new documentaries

‘Becoming Iconic’ Tells Confusing, Messy Stories About Film Directing

Ulises Duenas

The biggest problem with this documentary is the sporadic way that it’s edited – which veers from interviews with Baker to interviews with other directors to old photos and footage of people associated with Baker at a confusing pace with hardly any understandable transition. What’s worse is that the film uses various weird camera angles and visual effects like random bright lights, dark vignetting, random zoom-ins in footage of Baker just walking around or talking on the phone.

‘The Martha Mitchell Effect’ Shows a Lesser-Known Side of the Watergate Scandal

Ulises Duenas

During Nixon’s reelection bid in 1972, Martha Mitchell made multiple statements to the press about the underhanded tactics used by his reelection committee. She made waves because women in politics were discouraged from being outspoken, especially in front of the press. When the Watergate story broke, she wasn’t shy about criticizing Nixon and those close to him. The documentary does a good job of showing the viewer the kind of person Mitchell was. She was an animated character in the dry, boring world of humdrum politics. 

Gabby Giffords Is a Heroine in the Ongoing Effort to End Gun Violence

Ben Friedman

While West and Cohen’s documentary never discusses Highland Park, Uvalde, or any of the other 3,800 mass shootings, it is undoubtedly about them. Their anger is palpable, yet the documentary wisely chooses not to dedicate much of its runtime to the January 8 shooting, instead opting to focus on Giffords’ recovery, her family, and activism against gun violence.

‘The Book Keepers’ Shows a Husband’s Journey to Promote His Late Wife’s Memoirs

Ulises Duenas

Wall and Giles became friends and through gardening, he taught her how to remain optimistic and appreciative of life even when she knew she didn’t have much time left. That became the foundation for Wall memoir Mister Owita’s Guide to Gardening. One drawback of the documentary is that it seems like it glosses over Owita’s involvement in all this, and while it does provide background on him, I would have liked to learn more about the man that inspired Wall so deeply. 

Music Journalist Ben Fong-Torres and the Glory Days of ‘Rolling Stone’

Ben Friedman

In the documentary Like a Rolling Stone: The Life and Times of Ben Fong-Torres, Fong-Torres recounts the feeling of flipping through the jukebox at his father’s restaurant stating, “Inside jukeboxes, there was no segregation…Rock and Roll was an equalizer.” Music gave voice to the disenfranchised as a form of protest. These principles of rock and roll shaped Fong-Torres’s writing sensibilities, making him a rockstar journalist within the music industry.

‘Sparks Brothers’ Pays Homage to Quirky Genius of Musical Duo

Forrest Hartman

The Sparks Brothers is as entertaining as it is informative, and music lovers should leave the film both appreciating the Maels’ contributions to pop music and admiring Wright’s ability to tell their story. Furthermore, the folks who – like me – came into this project unaware of the band will, no doubt, spend a few hours digging through its rather impressive back catalog. Not every movie leaves me with new downloads in my music library, but this one certainly did.

Brewmance Pays Homage to America’s Master Craft Brewers

Adam Gravano

Beer not only predates the pilgrims in the Americas, but it played a decisive role in the pilgrims choosing to make landfall in Massachusetts — they were running low. With its long-standing history of production and consumption, with only a brief interlude for the national experiment in Prohibition, beer comes as close as any other beverage to being a national beverage. Despite this august history, the new documentary Brewmance – directed by Christo Brock -- picks up its story later.

Steve Bannon, the Right-Wing Prince of Darkness, on Politics and Fate

Adam Gravano

That mystique -- and controversy -- still cling to the movie producer, investor, and political adviser. With his one-time employer Donald Trump now in the fight for his electoral life, and Bannon embroiled not only in a fraud case but the uproar of the discovery of a computer alleged to be Hunter Biden’s, now is an opportune time to revisit Bannon and look for that vital spark imparted on the 2016 Trump candidacy through the lens of Errol Morris's interview documentary American Dharma.

How One Grieving Artist Turned Tragedy Into Art

Sandra Bertrand

Before the September 11, 2001, attacks, before the current pandemic, grief of such cataclysmic proportions seemed unimaginable for many.  But when sculptor Suse Lowenstein’s son Alex, along with his schoolmates, was lost in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, on December 21, 1988, unimaginable grief became a tragic reality for her.  The question was, how to survive it?

Legendary Photographer Burk Uzzle Sees All

Sandra Bertrand

But his true pleasure is in showing us the old masters, his face lighting up with a child’s excitement.  We peer closely along with Uzzle as he shows us how to look at a painting as if it were a photograph, finding new meaning in the color black or the chiaroscuro effect of dark and light on a subject’s face.  As for faces, he sees each one as a new frontier, “as deep a frontier as you’re capable of exploring.”

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - new documentaries