V.22 No.40 | 10/3/2013
Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me
Rock doc covers cult band for both acolytes and the unfamiliarWhen it came to the rock critics in 1973, they didn’t sway. And they didn’t nod or tap their toes. They danced ... to Big Star.
Photo credit: Universal
48 Hour frightsThe 48 Hour Film Project in Albuquerque is launching a brand new, horror-based competition. Teams will have just two days to write, shoot, edit and premiere their short horror masterpieces.
V.22 No.32 | 8/8/2013
Environmental documentary unfolds like marine murder mysteryBlackfish—an attention-grabbing documentary from the newly launched CNN Films—presents some mighty upsetting information about the process of capturing, training and exhibiting killer whales. But the information is offered up in such a gripping manner that other would-be environmental filmmakers would do well to sit up and take notes.
V.22 No.18 | 5/2/2013
Movie-mad documentary turns theoretical critics into conspiracy theoristsRoom 237—the puckish, reflexive, Escher-like documentary by Rodney Ascher—interviews several assumedly learned people who have spent waaaay too much time watching Stanley Kubrick’s loose adaptation of Stephen King’s horror novel The Shining. These dedicated folks have developed various, often conflicting theories about the 1980 film and its hidden “meaning.” Some theories are perfectly plausible, ohers are far-fetched and some just plain looney.
V.22 No.10 | 3/7/2013
Deconstructing Dad: The Music, Machines and Mystery of Raymond Scott
Intimate biopic finds cinematic son hunting musical fatherDocumentary filmmaking has a certain reportorial air about it, and there’s an unspoken barrier that exists between documentarian and subject. Get too close and viewers might feel you’ve lost your objectivity. That’s not a problem that seems to concern filmmaker Stanley Warnow. After all, the subject of his film is his father.
V.22 No.9 | 2/28/2013
Harvest of Empire
Polarizing issue of immigration has its origins exposed in historical docNew, PBS-style documentary by Peter Getzels & Eduardo López, tries to tackle the issue of immigration from a fresh perspective. Based on the book by award-winning journalist Juan González (“Democracy Now!”), Harvest of Empire asks one very simple question: What are these people doing here in the first place? The knee-jerk, surface-layer answer is that people from poor countries emigrate to America to make more money. Simple, no? But why are so many Latin American countries riddled with civil war, organized crime and overwhelming poverty in the first place? The answer, as in so many cases, lies in America’s neo-colonial government policy.
V.22 No.8 | 2/21/2013
West of Memphis
Evidence at hand says familiar documentary subject deserves one more lookWest of Memphis, the new film from Amy Berg (director of 2006’s Catholic abuse exposé Deliver Us from Evil), is a bit of a cheat. Berg didn’t exactly pull her subject out of thin air. The trial of the West Memphis Three has been the subject of not one, but three award-winning, HBO-produced documentaries by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky. What about the infamous case of three Arkansas teens convicted of murder—mostly because they liked heavy metal and wore black—is left for Berg to explore in the wake of Berlinger and Sinofsky’s exhaustive Paradise Lost trilogy? As it turns out, a lot.
V.21 No.44 | 11/1/2012
Beauty Is Embarrassing
Irreverent documentary about successful puppeteer-cum-artist says it’s OK to laugh at art“Pee-wee’s Playhouse” puppeteer Wayne White finally gets the biographical treatment he so richly deserves.
V.21 No.41 | 10/11/2012
Searching for Sugar Man
Soulful documentary proves rock and roll dreams come trueSoulful documentary about a Detroit-area singer-songwriter proves rock and roll dreams really do come true.
V.21 No.31 | 8/2/2012
Scientific progress goes boink in scary-smart documentary
Surviving Progress is a heavy-duty think piece of a documentary based on Ronald Wright’s best seller A Short History of Progress. Co-directed and co-written by Mathieu Roy (François Girard en Trois Actes) and Harold Crooks (The Corporation), the film tries to tackle some giant-sized issues regarding humanity, progress and the very future integrity of our civilization.
V.21 No.13 | 3/29/2012
Apparently, there is a place in France where the naked ladies dance
What do mental institutions, schools, hospitals, law enforcement, military training, the court system, social security, legislature, public housing, sports, the arts and erotic entertainment have in common? Well, one could reasonably argue that they’re fundamental cultural institutions endemic to nearly every society on Earth. Or you could just say that they’re all subjects that have attracted the attention of prolific documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman. Since his notorious (if rarely seen) 1967 documentary Titicut Follies, the law-professor-turned-filmmaker has become America’s most passionately dispassionate observer of basic social constructions.