Archive for category: Documentary

Chet Baker, Choppy Waters: ‘Let’s Get Lost’

20 December, 2014 (07:39) | by Sean Axmaker, Documentary, Essays, Musicals | By: Sean Axmaker

1987, Santa Monica. Chet Baker is weathered and worn. Filmed in black and white in the back of a convertible at night, framed by a pair of lovely young models, with street lights and headlights catching his features in a slash or a flash, his once smooth cheeks are leathery with age beyond his years […]

Facebook Twitter Linkedin Digg Stumbleupon Email

Film Review: ‘The Great Invisible’

11 December, 2014 (05:39) | by Robert Horton, Documentary, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

Is a documentary an information-delivery system or a work of art? This question keeps dogging the makers of nonfiction films, and director Margaret Brown takes a stab at having it both ways in The Great Invisible. Brown, who made the affecting 2004 portrait Be Here to Love Me: A Film About Townes Van Zandt, has […]

Facebook Twitter Linkedin Digg Stumbleupon Email

Videophiled: Joe Sarno’s ‘Dirty Movie’ and ‘What is Cinema?’

26 November, 2014 (00:37) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, Documentary, DVD, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

A Life in Dirty Movies (Film Movement, DVD) – The work of Joe Sarno is little known outside of cinephile and cult cinema circles, and not widely seen even among cineastes. That’s because he, with the support and collaboration of his wife Peggy, made his low-budget explorations of adult sexuality within the confines of the […]

Facebook Twitter Linkedin Digg Stumbleupon Email

Videophiled: Monty Python’s Swan Song (or, if you prefer, Dead Parrot) and Shirley Clarke’s ‘Portrait of Jason’

11 November, 2014 (11:30) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, Documentary, DVD | By: Sean Axmaker

Monty Python Live (Mostly) – One Down, Five to Go (Eagle Rock, Blu-ray, DVD, Digital) puts to disc the stage performance that was previously shown via satellite in select theaters around the world for one night only earlier in 2014. The first live show sold out with 30 seconds of the moment tickets went on […]

Facebook Twitter Linkedin Digg Stumbleupon Email

Film Review: ‘On Any Sunday: The Next Chapter’

6 November, 2014 (05:43) | by Robert Horton, Documentary, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

“You have to be crazy to do this,” according to—oh, let’s face it, this could have been said by anybody in this movie. On Any Sunday: The Next Chapter is crammed with people who ride motorcycles too fast: These vehicles travel across flat tracks, dirt roads, and sometimes the air, with alarming amounts of space […]

Facebook Twitter Linkedin Digg Stumbleupon Email

Film Review: ‘Citizenfour’

30 October, 2014 (05:54) | by Robert Horton, Documentary, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

Edward Snowden sits on his hotel-room bed, about to keystroke a password into his laptop. Without looking particularly sheepish about it, he drapes a blanket over his head and upper body, so he can comfortably input the information without being observed. This gesture evokes many things: a kid reading a book under the covers at […]

Facebook Twitter Linkedin Digg Stumbleupon Email

Blu-ray / DVD: ‘The Unknown Known’

29 September, 2014 (08:24) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, Documentary, DVD, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

The title of Errol Morris’ The Unknown Known, a profile of the life and career of former Secretary of Defense and Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld, is a direct reference to Rumsfeld’s most famous TV appearance. Discussing the evidence (or rather, the glaring lack of evidence) linking Iraq with weapons of mass destruction provided to […]

Facebook Twitter Linkedin Digg Stumbleupon Email

Film Review: ‘20,000 Days on Earth’

26 September, 2014 (08:44) | by Robert Horton, Documentary, Film Reviews, Musicals | By: Robert Horton

Given his distinctive and ultra-dramatic stage presence, it makes sense that a documentary portrait of Nick Cave would not be the usual thing. And 20,000 Days on Earth is not the usual thing. At first this film appears to be a rumination on where the Australian-born rock star is these days: 20,000 days of life puts […]

Facebook Twitter Linkedin Digg Stumbleupon Email

Film Review: ‘Take Me to the River’

26 September, 2014 (08:39) | by Robert Horton, Documentary, Film Reviews, Musicals | By: Robert Horton

There’s been a steady drumbeat of music-history documentaries this century, paying proper homage to the great players of pop music. These movies are invariably tuneful and nostalgic. Actually, there have been so many of these — “Standing in the Shadows of Motown,” “Muscle Shoals,” the recent Oscar winners “Searching for Sugar Man” and “Twenty Feet […]

Facebook Twitter Linkedin Digg Stumbleupon Email

DVD: ‘Video Nasties: The Definitive Guide’

17 September, 2014 (15:12) | by Sean Axmaker, Documentary, DVD, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

The term “video nasty” isn’t exactly a common phrase in the U.S. but in Britain it defines an era of nanny state censorship. The British Board of Film Censorship, or BBFC, determined what could be shown in British theaters and often forced cuts to content or outright banned films, but home video did not exist […]

Facebook Twitter Linkedin Digg Stumbleupon Email

Film Review: ‘The Dog’

14 August, 2014 (06:52) | by Robert Horton, Documentary, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

It would be easier to enjoy the madcap, stranger-than-fiction revelations of The Dog if it weren’t for the queasy awareness that its central subject is getting such a great kick out of all this. He is John Wojtowicz, the real-life guy whose botched 1972 bank robbery later became the basis for the Al Pacino film […]

Facebook Twitter Linkedin Digg Stumbleupon Email

Film Review: ‘Double Play’

7 August, 2014 (06:26) | by Robert Horton, Documentary, Film Reviews | By: Robert Horton

Watching two film directors play catch is not a guarantee of interest. Put Brett Ratner and Jean-Luc Godard in a field with a couple of mitts and a baseball, and things could get ugly fast. But when the players are Richard Linklater and James Benning, the back-and-forth tossing becomes contemplative, a spur to ideas, and […]

Facebook Twitter Linkedin Digg Stumbleupon Email

Blu-ray: ‘Jodorowsky’s Dune’

29 July, 2014 (09:35) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, Documentary, DVD, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

Film history is filled with legends and stories of what could have been great (or at least interesting) films but were never made for one reason or another. Such projects are all potential, giving fans the chance to dream of masterpieces that could have been without having to face the reality of compromise and transformation […]

Facebook Twitter Linkedin Digg Stumbleupon Email

DVD: ‘The People vs. Paul Crump’

12 July, 2014 (13:16) | by Sean Axmaker, Documentary, DVD, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

Paul Crump, an African American Chicago man convicted of murdering a security guard during the robbery of a meatpacking plant and sentenced to death in 1953, had faced 14 stays of execution when William Friedkin, a young television producer, took on his story. The People vs. Paul Crump became his directorial debut, a documentary that […]

Facebook Twitter Linkedin Digg Stumbleupon Email

Videophiled: Imagining ‘Jodorowsky’s Dune’

8 July, 2014 (17:33) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, Documentary, DVD, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

Jodorowsky’s Dune (Sony, Blu-ray+DVD Combo, Cable VOD) is probably not “the greatest science film never made,” as the movie poster tagline insists, but this journey through the most improbable screen epic embarked upon in the seventies isn’t really about mourning what could have been. Alejandro Jodorowsky, director of the aggressively trippy cult classics El Topo […]

Facebook Twitter Linkedin Digg Stumbleupon Email