Documentaries

I watch a loooot of documentaries. Here is a list of those I think everyone should absolutely see. I think that there is a great deal to learn from these films because they are personal, coming from a truly human perspective. I also think that watching good documentaries allows for deeper absorption of the information because they tell a story of discovery. The majority of these can be found on Amazon or Netflix. I’ll continue adding to this list as I discover new ones!


Score (2016)

Fabulous documentary all about film score. Go in depth into the processes of different composers and learn about some of the most famous film scores from Williams to Morricone. 9/12/17


O.J.: Made in America (2016)

So yeah, I’m pretty sure I’m the last person in the country to finally see this. But I definitely needed to add it to “the list.” Phenomenal doc. I never knew much about the whole fiasco as it was a bit before my time. I just had simplistic viewpoints based on virtually no information. Now I got it. I’ll keep my pessimism and cynical thoughts to myself… lol. But what makes this doc so important and fascinating is that it dives very deeply into what was going on behind the scenes, what people were thinking and how they were forming their mindsets about the relationship between LAPD and everyone subject to their actions. The title Made in America makes a big statement about what the warped psychology of the American paradigm of success can do to someone with extraordinary talent…and vulnerability. 3/29/17


Fittest on Earth: A Decade of Fitness (2016)

Yesssss, another one. So there are three really good Crossfit documentaries now that I know of. The earliest documents the beginnings of the Crossfit phenomena and the first Crossfit games from 2007. The second documents the games from 2015. This is where I fell in love with a lot of the main competitors like Mat Fraser, and basically all of the women, haha. This one is fantastic as well. A very good look at what Crossfit is all about and what it takes to compete with the best. 3/25/17


The Great Courses – Available on Amazon for a monthly channel subscription fee

 

My husband and I have been using Amazon Prime for a couple of years and we love the prime streaming option as well as all of the available new movies to rent and buy. Recently I started checking out their huge selection of channel subscriptions, where you add on another monthly fee in order to get access to a special channel of content. I narrowed in on science/documentary type stuff and discovered The Great Courses. I immediately signed up for a free trial for a week and will be keeping it on. These lectures are incredibly interesting and well presented by prestigious experts in their respective areas. I could probably go through half their library in a month the way I devour documentaries and lectures. I just wanted to throw in a plug for this on this documentary list as the best collection of lectures I’ve ever come across. Everything you need in a lecture to be engaged, entertained and educated is smoothly produced in each series. The lectures are complimented by corresponding visual aids so you can follow along closely, take notes and really nail down concepts and processes the way you would in a real lecture hall with PowerPoint presentation. I absolutely love it. =) 1/2/2017


Fittest on Earth (2015) – Netflix

 

“Crossfit does not operate within the formalized world of sport or the corporate gym establishment. It features contests involving sandbags, tractor tires, ropes, weights and surprise challenges. It promotes itself on social media, and is rarely written about in newspapers, except in the business pages. Ten years ago there were 13 Crossfit gyms in the United States, where it started. Now it has conquered most of the world – it has a presence in Mongolia, Fiji and Kazakhstan – and there are 11,000 Crossfit affiliates. Forbes magazine valued the brand at $4bn.”  -The Guardian, December, 2015

10/23/2016



Flow – Amazon

 

A wonderful introduction to the characters and performers behind what is to me the greatest show on the face of the planet, “O” by Cirque du Soleil, playing exclusively at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. The performers are interviewed individually and talk about their craft and how they feel when they are performing. It is a valuable work, though the poor editing is distracting at times. 6/22/2016


Theory of Obscurity (2015)  –  Amazon

 

See blog post here: The Theory of Obscurity: A Film About The Residents


Code Black (2013)  –  Netflix

 

Fantastic documentary. The film follows a group of doctors working at LA County Hospital who voice concerns over the evolution of the medical industry and how the focus of doctor to patient direct care has become completely bombarded with bureaucracy, paperwork, profit, etc. The “C Booth” at LA County before the construction of a new building to satisfy safety codes was the epicenter of emergency care. Footage showing the intensity and chaos of dozens of doctors and nurses scrambling and working together to save lives in the most immediate danger are captivating and intense. A while later we get to see the contrast between this reality and the new one embedded in layers upon layer forms, standards, policies, codes, etc that essentially cut the doctor off from the patient. The film is very well done and offers valuable insight from as close as a viewer could possibly get on film. April 2, 2016


Oscar Nominated 2016 Documentary Features (All are Amazing, and most are on Amazon or Netflix)

What Happened, Miss Simone?

Cartel Land

Amy

Winter on Fire

The Look of Silence


Thought I’d list these two together, not just because I saw them a few days apart, but because they both illustrate thoroughly and with beautiful clarity how tough it really is for human beings to think for themselves. Oh man…

Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief (2015)  –  Amazon

This documentary, I believe, is a companion to the recently published book of the same name written by Lawrence Wright. It delves deep into the inner workings of scientology, but also takes a fascinating look at how the human mind becomes susceptible to influence, to the point of near blindness. Very, very interesting. 11/3/2015

An Honest Liar (2014)  –  Netflix

This film is all about James Randi, or “The Amazing Randi,” and his life as a magician, but also as a hard-core debunker of conmen and sensationalist “psychics” using their own tricks against them. Randi is famous for revealing the fraud of such figures as claimed psychic Uri Gellar and faith healer Peter Popoff. His life resembles Houdini’s in many ways, but perhaps with a much better sense of humor. =) 11/12/2015


Back in Time (2015)  –  Amazon

 

This month marked the point in time which was immortalized in the Back to the Future movies, where Marty McFly and Doc Brown travel 30 years into the future from 1985. This interesting documentary follows the making of the movies with interviews with the film’s creators. 10/27/15


Out of Print (2013)  –  Amazon

 

A look at the evolution of written information, from the first record of language in book form, called “codexes,” to the advent of mass information through the internet and the disappearance of book stores in favor of digital print and e-readers. Very well researched and involves interviews with a wide assortment of people in the journalism, education and literary fields. 10/27/15


Depeche Mode 101 (1989) – Amazon

 

Yes, I just now saw this film. And discovered one of my new favorite Depeche Mode songs “Things You Said.” I know, I have a lot of catching up to do… =) (10/2/2015)


The Wolfpack (2015) – Amazon

 

A group of 6 brothers whose parents have raised them as far removed from danger and bad influence as humanly possible…to the extent that these boys have hardly left their house for years. Their window to the outside world is through movies. To pass the time cooped up in their home, they perform reenactments of the movies they’ve seen over and over and over again, memorizing every line and action. 9/10/2015


The Curse of the Gothic Symphony (2011)  –  Amazon

One of the most incredible pieces of music I’ve EVER heard. Havergal Brian’s first symphony, called the Gothic, is the largest symphony every written, almost 2 hours in length and calling on nearly 1,000 participants between musicians and chorus members. It has only been performed a handful of times because of its complexity, and this documentary follows the journey toward one of those memorable performances, an undertaking 25 years in the making. I’m so happy I found this and became introduced to Brian’s music. Listen above for one of my favorite few minutes from the entire symphony. 7/18/2015


Cooper and Hemingway: The True Gen (2013) – Amazon

 

Wonderful, exhaustive documentary about the friendship between Earnest Hemingway and Gary Cooper from their first meeting until their deaths just months apart. Music and some aspects a little overly nostalgic/dated, but well worth sitting through! =) 6/21/2015


In the Mirror of Maya Deren (2002) – Amazon

Who is this amazing, enigmatic, beautiful film maker!!? Loved everything I saw in this film. Highly recommend, please introduce yourself to Maya Deren. 6/20/2015


Return to the Wild (2014) – Amazon

 

Another look at the legacy of Chris McCandless with new surfacing details released from Chris’s sister. The details bring a new understanding of Chris and his life. Definitely something to see if you’ve read Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer or seen the film Into the Wild (2007) directed by Sean Penn. 6/20/2015


Neurotypical (2013) – Amazon

 

Hear about the experiences of people on the autism spectrum in their own words. An interesting, well executed, brief documentary with some new insight that I’ve not heard, even after lots of independent research on the experience of Asperger’s. 6/17/2015


The Nightmare (2015)   –   Amazon

Two of my favorite things come together for the first experience of horror documentary I’ve ever seen…and it terrified the shit out of me. Mostly because I’ve experienced it. Nice to know I’m not alone. Like I said this is the first film of this type I’ve ever seen and takes the whole reality, shaky-cam film (Paranormal, REC, Blair Witch) to a whole new, terrifyingly real level. Do not watch in the dark…or do. There is the fun, hide-your-eyes ready for a jump scare experience…then there is honest fear, eyes behind your hands, terrified to look at the screen experience.  =) 6/14/2015


Grizzly Man (2005) – Netflix

 

So it took me a while to see this, lol, but Werner Hertzog’s documentary film about the life of Timothy Treadwell and his tragic end is an interesting and nerve-wracking experience. 5/22/2015


Monk With a Camera (2014) – Netflix

 

This documentary follows Nicholas Vreeland as he continues along the path of a Buddhist monk. We learn about his life growing up and about his philosophy and why he chose this path. We also see him struggle with his love for photography, trying to decide if it is a vice or something harmless that fits in with his lifestyle. Very interesting, interviews with family and friends as well as footage of His Holiness the Dali Llama. =) 5/20/2015


Hotline (2014)

An honest and open documentary about hotlines in a variety of fields, from emergency dispatchers to sex hotlines. The interviews come from workers in different fields and analyze what their job is and what it means to people. Very interesting. 4/25/2015


Levitated Mass (2013) – Netflix

 

This thing weighs 340 tons! Artist Michael Heizer’s decades long vision comes to life as we follow the journey of the piece “Levitated Mass” from its inception to completion. A great deal of the doc is dedicated to the physical journey the rock took from its starting point in a quarry in Riverside to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. People lined the streets of towns they knew the rock would be passing through. Really interesting. 3/29/2015


Expedition to the End of the World (2013) – Netflix

 

Officially one of my favorite documentaries I’ve seen yet. An incredible visual experience, the doc accompanies a group of artists and scientists into unexplored territory into the Arctic from the coast of Greenland. Pathways have opened up due to melting ice. It’s hard to include everything that I loved about this documentary, I think it was a combination of so many things. The people themselves are incredibly cool and interesting. Their conversations discuss their areas of expertise, life, mystery, mankind’s meaning, and more. The visual would be enough, but the film is cut beautifully to give us a continuously interesting and surprising experience, accompanied occasionally by heavy metal and hilarious tidbits of brilliance wrapped in humor. Highly recommend. 3/26/2015


Stop At Nothing: The Lance Armstrong Story (2014) – Netflix

 

Telling doc. Kinda made me sick. 3/25/2015


Jake Shimabukuro: Life on Four Strings (2012) – Netflix

Wow. What’s awesome is that he’s “never considered 4 strings a limitation.” 3/25/2015


This is Not a Film (2011) – Netflix

 

Yes, it took me forever to see this, but better late than never. This film was a kick of motivation to dive into the director’s story and watch more of his films. Very valuable for what it is. 3/23/2015


How to Make a Book with Steidl (2010) – Netflix

 

A lovely, hands-off “as is” doc that simply follows Steidl going about his business as one of the world’s most prestigious and sought after book publishers. From around the paper filled rooms of his “laboratory” to runways in Paris and Soho apartments of New York, Steidl works with great artists and shares his deep interest in spending time in an invested working relationship with each of them. The editing is wonderfully seamless in continuity and the documentary feels very fluid in perfectly paced inertia. Loved it. 3/22/2015


Resistance (2015) – Amazon

 

This is a very informative and urgent documentary by Michael Graziano about the nature of bacteria and the squandering of antibiotics since the discovery of penicillin. The film covers the history of antibiotic use, and the pervasive spread of its use in the environment, in medicine, and in agriculture. It is a disturbing truth to uncover when the typical mindset is that we are so advanced as to be able to kill any bacteria. The more antibiotics we throw out there, the more resistant strains of bacteria emerge, challenging doctors for new ways to treat patients who are unlucky enough to contract one of these resistant strains. The doc is divided up neatly and packed with information using charts, interviews and live footage to clarify what is going on as well as the evidence for this issue and its urgency. 3/17/2015


Enquiring Minds (2014) – Netflix

 

An interesting niche documentary, if you interested in, (or addicted to), celebrity gossip mags. 3/10/2015


The Secret Disco Revolution (2012) – Netflix

 

A super fun doc on the history of disco and how it influenced music in the electronic scene and beyond. The corny revolution characters are a bit annoying, but worth bearing with to see the film. Tons of footage and music clips from the era from around the world. Awesome. 3/5/2015


Backstreet Boys: Show’m What You’re Made Of (2015) – Amazon

 

When I was in eighth grade, it was all about these guys (and Brittany Spears), so this was nostalgic for me as I watched, knowing all the words to the songs from their old albums. The documentary itself is high production value and gives insight into each of the members’ lives, from beginning to present, and highlights some of the progress made on their new album and 20th anniversary tour. There are some dramatic yelling scenes from Nick, which kinda turned the thing into shitty reality TV stuff, but on the whole the doc felt honest, and I enjoyed hearing their stories. 2/11/2015


Finding Vivian Maier (2014) – Amazon

 

This wasn’t my favorite documentary of the 2015 Oscar list, but it is well executed with very interesting subject matter. I didn’t care for the editing in several areas because I felt it interrupted a natural flow of story-telling. I would get really in to the unraveling of details about Vivian’s life, then get jerked out of the stupor by the film maker and some tedious detail about the film making process. Still, Maier makes for a cool story of discovery, with slightly gimmicky development that is obviously directed towards shock-value and dramatic intrigue. 2/2/15


Virunga (2014) – Netflix

 

Up for best documentary at the 2015 Academy Awards, Virunga is a highly visual, immersive documentary about the value of natural resources in the Congo, one of the most precious to a small group of activists being the endangered mountain gorillas. The footage here is amazing, and the people featured in the film who have dedicated their lives to protecting these animals are incredible, hard-working people with a solid foundation of what principle and true value means when it comes to the land. 2/1/15


Marley (2012)

 

An awesome, in-depth visual biography of legendary artist Bob Marley. The documentary goes to Marley’s hometown and gives insight into his life and times through interviews and perspectives from people all around the artist. 12/26/14


Advanced Style (2014)

 

Discover Ari Cohen’s blog Advanced Style in this film all about women whose fashion sense never fades with age. Check out the blog here. 12/6/14


Connected (2011)

 

This is an awesome documentary about film maker Tiffany Shlain’s view on the development of technology and apparent degradation of human social interaction. She delves in to what it really means to be “connected” and recounts her father’s career as he is challenged with a grim medical diagnosis just as he is finishing his final work on the brain. Fascinating and a great discussion. 12/5/14


A Brony Tale (2014)

 

An adorable and well crafted documentary about the main demographic of My Little Pony fans; middle aged men. The people interviewed for this film have some interesting things to say about who they are and how the world perceives them. 12/4/14


Artifact (2012)

 

Jared Leto played one of the most disturbing characters ever created in Daren Aronofsky’s Requiem for a Dream, as the unfortunate Harry, written into form by the inimitable Hubert Selby, Jr. This was, at least, my first introduction to him as an artist. I think many more people know him as the lead singer for 30 Seconds to Mars, and in the documentary Artifact, directed by Leto, he chronicles the creation of the band’s third album, a process shadowed by a tedious battle with their label EMI over profits for the band, contracts, and general unfairness.

The film is crafted around the artists’ thought process and decision making and highlights key points in the band’s history during its development with interviews and clips from concerts, songs, etc. It gives a very thorough and broad view and insight into Leto’s creative process as well as the emotions that arise when his art and the creative process are threatened. The film culminates in the finished third album, This Is War, and its wild success, despite the doubts, challenges and frustrations that plagued the course of its production. A really entertaining documentary and welcome insight into Jared Leto as a creator. 11/21/14


Creating Freedom: The Lottery of Birth (2013)

 

Howard Zinn is the creator of A People’s History of the United States, an alternative take on American history to what is typically taught in schools. Far from the idyllic depiction of Columbus and cooperation with natives, Zinn tells his readers about the lesser emphasized, and indeed usually omitted, darker side of Columbus and the mistreatment of the native civilizations, though he is often ridiculed for not citing his information. Zinn is featured in interviews as part of this thought-provoking, if broad, documentary. In one segment Zinn overtly emphasizes the nature of documented history, and that just like in many public schools, his own account is biased.

This basic concept is the foundation of the documentary as a whole. The Lottery of Birth refers to the fact that no one “chooses to exist.” We are born into societies and families with established language, customs, opinions, beliefs and the list goes on and on. Everyone seems to believe they have the definitive answer and that they are “correct.” To begin questioning the established order is an uncomfortable undertaking. As Albert Camus wrote, “to begin thinking is to begin to be undermined.” But the journey that involves constant reassessment and asking of “why” is the pathway to personal principle, belief and change.

There is another interesting observation in the documentary that deals with a study I have written about before, that which is described in Dr. Philip Zimbardo’s The Lucifer Effect, the prison/prison guard experiment. This experiment was recalled as the documentary explained another experiment that took place in the ’60s which sought to explain how ordinary human beings could perform horrendous acts of violence as was demonstrated in Europe during World War II.

The experiment involved participants who were to administer a test to a subject tied to an electric chair. Each time the subject got the answer wrong, the participant sent the subject an electric shock. The subjects were secretly actors and received no such shocks, but the participants didn’t know this. The shocks got progressively more intense and the participant was instructed to go up the voltage scale, all the way up to lethal levels, if necessary. The percentage of participants who were prepared to follow directions and follow through with the experiment to lethal levels of electric shock? A solid 65%! It makes you think about the power of social structure and influence, and the flaws inherent in the theory of “bad apples” when it comes to violent crime. 11/15/14


Afternoon of a Faun: Tanaquil Le Clercq (2013)

 

Subject matter and footage surpass the technical prowess of the film, but it is well worth watching to discover “Tan,” an incredible ballet dancer and muse for choreographers Balanchine and Jerome Robbins who was struck down at the height of her career with polio, from which she never fully recovered. 11/4/14


Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy (2010)

 

This is an incredibly thorough documentary covering each and every installment and chapter of the Nightmare on Elm Street series, including interviews with almost everyone who had a part in the making of these films. The editing is a bit choppy and not every transition is smooth, but it is full of awesome footage and inside looks at behind the scenes events as well as great interviews with the actors and directors. It is long at around 3 hours, but it is invaluable in that each film is analyzed from different perspectives and offers points of view on the themes and interpretations that may have gone under the radar of their main stream audience. 10/23/14


Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present (2012)

This documentary is so powerful to me. I had never been introduced to this type of art before and made me realize how important it is to have an open mind when your goal in life is to discover, learn and connect. For example, one of the landmark pieces Marina is known for is where she sits in front of someone for an incredibly long time, day after day, for weeks, months. I looked at this and was struck with thoughts dominated by puzzlement and judgement. It was weird and silly to me, until I let myself think about it. Think about where the artist is coming from. I thought about my own situation where looking people in the eyes is incredibly difficult and the idea of coming to a space where this woman is sitting, taking a seat in front her, then meeting her eyes became profound. It also made it clear to me that sometimes in order to appreciate something so radically different from what a person is used to or familiar with, the time in a person’s life, what has come before, and what a person is tuned in to all become so vital in the outcome of whether the person listens, or immediately dismisses. I was able to let myself make a connection with what it is Marina is trying to do with her art and it came alive for me, all at once. The documentary itself is beautifully done, you can tell it was a production made with love and devotion to its subject. It goes into Marina’s history in performance art through interviews and old footage, and is framed by the massive preparations for a show held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. One of my new favorite documentaries. 10/10/14

The Artist is Present Exhibition Site


Please Subscribe (2012)

 

A very entertaining, though not very in depth, look at the world of “youtubers,” or people that make a living, and sometimes quite a substantial living, from making youtube videos. Highlights include interviews with the creators of My Drunk Kitchen, Wheezy Waiter, Mystery Guitar Man, and several more. Worth a watch, especially if you are susceptible to losing track of time while perusing the massive world of youtube. 10/9/2014


Girl Rising (2013)

http://girlrising.com/

An incredibly important and moving documentary highlighting the lives of a several young women from around the world and their experiences and struggles including the desire for an education and the lack of safe opportunity. One of the most important points of the documentary is the evidence and data showing that one of the biggest things a developing country can do to progress its economy is to educate their women. Sadly, there are millions of girls who do not get this chance. After watching the film, visit the site for information and ways to help out. 9/20/14


Time Zero: The Last Year of Polaroid Film (2012)

 

At the beginning of the documentary, a passing interest. But by the end I felt the value and significance of Polaroid film after listening to some of the world’s last remaining photographers who live and breath with Polaroid film. The arguments for its significance are hard to disagree with. We are quickly losing the age when people shared shoe boxes full of concrete and irreplaceable memories in the form of photographs with friends and family. Most of the digital images created today never emerge from the hard drive of a computer. The Polaroid captures a moment and gives you physical proof as an instant stamp in time and looking at the photograph later, the object itself becomes part of the value of that memory. It is untamperable and long lasting, while printed out digital images fade away in a short amount of time. It was thought in 2009 that instant film was completely dead. But thanks to some ambitious entrepreneurs, people can still buy film to use with their Polaroid camera. They’ve figured out a new way to create it and are constantly working on improvements. The name of the company is The Impossible Project. What was once thought impossible is now a reality. Check them out here: https://www.the-impossible-project.com/        9/1/14


I Am Divine (2013)

 

Fantastically colorful and entertaining with great interviews and commentary from those who worked with Divine (a.k.a Harris Glenn Milstead) from the earliest years and on. John Waters is of course full of anecdotes, and the comments from Divine’s mother are especially revealing as far as the inner life behind the mask of the most brilliantly outgoing character ever. The doc itself is a bit unorganized and sporadic, but the rare footage and complete, relevant content throughout more than makes up for it. 7/26/14


Hey Bartender (2013)

 

Go behind some of the most famous bars in the world as this documentary offers extensive insight through interviews with the leaders in the cocktail and bar tending industry, including Dale DeGroff and Audrey Saunders. The doc includes a brief history of bar tending in America from Prohibition onward and follows a young apprentice as he endeavors to climb to the prestigious position of principle bartender at the famous Employees Only bar in New York. Very fun watch. 7/18/14


Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction (2012)

 

He’s played so many different roles and characters that he’s permanently melded into the film genre itself. He’s the ideal character actor who appears and disappears like a magic set, materializing into a different skin that may not be leading all the time, but that creates the foil for any story to become memorable. A lovely documentary directed by Sophie Huber with some unique filming, including markedly silent shots emphasizing the personality of Stanton himself. Love the interview with David Lynch. 7/15/14


Who the %$&* is Arthur Fogel? (2013)

Ron Chapman’s documentary on the man behind some of the biggest concert tours in history, including Madonna, U2, The Police, David Bowie, and Lady Gaga, is incredibly entertaining and offers high momentum play that makes the time completely disappear while you wish there was more! Aside from the cheezy titles at the head of each section, this doc is a ten out of ten. Highly recommended. 7/12/14


Improv Everywhere: We Cause Scenes (2013)

This is one of the best things, ever, period. If you’ve never heard of Improv Everywhere or No Pants on the Train, take a minute to watch the trailer. This doc is so much fun. 7/1/14


Jimi Hendrix: Hear my Train A-Comin (2013)

 

This is a new and interesting take on the life and music of Jimi Hendrix with some details about his life and testimonies of those closest to him that I’d never heard or read before. It is well paced with lots of footage from interviews and concerts. 6/25/2014


Dad’s in Heaven with Nixon (2010)

 

This is the poignant story of Tom Murray’s family history which involves a great deal of hardship but also joy and enlightenment. Tom’s brother Christopher is autistic and a history of tragedy surrounding the father figure has followed the Murray family for generations. Christopher, however, has a lot to teach his family about living life in a way that is boundless and accepting. He has grown to be an artist who does awesome, huge paintings of mostly architectural marvels. Because of the love and support that his family showed him, he grew up to be a very capable, observant, brilliant and warm human being. The documentary is done with a heavy emphasis on the emotional impact using music and lots and lots of pictures and home movie type video. It’s definitely a film you can get lost in for a while. Made me cry. 6/15/14


Far Out Isn’t Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story (2012)

What a well-crafted, interesting work. It is full of artwork from every part of Ungerer’s life and includes the inspirational artists that helped fuel his creativity. Ungerer himself has a lot of wisdom to share within his interview with Brad Bernstein. The sections of this film are begun with a quote and many of these are elaborated upon in the interview.  The film traces Ungerer’s life story all the way back to his horrific experiences as a child with the death of his father at age 3 and the four year occupation of France by the Nazis in his native Alsace. The artist came under fire as he began working simultaneously as a children’s author and creator of pornographic drawings exploring eroticism. He was also the creator of incredibly powerful political protest posters that served as a “punch in the face” with truth. Definitely worth seeing. 5/25/14


The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology (2012)

So, despite the off-putting name and cover for this documentary, it ended up being an incredibly interesting discussion with Slavoj Zizek about the concept of ideology and how movies play into it. I wasn’t on board with everything he said, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t very interesting to hear. There are films out there with blatant messages and metaphors that play out their sermon on screen, and then there are movies with a million different interpretations. I think it is misguided to think about the shark from Jaws and say that Spielberg meant for the shark to represent foreign threat or war or Nazis or whatever else. However, presented differently, one can make an argument for the things that people turn from gross to abstract symbol in their own minds based on their own fears. I’d like to give Zizek the benefit of the doubt on this and say that this is what he meant to say. Not that all of these filmmakers set out at the start to make a film with the monster representing this and that. The danger is in the wording you put to that interpretation. To say that “the shark represents…” turns me off completely. I’m reminded of the special feature from the film version of The Lord of the Rings which explained how Tolkien despised allegory and hated that people decided to prescribe all of these meanings to everything that may be a symbol in his work. I think personal interpretation is interesting. I think putting intentions and words into the creator’s head is misguided. I believe Spielberg was just making a fun, exciting movie about…a shark. But hey, I could be wrong.

Despite the way in which some ideas are presented, I found the majority of what Zizek had to say really worth listening to. I was introduced to movies that I had never heard of before and now want to see as soon as possible. These include Seconds (1966) and Brazil (1985) (which has a young De Niro in it). Both of these films are examples of unmistakable allegory. In Seconds, a man decides he is unhappy with his life and goes to a special company that is able to give him an entirely new one. Eventually he gets bored and goes back to them asking for his old life back. I won’t spoil the ending for you but it is not happy. Then in Brazil you have a caricature of a corporatocracy. The clips of this film were few and not a lot was revealed about the rest of the movie but that makes me want to see it more.

Basically, this documentary is really interesting even you don’t agree with everything he is saying. They are really intelligent arguments and much more founded and well argued than the discussion of Kubrick films in Room 237. 5/25/14


The Birth of the Living Dead (2013)

 

Awesome and incredibly thorough and insightful look at the entire process of the creation of Romero’s Night of the Living Dead which was released in 1968. Commentators including Romero himself look at the implications that surrounded making a film like this at a time like that. Incredibly interesting. Really cool stuff. 5/24/14


The End of Time (2012)

This is a 2 hour long meditation on time, mostly shown through beautiful photography. Without much verbal discussion, the film moves along capturing moments that try to illustrate our perception of time and whether or not it is possible to escape that perception. The film displays interesting views of concepts from spirituality, quantum theory, Detroit, burial, and much more. 5/25/14


Terms and Conditions May Apply (2013)

It’s all about where we’re headed. It’s not complicated and it’s not hard to grasp. Anything that has been digitized is no longer private. The government can now take actions against those who may be JUST THINKING ABOUT causing trouble. The key word is “prevent,” and it slides in nicely with the other standard buzzwords in an agreement text like “protect,” “monitor” or “share.” This documentary argues that we are moving through an age of retrospective surveillance, in which people’s emails, texts, tweets, etc. can be looked over to piece together a motivation for a crime after they’ve been arrested. But the same thing can happen in an effort to prevent the crime from happening in the first place, minority report style,  based on red flag words or sentiments that come up in the database and which you had no idea anyone was looking at. These red flags come from facebook text, smartphone apps, twitter, etc.

To me, there are two opposing views that each have blind-spots. One view is that personal information is worth protecting our society from terrorists coming in and killing innocent people. If you have nothing to hide, then you shouldn’t be freaking out about your information being public. We should be giving our government all the tools it needs to protect us. The blind-spot? Who has been given complete authority over the definition of the word “terrorist”? And what is stopping that authority from defining the word terrorist to be in line with anything or anyone that shows dissent toward “the government and those who have been elected to power,” (read *”the system that is keeping the money market economy’s corruption-infested blood pumping?”)

On the other hand, you have people who are complete cynics about all things power and suit and are determined that the US government is an entirely evil entity bent on nothing but money making and power over the whole world. While there have been individuals who clearly have a corrupt track record, I think the blind-spot here is that it is possible to balance protection and privacy.

I personally think that our technological intelligence has surpassed our human intelligence, and this is why the world will be brought to its knees by an army of robots programmed to sing happy birthday to your kids but also to shoot lasers at shadows at night. 5/24/14


We Steal Secrets (2013)

A well constructed and super informative documentary on WikiLeaks creator Julian Assange. Particularly poignant is how the film sheds light on the man, apart from the celebrity. Glimpse behind the mask at hints of paranoia, estrangement and a deeply embedded need to seek out and expose truths, whatever the cost. 4/29/2014


The Punk Singer (2013)

An incredibly pleasurable punch in the face. 4/15/14


Mortified Nation (2013)

This is so good! People sign up and read from their diaries that they wrote when they were kids. I guarantee you will find yourself in this documentary and laugh your ass off. =) 4/14/14


Blank City (2010)

 

Prepare to be overloaded with info, interviews and images from the explosion of 70’s “No Wave” art film, music and people. A fascinating kaleidoscope that attempts to pull together an all encompassing snapshot of what was going on at that time.  4/1/14


The City Dark (2011)

This is a cool documentary about light. How the night sky was first used to navigate, and how the invention of electric light has caused the night sky to become a not-so-commonly seen phenomena. To find a truly dark night sky, one needs to travel way outside the modern city boundaries. Visit observation sites in Arizona and Hawaii, a couple of the best in the world. 3/20/14


Twenty Feet from Stardom (2013)

Fast-paced, educational and inspiring documentary about legendary and virtually unheard-of singers whose careers include being on stage with Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, the Rolling Stones, David Bowie and many more. Lisa Fischer is so incredible, and her attitude and wisdom conveyed in this film make her a superstar in my book. 2/28/2014


Nightmare Factory

I would really be sad too if good old-fashioned puppet making and make-up EFX died because of CGI and new digital effect innovations as Greg Nicotero is afraid of. Awesomely entertaining documentary. 2/25/2014


Reel Injun

Really interesting look at the portrayal of Native American Indians from the early silent era to present and how that image has evolved. I had no idea about the occupation at Wounded Knee or about Marlon Brando not accepting his Oscar and raising consciousness about the treatment of Indians in Hollywood. Really well-researched and presented film. 2/25/2014


The Elephant in the Living Room

I didn’t realize it was actually legal to own a cougar or an elephant or a couple of lions…wow. 2/25/2014


Wayne White Beauty is Embarassing

What an incredibly cool guy. Wayne White is the creator of many culture-changing pop artwork that may have gone under your radar. But once I met the creator behind this work, I was truly interested. It challenged me to take a broader stance when it comes to art and its purpose. Awesome documentary, 10 out of 10 =)   2/25/2014


Girl Model (2011)

A sober, cold progression through the experience of a very young Russian girl who is chosen to model in Japan. The documentary is narrated by the scout, an “ex” -model, though she hates to think of herself that way. She has made a good amount of money and bought a big glass house. But it is scary to be there at night, because when she turns the lights on people can see inside but she can’t see out. She has two small naked plastic dolls to keep her company, and a box full of small pictures of portions of models she’s seen, from hands to feet to legs and torsos. She has no passion for her job, and the life in which Nadya Vall is thrown is empty to her. This is a wonderfully put together documentary. 2/23/2014


The Woodmans (2010)

Haunting, beautifully constructed documentary about the life of Francesca Woodman, showcasing dozens of photographs and interviews with her family and a few friends. She becomes a part of you once you are exposed to her work. I really enjoyed this one. http://www.inglebygallery.com/exhibitions/francesca-woodman/2/22/2014


Cutie and the Boxer

The varied and abrupt cuts throughout the film create a patchwork that for me makes the film seem like I am looking through a photo album instead of following a narrative, and I like this. It’s like walking through an art gallery where many different themes and impressions are introduced and it is up to the viewer to take in what he or she will and to assign relevance where it lies in each mind. 1/26/2014


I’d followed the stories in the news and used the timelines and animations on the New York Times website to put events in order and try to understand what was happening in Egypt, but documentary filmmaking in the last several years has presented itself as an invaluable opportunity for human connection where newsprint, blogging and television news broadcasts fall short. These are the faces of the people involved with the revolutionary movement in Egypt. The faces that you can watch, second by second, as the emotion in their faces evolve from shock, to understanding, to rage, to determination. In place of a pretty girl whose makeup and hair has just been done, reading off of a sheet of paper, perhaps tripping over the pronunciation of some words, you have Ahmed, Magdy, Khalid, Dina, and Ramy running or standing resolute in Tahrir Square as first Mubarek, then the military regime, then Muslim Brotherhood supporters try to crush, depress, or manipulate the cause of the Egyptian people gathered there. 1/25/14


Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay

This documentary is awesome if you are in to card magic and sleight-of-hand. I’ve actually been a huge fan ever since I saw Lennart Green do his card routine with the laser and disappearing cards. Watch his performance on TED talks here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_oa8m5Oq00

This documentary goes in depth into the history of card magic as entertainment and then as an art. The names of magicians go back before the 20th century and there is some rare, hard to find footage of some very old performances from when the art was just getting started. Fascinating! 1/11/14

See the trailer here:


   Never Stand Still is a documentary about a gathering of professional dancers at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. The film highlights several companies and the founders of the longest running dance festival in the US. The over-arching theme of the film is a deeper understanding of dance itself as an art form, not just entertainment, not just a profession. As legendary figure Suzanne Farrell remarks, even if no one showed up to watch, dancers would still be dancing. 1/4/14


Blackfish, a documentary directed by Gabriella Cowperthwaite, is an eye-opening look at the killer whale, our history of capturing them from the wild for Sealand and later SeaWorld, and why this is a mistake. I actually watched this film twice in a row yesterday,  and I think that what I gleamed most from this message is a lesson on social behavior. The most moving testimonies from interviewees who are mostly former trainers expounded on how they didn’t see how they were doing anything wrong. Indeed, if you went to any zoo or SeaWorld while Tilikum was performing it is not easy to see past the way people are behaving socially to see the problem. Looking back, it is common sense that if you believe wild animals have any value whatsoever (I understand some people don’t) then there is something wrong with capturing a bunch of them from their natural surroundings and placing them in a pool, keeping a 4,000 pound animal in a 20 by 30 foot box for two thirds of their life, ripping mothers from their young, and watching them get violent with each other and then with trainers…is just stupid and unethical. But all those smiling faces at the amusement park and the indoctrination of trainers telling them they are doing good for the animals obscures what seems so obvious. But I also think it is important to look at the implications of the film for humans as well. The killer whale is incredibly intelligent and studies done by neuroscientists confirm that their brains have an additional segment  connected to the part that controls emotion. They have an emotional dimension and capacity that we can’t even understand, like a monkey doesn’t understand problem solving past simple puzzles for a reward. The film cites footage of mass strandings where the whales refuse to let one of their own die alone, instead they all stay with him….the same for getting caught in hunters’ nets. Their communication is so individually varied and unique that you have to call it language, and when a mother is separated from her child, she sits alone, shaking and screaming….I don’t know how you can interpret that as a the reaction of a dumb, unaware animal. But we as humans are also social creatures. You distort nature and the natural way of living, as we’ve done a fabulous job of, then we too start to rip each other apart, (when whales do it it’s called “raking”) and become frustrated, angry, and sad. But sure enough the government tells us they are doing things “for our good” and with all the smiling faces in the largest amusement park in the world, what may be uncovered with a little research and education is indeed obscured.  12/28/13


Room 237, directed by Rodney Ascher, is an intriguing and well crafted documentary that weaves through a series of explications by different interviewees regarding elements of Stanley Kubrick’s classic film, The Shining. The viewpoints are incredibly interesting and chances are that there are a lot of details that you’ve never noticed. But what significance do they have? How much evidence is needed before we can confirm any one of these theories? Whether or not you are on board with everything discussed, the film is very entertaining, opening up so many new avenues of thought. Personally, I’ve never been a huge fan of this particular film, though it may be riddled with countless astute and subtle references and messages. I don’t know that these things are what I watch a movie for. Whether Kubrick’s Jack represented the evil force behind the holocaust or the slaughter of the Native American Indians, he is still a rather flat and one-dimensional character. Maybe that’s the point, but I just personally wasn’t very deeply affected, as incredible a performance as it is for Jack Nicholson. Another aspect here is that perhaps if the work was not supposed to be connected to Stephen King’s book, I could appreciate it more. But certainly after reading such an incredible development of character psychologically, Kubrick’s Jack pales in comparison. But if you consider the faked Apollo footage theory, there may be forgiveness to be found there…if you have no idea what I’m talking about I’m excited for you. Make time to watch this documentary!


Last Will and Testament

There’s a rumor going ’round that William Shakespeare is not actually the true author of the 37 plays and hundred and some sonnets widely considered to be the greatest literary work in English ever written. Actually, this is a very old rumor, one that I’ve only recently been made aware of. I was a little taken aback when I watched a clip on youtube of Jim Jarmusch, Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston at the Cannes Film Festival talking about Only Lovers Left Alive and Mr. Jarmusch’s staunch position as a believer in Christopher Marlowe having actually written the great works. It was a wonderful coincidence then, that I found a documentary added to Netflix called Last Will. and Testament all about the theories and beliefs regarding Shakespeare’s authentic authorship. The film goes into depth about the 17th Earl of Oxford, Edward De Vere, and the parallels and coincidences that make a strong case for inquiry into the possibility that he actually wrote under the pseudonym “Shakespeare” to avoid persecution in a time when any liberties taken towards free speech and expression of opposition to the monarchy was met with punishment, oftentimes death.

It is interesting to me how easy it is for people to scoff and shrug off such a “radical” claim, though its radicalism is substantive only insofar as it challenges what we are comfortable with, what seems to be set in stone only because the stone is so old. I feel that many incredibly positive changes could occur in this country if more people my age were willing to question what has “generally been accepted,” if only for that reason, alone.


For the Love of Movies

I was very excited when I stumbled upon a documentary recently added on netflix that was all about film criticism. In the Nov/Dec issue of Film Comment there are several pages dedicated to the history of the magazine in honor of the publication’s 50th anniversary. I read through this piece with a highlighter to make note of the reviewers I would like to be familiar with. The article gave a fascinating back story and an in depth look at the key writers that had shaped the perspective and direction of the magazine as well as film criticism in general in the US. As a result, I was able to watch this documentary having something of an introduction in my mind of landmark film critics such as Pauline Kael and Andrew Sarris and the positions they’d taken regarding how film is to be analyzed. I personally found Vincent Canby’s introduction to Ingmar Bergman’s The Passion of Anna beautiful and striking. Like I’ve adopted in my approach to writing on movies, I would much rather read an impassioned, visceral reaction by an eloquent reviewer than an introductory paragraph filled with technical details, obscure names, or an orientation within the writer’s prescribed theory. That isn’t to say that these elements are not fascinating or that I’m not eager to learn about them. But for me personally, there is the time I dedicate to study, and then there is a time I dedicate to expression, in which research is recalled naturally, flowing from prior experience instead of constructed like a term paper. If a scene brings to my mind a poignant similarity to the dinner scene in Little Miss Sunshine then I would write about it, but would not feel compelled to research a similar scene in order to adequately fill out an essay. I feel like this would just put more distance between the film and its effect, the non-censored, spontaneous emotion provoked by a carefully, (or not so carefully), constructed work of art. This is, at least what I like to read, because it is an expression of the distilled connection that we share as readers and storytellers, film viewers and film makers.

Two interesting quotes from the film stick out to me as I write this. One is from Andrew Sarris, noted and long time film critic at The Village Voice in New York and “champion of auteur theory” (as written by Michael Powell at The New York Times) who died last year at the age of 83. Paraphrasing, he says that he is essentially an amateur, just like hundreds of online reviewers who don’t have masters degrees in film theory or a track record of making their own films, etc, writing about movies because he loves to write about movies, citing the definition of the word. Another quote comes from an online film critic who does indeed have a masters degree in film studies. She states that she has “no authority” any more, not any more than some high school kid who is a self-declared film enthusiast. An interesting evolution and light post of the times comes in the form of the online writer Harry Knowles of aintitcoolnews.com who rose to fame without anything on his resume but the love of movies. Now he is flown all over the place to premieres and festivals because people want to read what he has to say. Anyways, this is a very interesting documentary and acts as an update on how the “profession” of film criticism has changed and where it may be going.


Tent City, U.S.A. – An eye-opening look at Tent City, where it started and where it went. This film documents the story of a group of homeless people who formed a bond and began a family in a small community outside of Nashville. With the theme of “homeless, not helpless,” the people in this documentary remind viewers that the homeless community is made up of many different and unique people with talents and character like anyone else. Fighting the stigma of homelessness, I was touched by the personal accounts of each one.


Lost Angels: Skid Row is my Home – Get an insight into an area of L.A. called Skid Row, “not to be found on a map.” The people in this film share their stories which are as diverse and interesting as the people themselves.


Salinger. A fascinating documentary about the life and work of J.D. Salinger. Music is a bit over-the-top, but the structure and narrative are wonderful.


 Until the Light Takes Us. An awesome documentary about Norwegian black metal, its origin bands, and the consequences.


 Hot Coffee. Whether you agree with the jury’s verdict in the case of the mcdonald’s hot coffee spill, look at how the media, government, and financial sectors used the case as a springboard to move their own interests forward.


Park Avenue. A mind-blowing look at the culture of the top 1% of our country. “About 400 of America’s top richest people control the equivalent of the bottom half of America’s wealth; over 100 million people” (paraphrase)


 Trek Nation. Recently I began watching the original Star Trek series. I did this for many reasons. One of them is that one of my greatest loves is watching and studying movies and film history and I realized how silly it was to have this hobby and to as yet not touched on one of the greatest social/cultural phenomenons in American history. So I started at the beginning, and at episode 5 I was completely hooked.

It is exciting to be just discovering this world as the new Abrams films are being released. I just saw Star Trek: Into Darkness and the experience was made all the more powerful from having familiarized myself with the original creation of those characters and their archetypes. The more I delve into the world of Star Trek, the more I begin to “get it” and the more special it becomes for me.

This documentary, created by Gene Roddenberry’s son, Eugene, takes you on a journey from the conception of Star Trek to the current manifestations, and finally thoughts of where Star Trek is going in the future. As Eugene’s father died when he was just 17, he admits to never having really gotten to know his father, or his creation, in the way he wished he could have. Now, through the interviews and footage compiled in this documentary, he tries to reconnect with his father through the eyes and experiences of those with whom he worked closely and touched through the years of Star Trek and Next Generation, as well as the legacy that has moved forward and shows no sign of ending. Also a lovely interview with George Lucas about his views on Star Trek and the “rivalry” between the two sci fi worlds.


   Jig. This is the first documentary I’ve seen available on instant streaming from netflix that goes inside the competition life of championship Irish dance competitors. As a former Irish dancer myself, I found the stories and clips of dance training nostalgic. The film also includes a championship set that is the best I’ve ever seen!


The Listening Project

The Listening Project The Listening Project. Go around the world and listen to answers to the question, “What do you think about America?” The answers might surprise you.


Kingdom of Shadows

Kingdom of Shadows. A Look at the history and development of what we know as the “horror” film genre.


Lon Chaney: Behind the Mask

Lon Chaney: Behind the Mask. So many characters and masks. Unbelievable.


Kumare

I watched this recently and I was really struck by the reactions of those who followed Kumare and then discovered he was just a regular guy from New Jersey. What does it mean to take your happiness into your own hands instead of entrusting your path to enlightenment to someone in a robe professing to be a yogi? The answers are within yourself, not in the hands of anyone else.


The Story of Film: An Odyssey

This is definitely for complete film addicts and anyone interested in discovering directors from other countries you’ve never heard of before, but whose work is worth checking out. I discovered Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu and ordered his film “Tokyo Story” and was so excited to have found him. This director in particular emphasizes the importance and relevancy of the void, negative space, which can be found in all modes of art. Oftentimes it is this void that works to manifest the essential magic of the art itself.


The Slanted Screen

A look at the depiction of Asian actors in American film, often smothered in stereotype and kept in stereotypically written roles. Also looks at some of the key figures who broke new ground in paving the way for Asian actors to break out of these traditional roles.


Side by Side

Film has inevitably evolved and moved from film to digital in the past decade. Will directors use film at all in the next ten years? What are the pros and cons of using the digital medium and does special effects do justice to the telling of a story if they are intangible?


How To Survive a Plague

 How to Survive a Plague. An extremely powerful documentary about the struggle of AIDS victims to get help from the US government and the stats that are constantly being overlooked and stereotyped.


Fat Sick, and Nearly Dead

 Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. Inspired me to get a juicer! One of the best decisions I’ve made in a while.


5 Broken Cameras

Eye-opening. Powerful. Personal.


Pina

Absolutely gorgeous, and unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. The choreography performances will stay with me forever. So unique.


Food Matters

Important information that I think is steadily rising in public awareness. I can’t encourage you enough to take an hour or two of your time to see this.


First Position

Really entertaining. Well done.


The Invisible War

Congratulations to the film makers of The Invisible War for having the impact on me that I believe they intended…I was so enraged and impassioned after watching this film. I encourage you to visit the site after watching the film and getting information on what you can do to continue raising awareness on this issue. Also congratulations for being recognized by the Academy! Not only a relevant issue, but extremely well executed in directing in every way. Thank you!


Ai Wei wei: Never Sorry

This guy is amazing. Very interesting look inside art culture in China as well as the state of government censorship and the careful progression of speaking out as an individual in China.


Jiro Dream of Sushi

Such a well-done film. You don’t have to know anything or even care anything about sushi to be entertained by this documentary.


Craigslist Joe

I love the hidden camera feel of this film. Interesting story and insight into the lives of people all over the US.


Heckler

I would cry on stage if someone heckled in the middle of my show. Crying isn’t funny, therefore I don’t do stand-up.


Exit Through the Gift Shop

What I love most about documentaries is that there is always the potential to open up whole new worlds for me that I knew nothing about before. This is one of those films. I loved the art and the testimonies from people all over the world about what they think of the elusive artist known as Banksy.


Buskers

When I was in college I used to play guitar and sing on the grass dreaming about being able to do it on the streets of a big city and make money. Now I’m pretty sure I don’t have the stones to do it…and have an amazing new appreciation for these people out there being themselves and brightening peoples’ day.


These Amazing Shadows


Gonzo

…Wow…


(A) Sexual


Tales From the Script

Where your favorite movies come from…and the names of the writers who wrote them that you missed during the Oscars because they got all of 2 seconds to be recognized on stage…


Between the Folds

Think the crane is the most complex thing you can fold out of paper….please take a look at this!!!!


The Great Happiness Space

Get insight from both sides in Japan about the business of buying a good time with an attractive young man in Tokyo.


In Search of Beethoven

I can watch this over and over again. An enthrallingly guided journey through Beethoven’s life, hitting every interesting point and highlighted with lots of music.


10 Questions for the Dalai Lama

If you could ask the Dalai Lama one question, what would it be?

****************************What the Bleep do We Know?*****************************************************

IF YOU WATCH ONE MOVIE IN THE LIST FOR WHATEVER REASON, PLEASE PICK THIS ONE


Note by Note

Watch the process of building a Steinway piano from beginning to stage.


This Film is Not Yet Rated

Very intriguing insight into the rating system and how it has evolved over time, and how it serves the studios’ interests.


The Parking Lot Movie

I love everything about this film. The boys that work the parking lot are so much fun to listen to, and they have a lot say about what they get to see.


Waste Land

Amazing. See works of art like this one depicted on the cover made entirely from WASTE!


Man on Wire

Amazing. A true demonstration of mind over matter.


Restrepo

Incredibly powerful. Be ready to be hit hard.


Solitary Confinement

I have an interest in the effect of solitary confinement on the human mind, as can be seen in the story I’m writing on this blog. I’m also interested in the history of Eastern State Penitentiary, which I was delighted to see highlighted in this film.


Fistful of Quarters

I loved getting my nerd on with this film. So much fun!


Waiting for Superman

Another very powerful, eye-opening experience regarding the US education system.


Merlene

A very different, unconventionally shot film. Loved it.


Word Wars

Scrabble!!!!


Nightmares in Red, White and Blue

Hands down the most entertaining documentary on American horror film.


Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould

This was my introduction to Glenn Gould. I now have a huge library of his recordings on my computer. An interesting life and fascinating body of work. I think his interpretation of Beethoven 5th piano concerto is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever heard.


Inside Deep Throat


America the Beautiful

Important message. Well done.


Kink


Make Believe

When I was a kid in the ’90s I was mesmerized by the World’s Greatest Magic shows. This film brought it all back for me.


Believe: the Eddie Izzard Story

This tray is wet. This tray is wet. This tray is wet. Did you dry these in a rainforest why…This tray is wet.


Triangle Fire


Smash His Camera


Martial Arts Master: The Life of Bruce Lee

I’m obsessed with Chinese martial arts.


Otaku


Films of Fury

Great catalog and history of martial arts films.


The Brandon Teena Story


Client 9


Pray for Japan


No End in Sight

Charles Ferguson’s No End in Sight and Inside Job are two of the most eye-opening and impacting documentaries I’ve ever seen.


Inside Job

It’s amazing to me that the whole country didn’t just stand up at once and say “No” in unison after this film came out. Why? We outnumber them guys.


Under Our Skin


Two in the Wave


Light Keeps Me Company

Ingmar Bergman is one of my favorite directors. Then I discovered why.


Master Qi

 

 

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