I love documentaries.
And I think I could live a very long rest of my life without seeing another "summer blockbuster" type of movie.
Here are a couple (okay a lot) of reviews, in order of my preference:
Enron: The Smartest Guys In the Room
Outstanding. Slickly produced with great music and presenting the sometimes complex corruption schemes in an easy to understand form. These guys are the worst kind of corporate greedheads and criminals. The outcomes of their trials will make for interesting 2006 news.
Enron: 5 stars
Ghosts of Rwanda
This Frontline documentary is powerful and fantastic. The filmmakers interview, among others: Kofi Annan, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Madeleine Albright, General Romeo Dallaire (head of the U.N. peace-keeping force in
The joke goes "Timothy Treadwell tried to be #1 with the bears but he ended up being #2."
I loved this movie because Werner Herzog definitely has an opinion about Treadwell that Tim wouldn’t have necessarily shared. Herzog also had tons of "fuzzy wuzzy bears frolicking" footage available that he did not show. Bravo! This is a story of a man in need of serious psychological help but he found his salvation in living with bears. And eventually one ate him. That's what bears do.
Grizzly Man: 5 stars
The Iceman Interviews
This is a series of interviews of Richard Kuklinski, a cold blooded mafia hitman. This guy is absolutely workmanlike about his ugly profession. That itself makes for an interesting experience but the whole thing was surreal (at least in my head) by the fact that this guy IS Tony Soprano. If James Gandolfini did not pattern his voice or mannerisms around this guy, he channeled the guy.
Iceman Interviews: 5 Stars. (the Sopranos gets 5, of course).
This started out being a documentary about Palestinian children growing up on the
A & E: Serial Killers: Profiles of the Criminal Mind
I love Bill Kurtis's voice. There, I've said it. Twenty minutes into disc 1 one of my all-time favorite supervisors appears in a two second shot of my dispatch center (the old configuration) during a segment about Robert Hansen (Butcher, Baker). All in all, a comprehensive and well done series of shows on the profiles of several serial killers.
Profiles of the Criminal Mind: 4 stars
The first is a documentary about the trial of three scumbag teenagers who may or may not have killed three 8 year olds in
Paradise Lost I: 4 stars, Paradise Lost II: 3 stars.
Auschwitz: Inside the
Also a very well produced documentary. There are a lot of computer generated graphics and schematics of the camps and a lot of "dramatic recreations" of discussions between the heads of the German governing units. This is both good and bad. The whole story is presented thoughtfully, though, and it's a great reminder that, while I don't happen to like our current president or his political party's main goals, W is not a Nazi. We use that word too freely.
Guerilla: The Taking Of Patty Hearst
This is pretty much self explanatory and well done with very news coverage of the last standoff between the
Guerilla: 4 stars.
This is a documentary about a cracked-out street guy in
Bus 174: 4 stars
This documentary traces the path of two girls in the
Girlhood: 3 stars
Burden of Dreams
As described on Netflix: "This feature-length documentary from filmmaker Les Blank paints a riveting portrait of megalomaniacal German director Werner Herzog as he worked against almost insurmountable odds in the Amazon jungle to craft his epic movie Fitzcarraldo. Besides capturing the seemingly hexed production's myriad adversities, Blank's camera exposes Herzog as a man obsessed with his art and pressed to the brink of insanity to see his cinematic vision fulfilled."
Great documentary but it exposes less of Herzog as an obsessed man than it shows Klaus Kinski as a raging asshole.
Burden of Dreams: 3 stars.
Great subject, so-so show. Nearly a one-man production but better than Murders of Hollywood. Read "The Devil in the
Bad production (the pictures are all pixilated since they were obviously blown up on a computer screen with crappy digital video editing equipment). This is a one-man production that is so cursory in its portrayal of the murders, all of which could earn a full documentary devoted to them (and most have) that it's a total waste of time. Plus the narrator calls Sharon Tate's husband "Norman Polanski" when first introducing the murders.