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Author Topic: DOCember 2020  (Read 8941 times)

Bondo

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Re: DOCember 2020
« Reply #40 on: December 14, 2020, 08:08:12 PM »
Blowin' Up

This is an interesting look at a court in Queens that tries to intervene on prostitution charges to battle human trafficking (and just as a diversionary program). Now, in a pure sense, we shouldn't have diversion programs for sex workers because we shouldn't be arresting sex workers, but it's better than actually giving them criminal records. Gives a little insight into the variety of people who might end up as sex workers, and why, and what efforts a program working to transition them away from sex work needs to provide to give them a plausible alternative. One very telling moment was when ICE raids the courthouse to pick up undocumented immigrant women making appearances, which is just toxic. The two things that most support trafficking are making sex work illegal and making immigration illegal, and this moment really emphasizes that confluence.

Beers of Joy

A nice mix of stories about beer. You have two men vying for certification as Master Cicerone, which is the beer version of a Sommelier with only about a dozen in the world. You have a guy who is more into the history, from pre-Prohibition archives at Anheiser-Busch to method historians practiced in the life of 18th Century colonialists and how brewing would factor in for them. You have a brewer exploring Germany and its own beer history. Nothing fancy but enough nuggets to educate even someone fairly knowledgable about beer.

Antares

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Re: DOCember 2020
« Reply #41 on: December 15, 2020, 04:27:41 AM »
Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011)
★ ★ ★ – Okay
There are many films about people with a particular set of skills that make them exceptional at what they do. This one perhaps isn’t best celebrated in a film. Since you can’t taste the food, you only have Jiro’s reputation to go on. (Not that it matters to me, I hate sushi.) The doc undercuts itself by explaining that Jiro doesn’t do anything special with the ingredients, it’s a very basic preparation. I’m not saying Jiro needs to be the Guy Fieri of sushi, but think about how Brad Bird takes the peasant vegetable dish of ratatouille and creates something simple, but so visually extraordinary you believe it must taste amazing.

The doc never gets to the heart of why HIS sushi is the best. It kind of just repeats this notion so many times in the hopes that the viewer will accept it as fact. It also should have spent more time on his history as opposed to his sons quest to become as iconic as he is. It just didn't enthrall me like it should have.
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1SO

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Re: DOCember 2020
« Reply #42 on: December 15, 2020, 06:58:18 AM »
Exactly. A really unexceptional documentary. I feel like it gained popularity mostly on having an amusing title.

1SO

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Re: DOCember 2020
« Reply #43 on: December 17, 2020, 01:13:10 AM »
Dick Johnson is Dead (2020)
★ ★ ★ – Okay
With her cute transitions between scenes and self-reflexive approach Kirsten Johnson is developing into a documentary filmmaker in the Agnes Varda style. Her camerawork is more composed, though that takes away from the warmth. Her idea here is therapeutic, but it never gets past the gimmick into actual therapy, making things Andy Kaufman-esque. Too much so at the end, where I really want to know more about what the friends make of this. Plus, Johnson herself isn’t ready to expose herself on camera enough to get this where it needs to be. Too many filters on the lens.


We Are Freestyle Love Supreme (2020)
★ ★ ★ – Good
Interesting that they decided to tell the story of the history of this group instead of a concert film with a shorter documentary as a Bonus Feature? It’s an entertaining ride and only knowing about Lin-Manuel Miranda as a member, it was a surprise to see this is also the origin story of Hamilton co-stars Chris Jackson and Daveed Diggs (who sadly opted not to be part of this), director Thomas Kail and Tony winner James Monroe Iglehart (Aladdin). If that’s not enough talent, Utkarsh Ambudkar’s rhyme skills are often a level above the group and his journey gives the doc some emotional gravity. If not for previous docs I’d seen about Hamilton, this could convince me that LMM and Co. improvised most of it.

1SO

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Re: DOCember 2020
« Reply #44 on: December 17, 2020, 10:47:53 AM »

The Imposter (2012)

Couldn’t find the quote but I remember hoping to find a Doc with some “artistic stamp” and not look like a 60 Minutes exposé. Found it. For a while, I was thinking the director was auditioning for Jerry Bruckheimer with his flashy photography, but as the story unfolds, I started questioning the reality of what I was watching. Were these the real people or actors or at the least, actors portraying real people who either couldn’t be found or would never speak on camera about this?

It’s one of those Docs that in a general sense enforces that truth is stranger than fiction and people in reality are far more gullible than even stupid movie people. (Just look at the American response and politicization to COVID.) In terms of this story, I started wondering if I was watching the real-life inspiration for a left field murder mystery much like Prisoners. I would love more dramatized insight regarding this family and the title character.
★ ★ ★ – Okay

Sandy

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Re: DOCember 2020
« Reply #45 on: December 17, 2020, 06:36:25 PM »
Frank Sinatra: The Movies, The Music, The Man



Mediocre documentary about a mighty subject. The editing brings it all down, with dialogue from film clips playing over the narration, visuals not coinciding with the subject and said clips spoiling several films for first time viewers. It's sloppy slapdash, but boy can Sinatra hold a note. He is the king of phrasing and this little documentary, through one of their thrown in clips, inadvertently reminded me of that.

Eric/E.T.

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Re: DOCember 2020
« Reply #46 on: December 17, 2020, 09:31:31 PM »
No Logo

Flipped it on while waiting on dinner. If anyone wants to know why I'm reticent to engage in or with anything Disney-related, this is a good short-ish (42 minutes) documentary that will clue you in. Corporations are insidious forces. Nike, Disney, Walmart, et al, the brands, seek to dominate markets AND the commons, until the they can no longer be distinguished as separate entities. They're the enemy of both individualism (since there are so few choices, we all join a camp) and collectivism (they squash unions or just go to a country with cheaper labor and no possibility of unions).

Now, while the film gets me worked up, it's from 2003 and is unlikely to tell you anything you don't know in 2020. It's really just an extended interview with Naomi Klein, who wrote a book called No Logo in 1999, when fewer people were aware of corporate labor practices overseas where there is cheaper labor and no regulations. The race to the bottom is well-documented now, you'd have to have your head buried way, way into the sand not to see it. I'm guessing none of the B-roll was made specifically for this film, it was sourced and put together to accompany Klein's points. It's nothing spectacular, just effective.

The use of Celebration, Florida is an interesting look at what an end-goal for total corporate immersion could be. The planned community seems somewhat irrelevant in and of itself now, but only because corporations have found that cradle-to-grave strategies need not include so much real estate and physical investment.

From the great anti-corporate jam "Narcissist" by Sage Francis, a perfect accompaniment to No Logo,

"...as the ice spilled and poured
Onto the floor I did see a distorted reflection of my Nike hat
I don't know how others might react
For me it was an unsightly act that helped me get my psyche back
I stood 5 feet back, afraid that it might strike me like Shaclack clack!
Ya'll think I'm kidding? It's no big thing
What I seen made my heart hurt, stomach turn, throat burn, teeth cringe
Spine tingle, and ribs sting
I noticed that the swoosh symbol was nothing but a whip in mid-swing.."
A witty saying proves nothing. - Voltaire

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Re: DOCember 2020
« Reply #47 on: December 18, 2020, 12:56:20 AM »

Collective (2019)
”How did hospitals get so bad? And doctors? It's their humanity, after all.”

“We're no longer human. We doctors, we're no longer
human beings. We only care about money.”


Bucharest 2015 and a fire in a club leads to 27 deaths and 180 injuries. When over 30 more die in the hospital from bacteria infections, a team of investigative journalists expose the government’s immediate response for the lies they are and continue to dig through multiple layers of corruption.

This reminded me so much of Spotlight I had to stop and check that I was actually watching a Doc and not a scripted thriller. The access is remarkable and there are no interviews so it all unfolds like good storytelling, without pausing to explain details or personal feelings. It also reminded me of The Wire, with a constantly widening scope until I noticed the intensity was spread thin and it became less about the individuals and more about all the chain reaction caused by this one event.
★ ★ ★ – Good

Antares

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Re: DOCember 2020
« Reply #48 on: December 18, 2020, 05:49:33 AM »
The American Experience: Freedom Riders (2010) 85/100 - You just can't beat PBS when it comes to making entertaining, educating & enlightening documentaries. For me, this program and their Nature program are the two best shows they offer. This episode delved into the civil rights protest that began in Washington D.C. and ended in New Orleans in 1961. Started by a relatively new group to the movement, the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), two small groups of blacks and whites would take a trip through the Deep South on Greyhound and Trailways buses to challenge the segregationist policies that had been outlawed by the Supreme Court in the landmark Brown-vs-The Board of Education case in 1954. Although the southern states had complied in their educational systems to the mandate, separate but equal segregation was still deeply entrenched in all other aspects of daily life in the Deep South. Lunch counters, rest rooms, hotels and in this case waiting rooms in bus terminals were still divided according to a person's racial background. The documentary delves deep into the many aspects of their protest. The training in the beginning for the riders to what seems to them a tolerable level of abuse which would be hurled at them by southern whites. It also touches upon their naiveté alongside their courage to embark on such a trip, without any protection as they plied a non-violence approach to the protest. Looking back at it now, you have to wonder if today's youth could muster up the courage that these people showed, especially once they reached Alabama. If you know nothing about this event from the early Kennedy years, this is a great place to start.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2020, 11:07:29 AM by Antares »
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Bondo

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Re: DOCember 2020
« Reply #49 on: December 18, 2020, 07:49:38 PM »
@1SO

Collective is definitely on my watchlist.

The Imposter is something I really loved when I watched it when it came out, largely owing to its style (and its stranger than fiction story). Maybe one to revisit.

 

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