Author Topic: Feb MDC write-ups: Documentary  (Read 22812 times)

Thor

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Re: Feb MDC write-ups: Documentary
« Reply #70 on: March 06, 2009, 09:39:54 AM »
Really great write-ups everyone! I should do one of these sometime!
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Thor

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Re: Feb MDC write-ups: Documentary
« Reply #71 on: March 12, 2009, 02:15:00 PM »
The Revolution Will Not Be Televised AKA Chavez: Inside The Coup (Kim Bartley, Donnacha O'Briain, 2002)
False media, we don't need it, do we?

This is one of those documentaries that immediately had me looking on the tubes for more info, and then predictably being drawn into a time-sucking spiral of reading the many sides of an ongoing and unresolved argument. Which is normally a sign that a) this is some pretty hot shit right here, and b) there's more to the story than what's contained in these incendiary 74mins. Well, for everything outside the documentary, I leave you to you own devices; on the issue of the 2002 coup against Hugo Chavez, you can find any viewpoint you want, and will no doubt side with the one that fits best with who you is and who you ain't.

As for the film itself, I highly recommend it, mainly because it has the good fortune of showing unprecedented footage from inside a real, yet ultimately unsuccessful attempt to illegally takeover a government, and is brilliantly gripping in presenting the chaos, hubris and murky machinations involved in such a situation. I guarantee you've never seen anything quite like it, and beyond the filmmaker's good fortune in being such a situation, they deserve praise for some pretty nifty camerawork at the time, and for assembling a pretty convincing (see paragraph above) argument that the whole thing was a despicably corrupt clusterCINECAST! encouraged by the US government in cahoots with the media-controlling, entitled echelon of Venezuelan society, only to be triumphantly repelled by the will of ordinary people in support of a democratic process.

It's a one-sided view, at times bordering on hagiography in the early scenes of Chavez (who himself led a failed coup in 1992, and only became a political player after making a winning appearance on TV when arrested, ahem, ahem), but even in that is just fascinating in terms of the candid access it has to Chavez and his ministers during the coup. The kernel of the doc is the superbly-edited footage from inside the presidential palace as it surrounded by army forces threatening to bomb the palace unless Chavez resigns. The volatile footage of the Venezuelan media manipulating footage of riots also has to be seen to be believed, as does the repulsive arrogance of the circle-jerk post-match analysis by dumb stooges on TV after the coup accidentally admitting the whole thing was pre-planned in coordination with the TV stations (not the 'official' line, which was to claim it was the will of the people). Bartley and O'Briain cut here to shots of the supposedly supportive public getting massacred on the streets on Caracas, and the effect is devastating, as you realize the human effect of this buffoonery. Truly, the message of the film is that whole control the media controls the mind's of the people, a point that is shown not to be limited to Latin America when the film nicely cuts in footage of the head of the CIA, White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer and Colin Powell spouting total balls about the US involvement in the coup...

Another thing that I couldn't shake off was how funny the whole thing is. I couldn't tell if this was an intentional tactic by the filmmakers, or just because I'm so emotionally dead inside or whatever (probably a bit of both), but there are moments of irony and incompetence in here that are just hilarious, despite the generally gripping tension. One moment in particular had me guffawing: when the Vice President arrives back at the palace and calls an emergency meeting, to which everyone storms off to with their important faces on, only to find that the door to meeting room is locked and no one has the key, had me thinking unavoidably of This is Spinal Tap. "Rock and roll!, Rock and Roll!"

STONKING!
« Last Edit: March 12, 2009, 02:29:36 PM by Thor »
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roujin

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Re: Feb MDC write-ups: Documentary
« Reply #72 on: March 12, 2009, 02:26:34 PM »
Glad you liked it. The whole thing is stonking fascinating!

Thor

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Re: Feb MDC write-ups: Documentary
« Reply #73 on: March 12, 2009, 02:29:49 PM »
Yes
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FLYmeatwad

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Re: Feb MDC write-ups: Documentary
« Reply #74 on: March 13, 2009, 04:53:48 PM »


Hold on to that animation Clovis, you're going to need it again!

Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience - My own personal documentary dictation for the month of February comes in the form of this little 3-D...excuse me, 3D...film currently running throughout theatres. I know it's not February any more, but the point is my self-dictation was completed! Also, when I saw it I had the whole theatre to myself! Fresh off the heels of the Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour in 3-D about a year ago Disney gives the guest stars of that film, the three Jonas Brothers, the 3D concert treatment, chronicling a show from their recent Burnin' Up Tour. The film starts off with some music playing and some really weak use of 3D, leaving me questioning why I was wearing these damn glasses. We see the boys's body gaurd Big Rob waking them up and telling them they need to get ready for the Good Morning America show performance. Cut to a scene at the breakfast table. The oldest brother, wikipedia tells me this is Kevin, goes over their schedule, telling everyone what the plans are and what needs to get done. During this scene one of the other two, the lead singer, Joe, I believe, starts shaking the table and saying "Earthquake" like a three year old child. Kevin begins mocking his younger brothers and we get a sense of playful, yet serious, conflict. Not the best sequence, but a little reminiscent of Don't Look Back, and I'm thinking the biggest flaw from the Miley Cyrus film, too much concert not enough personal stuff mixed with goofing off sequences, was rectified. Sadly, I was mistaken. The film's biggest flaw is that the Jonas Brothers never open up, we see nothing of concert preparations as we did in the Miley film, and we don't see them just talking as we saw in the Miley film, but as a trade off we get a few rehearsal sequences and quite a few sequences where the guys just clown around, and all work incredibly and are great fun, but the lack of any personality to these faces, I still get the younger two confused, is a bit concerning.

Thankfully, most of the flaws stop right there, now it's a major flaw and hurts the film greatly, but Experience is the perfect word to use in the title, because this film is one Hell of a ride. The credits start with a bunch of screaming fans rushing the boys's limo, which leads to a drawn out, action pack, funny, chase scene that really sets the tone for the rest of the film. It all comes to a head when the guys reach the top of a city building and board a helicopter, leading us into the show and the 3D visuals that are about to be unleashed upon the audience. I would like to state that, despite what may appear to be popular opinion, I am not really a fan of these guys and they have always seemed a bit too one note for me, but damn are the concert sequences a lot of fun. There are a quite a number of obvious 3D uses, the guitar pick flicking that they closed with in the Miley movie returns twice, and the singer reaches out a few times as well as some microphone int he face things, but the depth transition is incredibly stunning and not at all a gimmick. The sight of this glow sticks throughout the audience is great, watching all the hands on stage and how they swing around helps draw the viewer in, and the stage is absolutely fantastic. The camera is used incredibly, really making you feel like you are in the audience, as the boys, back up band members, and the orchestra are not only shown in stunning detail, the picture quality truly is a spectacle, but as actual human beings as if they were sitting right in front of you. This was my first 3D live action film, so perhaps they are all like this, but I thought the 3D was great. Plus it is all highlighted by the ever changing stage, the camera is used to make it feel like, if I wanted to, I could start walking and actually be on stage, it's damn impressive. The songs are a mixed bag though, they do occasionally blend too much for my liking and the only noticeable sound change, aside from the final performance, is the semi-duet with Demi Lovato, though even this sequence seemed to focus more on the brothers than on her, she also has a very awkward stage presence, she's a really great singer but she strikes me as a very odd girl. Unlike the Miley film, where the Jonas Brothers had their own portion of a few songs, this film completely relied on the headliners. Like the Miley movie I did learn not to dismiss their music though and I had more exposure to the songs in this film than I did with hers, which is a shame because if I knew last year what I know now I would have loved to see that film in 3D since the songs were all really great. Any how, yeah, the film visually was great, musically worked well enough for a non-fan, engages the audience, and is just a ton of God damned fun. Also, someone who writes for South Park (maybe even Matt or Trey) clearly saw this film as there is a sequence right out of the recent episode where the guys have long nozzle hose things that let out a bunch of white foam and what seems to be lotion or something, it was really funny. The Taylor Swift part was cool too, she actually got her own song and there was a little call back to the Miley movie that seems to suggest if Disney releases another film like this it will feature Taylor rather than Demi, which I'd be okay with but as I now I have little interest in seeing a film dealing with either of the two. Taylor Swift also handled herself on stage incredibly, but she seemed like a total bitch the whole time she was up there, she seemed arrogant and snobby, I mean I'm into that sort of thing and even I thought it was a bit much, she's a really good singer though too. Also, the final song performed, "Burnin' Up," was stunning, the 3D was great, both gimmicky enough and still stunning, the performance was high energy, and it's a really great song, my favourite by the band. It was not on the level of the Miley/Hannah "Best of Both Worlds" duet, though I knew it would never live up to the awesomeness of that, but it was damn close.

So now all the extra non concert stuff, another strong point. The first cut we see after performances is the definition of the word fanatic as the boys talk about fanatics, and damn does the film showcase these people. Scenes of people waiting 72 hours in New York to see these guys perform for Good Morning America, what appeared to be all of time square packed, the boys called it New Years and they were right it seemed to be as full as the Times Square I see on the New Years shows, with people waiting for the midnight release of their new CD, pictures with fans and traveling through the city. It was insane, I have to imagine the comparisons to the attention The Beatles received in the 60's were not far off, these people were insane. Plus the Jonas Brothers have as many good songs as The Beatles, so that works too I suppose, though this S.O.S song would be fun in Rock Band, and The Beatles only have one song that would be a ton of fun in Rock Band, so maybe they are ahead, I don't know. Anyhow, these people were crazy, that one scene of the fathers racing for Miley Cyrus tickets was outrageous in the Miley film, but this was a whole other level, it blew my mind. Also, there is one great sequence, hilarious genuine and better than most scenes in major comedies, where the camera crews follow three Jonas Brothers imitators. It's no Mister Lonely, but these guys are a blast, flipping, leading audiences in "Burnin' Up" renditions, shaking hands, and pulling some guy off the street to say "I love the Jonas Brothers more than my wife" in some foreign language that was specified, but I currently forget. They start off their segment by saying "We are what the people who can't get the Jonas Brothers get. The Jonas Brothers are living the dream, well we're dreaming the life." It's a great sequence, I had a ton of fun with it, it was probably even better than almost all the extra scenes in the Miley film. Though the problem, as I said before, is that we never get to know these guys, we can guess, but the strength of the Miley movie was that it lacked some of this humor, but we got that glimpse into the real girl and there were a number of heart felt genuine moments. It seems to me all three of these guys are something different. Kevin seems wise to the image idea, noticeable by how he's always goofing off on stage and playing up to the crowd with crazy antics, he doesn't take himself or the idea of the band seriously, but he's also always thanking the fans, he's an entertainer. The youngest one, Nick, seems to have the most musical talent of the bunch, not only does he do some great singing (plus the primary, clearly recognizable, vocals on "Burnin' Up"), but he also played drums, guitar, possibly bass, and a piano during the film. That's a Hell of a range, plus he seems to be the most quiet of the bunch, which seems to show that he does truly care about the music. Then you have the lead singer, Joe, who puzzles me as he seems like the biggest waste of space to the band. Kevin and Nick play instruments, this guy does absolutely nothing but flip around and sing, occasionally beating a tambourine. I mean he's an okay singer, but he doesn't show a great range and he doesn't really add anything extra to the sound, or at least it appears that way to me, but he does put on a good show. I don't know, he seems like he should just be along for the ride, but apparently he's the most famous of the three, so it shows what I know I suppose. But really, these are all guesses anyhow since we don't get personality, we have a ton of fun, but there's no personality to these guys. It's a great experience, it's not like anything else I have seen in a theatre, but it's not the best documentary nor is it likely the best concert film. I'm probably forgetting a ton of stuff, the film is a blast and it's packed full of great times, but I'll end my review here.

B/B+ or 3.899782194723483

Also, I assume the Miley film would have been fantastic in 3-D, as that aspect added a ton to this film, so whatever score I gave that bump it up by 1, it deserves at least a B+ and 4 stars.

roujin

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Re: Feb MDC write-ups: Documentary
« Reply #75 on: March 13, 2009, 04:57:22 PM »

I feel bad for recognizing so many of those anime ones.

roujin

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Re: Feb MDC write-ups: Documentary
« Reply #76 on: March 21, 2009, 06:54:19 PM »

Grizzly Man (Werner Herzog, 2005)

This was very interesting. It seems right up Herzog's alley with all that man/nature stuff. Anyway, I thought there were too many instances where footage of Treadwell going like "I could die any second" popping up (in different wordings, etc). Yeah, I get it. It's ironic/tragic that Treadwell went out the way he did and predicted it himself, yeah, yeah. Once is enough for that. Treadwell himself is also just an annoying douchebag so it's hard for me to really care about what he's doing or want to understand it in any way. One of the things I liked is how Herzog will sometimes interject and say "but this is how I differ from Treadwell" (or something like that) and give us his opinion on something. Anyway, one of the masterstrokes of this film and certainly its most emotional scene for me is when Herzog listens to the tape. I had heard about this scene when the film came out, I think, and imagined it much differently. I saw Herzog in a closed off room with the camera just outside, by the door, sitting on this chair with shadows enveloping him with this weird grimace on his face. What I got was much different (obviously) but still very effective as you don't really see Herzog's face that much, the camera stays by his side and only gets the side of his face (which is for me more powerful for some reason) all while the owner of the tape can only watch Herzog because she refuses to listen to it. It's a powerful scene and the best thing about the film. Hmmm, what else... oh, after watching this and Encounters, I really wish Herzog would get some better music in his films. Just annoying...

Thank you for the dictation. I had always meant to get around to watching this...

Emiliana

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Re: Feb MDC write-ups: Documentary
« Reply #77 on: March 22, 2009, 11:22:39 AM »
Glad you enjoyed it, roujin!

pixote

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Re: Feb MDC write-ups: Documentary
« Reply #78 on: December 26, 2009, 04:53:30 PM »


Concert of Wills: Making the Getty Center  (Susan Froemke, Bob Eisenhardt, and Albert Maysles, 1997)

Big thanks to Mandrake for assigning me a very good film I probably wouldn't have seen otherwise.  Equal thanks to interlibrary loan for getting me a copy of the dvd.  Public libraries are so awesome.  Just like this forum, ya know?

Concert of Wills does a great job capturing just what a massive undertaking it is to create something like the Getty Center.  It's always amazing to me that anything like this actually gets done, given how many parties have to agree on a billion little details, how much it all costs, how many hours of labor and tons of materials the physical construction takes, etc.  The documentary gives us a glimpse into a lot of these little battles, like how the Center had to work within the limitations of a surprisingly restrictive conditional-use land permit.  The neighborhood surrounding the Getty site seems to have had a big say in things, including the color and height of the buildings.  In retrospect, it's like, you're getting the Getty! Shut up!  But I guess that's just the naive reaction of someone who doesn't actually have to live right there, possibly losing the view you're used to while gaining a whole bunch of new automobile traffic.

Many of the other battles center on the differing aesthetic concerns between architect of the center (Richard Meier) and its interior curator; and also between Meier and the local artist brought in to design the center's gardens.  It's so refreshing (compared to how, say, the History Channel would have handled this subject) that the film just lets also the discussions and arguments play out without comment; there's no narration and few if any titles.  There were a few instances where I wanted the filmmakers to fill in some of the knowledge gaps (seven years of construction is a lot to compress into one hundred minutes), but I so appreciate the film's commitment to working with just the footage they had and letting that footage speak for itself.

One thing that did bother me a little — and there were a few things like this — is that the film doesn't resolve what was probably the best argument in the film.  Meier continually argues the the artists' gardens are destroying a key view, while the artist counters that his layout is enhancing the views and creating a new experience (or something like that).  At the end of the film, everyone says their happy with how things turned out, but I really wanted to see what that particular view looked like with everyone completed and judge for myself.  It's just a small thing — one missing shot — but it sort of gets at the way the film's strength (capturing this massive undertaking) is occasionally it's weakness as well (with the scope of the project overwhelming the attempt to document it).

Regardless, Concert of Wills is a very good documentary.  It has no real highs, maybe, but no lows either.  It's just consistently interesting, especially if, like me, you're a sucker for process.  I'd love to get alexarch's thoughts on this film at some point.  Thanks again, Mandrake.

Grade: B+

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Mandrake

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Re: Feb MDC write-ups: Documentary
« Reply #79 on: December 26, 2009, 11:57:58 PM »


Concert of Wills: Making the Getty Center  (Susan Froemke, Bob Eisenhardt, and Albert Maysles, 1997)


Happy you enjoyed it!