City of Gold Written by Laura Gabbert Directed by Laura Gabbert USA, 2015 Among food critics, Jonathan Gold holds a special place of esteem. Gold, food critic for the Los Angeles Times and the first food critic to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize, is famous less for his writing than for the kinds of restaurants …
Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You Directed by Rachel Grady & Heidi Ewing USA, 2016 Legend is a term that gets thrown around a lot in Hollywood. Any actor/actress with a charming smile, a great head of hair, who can survive in Hollywood’s shark infested waters long enough, will eventually get slapped with the term …
Where is Rocky II? works both as an engaging documentary and a unique cinematic hybrid.
What makes How to Build a Time Machine such a great documentary is that isn’t just interested in watching Niosi and Mallett chase after their eccentric goals. Cheel really keys in on the nature of fixation.
Whether you’re a documentary lover, political junkie, or just appreciate really good movies, go out of your way to see Weiner.
God Knows Where I Am is an engrossing and uncomfortable examination of a life shackled by mental illness.
The Conversation is a feature at PopOptiq bringing together Drew Morton and Landon Palmer in a passionate debate about cinema new and old. For their fifteenth piece, they discuss two documentaries Louis Malle made about the American experience during the 1980s that potentially offer some insight into the issues plaguing this crazy campaign season. LANDON’S TAKE Between the late-1970s and …
Where to Invade Next Directed by Michael Moore USA, 2015 Michael Moore literally declares war at the open of Where to Invade Next; it’s no longer hyperbole to say that he “targets” a certain topic or interest. Here he boards an aircraft carrier with a booming score befitting a Michael Bay title while he brandishes …
‘I Am Thor’ is one of those fascinating documentaries that makes you want to laugh and cry at the same time
By overcoming her past, challenging herself, and the beliefs of those around her, Selvi sets an example that will inspire the audience to take steps towards overcoming adversity in their own lives.
Meet the Patels is a charming and engaging documentary, which follows the trials and tribulations of a man balancing his own wants against familial expectations.
Where to Invade Next is the latest documentary from Academy Award winning director Michael Moore. The film serves as a platform for Moore to bring attention to the gaping holes that he sees in the theory of American exceptionalism.
Directors Sara Newens and Mina T. Son have taken a recreational pastime previously banished to basements and turned it into compelling sports drama. Exhilarating, inspiring, and sometimes heartbreaking, ‘Top Spin’ is an entertaining look at what it takes to be champion.
Brent Hodge and Derik Murray’s new documentary, ‘I Am Chris Farley,’ tries to illuminate the comedian’s meteoric rise and fall, as well as to understand his delicate psyche. Mostly, it’s another chance to re-live some of Farley’s best bits, which is just enough to recommend this otherwise disappointing chat-fest.
Documentaries on fandom often end up excessive celebration without any of the self-reflection that the genre usually provides. A LEGO Brickumentary is fun, but it may not appeal to anyone who isn’t already familiar with the brand. LEGO fans are a passionate bunch, and not just kids anymore. AFOLs (Adult fan of LEGO) are taking the bricks and creating a movement for themselves.
‘Do I Sound Gay?’ is a hilarious peek into the gay psyche that proves identity and voice are inseparable, regardless of your sexual orientation.
According to its synopsis on IMDB, the Polish documentary Down But Not Out (2015) focuses on four women stepping into the boxing ring for their first match ever. If I hadn’t looked it up, it would have taken me a few moments to figure it out on my own, as the movie doesn’t explicitly mention it. As a matter of fact, the movie doesn’t really tell the audience anything – no talking-head reflections or interviews, no narrator to hold your hand, and the only title cards are the ones that tell you what round it is in a fight. Down But Not Out is a documentary in the truest sense; it is merely a recording of events as they happened over the course of 24 hours. It’s closer to a home movie or security camera footage than Michael Moore as far as the documentary spectrum goes. It doesn’t seek to tell, it only shows.
Director Matthew Heineman’s embedded examination of impassioned citizens fighting Mexican drug cartels is surrounded by moral quicksand. ‘Cartel Land’ is also packed with more revelations and plot twists than most Hollywood dramas. Boots-on-the-ground guerilla filmmaking has never looked better or posed more thought-provoking questions.
Desire for Beauty (Gaudêncio, 2013) is a schizophrenic mess of a documentary that also happens to be about an important and deeply complicated topic. Following four Polish people as they pursue plastic-surgery solutions to their dilemmas of self-esteem, the subject matter should be more than enough to carry the length of the film, particularly as it’s supplemented with interviews by actress Agata Kulesza (from last year’s Academy Award-winning film Ida) and conversations with a variety of people ranging from therapists to philosophers to models, who all have differing but equally complex perspectives on what it means to be beautiful.
The new documentary, ‘Amy,’ attempts to use archival footage, interviews, and performance highlights to better understand the woman behind the lyrics. Unfortunately, director Asif Kapadia’s kitchen-sink approach isn’t suited for such a complicated subject. In the end, what should have been a celebration of Winehouse’s unique talent becomes a cliché-ridden obsession to explain her downfall.
Call Me Lucky introduces the film’s central figure, Barry Crimmins, to the audience as a government-hating, Catholic church despising curmudgeon. When the documentary heads to upstate New York to chronicle a scruffily bearded, firewood chopping Crimmins, now living in isolation, it makes total sense.
With “bling-bling” in the Merriam-Webster dictionary and the television program Empire’s unprecedented ratings run, it is difficult to believe that hip-hop culture remains in its relative infancy. Director Sacha Jenkins’s film, Fresh Dressed, goes back to hip-hop’s inception and examines the evolution of hip-hop culture, its rapid growth, and style influences. The result is a cinematic boom box, pumping out a string of little known facts and celebrity interviews aimed at schooling hip-hop fans and non-fans alike.