RYUICHI SAKAMOTO: CODA – Review by Diane Carson

Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda profiles this talented, humble composer. Some rare, wonderful individuals have the gift of modeling ways to approach life and persevere in the face of illness. One of those amazing people is Ryuichi Sakamoto, an award-winning Japanese musician and an environmental activist. In the documentary tribute to him, Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda, director Stephen Nomura Schible captures his spirit, his art, and his inspirational approach to society.

Read more

WE THE ANIMALS — Review by Diane Carson

We the Animals adopts 10-year-old Jonah’s point of view. Reminiscent of Beasts of the Southern Wild and The Florida Project, We the Animals embraces the attentive, wary perspective of 10-year-old Jonah. Largely unsupervised, he romps with brothers Joel and Manny, neglected by their mother and their father who fight each other and their own vanquished mentality, trapped in a working-class world offering little beyond frustration alternating with occasional enjoyment.

Read more

THE LITTLE STRANGER — Review by Diane Carson

The Little Stranger wallows in gloomy tedium. Some films create a mood, remain completely consistent in their unfolding, and yet never manage to achieve a profound or moving experience despite all the elements aligned. This is the case with The Little Stranger, that coherently and single-mindedly follows Dr. Faraday, returning in 1948 Warwickshire to Hundreds Hall, a decaying mansion inhabited for two centuries by the Ayres family.

Read more

THE BOOKSHOP — Review by Diane Carson

The Bookshop reveals the character of a community. Some films aspire primarily to be a charming and cautionary story of political machinations that devastate kind characters striving to make constructive contributions to their community. That’s the case with The Bookshop, in which Florence Green, a widow of sixteen years, decides to transform her old stone house into the first bookstore for the fictitious town of Hardborough, East Anglia.

Read more

Copyright and Fair Use, Part Two: Historical View and Contemporary Application in Nonfiction Film — Diane Carson

That the U.S. Constitution authorizes copyright AND fair use surprises many, but it follows. In order to encourage new works of any type, creators must be allowed to quote and comment an existing work in order to discuss, analyze, debate, or praise. The concept of “transformative” use has emerged as a guiding principle in ruling on the use of copyrighted assets in documentaries.

Read more

Copyright & Fair Use, Part One: A Critic’s Concerns — Commentary by Diane Carson

The theft of intellectual property is one of the most serious crimes of our time. Balancing this (and equally important) is the creation of new works contributing to a vigorous marketplace of ideas involving the analysis and repurposing of existing works. As film critics, to advance analysis, we want to be quoted, accurately and with acknowledgement just as we may cite someone’s review for praise, discussion or debate.

Read more

THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST — Review by Diane Carson

The title The Miseducation of Cameron Post announces quite clearly the message of the film. After teenager Cameron gets caught by her boyfriend making out with a female classmate, her guardians send her to God’s Promise, a religious boarding school that works mightily to guide its residents, called disciples, to a holy path following scripture’s tenets.

Read more

SCOTTY AND THE SECRET HISTORY OF HOLLYWOOD — Review by Diane Carson

Scotty in director Matt Tyrnaur’s documentary Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood is Scotty Bowers. By his own description in his book Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars, Scotty facilitated any and all sexual activity for film luminaries during the post World War II era and into the 1980s. A Marine during the war, Scotty landed in 1946 in Los Angeles and began working at the Richland Oil gas station at 5777 Hollywood Boulevard where he met and arranged sexual services for a who’s who of celebrities, using an on-site trailer and, eventually, the Town Motel nearby.

Read more