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Documentary

Tower Review

Tower Review

RATING: (4 STARS) On August 1, 1966, Charles Whitman opened fire from the observation deck of “The Tower” at the University of Texas at Austin. Over the course of 90 minutes, he shot 32 men and women, killing 14. Earlier that day, he also killed his wife and mother at their respective homes. Tower, a […]

Listen to Me Marlon Review

Listen to Me Marlon Review

RATING: (3.5 STARS) Listen to Me Marlon is a one-of-a-kind documentary. There have been plenty of non-fiction films — plenty even this year with Amy, Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, and others — that chronicle the lives of famous people and their troubles with celebrity as a status. However, none are told with the emotional […]

Ballet 422 Review

Ballet 422 Review

RATING: (3.5 STARS) There’s a sequence two-thirds into Ballet 422, Jody Lee Lipes’ hands-off documentary chronicling a wunderkind choreographer’s attempt to bring a ballet from idea to stage, that knocked my socks off. No, it’s not Lipes’ shot of the back of his protagonist Justin Peck’s head with dancers appearing to literally spool out of […]

He Named Me Malala Review

He Named Me Malala Review

RATING: (3 STARS) Malala Yousafzi was an ordinary girl in rural Pakistan who wanted to get an education. For her troubles, she was shot in the head by the Taliban. 15 years old. Because she wanted to go to school. There will be some who say He Named Me Malala, the documentary chronicling Malala’s life, […]

The Wolfpack Review

The Wolfpack Review

RATING: (2 STARS) There’s a beautiful story somewhere in the mess that is The Wolfpack. There’s also an uplifting story, a terrifying story, a comedy, a tragedy, and who knows what else. So why is the end result such a mish-mash of tones and themes? Why doesn’t it know what it wants to be? Perhaps […]

Amy Review

Amy Review

RATING: (3.5 STARS) I remember where I was when I found out Amy Winehouse died. At a Subway in New Jersey, I can still picture what I was wearing, what kind of day it was, how the conversation went between my friends and I. It was an awful day. No contemporary singer affected me the […]

Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me Review

Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me Review

RATING: (3.5 STARS) There are a lot of obvious and superficial similarities between Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me and, from a few years ago, Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work. Both follow older women with years of experience in show business as they struggle to keep up with what the demands of their careers. They both […]

The Case Against 8 Review

The Case Against 8 Review

RATING: (3.5 STARS) Documentaries of well-covered (or heavily covered, depending on your view on the state of professional journalism) subjects too often feel disposable because those in charge don’t use the medium to make their take on the story unique. A perfect example of this would be 2013’s complementary films about the anti-homosexual agenda in […]

Kids for Cash Review

Kids for Cash Review

RATING: (3 STARS) For the uninitiated, the “Kids for Cash” judicial scandal took place over a period of about ten years, from the late 1990s to the late 2000s. In Luzerne County, Pennsylvania (one county over from where this reviewer grew up, incidentally), Judge Mark Ciavarella ruled over the juvenile court system with an iron […]

Mitt Review

Mitt Review

RATING: (3 STARS) Though it’s chronicling years of recent Republican political history, Mitt is a mostly apolitical film, and certainly, the lessons one takes away from the film (which is available to stream on Netflix) have nothing to do with your choice of party. On a very basic level, it tries to humanize a man […]