TV Review: Netflix’s ‘The Keepers’ Is More ‘Spotlight’ Than ‘Making a Murderer’

Works of strong journalism are often built on passion and rigorous effort to find the truth. The rise of true crime documentary series has been built on the back of these intensive efforts. Both “The Jinx” and “Making a Murderer” were able to combine these efforts with newfound evidence to make passionate arguments about their subject […]

EXCLUSIVE: Mike Ott and Cory Zacharia Discuss ‘California Dreams’ – See it at SXSW!

2017 Berlin Critics’ Week: The ambitious docufiction, “California Dreams,” which is already garnering critical praise, debuted in Berlin. I had a chance to interview director Mike Ott and the film’s star, Cory Zacharia, who, essentially, played himself in the film. We discussed where the documentary ended and the fiction began, Ott’s influence for this idea, […]

Berlin Critics’ Week Review: ‘California Dreams’ Is an Ambitious Blend of Documentary and Fiction

2017 Berlin Critics’ Week: From director Mike Ott (“Actor Martinez,” “Lake Los Angeles”), “California Dreams,” a docu-comedy, is one of the first of its kind. It is wonderfully funny, bleak and depressing, blending fiction with reality; the film uses real people not trained actors. It stars Cory Zacharia and follows the lives of five people – Cory, Patrick, Neil, Kevin (A Dog […]

documentary

2017 PGA Documentary Film Nominees Announced

The Spirit Awards weren’t the only ones announcing nominees today. The Producers Guild of America announced its nominees for Documentary Theatrical Motion Pictures today. The nominees are: “O.J.: Made in America” (Ezra Edelman) “Tower” (Keith Maitland) “Life, Animated” (Roger Ross Williams) “Dancer” (Steven Cantor) “The Eagle Huntress” (Otto Bell) It was an excellent year for documentaries. […]

Film Review: ‘Weiner’ is a riveting and timely political documentary

I try to avoid hyperbole whenever possible, but I sincerely believe that Anthony Weiner is one of the most enthralling subjects of a political documentary that I’ve ever seen. He’s a classical tragic character, only thrust into shame due to modern technology. Weiner is a doc that leans into this, almost by accident, making for […]

Film Review: Above and Below (★★★)

Early on in our introduction to Cindy – one of the five main characters in Nicolas Steiner’s documentary Above and Below – we see her hauling a discarded couch to restore her living room after the latest rain showers have decimated the makeshift home she shares with her partner Rick. She lives in a tunnel […]

Film Review: Song of Lahore (★★★½)

Song of Lahore couldn’t be timelier after the tragic events in Paris this week. Then again, you could say Song of Lahore has been timely for nearly a decade, or however long fears about the Middle East have existed. A musical documentary in the vein of the Oscar-winning 20 Feet From Stardom, Song of Lahore […]

Film Review: The Russian Woodpecker (★★★★)

Conspiracy theories are in right now. Okay, maybe they never went away but it seems as if there’s a conspiracy theory associated with almost everything in today’s day and age. Just go the down rabbit hole of The Pixar Theory or watch Fox News as proof that nearly anything can have hidden plotting going on. On first […]

Film Review: Janis: Little Girl Blue (★★½)

Janis Joplin’s songs were described by critics as “desperate mating calls” dripping with a need for sex and a desire for love, all of which is depicted in Amy Berg’s latest documentary on the singer, Janis: Little Girl Blue. Joplin remains one of the most enigmatic singers of the time, and though Berg doesn’t give […]

Film Review: Tab Hunter Confidential (★★★½)

To many, Tab Hunter’s name doesn’t inspire any recognition. But for those who enjoy obscure and studio era cinema, Hunter’s both an intriguing outcast who made quite the career comeback through the work of John Waters, as well as the perfect representation of the 1950s leading man. Hot on the heels of the Orry-Kelly documentary, Women He’s […]