REVIEW: The Decline of Western Civilization [1981]

“I don’t think of myself as a happy person, but I had fun tonight” You don’t get much more punk rock than Penelope Spheeris‘ concert documentary The Decline of Western Civilization. At least not American punk since the film details the club life in Los Angeles during the 80s rather than mid-70s Britain. We’re talking […]

REVIEW: The Trials of Muhammad Ali [2013]

“A white man’s heaven is a black man’s hell” While the structure of Bill Siegel‘s The Trials of Muhammad Ali delivers nothing new to the language of documentary—archival footage mixed with present-day interviews working towards a specific thesis—the story at it’s back is too interesting to blindly dismiss. We all know Ali as a poet, […]

REVIEW: De Palma [2016]

“I’m driven by unrealistic ideas” I’ve seen twelve Brian De Palma films in my lifetime—a seemingly healthy number when you consider the industry. A guy like Terrence Malick began his career just five years after Brian and it’s only his seventh film that hit DVD this week. Unfortunately for me, twelve doesn’t come close to […]

REVIEW: Weiner [2016]

“We don’t care about the personal garbage. We’re from the Bronx.” Here’s the rub on the whole Anthony Weiner scandal(s): Bill de Blasio’s approval rating just fell to 41% on May 24th. Would Weiner have been better? Who knows? Would he have won if not for a faulty timeline between his final sexting partner and […]

REVIEW: Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World [2016]

“Did you get the ‘G’?” Documentarian Werner Herzog‘s latest film Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World peers into the longer than expected history of our uncontrollable phenomenon known as the internet. The word uncontrollable doesn’t, however, allude to this network having created an artificial intelligence—although, as one subject states, who’s to say an […]

REVIEW: Atomic: Living in Dread and Promise [2015]

“The cherry blossom and the sharp sword. Humility and arrogance.” Director Mark Cousins leaves us with a quote at the end of his experimental documentary composed solely of archival video and audio entitled Atomic: Living in Dread and Promise. It’s by W.G. Sebald and reads: “We gaze at it in wonder, which in itself is […]

REVIEW: The Royal Road [2015]

“These inconceivable melodramas punctuate my waking life” No description of Jenni Olson‘s essay over landscapes film The Royal Road is more concise or accurate than the final words spoken upon the culmination of its 65-minute visual monologue: “I want to tell you a story about love and loss and San Francisco that reveals more about […]

REVIEW: Presenting Princess Shaw [2016]

“Why am I going in the same direction with no direction?” Even though Presenting Princess Shaw isn’t a film about filmmaking, you can’t help wondering about the logistics of its creation considering director Ido Haar is listed as the project’s sole cinematographer. The story of Princess (Samantha Montgomery) and Kutiman (Ophir Kutiel) focuses on music […]

REVIEW: Holy Hell [2016]

“Maybe it’s worth it” Every story containing religious or spiritual content inherently brings with it supporters and detractors beholden to personal agendas either from experience or unwavering positions of faith. It’s difficult subject matter to truly expose objectively because religion and spirituality are by definition subjective when compared against an infinite number of other similar […]

REVIEW: Человек с киноаппаратом [Chelovek s kinoapparatom] [Man with a Movie Camera] [1929]

Labeled the best documentary of all time by Sight & Sound in 2014, Dziga Vertov‘s Человек с киноаппаратом [Chelovek s kinoapparatom] [Man with a Movie Camera] lives up to its pedigree thanks in no small part to the level of cinematic innovation somehow utilized as far back as 1929. Besides the obvious period clothing and […]

REVIEW: Elstree 1976 [2016]

“There wasn’t a lot of certainty as to what it would be” Everybody knows Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher. When Disney bought Lucasfilm from George Lucas and announced they’d be producing a new Star Wars trilogy and spin-off features, everyone knew those three would be back in the fold. Even guys like Peter […]