REVIEW: Ask Dr. Ruth [2019]

“My parents actually gave me life twice” A couple mentions of Dr. Ruth Westheimer as “Grandma Freud” are seen and heard throughout Ryan White‘s documentary

REVIEW: What We Left Behind: Looking Back at Deep Space Nine [2019]

“We were the ‘dark’ Star Trek” More than merely a look back at what was, Ira Steven Behr‘s documentary project What We Left Behind: Looking Back at Deep Space Nine is also a way to look forward—a perfect contrast considering how maligned the show was during its tenure compared to today. You could say “Deep […]

HOTDOCS19 REVIEW: Mr. Toilet: The World’s #2 Man [2019]

“Turning poop culture into pop culture” This statistic says it all: 40% of citizens on Earth don’t have toilets. A big part of that number is India and China, but it’s still insane to comprehend as someone from a country that won’t allow homes or businesses to be built without one. It’s the type of […]

HOTDOCS19 REVIEW: Willie [2019]

“I’m not done” It was 2003 before a Black hockey player had the honor of being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. That player was Grant Fuhr, the Stanley Cup winning goalie of the Edmonton Oilers and multiple other teams (including a short stint with my hometown Buffalo Sabres). Because he was far from […]

REVIEW: Amazing Grace [2019]

“We want you to let the folks know you’re here” Released in 1972, Aretha Franklin‘s live album with Reverend James Cleveland and the Southern California Community Choir entitled Amazing Grace took the country by storm selling over two million copies in America alone on its way to double platinum certification. Knowing it was going to […]

REVIEW: Cradle of Champions [2018]

“Humble, hungry, and ready” There’s no better entry point into a subject as expansive and famed as the New York Daily News‘ Golden Gloves tournament than a pair of talented fighters with history. This way you’re able to turn your focus onto them as they train and work their way to the finals for a […]

REVIEW: Apollo 11 [2019]

“The Eagle has landed” A black screen with the title Apollo 11 arrives for an instant before we’re whisked away to July 1969 as those in Mission Control and astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins prepare themselves for the first manned spaceflight to land on the moon. There’s no opening interstitial providing context, […]

REVIEW: Ksiaze i dybuk [The Prince and the Dybbuk] [2018]

“He never spoke about his past” The title says it all: Ksiaze i dybuk [The Prince and the Dybbuk]. Rather than describe two separate entities, however, Elwira Niewiera and Piotr Rosolowski‘s documentary portrays director Michal Waszynski as both and neither. Their investigations lead them to multiple countries as close friends and basic strangers attempt to […]

REVIEW: Die Unsichtbaren [The Invisibles] [2019]

“After a little while you noticed that they were scared” We’re so used to stories of Holocaust survivors talking about what they endured inside the concentration camps that we forget around seven thousand Jewish men and women stayed hidden during World War II. While only about fifteen hundred ultimately walked away to live their lives […]

BERLINALE19 REVIEW: Kameni govornici [The Stone Speakers] [2019]

“We need both spiritual and physical healing” Writer/director Igor Drljaca takes us on a contemplative tour through four towns in Bosnia-Herzegovinia with his documentary Kameni Govornici [The Stone Speakers]. We never hear him speak nor watch any of his subjects respond. All we hear are their disembodied words atop static portraits of them standing against […]

BERLINALE19 REVIEW: Ringside [2019]

“You can hit people and you can’t get in trouble” Boxing became the way two fathers in Chicago could keep their sons off the streets. Kenneth Sims Sr. was a brawler back in the day before turning his passion into a career as a coach. Destyne Butler Sr. was a pugilist aficionado who succumbed to […]