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Documentary reviews 1999 - 2011
Documentary reviews 2012 - present

60 Spins Around the Sun 60 Spins Around the Sun
60 Spins Around the Sun chronicles the hyper kinetic life of Randy Credico, a comedian with a mission for unsung causes, from the Sandanistas and Jimmy Hoffa, Jr. to his battles against New York's Rockefeller Drug Laws and racial profiling in Tulia, Texas.

American Teen American Teen
The director and producer of the sublime i>The Kid Stays in the Picture takes on American teenagers, chronicling 4 seniors from Warsaw, Indiana for 10 months.

Atenco Atenco
As a documentary film, Atenco is a failure. But as a document of an uprising in Mexico in 2006, it serves as proof that this happened and that it won't be forgotten.

The Big Question The Big Question
Shot on location during the filming of The Passion of the Christ, The Big Question tries to figure out what God is through interviews with the cast and crew of Mel Gibson's film.

Bodysong Bodysong
A furious kaleidoscope of the human experience during the last century, Bodysong celebrates the glories and cruelties of human beings. And there are many.

Born Without Born Without
Born Without brushes the portrait of Jose Flores, a handicapped musician and actor who appeared in Alejandro Jodorowsky's cult psychedelic western Holy Mountain.

Bowling for Columbine Bowling for Columbine
Warning, Hot! The cantor of anti-globalization, author of the corrosive The Big One, returns full force with this documentary about gun control in the U.S.

Buena Vista Social Club Buena Vista Social Club
The now cult favorite music documentary from Wim Wenders about the Cuban Band Buena Vista Social Club.

Burning Man: Beyond Black Rock Burning Man: Beyond Black Rock
Burning Man: Beyond Black Rock chronicles what it takes to put together the third biggest city in Nevada, from the organizers to the artists to the volunteers.

Chelsea on the Rocks Chelsea on the Rocks
Messy, uninhibited, relaxed, eclectic, crazy. These qualifiers apply as much to Abel Ferrara as they do to his subject.

The Art of Failure: Chuck Connelly Not for Sale The Art of Failure: Chuck Connelly Not for Sale
A neo-expressionist painter who got his 5 minutes of fame in the New York art scene in the 80's, Chuck Connelly didn't follow the same trajectories as some of his most illustrious peers.

Cinemania Cinemania
Anyone who's held on to some movie ticket stubs or secretly plots to kill the person who takes 3 minutes to unwrap a candy bar during a crucial moment in a film will relate to this brilliant documentary film about the psychological compulsions of 5 obsessive cinephiles in New York City.

Cocalero Cocalero
Unfortunately, Cocalero takes a rather meandering look down a wandering path with no sense of clear direction and we don't learn all that much about Evo Morales.

Confessions of a Superhero Confessions of a Superhero
If you've been on Hollywood Blvd., chances are that you've run into Superman, the Hulk, Wonder Woman, Batman or one of the multiple incarnations of Jack Sparrow.

DiG! DiG!
DiG! follows the trajectories of The Dandy Warhols & The Brian Jonestown Massacre, two bands whose friendship and mutual admiration will turn to rivalry as both fail to meet the music industry's high expectations.

Facing Ali Facing Ali
There are two dimensions to Facing Ali. The first one, obviously, is about the greatest boxer of all time, as the title suggests. However there is a second and quite unexpected layer to this documentary which reveals the poignant portrait of ten men who fought him and who, in the process, act as a substitute for the icon.

Kurt Cobain: About a Son Kurt Cobain: About a Son
When music journalist Michael Azerrad interviewed Kurt Cobain, he didn't know that these long conversations would become a historical document, as the emblematic Nirvana singer would take his own life the following months.

Fábio Fabuloso Fábio Fabuloso
Fábio Fabuloso is the nickname of Brazilian surfing sensation Fábio Gouveia who gained recognition around the world for his gracious and perfect moves on the waves.

Fahrenheit 9/11 Fahrenheit 9/11
Michael Moore is a formidable war machine: a highly skilled strategist, he furbishes his weapons to carry out the offensive against four years of George W. Bush's politics. However, in regards to cinema, once again he takes out the heavy artillery. Fahrenheit 9/11 advances chronologically.

Fassbinder in Hollywood Fassbinder in Hollywood
Fassbinder in Hollywood focuses on the relationship between Hollywood—and the US to an extent—and German filmmaker Werner Fassbinder.

Filmmakers vs. Tycoons Filmmakers vs. Tycoons
In Filmmakers vs. Tycoons, Spanish director Carlos Benpar drafts a documentarial manifesto aiming at defending the rights of artists against any alteration of their work.

The Garden The Garden
The Garden is the most complete portrait of a shameful period in Los Angeles history that sheds light on economic and racial disparities as well as the activism of an immigrant community finding its voice.

Go Further Go Further
Rather than just portraying the problem and offering no solution, in Go Further, director Ron Mann chronicles Woody Harrelson's consciousness-raising tour about sustainable living on a hemp fueled bus, offering viable solutions that can help make the world a little better.

Gogol Bordello Non-Stop Gogol Bordello Non-Stop
Rough around the edges and highly emblematic of theatrical gypsy punk vision of founder and lead singer Eugene Hutz, director Maragarita Jimeno's documentary Gogol Bordello Non-Stopchronicles the band's early years and covers their 2006 European tour.

Gunner Palace Gunner Palace
This documentary gives a behind-the-scenes look at the life of US soldiers in Irak, far from the propaganda imagery feeding the masses by local TV channels.

Heidi Fleiss: The Would-Be Madam of Crystal Heidi Fleiss: The Would-Be Madam of Crystal
Heidi Fleiss: The Would-Be Madam of Crystal follows the infamous Hollywood Madam as she tries to open a "stud-farm" in a Nevada hole.

Highwater Highwater
Dana Brown's surfing documentary quickly sinks into affable Orange County mediocrity.

Hijacking Catastrophe Hijacking Catastrophe
If you've seen Fahrenheit 911, this film goes deeper and offers more proof in the form of documentation and interviews with those who have a bird's eye view of policy in action.

How to Draw a Bunny How to Draw a Bunny
Ray Johnson, the most famous unknown artist in the U.S., is at the center of this documentary that draws a portrait of an enigmatic figure whose ultimate performance piece was "staging" his own death.

The Immortal The Immortal
Fueled with metaphors and a strong dose of mise-en-scene, El Inmortal brings light to the ravages of the Nicaraguan war between the Contras and the Sandinistas, most particularly aiming at exploring its consequences on the family core.

It Might Get Loud It Might Get Loud
Starring Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page, U2's The Edge and the White Stripes' Jack White, the purpose of this documentary is to celebrate the art of guitar with a fresh and unique approach that would set it apart from countless other documentaries on the subject.

Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten
Intertwining interviews and archival footage, The Future Is Unwritten follows director Julien Temple's previous work, this time replacing re-enacted scenes with testimonials from Strummer's peers and fans. While this is certainly the work of an enthusiast, it fails to give us a fair portrait of a talented but highly flawed man.

Joy Division Joy Division
The strength of this documentary is without a doubt how it gives us good insight into the life of Joy Division.

Joy of Madness Joy of Madness
Hana Makhmalbaf, the daughter of renowned Iranian filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf (Kandahar) and sister of Samira Makhmalbaf (11'09''01 September 11), followed Samira and her crew as they were scouting Afghanistan, looking for actors to be featured in her latest film, At Five in the Afternoon. The result is a candid look at a country still haunted by the menacing ghost of the Taliban.

The Kid Stays In the Picture The Kid Stays In the Picture
Full of Hollywood lore, wit and a dose of myth, this intimate look at the rise and fall of Hollywood legend mogul Robert Evans proves to be a fascinating documentary.

Lalo Guerrero: The Original Chicano Lalo Guerrero: The Original Chicano
A loving tribute to the grandfather of Chicano music, the made for TV documentary Lalo Guerrero: The Original Chicano honors the man whose career spanned over 7 decades.

Live Forever Live Forever
Unofficially filling the gap between 24 Hour Party People's exciting Madchester retrospective and today's musical vacuum, Live Forever offers a documentary look at Britpop in the 90's focusing on the influence of major emblematic bands such as Oasis, Blur and Pulp.

Loot Loot
Loot follows Lance Larson, a treasure hunter who is determined to help a couple of World War II veterans get a hold of their buried treasures.

Lost In La Mancha Lost In La Mancha
Lost in La Mancha, a documentary about a film that never was, inspires disappointment because for all its strengths, it'll always end the same: with the realization that we'll never get to really experience Terry Gilliam's intriguing Don Quixote vision.

Maid In America Maid In America
There are over 100,000 domestic workers in Los Angeles, women who leave their families behind in Central America and Mexico in order to take care of other people's children and homes here in southern California.

Matta: The Eye of the Surrealist Matta: The Eye of the Surrealist
There is a dimension to this documentary which, despite its flaws, makes it a unique piece: Matta: the Eye of the Surrealist is a historic work—at least in the field of art.

Mondovino Mondovino
Armed with his digital camera and affability for any test, the iconoclast Jonathan Nossiter makes an enlightening documentary on the wine trade, on the scale of three continents and with globalization in the background.

Mothers Mothers
In Mothers, we learn the story of the "Madres de la Plaza de Mayo Línea Fundadora", a group of Argentinean mothers who've been sticking together for years to find out what happened to their children, who were kidnapped by the military government during Argentina's Dirty War in the 1970's.

Monumental Monumental
Monumental chronicles the uncompromising journey of David Brower, an environmentalist who for most of his life fought for the preservation of America's natural treasures.

New York Doll New York Doll
Marking music history as the band that made the transition between glam and punk, the New York Dolls remain, to this day, one of these cult acts that fully incarnate the debauchery and provocative imagery of Rock.

Next: A Primer on Urban Painting Next: A Primer on Urban Painting
In Next: A Primer on Urban Painting, filmmaker Pablo Aravena documents graffiti art around the world, from the gritty streets of New York to the dark catacombs of Paris.

The Night Watchman The Night Watchman
Writer/director Natalia Almada has apparently decided to make art with a documentary, the result being an infuriating pretentious and vapid work where life is staged to attempt to create art.

Overnight Overnight
Overnight is unique in its genre as it's at the same time a documentary that morphs into a real-life comedy, drama, a how-not-to-guide for debutant filmmakers and a tale of revenge.

Pancho Villa La Revolución no ha terminado Pancho Villa La Revolución no ha terminado
Tabone works like a propagandist filmmaker, mostly aiming at reinforcing the legend rather than trying to give us a fair portrait.

Paraiso For Sale Paraiso For Sale
It's no secret that Panama has, for more than a decade, become a haven for American and Canadian middle-class retirees, as not only prime - beachfront - real estate used to be dirt cheap but the locals speak a decent enough English to make for a quite smooth cultural transition and adaptation.

Partisans of Vilna Partisans of Vilna
A well-produced and thoughtful piece, Partisans of Vilna deserves to be seen by all documentary fans and is a necessity for World War II and Jewish history buffs.

Paperboys Paperboys
Two documentaries from Mike Mills, a graphic designer and music video director known for his edgy collaborations with Sonic Youth, the Beastie Boys, Air, Beck & Moby.

Pelé Forever Pelé Forever
For soccer fans and especially those who hold Pelé dear to their heart, Pelé Forever is a whirlwind of his most glorious moments on the field, goal after goal after goal.

Public Enemy: Welcome to the Terrordome Public Enemy: Welcome to the Terrordome
Robert Patton-Spruill's documentary takes a look at the influence Public Enemy has had in the music world and deconstructs their legacy.

The Railroad All-Stars The Railroad All-Stars
Railroad All-Stars tells the story of a group of Guatemalan prostitutes who form a soccer team to bring attention to the abuses they suffer at the hands of police and clients in Guatemala City slum.

The Refugee All Stars The Refugee All Stars
The Refugee All Stars shows how artists, in this case musicians from Sierra Leone, keep culture alive and in the process begin to heal their own wounds as they bring moments of joy to their fellow refugee camp inhabitants and plan their return home.

Rivers and Tides Rivers and Tides
This documentary follows artist Andy Goldsworthy for about a year, capturing on film the process of his creative genius. Most of the time Goldsworthy's work requires documentation by photographic imagery, since his art is, by nature, of nature itself, and therefore often subject to immediate decay.

Romántico Romántico
Director Mark Becker first became interested in the groups of immigrant single men living together in San Francisco who arrive to work, leaving their families behind.

Screaming Masterpiece Screaming Masterpiece
From dirges to punk anthems Screaming Masterpiece goes back in time to explain the origins of the current Icelandic music scene.

Sicko Sicko
Sicko takes on Uncle Sam's health system, forcing comparisons with services in other countries.

The Soul of a Man The Soul of a Man
A segment of The Blues, an enthusiastic series dedicated to that genre, The Soul of a Man is a documentary directed by Wim Wenders that becomes attached to three outstanding performers of this music, starting with Blind Willie Johnson, a matchless blind Texan singer and guitarist.

Stoked: The Rise and Fall of Gator Stoked: The Rise and Fall of Gator
Helen Stickler's Stoked follows the rise and fall of 80's skateboarding icon, Mark 'Gator' Rogowski.

Stolen Stolen
There is something fascinating about the world of art thieves and the underground market for stolen art.

Tarnation Tarnation
Jonathan Caouette's Tarnation marks another bold step, pushing the limits of the documentary to create an emotionally rough piece bathed in raw visuals.

Ten minutes older: The Trumpet Ten minutes older: The Trumpet
Film sketches, a genre that had fallen into abeyance, is not dead! As proof, these short films from some of cinema's greatest names. Each director delivers his own interpretation of time, as many free figures on an imposed subject.

10 on Ten Ten on Ten
Ten masterly lessons of cinema by Abbas Kiarostami, whose metaphysical work is characterized by his unique poetry and his sense of purity.

Townes Van Zandt - Be Here to Love Me Townes Van Zandt - Be Here to Love Me
A mythic figure from the folk/country scene, Townes Van Zandt spent most of his life fighting his demons — alcohol, drugs and everything he could ingurgitate.

The Work of Director Chris Cunninghan The Work of Director Chris Cunninghan
A good way to describe Chris Cunninghan would be to say that he is the visual alter-ego of wacky experimental electronic artist Aphex Twin.

The Work of Director Michel Gondry The Work of Director Michel Gondry
Before venturing on the big screen with ambitious and weird pictures such as Human Nature and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Michel Gondry directed videos for some of the most respected artists.

They Shoot Movies, Don't They? They Shoot Movies, Don't They?
They Shoot Movies, Don't They? is a good, almost totally convincing mockumentary following the travails of Tom Paulson as he goes from studio darling to a man with the indie dream of making his own movie.

Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession
While she never met Jerry Harvey, Z's main programmer and central figure of this documentary, director Xan Cassavetes did get to watch Z when she was little and, most importantly, she certainly understands what great cinema is, thanks to her own genetic heritage.

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