Category Archives: Documentary

Bundy: An American Icon (2008)

Director:Michael Feifer .
Starring.Corin Nemec, Kane Hodder, Jen Nikolaisen. USA. 1h 27m.

There will never be a serial killer movie which really gets at all the nitty gritty, ugly details of a serial killer and/or their killings. I’m pretty certain of that, but now and again something will try and trip that line and at least give us a decent movie. While I really enjoy this film and watch it regularly; i have to admit that it’s not actually a brilliant film. At times it’s a bit bland. It certainly doesn’t give me the insight I crave for but I’m in a minority here, not everyone is interested in serial killers and most people just want to know enough to say they are aware of but they don’t want to see the real face of a killer looking back at them from a TV movie. Continue reading Bundy: An American Icon (2008)

The End (2008)

theend

 

Director:Nicola Collins
Starring:Les Falco, Mickey Taheny, Danny Woollard. UK. 1m 21m

While recently trying to work out the criteria of distinguishing a documentary from something that is merely something shown on the TV rather than in the cinema, and putting it down to just how gripping they might be, I start reeling through a pantheon of documentary movies that I adore and one of the more difficult ones to find and the one I enjoyed the most is The End.

After twigging the 1 minute advert on an old DVD it had me hooked and yet I could never actually catch the title until I realised that the caption at the end of the preview wasn’t simply signifying the end of the advert but it was actually the title…*doh* after working out that little gem I was away to find a copy. Continue reading The End (2008)

Młyn i krzyż – The Mill and the Cross (2011)

the-mill-and-the-cross

Director : Lech Majewski
Starring : Rutger Hauer, Michael York, Charlotte Rampling. Poland/Sweden. 1h 36m

It’s always interesting for a art nut like myself to discover something about an era of art, an artist or in some cases just one single painting being extracted in the wonderful world of cinema. It’s not like someone ever sits down to paint something that’s going to take weeks or months or even years for the sake of painting, yet when you find out the details behind some of the epic masterpieces it can be quite breathtaking and you need to look at the painting again. While I’m hugely into art and it’s history, I’m still in two minds weather these make good movies or not!?

Without diving deeply into the artist’s personal life but with some quirky and lively anecdotal excerpts of family life, children squabbling, and tumbling out of bed, breakfasts being eaten and blessings over the family table, the film aims to details the features of the work, the drive behind it and ultimately expressions of divine intervention.

From the initial introduction the remarkable  accomplishment of the jaw dropping visuals  is very apparent and if you only see the  introduction scenes then the film will remain with you forever as they are exquisite.  The rest of the film is like watching the paint settle into the masterpiece, it’s not like watching paint dry, instead you are gradually walked through the initial concept sketches and inner musings of the artist and strife of every single character within it, each journey explained, including the tortured man (check out the painting here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Procession_to_Calvary_(Bruegel) ). The artist Pieter Bruegel the Elder, skilfully acted by  Rutger Hauer and is patron Nicholas Jonghelinck is sternly portrayed by Michael York and the feminine aspect of the movie is played by the most stunning Charlotte Rampling her steely eyes peer judgements at Rutger as the Virgin Mary giving advice to the artists throughout his journey through his own painting. Do masterful pieces of artwork demand such a film? The canvases of concern are The Mill and The Procession to Calvary,  the later depicts a Dutch crucifixion masterpiece created when Flanders was under brutal Spanish occupation. But it’s not a simple as painting a crucifixion painting, and without going into detail the film shows the symbolism of the characters in relation to the current persecution of the people of flanders against a similar strife that happened when Jesus was carrying the cross.

Every aspect of the film is enchanting it really does bring the entire painting to life although at times did remind me of the Storyteller series it’s obvious green screens and lots of CGI in order to create backdrops but they are very accurate and seem only enhance the practice of bringing the art to life. Like any work of art it comes together piece by piece which makes for a slow paced movie but it does build into this great crescendo as this masterpiece is solely piece together from the sum of its parts.

“This is like watching a painting dry” – but in a good way

Pieter Bruegel the Elder himself is mostly concerned; not with the main subject of Jesus being crucified But instead with the world that he is passing and the people who usually go  unnoticed and in spite their massive numbers are the actual  focal point and it’s not a huge canvas considering how many people are involved in the very end we see it right next to the Tower of Babel painting in a museum.

Exquisite  attention to the  minute detail to create the world around the painting but ends up in the painting the clothes are designed by  Dorota Roqueplo  helps bring this reality into existence.

Ultimately this isn’t going to be everybody’s cup of tea not everybody isn’t art not everyone cares about the history of a single painting but you can’t deny is the artistic qualities within the film. Even some of the “still” moments are totally consuming,  this should definitely be considered a breakthrough piece for the director and every moment of the film is extraordinarily spellbinding and wondrous it’s literally like having a dream with the artist while painting has been created.

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Rating 7/10

R The Girl with the pearl earring (2003),
L  – Artist Biographies
5sRutger Hauer, Michael York, Charlotte Rampling

Crumb (1994)

 

crumb

Director Terry Zwigoff
Starring Robert Crumb, Aline Kominsky-Crumb, Charles Crumb, Maxon Crumb. USA. 2h

Crumb is a tragically funny and deeply insightful documentary about one man’s ability to turn his innermost feelings into art which spoke for an entire generation.

This incredibly personal glimpse into the life of a genius accompanied by a very fitting ragtime soundtrack as this documentary aims to dig deep under the skin of the illustrator to the point of him actually being psychologically affected by the filming. Continue reading Crumb (1994)

The Program (2015)

Program (3)

Director: Stephen Frears
Story by: David Walsh
Starring : Ben Foster, Chris O’Dowd, Lee Pace, Denis Ménochet, Dustin Hoffman. UK, France. 1h 43m

While I’m a closet fan of biographical dramas I can’t say that I’ve seen many sport orientated versions of these hit and miss epics, I had only recently seen Foxcatcher which was a brilliant depiction of a series of disastrous circumstances and not something I was aware of to start with but I managed to not only get into the film and enjoy it but I also learn a lot about the 1980s Olympics scandal.

Personally I’m not into cycling and this movie makes no attempt to sell it to anyone I may have caught snippets of information in the news about the real event behind this after watching the program it’s very clear that are media only scratched the tip of the iceberg.

The story is still pretty much the same rise and fall of Lance Armstrong falling from the massive height of owning the most yellow jerseys to his obscurity today played by the ever talented Ben Foster who animates Lance down to the smallest detail it’s almost creepy and the creeping continues in the story itself, Lances bitter and twisted inner demons are revealed from the husk that he turned into during the period where his cancer was at its worst but during his Frankenstein reanimation an absorbing psychological insight into the workings of a possessed madman who managed to pull off the biggest scam in sporting history.

If Armstrong is to be seen as being one of the biggest villains then our superhero comes in the guise of David Walsh played by Chris O’Dowd, his suspicions are often supported by the more power for Armstrong spin team but is blistering loyalty pays off as he slowly uncovers the gritty details what seems to be a widespread and ongoing scan and order to promote athletes.

The film is quite brilliant and there is an obvious amount of passion that has gone into it but it kind of has all of the mechanics for Wikipedia page, yes the details are there all the facts and the timeline are sound, but the film flounders a little,  not dragging up much needed flair to the cinematic version of this story but while the acting is brilliant especially bends portrayal of Armstrong that’s pretty much where the lies. the reprise just isn’t there and we all know Armstrong has been stripped of titles the film doesn’t shed any new light and will not help win any cases it’s just simply there to educate a wider audience and to demonstrate what wash have to go through in order to retain is Status and to push the story.

It seems quite apparent that the director was extremely detach from Support itself there is no love for cycling there’s no promise that it’s a safer sport that is better respected now that this travesty has been put aside.

The film pulls punches when needed but that said, the drama doesn’t seem to have any real direction for most of the film it seem to be trying to portray the facts from the side of Armstrong but then makes a bold move and immediately start attacking his character trying to illustrate his absence for morality but only from the point of Welsh and the general public I think for this movie to have been a better success it really should have been the answers that the fans were looking for and they would have to come from Armstrong himself.

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Rating 5/10

R – Triplets of Belleville (2003)
L – Cycling Movies, Sport Docufilms
A – When is a documentary a film?
5S – Ben Foster, Chris O’Dowd, Lee Pace, Dustin Hoffman

Racing Extinction (2015)

racing extinction

Director : Louie Psihoyos
Writer : Mark Monroe
Starring : Elton Musk, Louis Psihoyos, Jane Goodall, Leilani Munter. USA 1h 30m

I‘m not the biggest animal lover but I do love nature and the likkle creatures that abide on our lovely planet, and while I do what I can to conserve the planet and fauna, I’m not sure if focusing in on the animals will really make bigger changes. BUT if we do want any of them in our future we do have to act now… I kinda knew this already but I was hoping to see some leaps and bounds in this apparently AMAZING documentary.

Racing extinction is like Zeitgeist but apart from worrying about the global situation and resources it focuses in on the conservation of the wildlife and really focuses in on those illegal activities which cause a flood of various extinctions like whalling etc, and in principle seems a noble thing to do.

Unfortunately the documentary is lame and so far from helping.. It just seemed like Louie just wanted to document his joyride around the planet picking on other countries for their different in animal rites, he even reflects on this at one point by taking into consideration how much damage his own travelling was having on the planet but doesn’t give any indication that they switched fuels or did anything to reverse the fact, plant some trees maybe? In fact there are NO answers here at all!? It’s very easy to point fingers at what’s wrong and identifying and highlighting the problem is brilliant but if you want any hints at way to change things then you’ll need to check out the website.

Winning is the only option.

Despite leaving a bad taste in the mouth, the docufilm is well laid out, there’s lots to look at and the conclusion is a car travelling around displaying graphics and pictures of endangered animals on various buildings!? It’s all economical and enviro friendly but that is the amazing finale, sorry to spoil it but really the film is only step one and very long journey of changing the opinions of millions of people, and not to piss on any parades but it’s not going to happen by displaying a lizard walking up the empire state building.

Overall it’s well written and strangely presented, but quite informative of the state we’re currently in, there are not hints at how we got here,the spotlight is on China, forget all the damage everyone else has done. This a bold and vivacious inspiration look at the future of conservation, an eye opener for anyone who’s been totally oblivious to it until now. But if you’re looking for hard facts, a history lesson, informed decisions and way forwards you’ll not find it here. Instead it’s just a bunch of pretentious but dedicated people filming their travels in the aim to protect some animals and highlight our plight, I’m not dumbing down the work that they have done, although some of it raises more issues than solves problems but it didn’t inspire me and I doubt it will inspire anyone who’s actually informed, but hopefully it will raise some awareness and get people looking to get out there and actually do something pro active.

Rating 4/10

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RZeitgeist (2007), The Bridge (2006), Earthlings (2005)
L – Selected Documentaries
A – Should documentaries really be movies?