REVIEW: Won’t You Be My Neighbor? [2018]

“Look for the helpers” I remember watching “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” as a kid, but couldn’t have told you anything about it besides the fact that Fred Rogers would trade his jacket for a cardigan and eventually let us travel to his Neighborhood of Make-Believe. To me it was the aesthetic that grabbed hold—the trolley trip […]

REVIEW: Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami [2017]

“I have to do some emotional blackmail” There’s a moment early on in Sophie Fiennes‘ documentary Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami wherein the titular artist films a new music video-style performance of her 1977 hit disco-era cover of Édith Piaf‘s “La Vie en Rose.” She goes to the studio blind to what the imagery will […]

REVIEW: RBG [2018]

“There’s a china doll in the bullpen” If you asked me which branch of government’s members I know least, the answer would be easy: judicial. The reason is even easier: I don’t vote for them. It’s an interesting truth because they’re the ones given lifetime appointments and therefore the ones who will potentially impact our […]

REVIEW: Filmworker [2018]

“I want to work for that man” When studios gave Leon Vitali a hard time about requests made on behalf of Stanley Kubrick, the director would tell him to stand firm and be exacting. Vitali relays a story within Tony Zierra‘s documentary Filmworker of Kubrick faxing these places his demands with Leon’s signature so they […]

REVIEW: Le Redoutable [Godard Mon Amour] [2017]

“I was lucky enough to admire my lover” We’re introduced to Emile (Marc Fraize) halfway through Michel Hazanavicius‘ Le Redoubtable [Godard Mon Amour]. He’s a local Frenchman with a car and the means to procure enough gas to drive an argumentative Jean-Luc Godard (Louis Garrel), his wife Anne Wiazemsky (Stacy Martin), and their friends (Micha […]

REVIEW: Lou Andreas-Salomé, The Audacity to be Free [2016]

“Become who you are” There’s a great line spoken by an aged Lou Andreas-Salomé (Nicole Heesters) to new friend and potential biographer Ernst Pfeiffer (Matthias Lier) upon his praise-fueled declaration that the way she lived her life—her freedom—was a touchstone for modern feminism. Her reply is, “Nonsense. What’s changed for us women since then?” It’s […]

REVIEW: Itzhak [2018]

“The more you have in your heart, the more you have to give” Documentarian Alison Chernick has made a career of profiling artists from Jeff Koons and Matthew Barney in features to Roy Lichtenstein and Rick Rubin in shorts. Her latest subject is renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman—a victim of polio as a child in Israel […]

REVIEW: La passion de Jeanne d’Arc [The Passion of Joan of Arc] [1928]

“His ways are not our ways” The history of Carl Theodor Dreyer‘s masterwork La passion de Jeanne d’Arc [The Passion of Joan of Arc] is almost too perfectly attuned to the subject matter itself. Here was a renowned director hired to craft a movie about France’s most famous Catholic despite being neither French nor Catholic. […]

REVIEW: Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405 [2017]

“We are creativity itself” It’s not easy to depict mental illness with honest clarity or art’s cathartic influence as therapy, but Frank Stiefel‘s look at Mindy Alper entitled Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405 does both. It helps that Mindy is an open, self-aware subject despite crippling anxieties. She leads his camera through […]

REVIEW: Edith+Eddie [2017]

“Treat everybody right” You hear horror stories of people who foster children in order to pocket the money they receive from the state meant for that child’s wellbeing and want to hope they’re the exceptions rather than rule. It’s easy to be cynical, however, and believe the opposite in this world. The same can be […]

REVIEW: Dear Basketball [2017]

“I did everything for you” “Money” is a word used to describe Kobe Bryant the athlete because he was the guy you gave the ball to with no time on the clock. Everyone could rely on him whether coach, teammate, or fan because we knew the chances were that a good look at the hoop […]