Category Archives: Documentary

One eats goat meat only when one is killed accidentally.

Fantastic Fest 2021: Barbarians, Knocking, Found Footage Phenomenon — Movie Reviews

The Found Footage Phenomenon, Barbarians, and Knocking are screening as part of Fantastic Fest 2021.

The Found Footage Phenomenon

The Found Footage Phenomenon is just what it says on the tin: an overview of the phenomenon of found footage horror films that sprung into the mainstream after the massive success of The Blair Witch Project in 1999. As a primer for the uninitiated,  Continue reading Fantastic Fest 2021: Barbarians, Knocking, Found Footage Phenomenon — Movie Reviews

Fantastic Fest 2021: Cannon Arm and the Arcade Quest — Movie Review

Cannon Arm and the Arcade Quest is screening as part of the 2021 Fantastic Fest.

Seth Gordon’s 2007 The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters has become something of a cult doc. It depicts a classic underdog story within the arcade gaming community. An unknown family man who plays a Donkey Kong cabinet in his garage at nights goes after the world record set by video gamings biggest name at the time, Billy Mitchell. (Mitchell was later accused of cheating and falsifying his achievements. His world records were temporarily stripped from him and ultimately reinstated in 2020. There remain open legal cases on the issue which have yet to be resolved).

Cannon Arm and the Arcade Quest, from director Mads Hedegaard, is something of a spiritual sequel to The King of Kong in its story of niche glory among average joes in the increasingly fading arena of the video arcade. But even more so it is an Continue reading Fantastic Fest 2021: Cannon Arm and the Arcade Quest — Movie Review

Review: Dear Hacker — Fantasia Festival 2021

“To what extent is the computer a presence in itself?” Filmmaker Alice Lenay asks this near the midpoint of her documentary, Dear Hacker. She is on a webcam, interviewing people she knows (in some cases, it seems, people she knows solely from web-based interactions) about the possibility of a hacker hijacking her webcam. The film begins with her describing the blinking of the LED indicator light next to the webcam, which has made her fear that someone might be watching her. Although, fear may not be the most accurate word. More curious than afraid.

dear-hacker-2021-documentary-movie-review-fantasia-festival

Dear Hacker is not really a documentary about Continue reading Review: Dear Hacker — Fantasia Festival 2021

Fantasia Festival 2021 Movie Reviews — Alien on Stage, Frank & Zed

Alien on Stage and Frank & Zed are screening as part of the 2021 Fantasia International Film Festival that runs Aug. 5 to Aug. 25.

Alien on Stage

In Alien on Stage, Lucy Harvey and Danielle Kummer document the unlikely rise of an amateur theater troupe in Dorset whose stage adaptation of Ridley Scott’s Alien made its way from a Continue reading Fantasia Festival 2021 Movie Reviews — Alien on Stage, Frank & Zed

2020 Movie Review Catch-up #3 — Sound of Metal, Collective, Another Round

We continue our catch-up series with a trio of 2020 films worth watching: Sound of Metal, Collective, and Another Round.

Sound of Metal

Simply put, Sound of Metal is one of my favorite movies of the year. It blind-sided me a bit, given that Continue reading 2020 Movie Review Catch-up #3 — Sound of Metal, Collective, Another Round

Fantasia Festival 2020 Movie Reviews — Undergods, You Cannot Kill David Arquette, Morgana

Continuing our coverage of the 2020 Fantasia International Film Festival, here are reviews of three festival selections: Undergods, You Cannot Kill David Arquette, and Morgana.

 

Undergods

A European-set anthology, Chino Moya’s Undergods has a strange energy. Occasionally languid, other times erupting in anger or abjection, it is a turbulent film aiming to Continue reading Fantasia Festival 2020 Movie Reviews — Undergods, You Cannot Kill David Arquette, Morgana

2020 Fantasia Festival Movie Reviews — Dinner in America, Hail to the Deadites, Monster Seafood Wars

Continuing our coverage of the 2020 Fantasia International Film Festival, here are reviews of three festival selections: Hail to the Deadites, Dinner in America, and Monster Seafood Wars.

 

Hail to the Deadites

In documentary, the choice of subject can sometimes be the majority of the battle. A good documentary requires Continue reading 2020 Fantasia Festival Movie Reviews — Dinner in America, Hail to the Deadites, Monster Seafood Wars

Review: Feels Good Man — Fantasia Festival 2020

Matt Furie is a soft-spoken cartoonist living in San Francisco with his wife and daughter. Mild mannered to a fault, Furie immediately smacks of a conflict-adverse, peace-keeping man. He almost certainly had no idea what 4Chan, the online collection of volatile chat boards, was. Then, the site’s users co-opted his most famous cartoon image: Pepe the Frog.

Arthur Jones’ Feels Good Man traces the evolution of Pepe the Frog, a character Furie used in his comic strip “Boy’s Club” that was transformed into an incredibly popular Continue reading Review: Feels Good Man — Fantasia Festival 2020

Review: Nail in the Coffin: The Fall and Rise of Vampiro – Fantastic Fest 2019

In 1991, a 20-year-old, punk-rock-inspired Canadian made his debut in the Lucha Libre AAA ring. A decades-long career followed for Ian Hodgkinson, the “Canadian Vampire,” and Michael Paszt’s Nail in the Coffin: The Fall and Rise of Vampiro chronicles the latter decade of this career, particularly honing in on his declining health and his relationship with his daughter.

Other threads come and go in the process of this exploration: the history and influence of Lucha Libre (this one could be a movie onto itself, and if such a movie exists please let me know; I will watch it), the differences between Continue reading Review: Nail in the Coffin: The Fall and Rise of Vampiro – Fantastic Fest 2019

Fahrenheit 11/9 (2018) Movie Review

Michael Moore is more of a provocateur than a documentarian. He wants to spur conversation and cares more about that than outlining a fact-driven narrative. He likes being flashy, even if it means being fallacious. He likes being a figurehead of radical liberal reform.

2018-michael-moore-documentary-fahrenheit-11-9-review

This doesn’t mean that he’s a radical. He isn’t a hack. He isn’t a showman, per se. He clearly has a passion for everything he sets his eyes on—with Fahrenheit 11/9 this passion comes in the form of intense frustration. I’ll admit, I agree with some of his political agenda as outlined in this film. And yet, Fahrenheit 11/9 is Continue reading Fahrenheit 11/9 (2018) Movie Review