REVIEW: American Promise [2013]

“I hope times have changed” Before Boyhood began its eleven-year gestation as a fictionalized document of a real life coming-of-age journey in America, multiple documentary projects were born in the same vein. The Up Series started in 1964, Doug Block‘s The Kids Grow Up used home video from as far back as the 90s to […]

REVIEW: I Called Him Morgan [2017]

“I’m making the biggest mistake of my life” The life of jazz trumpeter Lee Morgan was one of extreme highs and lows. He was a musician plucked towards superstardom at the age of eighteen by Dizzy Gillespie, eventually touring with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers while helping create the Blue Note label’s sound. But […]

REVIEW: Bienvenue à F.L. [Welcome to F.L.] [2015]

“It’s hard to figure out exactly who you are and then it’s even harder to actually become that person” It would have been difficult for filmmaker Geneviève Dulude-De Celles to find a better metaphor in action than the one at the center of her documentary Bienvenue à F.L. [Welcome to F.L.]. Beyond the wonderfully spare […]

REVIEW: David Lynch: The Art Life [2017]

“They got along like Ike and Mike” If you remember back to 2007, a documentary entitled Lynch came out portraying an all-access pass into the creative process of auteur David Lynch‘s final feature-length film, Inland Empire. There was a lot of smoke and mirrors surrounding its release from the use of a nom de plume […]

REVIEW: Citizen Jane: Battle for the City [2017]

“If you can understand a city, then that city is dead” The 1960s were a hotbed of activism by necessity. You had civil rights battles for racial and gender equality, protests standing in opposition of new wars coming down the pipeline after just finishing one that risked destroying everything, and America’s growing wealth disparity reaching […]

REVIEW: Contemporary Color [2017]

“Stage this way” You have to give David Byrne credit. He stumbled upon the idea of color guards, looked into the excitement and spectacle of their “sport of the arts,” and sought to open their world to the rest of us ignorant to their craft outside of football halftime shows. So he called upon modern […]

REVIEW: Class Divide [2016]

“It was here first” You won’t get a better depiction of gentrification on film than Marc Levin‘s Class Divide, but I’m not entirely sure that’s enough. The central premise is to show how there can be two worlds separated by nothing more than the width of a street: public housing projects on one side and […]

REVIEW: Kedi [2017]

“Without the cat, Istanbul would lose part of its soul” I’m not an animal lover, a reality one subject in Ceyda Torun‘s documentary Kedi presumes means I cannot love anything. Such a sentiment is hyperbolic, but there’s something to be said about people’s interactions with animals exposing how they’ll interact with humans too. You don’t […]

REVIEW: Fuocoammare [Fire at Sea] [2016]

“The mountains couldn’t hide us” The story within Fuocoammare [Fire at Sea] is a personal one for director Gianfranco Rosi, himself a refugee from Eritrea during its war for independence at thirteen. He left his parents behind, arriving in Italy on a military plane. So to see statistics about 400,000 men, women, and children leaving […]

REVIEW: Life, Animated [2016]

“Just your voice” It’s 2017 and yet I’m pretty sure you think about one of two things when hearing the word autism: Rain Man or vaccination. This is a shame because it only helps bolster the stigma assigned to the disorder. Pop culture has latched onto the “spectrum” with multiple examples of Asperger’s syndrome, but […]

REVIEW: Watani: My Homeland [2016]

“I am responsible for destroying my children’s future right now” Out of five Oscar-nominated documentary shorts, four deal with the cost of genocide with three being specifically about today’s Arab refugees. This shouldn’t come as a surprise considering the topic is very much at the forefront of the world’s mind, the internet allowing injustices thousands […]