Posts Tagged ‘Documentary’


LFF 2015: Live from New York! (Bao Nguyen, 2015)

October 13, 2015


Anyone looking for a really meaty documentary on a still on-the-air television show may be put off when hearing of extensive involvement of the head honchos behind said property. Even more worrying is also finding out that the 40-year portrait of the series only runs 78 minutes (despite what IMDb may tell you), which doesn’t exactly sound like the most ideal length considering that the documentary is about Saturday Night Live, a television show riddled with myriad controversies, success stories and career implosions over those 40 years. If you have a hunch that Live from New York! might play like little more than a hagiographic, superficial skip through self-serving sound-bites, then… well, you’re absolutely right…

Click for the full review for Vague Visages


The Wolfpack (Crystal Moselle, 2015)

August 19, 2015


The Wolfpack profiles six homeschooled brothers who’ve lived their entire lives as shut-ins in a Manhattan housing project, a DVD collection their only connection to the outside world beyond occasional supervised local trips maybe once a year. Raised in social isolation by a hippie mother and alcoholic, controlling father, the Angulo brothers, who remake their favourite movies for fun, prove interesting subjects and not all that different from many geeky teenagers, extraordinary living circumstances notwithstanding.

One wishes, however, that debut documentarian Crystal Moselle made any attempts towards exploring this scenario beyond the boys’ affability…

Click for the full review for The Skinny


The Salt of the Earth (Wim Wenders/Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, 2014)

July 17, 2015


With The Salt of the Earth, Wim Wenders has helmed yet another strong documentary about a fellow artist (see Pina), though this time he’s on co-directing duties with Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, the son of his documentary’s subject. The film profiles Sebastião Salgado, an acclaimed Brazilian photojournalist whose life has mostly been spent chronicling the misfortunes of victims of man’s cruelty and selfishness; massacred Tutsi in Rwanda and famine victims in the Sahel region of central Africa are just two of the striking subjects of his camera’s lens…

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Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films (Mark Hartley, 2014)

June 5, 2015


Following Not Quite Hollywood, his 2008 documentary about the Australian exploitation cinema of the 1970s and 80s, writer-director Mark Hartley returns to profile more outrageous movies from around the same time. Electric Boogaloo looks at the rise and fall of Cannon Films under the rule of Israeli cousins Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, who forced their way into the Hollywood game with low budget, sometimes bizarre genre films with an apparent lack of quality control and savvy new ways of getting films financed (going to Cannes with posters promising stars they hadn’t even contacted, yet alone contracted)…

Click for the full review for The Skinny


Altman (Ron Mann, 2014)

April 1, 2015


The career-portrait documentary is a tricky beast to pull off. A director will be inclined to do the artist’s body of work complete justice while also offering a fresh look at the individual behind the curtain. With cooperation from its subject’s widow, Ron Mann’s Altman, a bio-doc about one of America’s greatest filmmakers, succeeds somewhat on the latter front, thanks to various home movies and rare behind-the-scenes and interview footage.

It is with Robert Altman’s actual films that the documentary flounders…

Click for the full review for The Skinny


Manakamana (Stephanie Spray and Pacho Velez, 2013)

December 8, 2014


From Harvard’s experimental Sensory Ethnography Lab, which gave us 2012’s haunting fishing vessel doc Leviathan, comes Manakamana. This is an altogether different beast from that previous effort, with a new directing team: while Leviathan was a forceful sensory overload, Manakamana is more tranquil in tone and visual setup, but it’s no less affecting for it.

Click for the full review for The Skinny


EIFF 2014: Life May Be (Mania Akbari/Mark Cousins, 2014)

July 3, 2014

Life May Be

Life May Be is a five part cinematic correspondence between Irish filmmaker Mark Cousins and Iranian filmmaker Mania Akbari, made over the last year, during which time the two UK-based filmmakers had no in-person contact. Essayistic but extremely intimate in nature, each filmed ‘letter’ (three from Cousins, two from Akbari) delves into themes relevant to their personal and creative lives (e.g. exile, representation, how we approach the body), becoming more complex as each letter responds to the former and spirals off in new directions…

Click for the full review for The Skinny