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Filmspotting Message Boards => Marathons => Topic started by: Beavermoose on November 26, 2019, 04:48:10 PM

Title: DOCember Group Marathon 2019
Post by: Beavermoose on November 26, 2019, 04:48:10 PM
I need some more docos in my life!

Index

Beavermoose
Batman & Bill
56 Up & 63 Up
The Game Changers
Freakonomics (http://forum.filmspotting.net/index.php?topic=15047.msg903921#msg903921)
Free Solo
Meru
The Unknown Known
The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu
Visions of Light
Kedi
 (http://forum.filmspotting.net/index.php?topic=15047.msg904428#msg904428)Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism
Apollo 11
Memory: The Origins of Alien
Fahrenheit 11/9
Voyage of Time: Life's Journey
 (http://forum.filmspotting.net/index.php?topic=15047.msg904547#msg904547)

Bondo
Hail Satan?
Cannabis Revolution (http://forum.filmspotting.net/index.php?topic=15047.msg903813#msg903813)
American Factory
 (http://forum.filmspotting.net/index.php?topic=15047.msg903840#msg903840)Take Your Pills
 (http://forum.filmspotting.net/index.php?topic=15047.msg904082#msg904082)Grass (http://forum.filmspotting.net/index.php?topic=15047.msg904410#msg904410)
Rat Film (http://forum.filmspotting.net/index.php?topic=15047.msg904452#msg904452)
This Changes Everything (http://forum.filmspotting.net/index.php?topic=15047.msg904465#msg904465)
Cold Case Hammarskjold (http://forum.filmspotting.net/index.php?topic=15047.msg904526#msg904526)

Dave the Necrobumper
They Shall Not Grow Old
TT3D: Closer to the Edge (http://forum.filmspotting.net/index.php?topic=15047.msg904093#msg904093)

1SO
The Imagineering Story
 (http://forum.filmspotting.net/index.php?topic=15047.msg904120#msg904120)Hail Satan?
 (http://forum.filmspotting.net/index.php?topic=15047.msg904431#msg904431)
Antares
They Shall Not Grow Old
 (http://forum.filmspotting.net/index.php?topic=15047.msg904160#msg904160)The Wrecking Crew
 (http://forum.filmspotting.net/index.php?topic=15047.msg904161#msg904161)A Band Called Death
 (http://forum.filmspotting.net/index.php?topic=15047.msg904370#msg904370)Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation!
 (http://forum.filmspotting.net/index.php?topic=15047.msg904462#msg904462)
Title: Re: DOCember Group Marathon 2019
Post by: Bondo on November 26, 2019, 04:52:37 PM
Thanks for getting this going. I've got quite a number of docs hanging around my various queues so I'll probably try to make a big showing.
Title: Re: DOCember Group Marathon 2019
Post by: Beavermoose on November 26, 2019, 04:57:12 PM
My List

Primary (1960)
Visions of Light: The Art of Cinematography  (Arnold Glassman, Todd McCarthy, & Stuart Samuels, 1992)
When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts (2006)
Standard Operating Procedure (2008)
Nostalgia for the Light (2010)
Freakonomics (2010)
The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu (2010)

The Tillman Story (2010)
The Gatekeepers (2012)
The Unknown Known (2013)
Author: The JT LeRoy Story (2016)
Batman & Bill (2017)
American Dharma (2018)
The Game Changers (2018)
Free Solo (2018)
Apollo 11 (2019)
Seven Worlds, One Planet (2019)
Title: Re: DOCember Group Marathon 2019
Post by: Bondo on November 26, 2019, 09:01:59 PM
Hail, Satan?

First let me state that as a matter of constitutional interpretation, it shouldn't even be a debate that religious invocations at public events, public religious monuments, and inclusions of religious mottos like "In God We Trust" or "One Nation, Under God" are improper establishments of religion. The assertion of religious liberties under Hobby Lobby are dubious but not quite as clear violations, though I disagree with that decision. The Colorado cake case is even more ambiguous, though the implications of allowing that assertion of religion quickly leads to no blacks at the diner counter. I'm not blithe about the impact of actions of state on individual religious beliefs, but that we keep having to fight on the basics shows how much Christianity remains a dominant force in America, and not the besieged entity its adherents often claim. Heck, we recently had a court refuse to let a Muslim man on death row have his spiritual leader attend to him, even though it is common practice for Christian priests to do so.

This documentary explores the Satanic Temple, a non-theist religion that has as one of its points of action to assert separation of church and state not just by pointing out that a current practice is an establishment of religion but testing the equal treatment of religion by presenting their own invocations or monuments to stand on public grounds wherever a Christian one is offered. The documentary, by keeping focused purely on the Temple, may undersell how much atheist and humanist groups also contribute to this battle, but they do provide a valuable contrast. It definitely seems the case that they are more effective at playing with the media environment.

While the bulk of the film focuses on this public first amendment campaign, it does hit on some other interesting aspects that maybe could use more development. It draws back on the history, helpfully contrasting the satanic panic of the 80s/90s against the recent revelations of a long-term coverup by the Catholic church of sexual assault. As always, the religious right's condemnation of satanism was projection of their own sins. There's also the concept that by creating the Temple as a religion, it may lend itself more to community than amorphous atheist identity. That said, as much as I might long for an atheist equivalent to faith communities, I am not sure I'd fit well among crowd drawn to the Temple. Finally, it briefly tackles the contradiction of basing a religion around the concept of Satan as rebel against false authority with the need to have some form of authority within the Temple to retain a coherent value system and avoid confluence with darker aspects. All in all quite engaging.

B

Cannabis Evolution

Maybe adding random documentary things on interesting topics, even though they are not contemplated as films or have any assertion of quality, is a bad idea. This is an educational video pairing boring narration with stock footage. It is a pure F in terms of artistic merit. While the information is fine, I'm sure, it has to be considered bad even as an informational device. Better to watch the Explained by Vox segment on Netflix that covers the topic, or some other random doc that played the film festival I worked with a number of years ago (I'm not going to look up the title because I can't imagine it has any distribution).

On a tangent, can I talk about how much I hate the phrase "recreational marijuana?" Like, even the most recreational use is probably self-medicating, and I imagine a significant proportion of "recreational" purchases are actually basically over-the-counter purchase with a medical purpose contemplated. Getting a medical license when recreational is available is a bit like going to the doctor for a prescription for ibuprofen...expensive and needlessly complicated.
Title: Re: DOCember Group Marathon 2019
Post by: MartinTeller on November 26, 2019, 10:19:26 PM
On a tangent, can I talk about how much I hate the phrase "recreational marijuana?" Like, even the most recreational use is probably self-medicating, and I imagine a significant proportion of "recreational" purchases are actually basically over-the-counter purchase with a medical purpose contemplated. Getting a medical license when recreational is available is a bit like going to the doctor for a prescription for ibuprofen...expensive and needlessly complicated.

At least in Oregon, the regulations governing medical marijuana are completely different from those regulating recreational marijuana, hence the need for the distinction. I don't understand your objection to the phrase.
Title: Re: DOCember Group Marathon 2019
Post by: Bondo on November 28, 2019, 12:28:32 AM
Not sure how divided it is in Colorado...in any event pretty much all the recreational dispensaries also are medical dispensaries. Maybe there are slightly different product lines available, and a medicinal license I believe reduces or eliminates taxes. I still find it unlikely it would justify the $150/yr cost of maintaining it for low to moderate medical needs. In any event, recreational makes it sound like it is just for yuks...what makes it subject to so many dumb jokes when you tell people you are moving to Colorado (or are from Colorado).
Title: Re: DOCember Group Marathon 2019
Post by: Bondo on November 30, 2019, 08:49:38 AM
American Factory

The level of access the filmmakers get to this Fuyao factory is really something. It is an interesting story, with an American company moving manufacturing jobs overseas, but a Chinese company stepping into that spot. I can see the story that Fuyao was perhaps hoping to get from allowing the access. It is possible to see a version of this story that creates a positive view of the company and of China helping the heart of America. Instead, we get an object lesson of why American manufacturing (at least labor-intensive manufacturing) is at a disadvantage...because we rightfully have standards for labor and for the environment. We have unvarnished access to the contempt this company has for the right to unionize (which is more of a capitalist thing than a Chinese thing...most of the negatives here you could probably pick up with similar access to American companies). They look down on the American workers for things like the 40-hour workweek and work safety regulation. I feel like a few actions/statements captured here would be evidence of labor-law violations, and there are at least implications of other areas of law-breaking. Altogether it leaves me with a bleak feeling...the political incentive is to try to get these jobs back, similar to how Trump talked big about bringing coal work back...but it certainly feels like we are better off without this type of work, to focus on the what next.

B
Title: Re: DOCember Group Marathon 2019
Post by: Beavermoose on December 03, 2019, 09:10:50 PM
Batman & Bill (2017) Don Argott & Sheena M. Joyce
I imagine that many great ideas or inventions have been credited to people that had very little to do with their creation. Seeing Bill Finger get rightful credit for the creation of Batman is satisfying and cathartic yet bittersweet as both Kane and Finger have long passed away. The movie would have been better if it just stuck to talking heads as the moments where Marc Nobleman, who has been leading the fight for Bill Finger, gets his very young daughter to participate in his obsession are really awkward.

★★

56 Up (2012) & 63 Up (2019) Michael Apted & Paul Almond
These are the last two of the Up Series and the only two I hadn't yet seen. The well off people's lives obviously are the least interesting because their lives have barely changed. Andrew is building a Japanese Garden, John tries to convince us that he's struggled in the past and that the premise of a British class system know longer exists and has started a charity to help people in Bulgaria. Meanwhile Jackie, who has been on disability aid for 20 years is being sent back to work after government cuts and Lynn has passed away. Neil is still the most interesting character as, after years of struggle and mental health issues, he has begun to participate in politics. Apted prompts the participants sometimes in patronizing ways, but as they have gotten older some of the participants confront him about the questions' he's asked. It's a fascinating series that confirms the societal inequalities present in western society.

★★★ ˝

The Game Changers (2018) Louie Psihoyos
As someone who has already been cutting back on meat consumption and animal products this movie didn't really surprise me. The whole narrative behind food consumption will always be controlled by the market and with plant-based meats becoming a bigger thing obviously these kinds of movies will be showing up more and more. The movie is obviously very biased and spends more time showing us how great a plant-based diet is rather than comparing different diets, the erection scene is targeted at meatheads who I doubt will be jumping on the vegan bandwagon anytime soon. Ultimately, if this movie gets a few more people to think twice about the things they're putting into their body, it has done it's job.

★★

Freakonomics (2010) Heidi Ewing, Alex Gibney, Seth Gordon, Rachel Grady, Eugene Jarecki & Morgan Spurlock
Having already listened to quite a few of the podcast episodes I found most of the information from these segments to be redundant although the section about sumo wrestlers was new information and very interesting to me. This obviously doesn't need to be a movie, and probably works better in book or podcast form anyway but I guess this is another way to get people into the science and research performed by freakonomics which is, more often than not, really fascinating stuff.

★ ˝
Title: Re: DOCember Group Marathon 2019
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on December 03, 2019, 09:23:03 PM
Finger is one of many artists shafted by egomaniac comic book writers. See also almost everyone Stan Lee worked with.
Title: Re: DOCember Group Marathon 2019
Post by: Bondo on December 11, 2019, 06:25:51 PM
Take Your Pills

This is a Netflix doc about the latest drug craze that isn't an opioid...amphetamines. Basically interviewing a bunch of young adults about how everyone is on Adderall either for ADHD, "ADHD" or just on the side without prescription. The question seems to be, if Adderall gives us our best self, should we embrace that. The answer gets into the downside of things. Nothing about the doc particularly caught my attention either stylistically or informationally. The vibe it gives off that everyone is on them seems extremely blinkered to a trend that probably is limited to richer, more competitive high schools and private colleges. But in the media world, that is the whole world. See also, campus political correctness debates.
Title: Re: DOCember Group Marathon 2019
Post by: Dave the Necrobumper on December 12, 2019, 06:21:34 AM
They Shall Not Grow Old (2018 Peter Jackson)

Well at the moment this is the film of the year for me. (I am considering this a 2019 release). Just incredible. This film has brought to life scenes from WW1 and soldiers who fought in the war (well the British ones in the Western front). It's technical achievement is .... wow. The use of old interviews as the narration was inspired, the interviews were from the 1970s (I think). This documentary has conveyed such a strong sense of what it was like, although there were times when it was worse than what is shown (well based on the history I remember), but this was about the general feel of what being a soldier was like, the good and the bad. That said the bad was not presented as strongly bad as you would expect, mostly because the way the interviewees talk about the events and their experience of it. Or is it just the way they wish to talk about it, stiff upper lip and all.

For an insight into WW1 a massive recommend

Rating: 90 / 100

TT3D: Closer to the Edge (2011 Richard De Aragues)

Another great doco. Guy Martin is gorgeous, he is just such a beaming blast of passion, makes he a super subject. The subject is off to compete in the annual TT motorbike race on the Isle of Man. An insane race run since 1907 and with over 200 deaths. These riders know it is very dangerous, but still they do it. 5 races over 2 weeks on a street course at average speeds over 110 miles / hour. The bike cam footage was very immersing, although the framing in the opening scenes was off (the camera was pointed too low). A really interesting look into the prep, the course, and the races of the TT.

There is a 3D version of this film and it is meant to be impressive

Rating: 88 / 100
Title: Re: DOCember Group Marathon 2019
Post by: Bondo on December 12, 2019, 07:29:52 AM
Going to be interesting starting the year with They Shall Not Grow Old (my #1 February viewing) and ending it with 1917. Even with all of Sam Mendes’ budget and technical talent, I don’t imagine it holding a candle to what Jackson accomplished with the documentary footage.
Title: Re: DOCember Group Marathon 2019
Post by: 1SO on December 13, 2019, 01:28:09 PM
The Imagineering Story
★ ★ ★ – Very Good

I wanted to wait until I watched today's final episode before I commented. This has been my favorite original program on Disney+, with a ton of information, images and sound clips that were even new to me. As I expected, the final episode is more of an extended commercial for the newest theme park attractions, but the rest is a comprehensive guide through the people who come up with all those wonderful toys, including the era when they thought their division was going to be shut down.

Director Leslie Iwerks (The Pixar Story) doesn't shy away from the many poor decisions made along the way. (Imagineer Joe Rohde starts the section on Avatar by admitting he wasn't excited to take on the job.) The series includes an interview with Michael Eisner, who is honest about the mistakes he made as well as the good that happened under his time.

There's an interesting, though perhaps necessary trajectory to the doc. While it begins by focusing on the Imagineers, around Eisner it starts leaning more into the Disney CEO's, so that when it comes time to discuss Pixar's influence the story smoothly transitions from Eisner to Bob Iger. It doesn't completely ignore John Lasseter, though he's the biggest name who doesn't appear in a present day interview and they talk about his cinematic contributions instead of mentioning he was once in charge of Imagineering. It's not 100% honest, but I don't think they could've handled it any other way without derailing the focus.
Title: Re: DOCember Group Marathon 2019
Post by: Antares on December 15, 2019, 07:28:44 PM
They Shall Not Grow Old (2018) 50/100 - Extremely disappointed in this after reading all the wonderful reviews for this documentary. It came across as second rate Ken Burns and you'll not learn a thing about the war watching it. I do understand what Jackson was trying to do, give the viewer a soldier's insight. But having modern day soldiers read excerpts from long since dead soldiers, accompanied by colorized film stock is not the way to do it. I'd rather see and hear living human beings, who fought in the war give their remembrances. Which is why I suggest you forgo this forgettable documentary and head over to YouTube and watch the best documentary on the first World War, done by the BBC as a television documentary series back in 1964. It's called The Great War, it's hosted by Michael Redgrave and here's a link to a playlist with all 26 episodes. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLucsO-7vMQ00twBJvRZKs1KNUKUVClo6C (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLucsO-7vMQ00twBJvRZKs1KNUKUVClo6C). At the time it was made there were plenty of ex-soldiers still alive and their recollections are worth the time it takes to watch all 26 episodes. And, you just might learn something more than a Cliff's Notes version of history. To compare the two, the latter is like a banquet with 26 magnificent meals to choose from. The former is a TV dinner.
Title: Re: DOCember Group Marathon 2019
Post by: Antares on December 15, 2019, 08:05:28 PM
The Wrecking Crew (2015) 75/100 - If you grew up in the sixties the music was unparalleled in history. In 1965 alone, you had three major movements just in Rock & Roll. You had the British Invasion leading the charge, surf music on the West Coast and Berry Gordy forging a musical empire in Detroit with Motown. But along side these three movements was a pop hit making machine in Los Angeles which rivaled the Brill Building in New York City in the early sixties. And at the various producer's disposal was a group of musicians whose abilities were second to none. They were called The Wrecking Crew. Phil Spector wouldn't record without them. All of The Monkees hits were instrumentally done by them. Pet Sounds is virtually a Brian Wilson and the Wrecking Crew album. The amount of hit records they played on is mind boggling in its scope. Yet, Hal Blaine, Tommy Tedesco, Joe Osborne, Carol Kaye, Earl Palmer & Bones Howe are names that most music aficionados do not know. A few of the Crew would go on to music careers of their own, with varied success. The most successful was Glen Campbell, who is thought to be by many, one of the greatest studio guitarists of all time. Leon Russell would have a short successful career and Larry Knechtel would become a member of the group Bread in the early seventies. The documentary mainly focuses on the six unknowns I mentioned and while it tells of their history in the recording studio, it offers very little in revelations. And that is why I can only give this documentary a lukewarm rating. It was made by Tommy Tedesco son, and he's really not a filmmaker. He's basically just trying to give his pop some props for what he accomplished while he was in the music business. In a sense, it works, and if you know nothing about this group of extraordinary musicians, you will be entertained and schooled a bit. Though there's one really sad and poignant moment when the Crew's days are long since over and Tommy Tedesco appears on and wins The Gong Show. It brought a tear to my eye to think that Tedesco was desperate for any gig and chose that. He should be remembered, and so should the rest of the Crew. There wouldn't be a sixties without them.
Title: Re: DOCember Group Marathon 2019
Post by: Dave the Necrobumper on December 15, 2019, 10:22:08 PM
They Shall Not Grow Old (2018) 50/100 - Extremely disappointed in this after reading all the wonderful reviews for this documentary. It came across as second rate Ken Burns and you'll not learn a thing about the war watching it. I do understand what Jackson was trying to do, give the viewer a soldier's insight. But having modern day soldiers read excerpts from long since dead soldiers, accompanied by colorized film stock is not the way to do it. I'd rather see and hear living human beings, who fought in the war give their remembrances. Which is why I suggest you forgo this forgettable documentary and head over to YouTube and watch the best documentary on the first World War, done by the BBC as a television documentary series back in 1964. It's called The Great War, it's hosted by Michael Redgrave and here's a link to a playlist with all 26 episodes. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLucsO-7vMQ00twBJvRZKs1KNUKUVClo6C (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLucsO-7vMQ00twBJvRZKs1KNUKUVClo6C). At the time it was made there were plenty of ex-soldiers still alive and their recollections are worth the time it takes to watch all 26 episodes. And, you just might learn something more than a Cliff's Notes version of history. To compare the two, the latter is like a banquet with 26 magnificent meals to choose from. The former is a TV dinner.

The narration is from 1970s BBC interviews with veterans of WW1 the only modern voices are actors saying what forensic lip readers determined those in the footage were saying. Further work was done to determine which regiment was in the footage so the correct regional accent was used.
Title: Re: DOCember Group Marathon 2019
Post by: Antares on December 25, 2019, 06:20:33 PM
A Band Called Death (2012) 70/100 – So after I finished watching this documentary, I went on Youtube and found the album. When the last song was finished, it left me pondering what should be obvious questions. Their debut album, or should I say EP, is only 26 minutes long. How could the film makers not spend more time actually playing excerpts from all of the songs on the disc? They seemed to focus only on three songs, and though they are great songs, more depth could have been given to the film by showing how diverse and talented the Hackney brothers were on the entire EP. The film then starts to meander through the history of the two brothers who are still alive and it is here where the film starts to falter. Had they focused more on the stuff from the 70’s and the resurgence in the 00’s, this could have been a really tight documentary. I would have liked to know why the band, after all the rejections, didn’t choose to relocate to New York City, instead of Burlington, Vermont. Their EP was recorded in 1975, two years before the punk invasion of 1977. When the Sex Pistols toured America, it was on the nightly news on three major networks. Why didn’t Death just go to CBGB in 1977? They would have crushed the other famous bands that came out of that seminal punk venue. If you’re into music, then this documentary is worth a look. But if you’re not, the story just doesn’t grab you enough to keep it interesting. After listening to the whole EP, I can tell you this, I never really cared much for punk rock, but it would have been interesting to see what David Hackney would have come up with next. He definitely had talent and one can only wonder what technically crafted music he would have created.
Title: Re: DOCember Group Marathon 2019
Post by: Bondo on December 25, 2019, 06:44:57 PM
Starting to regret making December the month of docs out of service of a pun, as I always go in with big ambitions that get drowned amid the Oscar deluge.
Title: Re: DOCember Group Marathon 2019
Post by: Bondo on December 28, 2019, 11:24:52 AM
Grass (1999)

Since this film came out in 1999, it isn't aware that the next two decades would see a sea-change in attitudes towards cannabis, including full legalization/commercialization in many states. That said, in its tidy summary of the various eras of drug enforcement of the 20th Century, and the ebb and flow of crack downs (as always, it was more about race than drugs) and liberalizations (turns out La Guardia was big in this area, not just the namesake for a bad airport), it provides a certain warning not to take the current mood for granted.

One thing that occurs to me...a lot of the legalization movement is horrified at the concept of big cannabis. This is a natural result of significant overlap between people who think it should be legal and those who dislike and distrust corporations. And given how tobacco and alcohol industries' incentive in profit over health have been detrimental in many ways, this isn't completely without merit. That said, getting a corporate stake in the legality of cannabis is probably the best way to assure that the winds won't turn back to prohibition and criminalization. It is rare enough we can align market interests with positive policy, I reckon we shouldn't pass it by.

Compared to the prior cannabis doc I watched, this is a masterpiece, though really it is thoroughly middling from an artistic standpoint. Having Woody Harrelson as narrator lends it a haze of legitimacy though.
Title: Re: DOCember Group Marathon 2019
Post by: 1SO on December 28, 2019, 01:24:25 PM
Starting to regret making December the month of docs out of service of a pun, as I always go in with big ambitions that get drowned amid the Oscar deluge.
DOCs are my biggest blindspot because I'm more into fictional stories. My Hit List for the 2010s contains big titles like 13th, Icarus and Free Solo.

Then I look at my current Top 150 of the 2010s:
1. Exit Through the Gift Shop
2. The American Scream
3. Blackfish
4. Mistakes For Strangers
5. Life Itself
6. The Act of Killing
7. The People vs. George Lucas
8. Catching Hell
9. We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks
10. Audrie & Daisy


That's a strong group with a few titles I wish were getting more attention.
Title: Re: DOCember Group Marathon 2019
Post by: Beavermoose on December 28, 2019, 11:59:00 PM


(https://video-images.vice.com/articles/5bbe6eae44f751000680e4f9/lede/1539207995342-Free-Solo-8.jpeg?crop=1xw%3A0.84375xh%3Bcenter%2Ccenter&resize=2000%3A*)

Free Solo (2018) Jimmy Chin & Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi
&
Meru (2015) Jimmy Chin & Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi
What makes both these movies so incredible is that the stakes are so high, all of these climbers have made mistakes, have been injured before and knowing that they have these flaws and that they do make mistakes shows us that every decision that they make can be life or death. The fact that the filmmakers acknowledge the possibility that their filming might make the Free Solo climb even more risky almost makes the audience complicit if anything were to happen.

FS: ★★★★
Meru: ★★★˝

The Unknown Known (2013) Errol Morris
Morris fails to push Rumsfeld and in doing so reinforces the fact that this awful man's legacy, much like his tenure in power will remain filled with horrible unknowns.

★★ ˝

The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu (2010) Andrei Ujica
Fascinating compilation of propaganda intentionally ignores the horrors of Romania under Ceausescu and rather portrays the era as an ideal, unified and hopeful communist dream. Watching it without the knowledge of history makes it easy to understand how influential and believable large propaganda systems are and can help us better understand both countries like China, North Korea but also western countries and their own form of propaganda to a certain extent.

★★★

Visions of Light (1992) Arnold Glassman, Todd McCarthy, & Stuart Samuels
The movie is great as an introduction to film imagery for film students but is very limited in it's scope. The most fascinating thing about this movie is probably how much cinematography has changed since it's release.

★★ ˝

(https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/6ESN-CwSNlmBPIDbO4U4QrSuX38=/0x0:1920x1080/1200x800/filters:focal(807x460:1113x766)/cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/53200243/14___Yellows_Kitten_in_KEDI.0.jpg)

Kedi (2016) Ceyda Torun
A beautiful tale of co-existence, compassion and collaboration, Kedi shows us that humanity has the ability to share the world with other living creatures. The film succeeds in portraying the personalities of each of these animals and the empathetic people who live with them. Perhaps people may someday develop the same kind of empathy for their fellow humans.

★★★★
Title: Re: DOCember Group Marathon 2019
Post by: 1SO on December 29, 2019, 12:52:10 AM
Hail Satan?
★ ★ ★ - Good

Makes its point early and often. The Satanic Temple are little more than a growing group trolling the religious right, but in that Sacha Baron Cohen idea they hit a nerve and a path that allow them to legally use conservative Christian arguments against them. The main battle centers on putting a pagan statue outside a government building that has a 10 Commandments monument, because freedom of religion by law encompasses all denominations. The group are not seriously satanists, but they are serious about standing up to religious persecution, and follow strict rules that promote peace and acceptance.
Title: Re: DOCember Group Marathon 2019
Post by: Dave the Necrobumper on December 29, 2019, 04:45:41 AM
(https://video-images.vice.com/articles/5bbe6eae44f751000680e4f9/lede/1539207995342-Free-Solo-8.jpeg?crop=1xw%3A0.84375xh%3Bcenter%2Ccenter&resize=2000%3A*)

Free Solo (2018) Jimmy Chin & Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi

FS: ★★★★

What did you see the movie on? It is very much one that holds to bigger is better.

It was a stunning achievement, both the climb and the filming of it.
Title: Re: DOCember Group Marathon 2019
Post by: Beavermoose on December 29, 2019, 05:51:47 AM
Yeah, I'm glad I saw it on my 55'' TV rather than my computer screen.
Title: Re: DOCember Group Marathon 2019
Post by: Bondo on December 30, 2019, 04:18:26 AM
Thankfully, I was able to see that one in IMAX.

Rat Film

Extremely unstructured and often tending toward mood poem, which is a style of documentary I am not here for. Thinking of Of Time and the City and the like.
Title: Re: DOCember Group Marathon 2019
Post by: Antares on December 30, 2019, 06:50:27 PM
Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation! (2008) 72/100 - An interesting little documentary on the Australian film industry in the 70's & 80's. I would have loved to rate it higher, but the editing in the first 40 minutes or so is like it was done by a teenager drunk with caffeine after downing gallons of Dr. Pepper and direly in need of a sedative or Ritalin. Picture watching the Woodstock documentary edited to be shown as an MTV video. Quick cuts, using two separate screen images, rapid fire montages and talking heads popping in and out explaining what you are seeing. But you are not allowed enough time to absorb what you're watching, because it's on to the next film. It's this need to be flashy, coy and cute at the same time, that detracts from the viewer's experience. It finally settles in after about 45 minutes, and this is when the documentary gets interesting. I remember a few of these films back in the mid-80's when Cinemax would play them in the wee hours of the morning, filling out their daily schedule. It was the perfect time to watch one of these films, and though not all were good, every so often, you found a diamond in the rough. If you grew up on drive-in movies or late night cable schlock, then you'd probably be interested in this documentary. I know I wrote down at least half a dozen films for future perusal.
Title: Re: DOCember Group Marathon 2019
Post by: Bondo on December 31, 2019, 12:06:26 AM
This Changes Everything

First off, this isn't the documentary titled This Changes Everything that I was actually hoping to watch. There is a new one about women in the film industry. This however is a Naomi Klein-driven documentary about climate change. It starts with her musing that she is bored by most docs about climate change. That sets a high bar for this to clear that it does not. It does not, in fact, change anything, with its fairly standard approach to the issue, as combined with Klein's Shock Doctrine theory of mass capitalist conspiracy. Her main point seems to be that mass protest actions are what change everything, of which I am similarly dubious.

At first glance, what I though changes everything is to bill responses to climate change as not what you have to give up to avoid catastrophe but rather what a great world we could create using the new green technologies. Basically offer a better life, not a worse life, as a result of the response. But this doc is more about how we cannot do capitalism and sacrifices must be made. It tries to paint a positive element, but not in a way I think many people will really respond to.
Title: Re: DOCember Group Marathon 2019
Post by: Dave the Necrobumper on December 31, 2019, 01:46:28 AM
Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation! (2008) 72/100 - An interesting little documentary on the Australian film industry in the 70's & 80's. I would have loved to rate it higher, but the editing in the first 40 minutes or so is like it was done by a teenager drunk with caffeine after downing gallons of Dr. Pepper and direly in need of a sedative or Ritalin. Picture watching the Woodstock documentary edited to be shown as an MTV video. Quick cuts, using two separate screen images, rapid fire montages and talking heads popping in and out explaining what you are seeing. But you are not allowed enough time to absorb what you're watching, because it's on to the next film. It's this need to be flashy, coy and cute at the same time, that detracts from the viewer's experience. It finally settles in after about 45 minutes, and this is when the documentary gets interesting. I remember a few of these films back in the mid-80's when Cinemax would play them in the wee hours of the morning, filling out their daily schedule. It was the perfect time to watch one of these films, and though not all were good, every so often, you found a diamond in the rough. If you grew up on drive-in movies or late night cable schlock, then you'd probably be interested in this documentary. I know I wrote down at least half a dozen films for future perusal.

And they were?
Title: Re: DOCember Group Marathon 2019
Post by: Antares on December 31, 2019, 06:00:45 AM
Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation! (2008) 72/100 - An interesting little documentary on the Australian film industry in the 70's & 80's. I would have loved to rate it higher, but the editing in the first 40 minutes or so is like it was done by a teenager drunk with caffeine after downing gallons of Dr. Pepper and direly in need of a sedative or Ritalin. Picture watching the Woodstock documentary edited to be shown as an MTV video. Quick cuts, using two separate screen images, rapid fire montages and talking heads popping in and out explaining what you are seeing. But you are not allowed enough time to absorb what you're watching, because it's on to the next film. It's this need to be flashy, coy and cute at the same time, that detracts from the viewer's experience. It finally settles in after about 45 minutes, and this is when the documentary gets interesting. I remember a few of these films back in the mid-80's when Cinemax would play them in the wee hours of the morning, filling out their daily schedule. It was the perfect time to watch one of these films, and though not all were good, every so often, you found a diamond in the rough. If you grew up on drive-in movies or late night cable schlock, then you'd probably be interested in this documentary. I know I wrote down at least half a dozen films for future perusal.

And they were?

Fair Game, Long Weekend, Turkey Shoot, Road Games, Mad Dog Morgan, Patrick, Next of Kin, Stunt Rock & Snapshot
Title: Re: DOCember Group Marathon 2019
Post by: Dave the Necrobumper on December 31, 2019, 10:58:34 AM
Long Weekend is excellent, Road Games and Turkey Shoot are ok, Mad Dog Morgan is not good, but it does have Dennis Hooper in full blown drug and alcohol addiction (during the filming)
Title: Re: DOCember Group Marathon 2019
Post by: Beavermoose on December 31, 2019, 11:51:23 PM
I taught Long Weekend in one of my classes about Australian cinema. It's really good.
Title: Re: DOCember Group Marathon 2019
Post by: Bondo on January 01, 2020, 10:05:35 AM
Cold Case Hammarskjold

Not saying uncovering the mystery involving the death of the UN Secretary General isn't an interesting topic, but the stylistic choice here is extremely off-putting. There are all these scenes with the director and a typist that seem to be staged to allow the director to provide exposition. This is above and beyond voice-over narration with other video. It manages to neither have the immediacy of feeling like we are following the crew actively unveiling information, but also does not have strong archival material to carry the load. Just kind of poor.
Title: Re: DOCember Group Marathon 2019
Post by: Beavermoose on January 01, 2020, 11:52:33 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P74oHhU5MDk&
Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism (2004) Robert Greenwald
Show this to your family members who watch Fox News and then cry when they dismiss it as liberal propaganda. Murdoch has shaped western society more than we will ever know, and fifteen years later this film is more relevant than ever.

Apollo 11 (2019) Todd Douglas Miller
This movie is a beautiful portrayal of an incredible moment in human history. They must have used some of the same footage as For All Mankind but what makes this movie amazing is all the remastered footage. Not sure if the original negatives were filmed in widescreen format, FAM already looks amazing in 4:3 but Apollo 11 is so gorgeous and cinematic in widescreen. No wonder people think this was directed by Stanley Kubrick.
 
Memory: The Origins of Alien (2019) Alexandre O. Philippe
A deep dive into all of the influences and ideas behind the creation of the original Alien film. Although  I had already seen much of the information in the documentary in behind the scenes featurettes and other videos there were a few moments of new information, one of the scenes in which they explain the chest-burster scene was something I hadn't seen before and was really fun to watch. 

Fahrenheit 11/9 (2018) Michael Moore
I'm glad Moore didn't shy away from taking jabs at Obama or any other politicians after the disgraceful Flint Michigan water supply poisoning. Rick Snyder is a real piece of shit. Moore knows how to both entertain and tug at your heart strings and this movie is probably his best since Bowling for Columbine. Moore understands the hopelessness that poor people feel when coming face to face with the political system and he was one of the first people to Predict the Trump win. Hopefully people begin coming to their senses.


(https://pmcvariety.files.wordpress.com/2016/08/voyage-of-time-lifes-journey-venice-2.jpg?w=1000)
Voyage of Time: Life's Journey (2016) Terrence Malick
Malick be Malicking. Didn't really care too much about the scenes with CGI animals but the abstract imagery is breathtaking and I often felt like I wanted these shots of beautiful colourful shifting shapes to go on for longer.
Title: Re: DOCember Group Marathon 2019
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on January 02, 2020, 08:37:50 AM
Voyage of Time felt overdone to me. I got the point in The Tree of Life sequence.
Title: Re: DOCember Group Marathon 2019
Post by: Antares on January 05, 2020, 08:35:52 PM
Sid & Judy (2019) 85/100 - As I started the documentary I figured there wasn't going to be much added to the history of Judy Garland's career. But I have to admit, this was a pretty interesting look at the last two decades of her troubled life. I'll also admit that I have a newfound level of respect for her, she was really a human dynamo. It saddened me to see the self destructive path that the men in her life prodded her along. To die so young and to leave so many songs unsung is a tragedy.

On the other hand...

Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds (2016) 58/100 -  This was quite a chore to get through. I don't know if it was supposed to be a loving tribute or character assassination of Debbie Reynolds. Everyone knows what a train wreck Carrie Fisher was and this documentary is a warts and all treatment of her life, mainly warts. I can understand that is must be hard to grow up in the shadow of a famous parent, but her self-loathing and her desire to wallow constantly in the pain of her past is for the most part pathetic and incredibly tedious to watch. But you do get a sense of where all that material came from in Postcards From the Edge.