Posts filed under ‘Documentary’

The Greatest Movie Ever Sold

MOVIE:  The Greatest Movie Ever Sold

NUTSHELL:  Morgan Spurlock’s looksee into product placement and how marketing, like Elvis, is everywhere.

GOOD THINGS:  Pretty interesting and funny.  It is occasionally delightful despite being also horrifying and ultimately depressing. 

BAD THINGS:  I don’t need to hear from Ben Silverman, John Wells, Ralph Nader, Donald Trump or Brett Ratner anymore, even if they’re being mocked. 

FEATURES:  Noam Chomsky, Peter Berg, J.J. Abrams, Ok Go, Big Boi, Sao Paulo  

UNCOMFORTABLE MOMENTS:  Entire film is very nervous-making.  I mean, you knew the marketing was there already, right?  And yet…  Also, WTH is Sheetz?

NOTABLE:  I still kept with my original plan and went to 7-11™ afterwards to buy a Senor Chang™ (Hangover 2™) Blue Raspberry Fanta™ Super Big Gulp™ Slurpee™. 

BEST PART:  Spurlock’s continued giggling over Mane ‘n Tail

BEST LINE:  “So this is like the Inception of documentaries.”

CROWNS:  4 out of 5


May 13, 2011 at 11:33 pm Leave a comment

Ghosts of the Abyss

MOVIE:  Ghosts of the Abyss

NUTSHELL:  James Cameron’s documentary which explores the modern day wreck of the Titanic in the North Atlantic with state of the art technology, historic and marine experts and cutting edge photography.

GOOD THINGS:  Interesting, not too long, lovely to look at and fascinating. But, hey, look who you’re asking – I’m a Titanic nerd.

BAD THINGS:  Sigh. No Leo.

FEATURES:  Bill Paxton acting like a pussy. I don’t believe it for a second, big guy.


NOTABLE:  Is in 3-D. And, unfortunately for me, you can’t watch without the glasses and just have to put up with things poking out at your for an hour.

BEST PART:  The recreations edited in with the film of the wreckage

BEST LINE:  Err… it’s mostly narration and windbaggish narration at that so I’ll pass on picking best line this time.

CROWNS:  3 out of 5

May 11, 2011 at 11:23 am Leave a comment

Gimme Shelter

MOVIE:  Gimme Shelter 

NUTSHELL:  Stones, knives and guns – oh my! The Maysles’s seminal music documentary about the free concert at Altamont Speedway in 1969.

GOOD THINGS:  The music doyaaiiee, there has never been anyone that the camera loved more than Mick Jagger. (Courtney Cox is gaining, though.) Cute dogs, Keith, Charlie and Bill, Melvin Belli, Tina Turner and (boy I never thought I’d say this…) the Grateful Dead as the voice of reason.

BAD THINGS:  The Hell’s Angels, (“Ain’t nobody gonna kick my motorcycle!), gunplay, beating, kicking, knifing, you know – all that baby boomer shash.

FEATURES:  Snakeskin boots, velvet pants, Minnie Pearl, funny hats, Jefferson Airplane, the Flying Burrito Brothers, helicopter getaways and dancing in the motel room

UNCOMFORTABLE MOMENTS:  People on drugs are scary. Naked people on drugs scarier. Dirty hippies on drugs…. wait is that redundant?

NOTABLE:  I totally forgot about Mick Taylor and his bouffant hairdo.

BEST PART:  I will be killed if I don’t say one word. And that word is: Keith.

BEST LINE:  “Well done, Sonny.”

CROWNS:  5 out of 5

January 13, 2010 at 10:36 pm Leave a comment

Wisconsin Death Trip

MOVIE:  Wisconsin Death Trip

NUTSHELL:  Strange mixture of archive photographs, reenactments, and sarcastic narration about life in fin-de-siècle Black River Falls, Wisconsin

GOOD THINGS:  Great vintage photographs and present-day cinematography in the same style which allows film to blend the two seamlessly

BAD THINGS:  Sarcastic narration, lack of point

FEATURES:  Sucky modern day footage of Black River Falls, Wisconsin which touches on the same topics as the archived and recreated material

UNCOMFORTABLE MOMENTS:  This horrible, totally gay whispering narration whenever the mental hospital is mentioned

NOTABLE:  Based on a book of photos and writings that examined the fears and odd, sometimes harrowing, daily life of the German and Scandinavian immigrants in Jackson County, Wisconsin from around 1880 to 1910. While the book let the materials speak for themselves and provide a commentary about the alleged “good old days,” the movie, was made for the BBC and is mostly a freakshow about small town America.

BEST PART:  The parts with no narration

BEST LINE:  On these occasions she uses cocaine liberally. She explains that it calms her nerves.

CROWNS:  2 out of 5


January 13, 2010 at 10:25 pm Leave a comment



NUTSHELL:  Cantankerous engineers build a $1 million welding robot to repair the century old underground steam pipes beneath New York City.

GOOD THINGS:  Constant Engineer bickering, short fuse jokes

BAD THINGS:  Robots are kinda boring and I’m from the Humanities.

FEATURES:  Archival footage, three story high asbestos explosions

UNCOMFORTABLE MOMENTS:  Voice over about the dawn of the new millenium

NOTABLE:  Movie doesn’t mention that Con Edison shelved the robot anyway.

BEST PART:  Crotchety engineer named Roop

BEST LINE:  Optimism’s just a catastrophe waiting to happen.

CROWNS:  4 out of 5

January 13, 2010 at 10:23 pm Leave a comment


MOVIE:  Scratch

NUTSHELL:  Excellent personalized history of hip hop that rocks the hay-ouse.

GOOD THINGS:  Great at laying down the basics and history and being totally engaging.  Amazing clips of archival footage, interviews, and current competitions and performances.

BAD THINGS:  Nope.  Okay maybe I could have heard “Rockit” a couple of less times.

FEATURES:  Qbert, Mix Master Mike, Jazzy Jay, Afrika Bambaataa, GrandMixer DXT, DJ Shadow, Rob Swift and the X-Ecutioners, DJ Babu and The Beat Junkies, DJ Shortee, DJ Premier, Steve Dee, DJ Craze and the Allies, Cut Chemist, Numark and Jurassic 5, and as they say on the KTEL commericials “much more!”

UNCOMFORTABLE MOMENTS:  DJs’ alien fixation, unnerving interviews with Naut Humon and the voices in his head

NOTABLE:  I think I have a crush on Cut Chemist now, contains individuals who go by “GrandWizzard Theodore,” “DJ Faust,” and “Steinski”

BEST PART:  the Invisibl Skratch Piklz final show

BEST LINE:  I took clarinet in the fourth grade.

CROWNS:  5 out of 5

January 13, 2010 at 10:21 pm Leave a comment

Photos to Send

MOVIE:  Photos to Send

NUTSHELL:  Dierdre Lynch’s incredible documentary retracing Dorothea Lange’s photojournalism travels in Ireland in 1954

GOOD THINGS:  Just go see it.

BAD THINGS:  Nothing.  Go see it.

FEATURES:  Ireland, Dorothea Lange, visits a half a centry later with the same people featured in Lange’s 1954 Life magazine article

UNCOMFORTABLE MOMENTS:  It’s moving.  But I am okay with that even though emotions are for ethnic people.

NOTABLE:  Dierdre Lynch is talented, intelligent AND cute as a dozen buttons.

BEST PART:  Finding Michael riding by on a bike.

BEST LINE:  It’s Michael!

CROWNS:  5 out of 5

January 13, 2010 at 10:19 pm Leave a comment

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