Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

Just explaining the concept of Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets potentially constitutes a spoiler to the sufficiently way reader, so I guess the best way to start is to say: if you are a lover of human beings, this is a film for you. And if there is any shred of justice in this world, filmmaking […]

The, as it were, “house style” of most Romanian films that get exported to the United States with any sort of visibly marketing push is already four-fifths of the way towards documentary: early milestones of the Romanian New Wave like 2005’s The Death of Mr. LวŽzวŽrescu and 2007’s 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days […]

It’s an uncharitable thing to say about such a passionate work of cinema-activism, but there was not one moment in the 81 minutes of Time, a documentary about the excesses of the U.S. prison system and how it affected one family over the course of 20 years, where I could shake the feeling that I […]

I have from time to time mentioned that I have a rule of thumb for evaluating documentaries that I call the “glossy magazine” test: did I get anything from this movie that I wouldn’t have gotten from reading an article in a glossy magazine on the same subject. It’s basically a way of getting at […]

There has been some muttering about whether or not it is strictly correct to call The Mole Agent a “documentary”, and to this I have only one response: I don’t really care what we call it, as long as we acknowledge that it’s charming and good. But also, it’s totally a documentary; it’s just that […]

My favorite piece of narration in Werner Herzog’s tremendous 2005 documentary Grizzly Man goes like this: “[I]n all the faces of all the bears that Treadwell ever filmed, I discover no kinship, no understanding, no mercy. I see only the overwhelming indifference of nature. To me, there is no such thing as a secret world […]

10 years ago, YouTube teamed with producer Ridley Scott to produce the documentary Life in a Day, which compiled clips sent in by people all around the globe, recording what was occurring in their lives on July 24, 2010. Producing a sequel ten years later only makes sense, even without the global pandemic that rocked […]

Categories: documentaries

You might recall Carrie picking the documentary Searchers as one of her Top 5 most anticipated films on Alternate Ending’s Sundance preview episode. I was inclined to agree with her, which is why I jumped at the chance to check out this particular entry. Speaking as someone who has met and started dating someone entirely […]

Categories: documentaries

Camilla Nielsson’s 2014 Democrats is one of the best documentaries of its kind, an unblinking look at the unsexy, downright ugly deal-making that goes into the compromises that fuel democratic governments, as experienced by politicians in Zimbabwe during that country’s writing of a new constitution that would help it transition to something that could actually […]

Try Harder!ย is one of the documentaries in competition at Sundance this year. While it’s certainly not the splashiest or most immediately relevant (it has been scooped by Homeroom, which also features high school kids, but focuses on hot-button 2020 pandemic issues), if you’re someone to whom college admissions meant anything at all, it has the […]

Categories: documentaries

Boys State, a documentary by Amanda McBaine and Jesse Moss (who’ve worked together and apart in the world of “let’s look at this thing with a journalist’s eye” PBS-esque documentaries for years; their chief collaboration prior to this was 2014’s celebrated The Overnighters), is interesting or less-interesting for any number of different reasons, but I […]

Kirsten Johnson’s 2016 feature-length documentary Cameraperson is one of the great non-fiction films of the last decade, a personal memoir that doubles as an inquiry into the “meaning” produced by the photographic moving image. For a while, it seems like her follow-up, Dick Johnson Is Dead, will end up splashing in similar thematic waters, as […]