Category Archives: Documentary

One eats goat meat only when one is killed accidentally.

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.

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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

Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (2018) Movie Review

Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood ran for 33 years, beginning in 1963 and ending in 2001. During that time, Fred Rogers did not revolutionize children’s television—it is safe to say other network producers did not, and have not, caught on to what made his show so pervasive. But he did create something unique: a platform to communicate to children, rather than pander to or exploit them.

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Upon seeing the negative influence of television, Rogers left the seminary to do what he could to buck the trend. Within a matter of years, he was Continue reading Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (2018) Movie Review

RBG (2018) Movie Review

RBG is an exceptionally standard biographical documentary. It outlines the career and legacy of United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, from her early days studying law at Harvard and Columbia to her continuing efforts as a feminist symbol and legal influencer cheekily nicknamed the “Notorious RBG.”

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The CNN-produced doc makes little effort to hide its partisan bias. The film opens with voiceover snippets from various right-wing news outlets that fiercely criticize Ginsburg. These clips are meant to Continue reading RBG (2018) Movie Review

Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond – Featuring a Very Special, Contractually Obligatory Mention of Tony Clifton (2017) Movie Review

There is a moment at the very start of Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond – Featuring a Very Special, Contractually Obligatory Mention of Tony Clifton where you expect this to be a pretentious showbiz doc, where Jim Carrey stares at the camera and tries to convince us in one line that the soul of Andy Kaufman embodied him when he got the job as Kaufman for the Milos Forman film Man on the Moon.

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In a sense, Jim & Andy is this standard industry documentary, telling the story of how an actor was inspired to give another industry figure an in memoriam by way of biopic. It is the type of biopic that Continue reading Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond – Featuring a Very Special, Contractually Obligatory Mention of Tony Clifton (2017) Movie Review

Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken (2017) Movie Review (TIFF 2017)

At the world premiere of Morgan Spurlock’s latest documentary—a sequel to Super Size Me, the film that put him on the map—Spurlock dialed the PR knob to 11 by providing the audience with a free meal from his new restaurant venture “Holy Chicken.”

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The food truck outside of the venue served fried chicken sandwiches that looked somewhat grotesque and felt slimy to the touch. There were side choices that included fried green beans, which the charming young woman behind the counter referred to affectionately as simply “greens.” They offered soda and water (the water was dubbed “Holy Water,” perhaps because it was the closest thing to a healthy option on the menu).

Why would the man who injured his body by eating McDonald’s for 30 days straight decide to open a fast food chain? Could it be a statement on Continue reading Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken (2017) Movie Review (TIFF 2017)

4.1 Miles (2016) Short Film Review

Over recent years, a massive influx of refugees trying to cross the water boundary between Turkey and Greece has caused chaos for the Coast Guard. They pull in hundreds of people per day. But they cannot possibly take everyone.

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Life on these waters are depicted as harrowing. People are separated from their families. People slip into the water and drown. And all the while the Coast Guard Continue reading 4.1 Miles (2016) Short Film Review