Category Archives: Documentary

One eats goat meat only when one is killed accidentally.

George Carlin’s American Dream (2022) Movie Review

Every once in a while, you might see something online about how the late comedian George Carlin was ahead of his time. That if he was still around he would eviscerate America in its current state. That he in some ways already did eviscerate modern America by criticizing topics decades ago that are still relevant today. These sorts of comments speak to the staying power of a singular comic figure. Similarly influential and boundary pushing comics — Lenny Bruce, for instance — don’t seem to get the same retrospective appreciation. What did Carlin do, exactly, to allow his comedy to seemingly transcend time?

The new documentary from Judd Apatow and Michael Bonfiglio, George Carlin’s American Dream, seeks to tap into this question as it examines Continue reading George Carlin’s American Dream (2022) Movie Review

2nd Chance (2022) Movie Review

2nd Chance premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival

Ramin Bahrani is a director known primarily for fiction filmmaking. He made the Fahrenheit 451 adaptation for HBO. Last year, his script for The White Tiger was nominated for an Academy Award and a BAFTA. It perhaps does not come as a surprise then that Bahrani was initially approached by producers to make the story of Richard Davis, the Michigan man who developed the modern bulletproof vest, into a fiction film. And Davis’ tale could potentially make for an engaging fiction, given how outlandish aspects of it are.

This film could focus on Continue reading 2nd Chance (2022) Movie Review

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