield's onscreen presence might be at its most Nick Broomfield-y in this one

Your Ribs are My Ladder, Tuesday, 14 April 2015 13:03 (seven years ago) link

hbo is airing it in America in a few wks

johnny crunch, Tuesday, 14 April 2015 13:04 (seven years ago) link

Ah, gotcha. It's something.
Anyone seen "The Overnighters"? It's quietly beautiful and takes at least one crazy turn.

Your Ribs are My Ladder, Tuesday, 14 April 2015 13:35 (seven years ago) link

some discussion of it here - Netflix Watch Instantly Recommendation Thread

johnny crunch, Tuesday, 14 April 2015 14:04 (seven years ago) link

two weeks pass...

'grim sleeper' was def v idiosyncratically broomfield, their cruising around south central in a Mercedes is p insane, but I thought his style fit this story p well tbh

johnny crunch, Wednesday, 29 April 2015 13:35 (seven years ago) link

also props to this serial killer for seemingly keeping a pinto running for ~40 yrs

johnny crunch, Wednesday, 29 April 2015 14:14 (seven years ago) link

btw, TapeStore wrote the cover story on A Maysles in the new Film Comment!

the increasing costive borborygmi (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 12 May 2015 17:16 (seven years ago) link

one month passes...

Found The Wolfpack baffling--to paraphrase Hannah Arendt, it's like a case study in the banality of weirdness. Maybe I've just been conditioned for the awful revelation that will explain everything. The film deserves credit for not manufacturing one, but I'd never want to see this a second time. (David Edelstein loved it.)

clemenza, Wednesday, 1 July 2015 00:31 (six years ago) link

Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief (destined somewhere to be double-billed with The Master) is pretty thorough, but I can't see that any thinking person would be surprised by any of what it documents. And no matter how embarrassed or anguished any of the interviewees are as they try to articulate why they stayed for 5-10-20 years, I still sat there thinking "Okay--but why on earth did you stay?" (I had a similar emotional reaction when I saw Wiseman's Domestic Violence years ago, although intellectually I realized that was a much more complicated dynamic.) There's an implicit suggestion towards the end that Scientology is indeed a religion, insofar as every religion more or less shares its destructive elements, and that's something worth debating.

One of the main interviewees, an ex-higher-up named Marty, looks a lot like Krist Novoselic.

clemenza, Wednesday, 1 July 2015 23:21 (six years ago) link

Larry Kramer in Love and Anger is hurt a bit by my having rather recently seen the stronger How to Survive a Plague, but it definitely has some good stuff in it. Most likely because the other film covered so much of the same ground, I was most interested in the pre-ACT UP stuff--I had no idea, for example, that he wrote the legendarily awful 70s remake of Lost Horizon. Still, I cried on two separate occasions (three less times than I teared up during Inside Out; I'm starting to fear that my recent marriage is turning me into a sap when 2/2 movies that I've watched since wedding have made me cry), most profoundly during the balloon-releasing protest (which I don't think was in HtSaP). It is worth mentioning, too, that the present-day footage of Kramer in the hospital is more than a little heartbreaking to observe, much like the similar scenes in the Ebert doc Life Itself.

The New Gay Sadness (cryptosicko), Friday, 3 July 2015 18:49 (six years ago) link

two weeks pass...

Tig is one of those documentaries that frustrates me a bit, because I enjoyed it mostly on account of my being a fan of the subject (the comedian Tig Notaro), even though really, despite the frequently heavy subject matter (her struggle with cancer, her mother's death, her attempt to have a child via surrogacy), its little more than a behind-the-scenes addendum to her actual work. You get greater, and funnier, insight into all of the above via her standup and her podcast, in other words. Watch it if you're already a fan, I guess.

The New Gay Sadness (cryptosicko), Thursday, 23 July 2015 14:23 (six years ago) link

anyone seen Amy yet?

Robert Earl Hughes (dandydonweiner), Friday, 24 July 2015 00:38 (six years ago) link

Yeah, I saw it this morning. It's more than two hours long!?! Also, I don't care much for Amy Whinehouse. I probably shouldn't have bothered... I guess it's good for what it is, and it helps that there is no talking heads - except in archive footage. But you've seen the story a hundred times before, and the focus on how real and jazzy and authentic she was precludes any kind of discussion of her art in terms other than her personality.

Frederik B, Friday, 24 July 2015 00:48 (six years ago) link

one month passes...

The Iron Ministry running at NYC MoMA

skateboards are the new combover (Dr Morbius), Monday, 24 August 2015 14:41 (six years ago) link

also currently in LA, Chicago

skateboards are the new combover (Dr Morbius), Monday, 24 August 2015 15:41 (six years ago) link

one month passes...

Really looking forward to this in a few days:

clemenza, Saturday, 3 October 2015 13:24 (six years ago) link

A bunch I'm interested in coming up at the Bloor: Wiseman's In Jackson Heights, new one from the 237 director, Tab Hunter, Carter Family, Arvo Part, New Yorker cartoonists, and something directed by Nelson George, who I assume is the same Nelson George.

clemenza, Sunday, 11 October 2015 00:32 (six years ago) link

tab hunter doc looks great

Flamenco Drop (VegemiteGrrl), Sunday, 11 October 2015 00:33 (six years ago) link

Much laughter in the theatre over the breathless girl at 0:20:

clemenza, Sunday, 11 October 2015 00:39 (six years ago) link

237 guy's doc got grumpy reviews

skateboards are the new combover (Dr Morbius), Sunday, 11 October 2015 02:17 (six years ago) link

The Tab Hunter documentary is very conventional, but definitely worth seeing for Hunter himself. I don't think he hits a false note the whole way--funny, engaging, down to earth. Rona Barrett (who's so not-famous now, you have to type in the third "r" before Google auto-completes her name) and Rex Reed will probably outlive us all.

clemenza, Sunday, 25 October 2015 00:09 (six years ago) link

two weeks pass...

A couple of upcoming things I really want to see: Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict and Hitchcock/Truffaut.

clemenza, Monday, 9 November 2015 02:32 (six years ago) link

Hitchcock/Truffaut def my most anticipated doc of the year.

Fetty Wap Is Strong In Here (cryptosicko), Monday, 9 November 2015 02:36 (six years ago) link

I think the title card I saw tonight said it opens at the Lightbox early December.

clemenza, Monday, 9 November 2015 02:47 (six years ago) link

i thought Wolfpack was devastating but cautiously hopeful

i made a scope for my laser musket out of some (forksclovetofu), Thursday, 19 November 2015 15:47 (six years ago) link

A local reviewer thought Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict was hurt by the blandness of Guggenheim's voice-over narration (or what amounts to narration: recently unearthed tapes of interviews she did in the late '70s with her biographer). Can't argue that Guggenheim's answers are terse, flat, and muffled enough to sometimes require subtitles. She was in her 80s at the time.

If you can look past that, what an incredible life. It's hard to get your head around the enormity of the lives that intersected with her own. That doesn't even have to mean the people she slept with. "Pound? Yes, I knew Pound--we used to play tennis together."

Robert De Niro has a couple of interview clips (his mother and father both had work in Guggenheim's Art of This Century gallery...I think I knew about one of them being a well-known painter, maybe not both). He's very serious for about half a minute in the first clip, then right at the end he breaks into De Niro schtick (the goofy grin). It's like he's helpless. Had to laugh.

Much sadness in the film, especially her artist-daughter Pegeen's unhappy life.

clemenza, Tuesday, 24 November 2015 23:00 (six years ago) link

she looks like greta gerwig

johnny crunch, Wednesday, 25 November 2015 12:51 (six years ago) link

listen to me marlon was a slightly elevated clip reel, but still had some cool stuff in there

johnny crunch, Wednesday, 25 November 2015 13:08 (six years ago) link

Think I liked In Jackson Heights even more than At Berkeley or National Gallery. (Not as much as Welfare, but there aren't 30 films I like as much as Welfare.) Hard to know which segments to single out, but I'd go with the 98-year-old woman (who doesn't look a day over 70; I don't mean that a joke), the class for prospective cab drivers, and a gay community group early in the film (an informal meeting to discuss a possible relocation). The last interested me as a teacher, and I'd love to show it to my class; 15-plus minutes long, maybe a dozen people speaking in succession, usually for over a minute each, and not a single person interrupts anyone at any point. We do a fair amount of group work, and trying to get 12-year-olds to learn to not talk over each other is a losing battle--I spend half my day nagging them about noise. I always love Wiseman's signature stylistic device where he pulls back from the non-stop talking and has silent, rhythmic shots around the neighborhood or building or whatever institution he's filming. I think that only happens in Welfare when one day turns into the next; he does it more often now. I didn't find every segment compelling; I agree with my friend that sometimes I found myself thinking, "Okay, move on." (A woman's 15-minute description of a border crossing felt twice as long.) But even there, where I stop focusing on the specifics of what's being said at a certain point, it's still part of the overall flow of words. Something that every reviewer will point out is unavoidable: the backdrop here (and this was undoubtedly intentional in a broad sense, but I'm sure Wiseman must have had this finished before Trump became the center of the universe) is what's going on in the Republican Party right now.

clemenza, Thursday, 26 November 2015 13:14 (six years ago) link

My one real point of contact with The New Yorker over the years was Kael (and, to a much lesser extent, the various people who inherited her post), and that may have been an advantage when watching Very Semi-Serious. Anyone well versed in the history of their cartoonists will have strong opinions on which ones should get the most time, and might be disappointed that there isn't more on the most famous names from the past. There's a fair amount on Mort Gerberg, but not a whole lot on Thurber, Adams, Arno, etc. Mostly the film's about Bob Mankoff, who I liked fine (he was funnier when he spoke after the screening). As someone who was a failure at freelance--who couldn't get past the foundational rule: don't personalize rejection--I found the film resonant on that front. Not that I learned anything I didn't already know, but when you watch Gerberg in his 70s getting a quick once-through from Mankoff at the weekly cattle-call, or see another guy (forget his name) who submitted stuff for 25 years before he got something into the magazine, you see that dynamic writ large. The cartoon department navigating its way through 9/11 was interesting, and I liked seeing this one James Thurber cartoon I've always loved.

clemenza, Friday, 4 December 2015 03:54 (six years ago) link

oscar shortlist released; i'm of the opinion Wolfpack got jobbed but ymmv. glad to see miss simone in there.

“Amy,” On the Corner Films and Universal Music
“Best of Enemies,” Tremolo Productions and Media Ranch
“Cartel Land,” Our Time Projects and The Documentary Group
“Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief,” Jigsaw Productions
“He Named Me Malala,” Parkes-MacDonald and Little Room
“Heart of a Dog,” Canal Street Communications
“The Hunting Ground,” Chain Camera Pictures
“Listen to Me Marlon,” Passion Pictures
“The Look of Silence,” Final Cut for Real
“Meru,” Little Monster Films
“3 1/2 Minutes, 10 Bullets,” The Filmmaker Fund, Motto Pictures, Lakehouse Films, Actual Films, JustFilms, MacArthur Foundation and Bertha BRITDOC
“We Come as Friends,” Adelante Films
“What Happened, Miss Simone?,” RadicalMedia and Moxie Firecracker
“Where to Invade Next,” Dog Eat Dog Productions
“Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom,” Pray for Ukraine Productions

Eugene Goostman (forksclovetofu), Friday, 4 December 2015 16:00 (six years ago) link

the backdrop here ... is what's going on in the Republican Party right now.

Don't get this re Jackson Heights, really. More relevant is our 'Sandinista' mayor turning out to be just as much a real-estate whore as the others. RIP working class NYC, BIDs continue to consume neighborhoods. Bipartisan class war.

skateboards are the new combover (Dr Morbius), Friday, 4 December 2015 16:04 (six years ago) link

I mostly enjoyed that Bobbito, (NYC hiphop, soul and sneakers nerd), directed movie doc --Stretch and Bobbito: Radio That Changed Lives...about their 1990s wee hours of Friday morning Columbia U WKCR radio show that featured Nas, Biggie and Jay-Z before they were stars...

Since he directed it, there's an autobiographical aspect to this rather a more objective one. But he does include folks who found the antics on their radio show misogynistic and juvenile. The movie does not put the program into context with whatever else was happening in music at the time, or include folks not partial to their brand of '90s hiphop nerd, but it does include old video footage of on-air freestyling, and impressive cassette demos plus Nas and Jay-Z and others listening now to those old tapes...

curmudgeon, Friday, 4 December 2015 16:55 (six years ago) link

two weeks pass...

watched most of 'the seven five' - what a piece of shit, like 99% of the historical/surveillance footage is worthless and the rest of the time they just intercut the cops stories w/ stock footage couldnt believe how shameless it was, not even zero budget cable crime shows are this bad

johnny crunch, Monday, 21 December 2015 22:21 (six years ago) link

dunkin donuts can not be pleased w how present it is in Heroin: Cape Cod, USA, including use of a DD rewards card to cut dope

johnny crunch, Sunday, 3 January 2016 20:57 (six years ago) link

Smiling Through the Apocalypse: Esquire in the '60s could have been a lot better--it was directed by Harold Hayes's son--but it's competent enough to more or less give shape to a great story. I know lots about the writers who made the magazine famous, and I've got a book of George Lois's iconic covers, but I knew very little about Hayes--he does seem to be somewhat forgotten.

clemenza, Monday, 4 January 2016 02:58 (six years ago) link

Watched Cartel Land last night. For a topic that's been covered extensively in other docs (and narrative features), it remains deeply INTENSE. Some surprising twists and turns as well.

Your Ribs are My Ladder, Monday, 4 January 2016 09:05 (six years ago) link

Oh God, I hated that one. But a lot of that probably comes from watching it deep into a festival, where a bunch of docs made up for their unoriginality by being INTENSE. It's prob good for what it is, but it was def not for me. Reminded me of Sicario, of course, which I hated as well.

Frederik B, Monday, 4 January 2016 09:13 (six years ago) link

I actually found the film itself to be very original, despite a familiar setting - I can't think of anything else that covers vigilantism *within* Mexico? I guess a handful of critics thought the film would have been better off without the American border guard guys, but I was pretty gripped by the parallels between the constantly moving morality of the central figures.

Which are some of the other films that struck you as unoriginal but intense (because if they're like this one I suspect I might like them!)

Your Ribs are My Ladder, Monday, 4 January 2016 11:03 (six years ago) link

Well, come to think of it, I steered clear of most of them. Stuff with names like (T)Error and such. I did see A Good American, which was a load of crap wanting to be Citizen Four, but arguing that the government isn't spying on us enough, but too dumb to notice that that argument is quite weird.

I think my hatred was mostly from spending a bit too much time with directors such as Villeneuve, Bigelow, Greengrass, and especially Danish fraud Tobias Lindholm, who's A War is a fraudulent piece of crap of the highest order. Y'know, films that purport to be political, but in action-form, so you get stupid arguments BUT WITH GUNS!!! Best of both worlds.

Frederik B, Monday, 4 January 2016 23:25 (six years ago) link

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