Tag 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

The Houses October Built (2014) Movie Review

The found footage horror film The Houses October Built begins with documentary archival footage and inter-titles that describe how dangerous haunted house attractions can be.

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This intro is appropriate, given that the film is a restructuring of a 2011 documentary film by the same filmmakers. It is seemingly impossible to find a copy of this documentary, so one can only assume that Continue reading The Houses October Built (2014) 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)

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

Life, Animated (2016) Movie Review

At the age of three, Owen Suskind “disappears.” He changes: awake all night, speaking in gibberish, a loss of motor function, an inability to understand what people are saying. Diagnosed with autism, Owen’s life changes forever.

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But a love for animated movies, particularly those of the Disney Corporation, allows Owen an outlet from which he can Continue reading Life, Animated (2016) Movie Review