63 UP – Documentary Review

63  UP – Documentary Review

For those who’ve followed filmmaker Michael Apted’s entire UP Series, it’s a treat to catch up with the subjects’ latest developments in 63 UP, the eighth and likely final episode in the series. Apted refers to the series as an exploration of the British class system, and asks all whether they think the original premise for the series — “give me a child at the age of seven and I’ll show you the man” — is true. The now familiar subjects’ responses are varied, authentic and provocative.

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Filmmaker Michael Apted: Leading Up to 63 UP

Filmmaker Michael Apted: Leading Up to 63 UP

Michael Apted helms both documentaries and narrative features, and has won numerous awards for both kinds of films. But he is best known for his career-defining Up Series, a unique documentary project that has been in progress since 1964. In the Beginning At the inception of the Up Series, Apted was working as a researcher […]

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Martin Scorsese on THE IRISHMAN, Crime and Corruption in His Cinema

Martin Scorsese on THE IRISHMAN, Crime and Corruption in His Cinema

Martin Scorsese’s latest film, The Irishman, releasing November 1 in theaters and available on Netflix on November 27, is the director’s eighth foray into the world of crime and corruption. Based on Charles Brandt’s investigative book, I Heard You Paint Houses, the film is a three-hour long epic drama about events spanning decades, leading up to and following the 1975 disappearance of the power-wielding, mob-associated union leader Jimmy Hoffa , a real life crime that has never been officially marked as solved. The titular Irishman is Frank Sheeran, a union leader and high-level mafia hitman who, if the film’s scenario is accurate, was the capo who carried out the mob-ordered execution of Hoffa.

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Documentary Retroview: 56 UP

Documentary Retroview: 56 UP

56 UP is the latest chapter in The UP Series, filmmaker Michael Apted’s monumental series about fourteen British citizens, following their lives since 1963, when they were seven year old boys and girls living in very different circumstances in diverse regions of the United Kingdom.

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Critics Choice Documentary Awards 2019 Nominees Announced

Critics Choice Documentary Awards 2019 Nominees Announced

The Critics Choice Association will once again be honoring the finest achievements in documentaries released in theaters, on TV and on major digital platforms, as determined by the voting of qualified CCA members (Full disclosure: I am a CCA member) . THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM leads this year with seven nominations, including Best Documentary Feature, John Chester for Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Score, Best Narration, and Best Science/Nature Documentary.

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DILILI IN PARIS – Movie Review

DILILI IN PARIS – Movie Review

The film’s writer/director Michel Ocelot’s distinctive style of animation and exposition has a simplicity and fluidity that allows for a beautifully rendered tour of Paris’ well known tourist spots, as well as the introduction of the leading cultural figures of the day and a surprising roster of other cultural references. And, all the while, there’s the mystery of the Male Masters, whose political leanings and agenda are, we learn, threateningly right wing and anti-female.

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Full Battle Rattle (2008) – Movie Review

Full Battle Rattle (2008) – Movie Review

Disneyland For War Games Somewhere in the Mohave Desert, the U.S. military maintains a large rural compound that contains several fake Iraqi towns. It’s here that American soldiers are sent to practice battle tactics and learn to deal with Iraqi people before their deployment to Iraq. The towns look real enough, with accurate street plans […]

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Sputnik Mania (2007) – Documentary Retroview

Sputnik Mania (2007) – Documentary Retroview

Timed to celebrate the 50th anniversary of America’s moon landing, the Apollo 11 documentary reminds us that humans are capable of making miracles happen, but it also calls up memories of the fearsome USA vs USSR race to space, which was part and parcel of the cold war between two mega powers that were often on the brink of striking out to destroy each other and — since nuclear bombs were the weapons of choice — much of the rest of the world as well.

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APOLLO 11 – Documentary Review

APOLLO 11 – Documentary Review

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the mankind’s first landing on the Moon, Apollo 11 is being released theatrically and on line. The new documentary, a compilation comprised entirely of previously seen archival footage, offers viewers an extraordinary ‘you are there’ experience of the moonshot, especially the film is seen on IMAX or other large screens.

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FOR SAMA – Documentary Review

FOR SAMA – Documentary Review

For Sama a harrowing first person documentary in which the filmmaker, Waad Al-Khateab, a Syrian woman journalist, chronicles her daily life and struggles to survive during the Battle of Aleppo. It is a reality-based horror film, a truly painful reminder that we humans create unbearable hardship and agony for each other. For Sama For Sama is absolutely essential viewing.

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