Category Archives: Documentary

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

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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

The White Helmets (2016) Short Film Review

In Aleppo, Syria, air strikes are a daily occurrence. The city relies on a volunteer group called the White Helmets who act as first responders on the ground after these attacks.

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The Netflix original documentary short film The White Helmets follows members of this organization. Through a mix of Continue reading The White Helmets (2016) Short Film Review

I Am Not Your Negro (2017) Movie Review

In archive footage, we see at the beginning of I Am Not Your Negro an interview with the subject of the documentary: writer James Baldwin. The interviewer, when addressing with Baldwin the plight of the black man in American during the height of the Civil Rights Movement, he says “Is it at once getting better and still hopeless?” To which Baldwin responds, quite simply, that there is no hope to it.

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I Am Not Your Negro is a literary chronicle set to motion through photographs, film clips, and sweeping landscape shots. The raw power of Baldwin’s words is something Continue reading I Am Not Your Negro (2017) Movie Review