Tag Archives: documentaries

Bonfire of the Vanitas: De Palma, reviewed.

de-palma-De Palma Still - MI 4_rgbFor NPR, I reviewed Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow’s documentary De Palma, wherein the man behind Carrie and Dressed to Kill and The Untouchables and about three dozen other features walks us through his long, idiosyncratic career. This film won’t change anyone’s mind about the guy, but it’s a candid, briskly edited retrospective. I enjoyed it.

(Dis)honesty: The Truth About Lies, reviewed.

Dan Ariely_2My review of (Dis)honesty: The Truth About Lies, a new documentary based on the research of “behavioral economist” Dan Airely, is up on The Dissolve today.

 

Enter the Drag: Kung Fu Elliot, reviewed.

Elliot Scott, Blake Zwicker, and Linda Lum in "Kung Fu Elliot," a documentary by Matthew Bauckman & Jaret Belliveau.

 

Kung Fu Elliot, a documentary about a man who aspires to be the Canadian Chuck Norris, turns nasty enough quickly enough to calls its makers’ intentions into question. I reviewed the 2014 Slamdance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize-winner for Documentary Feature for The Dissolve.

Cruel to Be Kind: The Homestretch, reviewed.

Roque (center), one of the three subjects of "The Homestretch," is too lucky to make a good poster child for homeless youth.

Roque (center), one of the three subjects of “The Homestretch,” is too lucky to make a good poster child for homeless youth.

Here’s my review of the disappointing Kartemquin Films’ documentary The Homestretch for The Dissolve. I made a boneheaded mistake in the version of this where I filed wherein I ascribed the phrase “cruel to kind” to Nick Lowe, not to Hamlet — even though I’d already referenced Hamlet earlier in the review, and in fact, the other piece I filed the day I filed this one was a review of King Lear. Embarrassing. Editors sometimes save your neck.

The Spirit of 77: To Be Takei, reviewed.

Hikaru Sulu and George Takei at Midtown Comics in Manhattan.

I am acquainted through DC theatre with Marc Okrand, the man who developed the Klingon language to for Paramount Pictures. I was surprised to seem him make a very brief appearance in Jennifer M. Kroot’s documentary To Be Takei, which I reviewed for The Dissolve.

Hikaru Sulu and George Takei at Midtown Comics in Manhattan.

The Jerk from 20,000 Fathoms: Deepsea Challenge 3D, reviewed.

The Deepsea Challenger (Mark Thiessen/National Geographic)

The Deepsea Challenger (Mark Thiessen/National Geographic)

My review of Deepsea Challenge 3D, the new National Geographic documentary about James Cameron’s historic March 2012 dive to the bottom of the deepest part of any ocean on the planet in a one-of-a-kind sub he co-designed himself, is on The Dissolve today. When he isn’t busy being a real-life Steve Zissou, Cameron is still one of my favorite filmmakers. And I didn’t even like Avatar all that much.

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Dear Doctor: Code Black, reviewed.

Danny Cheng, M.D., Dave Pomeranz, M.D.,  Ryan McGarry, M.D., Billy Mallon, M.D. at bedside in McGarry's documentary "Code Black."

My review of physician Ryan McGarry’s documentary Code Black is up today at The Dissolve.

This was one of those instances when what you already know about a subject can color your perception of a film. An ex-girlfriend of mine is a physician who did her residency at a country medical center 65 miles west of the one documented in Code Black, and we lived together during those years, 2000-2003. She was at the hospital all the time, and I became well acquainted with her classmates, who were exactly like the young doctors whose voices McGarry features: idealistic, accomplished, adventurous, easily bored. Many of them had done other things before medical school, like working on a fishing boat in Alaska or spending a few years as a forest firefighter. One of them was a nun who swore more crudely than any Marine I’ve ever met. They were all friendly, and I found them all intimidating. I was in awe of them.

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