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The Documentary Thread

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Just to chime in on stuff that's been mentioned:

 

I Think We're Alone Now, is either brilliantly funny or unsettling as hell. I highly suggest it.

 

Cropsey was pretty wild, definitely worth a look if you're a horror/urban legend fan.

 

If you liked Machete Maidens Unleashed, which is a fantastic doc that gives you a ton of movies to watch, there's an Australian equivalent called Not Quite Hollywood, about the awesome Australian Exploitation boom. Tarantino is one of the talking heads I think. Not as good as Machete Maidens, but it provides some awesome flicks you have to watch like Turkey Shoot.

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If you liked Machete Maidens Unleashed, which is a fantastic doc that gives you a ton of movies to watch, there's an Australian equivalent called Not Quite Hollywood, about the awesome Australian Exploitation boom. Tarantino is one of the talking heads I think. Not as good as Machete Maidens, but it provides some awesome flicks you have to watch like Turkey Shoot.

 

The director actually has a new third doc at this year's TIFF called "Electric Boogaloo: The Wild Untold Story of Cannon Films."

 

Director Mark Hartley (Not Quite Hollywood, Machete Maidens Unleashed!) continues his delightful documentary disinterment of down-market movie detritus with this chronicle of the rise and fall of 1980s action-exploitation juggernaut Cannon Films, whose contributions to the cinematic canon include American Ninja, The Delta Force, Death Wish II and Masters of the Universe.

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Not sure if we are including TV documentaries but last night was the start of the Ken Burns documentary on the Roosevelt family specifically Teddy, Franklin, and Elanoir (misspelled).   pretty good start last night talking mostly about Teddy before he became president.

 

Have to admit I did switch between football and the Civil War Ken Burns one quite a bit yesterday.  So good

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So I watched The Act of Killing over the weekend.  I can't really talk about it without spoilers so...

 

WTF.  This is one of the most messed-up, surreal movies I've ever seen.  On some level, I get these guys being matter-of-fact, even proud, of the killing they did way back when.  But to agree to make a movie about it?  And re-enact all the torturing?  And so on?  And then to do it in various genres, like a musical?  With one of the guys running around in drag for 80% of the movie?  Again...WTF.  I can't say this was a good documentary but it was compelling.  And interesting.  But good?  I dunno.  The one guy coming to the crushing realization at the end of the movie as to the horrors he's committed was certainly something to see.  I did find myself wondering the whole time, "How the heck did the filmmakers even get this setup in the first place?"  Anyway, worth seeing.  8/10.

 

FWIW, I watched the 30-minutes longer director's cut instead of the theatrical.  Both are available streaming on Netflix.

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Ah ha! Perfect addition to this thread. It came out in July on DVD/Blu Ray so you have no excuse not to track it down.

 

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Cropsey is great.  It isn't surprising that Brad Anderson worked some of the Cropsey urban legend into Session 9 and moved the location to the equally creepy Danvers State Hospital for the Criminally Insane.

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Cropsey is worth watching if only to see Geraldo Rivera being a good investigative reporter before turning into a sensationalist sideshow.

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So I watched The Act of Killing over the weekend.  I can't really talk about it without spoilers so...

 

WTF.  This is one of the most messed-up, surreal movies I've ever seen.  On some level, I get these guys being matter-of-fact, even proud, of the killing they did way back when.  But to agree to make a movie about it?  And re-enact all the torturing?  And so on?  And then to do it in various genres, like a musical?  With one of the guys running around in drag for 80% of the movie?  Again...WTF.  I can't say this was a good documentary but it was compelling.  And interesting.  But good?  I dunno.  The one guy coming to the crushing realization at the end of the movie as to the horrors he's committed was certainly something to see.  I did find myself wondering the whole time, "How the heck did the filmmakers even get this setup in the first place?"  Anyway, worth seeing.  8/10.

 

FWIW, I watched the 30-minutes longer director's cut instead of the theatrical.  Both are available streaming on Netflix.

 

RE: The motives for doing the film. It's been said they got paid. Also: in their country, they've been protected from the consequences and praised for their actions, so they probably didn't see it like you or I would.

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Coach Zoran and his African Tigers. About the organisation of the South Sudan national football team after independence, and their coach, who is a hell of a personality. Tragic, funny and affecting, this is just the trailer but the whole thing is on youtube.

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I saw this film with my wife in San Diego last September, Mark Hoppus hosted the screening and did a post show Q & A with the filmmakers 

 

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Another Netflix documentary from my instant queue:

 

Mission to the Edge of Space - Documentary detailing Felix Baumgartner's famous skydive from 122,000 feet in 2012.  This is a good documentary in the sense that you get a complete picture of all the preparation, the years of work, and so on that went into the jump.  All the key players are interviewed and they all come across as likable and all of them seem to have really enjoyed their work on the project.  That makes their interviews interesting as it's a story they obviously enjoy telling.  There's lots of great, spectacular photography from Baumgartner's various jumps as well.  Having said all that...this never quite rises to the level of greatness.  Probably could have been a little shorter (125 minutes).  Also, I was disappointed they never revealed the final tally for the cost of the mission.  C'mon guys, that's something everybody wants to know!  Still, if you're interested in the story, this is worth checking out.  Hits right at the Tabedoza LineTM  - 7/10.

 

Side note: I am apparently the only person on the planet who was not aware of this mission before it happened.  I remember hearing about it afterward - since you pretty much couldn't avoid hearing about it - but not beforehand.

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OMG, I've gotta see that.  Like...yesterday.

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One of those HBO docs I managed to catch was Nixon By Nixon: In His Own Words. As if the world didn't already know, this just underlines how racist, paranoid, cynical, callous, and disingenuous the man was. It's right there on the screen in black and white and if anybody would have heard these tapes in full during the Watergate scandal, he would have had his head put on a stick and marched through the capital. Not like the closest thing to that for a US president didn't end up happening anyway, but seriously, there would have been a far worse punishment than resignation. I never knew about the singer for the presidential get-together that asked him to stop bombing and free Ellsberg in front of everyone, to which his response is of course "she's far out -- probably Communist... but we need to be careful not to persecute the bitch."

 

Also, if anyone's missed the Roosevelt documentary on PBS by Ken Burns, keep an eye out for replays, it was damn good and full of information I had no clue about.

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The CNN doc Whitey: United States of America vs. James J. Bulger that just aired is damn good. I've read Paddy Whacked and another book about Whitey, but this was interesting in that it seemed to parallel the duplicitous nature of both sides in a way identical to The Departed. Bulger's defense is predicated upon admitting everything except that he was a rat and running down the feds for lying, the feds' defense is that Bulger is a liar who is admitting to almost all crimes yet is using the trial as a smear campaign against them. A major witness

 

comes up dead (of apparent cianide poisoning, in the middle of nowhere?!)

 

and in the eleventh hour 

 

Whitey refuses to testify despite his earlier claims. You end up never really knowing where the lines are drawn, what is black or white, and the overall feeling is that nobody is telling the complete truth. Equally damning on both ends and quite sad.

 

Should be playing whenever CNN isn't interrupting regular programming for endless prognostication upon the latest political scandal and/or catastrophic event (interrupting my GODDAMN TONY BOURDAIN) so you'll be able to catch it if you look out.

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Everyone needs to see "The Other Dream Team" about the 1992 Lithuanian Bronze medal Basketball team. I went in purely because I knew about the Grateful Dead's role in the story, but it's so much more. The history of these players backdropped against Lithuania's fight for Independance leading up to the Barcelona games is stunning.

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This one is pretty good. Watched it a few weeks ago on Netflix. 

 

One that I just watched on Youtube is Rising Low about Gov't Mule making an album without Allen Woody. Features a shit ton of great bass players and an insight to Allen Woody. Really great movie if you're a Mule fan or just love that type of music.

 

 

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This one is pretty good. Watched it a few weeks ago on Netflix.

One that I just watched on Youtube is Rising Low about Gov't Mule making an album without Allen Woody. Features a shit ton of great bass players and an insight to Allen Woody. Really great movie if you're a Mule fan or just love that type of music.

That's a great flick.

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I guess this is finally getting a "release" even though I feel like it was already

 

 

But I am now seeing "Theaters and Itunes on 10/31" so yeah

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HBO did a doc on the Kenyan terrorist mall attack called Terror at the Mall that is, well, intense. Apparently most of the security camera footage, which is very good, was able to be kept, and not only that there were people on the ground ballsy enough to come inside and film during the chaos. So it's basically an hour of first-hand accounts of trying to escape from the terrorists, or storming the mall. There's a plainclothes cop that organizes a team because the different forces at work can't decide on a plan and rushes in with a cameraman actually following him. And this was all instigated by like four guys between 19 and 23 years of age. At the end the plainclothes cop comes back on again for the final statement and it's this WHOA moment where he lays the hammer down on the terrorists, promising to fight against them as long as he's drawing breath and can fire a gun. Pretty serious shit. 

 

Spark: A Burning Man Story has been playing on Showtime a lot and it's really good in a far more positive way than the above... except for the footage from Burning Man '96 which is like a fever dream (or, as one woman says, "it was Mad Max").

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Ecstasy of Order:The Tetris masters

 

Pretty entertaining documentary about the best Tetris players in the USA. The best part is they tracked down THor who won the first Nintendo World Championship.

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Pretty sure the winner of the first Nintendo World Championship was a kid named Jimmy Woods.

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