Documentary Films

**+ Amandla!
** Amazon (IMAX)
**+ American Pimp
** Beyond the Gates of Splendor
** The Big One
*** Born Into Brothels
*** Bowling For Colombine
*** Buena Vista Social Club
Amazing performances and interviews with musicians who, for the most part, were forgotten since their heydey in Cuba's pre-Castro era. Stunning, beautiful, lyrical stuff.
*** Calle 54
Here is latin jazz as it has been found in New York, done in the form of interviews and performances each from the eleven landmark musicians surveyed. Worth seeing if only for Tito Puente, but there's plenty more than just his segment.
**+ Capturing the Friedmans
** The Cry Of Jazz
A bizarre flick for 1959, a post-party group of urban black and white twentysomethings discuss jazz, with the running argument being that only "negroes" can create new jazz and that their lives run concurrently with its changes.
**+ Cowspiracy - dir. Kip Andersen, Keegan Kuhn
Chronicling the meat industry with a focus on cattle, neither "humane" nor "sustainable" seem to be in the offing. Informative and depressing, of course, but not to the point that one can't make choices in the real world.
** Detropia
Documenting the city of Detroit as it hits rock bottom in the late first decade of the 2000s, with jobs and people in full flight as some remain to fight it out for a hopeful rebound some day.
*** Devil's Playground
Amish children are allowed a time away from their cultures strictures before they ultimately commit to the life that the Amish are known for. This foray into "The Devil's Playground" is something else, altogether, a time of NO rules that has many consequences for the individuals that are followed.
** East Side Story
** The Eruption of Mt. St. Helens (IMAX)
*** Fahrenheit 9/11
*** Fighter
*** The Fog Of War
**+ Genghis Blues
**+ Gimme Shelter
*** The Gleaners and I
**+ Good Hair
Chris Rock turns mild-mannered investigative reporter and gets the goods on what gets done to make kinky hair not kinky. There's a lot more money and effort that goes into this than I ever would have guessed.
*+ Grey Gardens
*** Grizzly Man
*** Home Movie
**** Hoop Dreams
**+ The Internationale
*** Jodorowsky's Dune - dir. Frank Pavich
The story of how one man tried to get a movie (an adaptation of Frank Herbert's Dune) made his way, with all the stops pulled out. Passionate and inspiring... and the movie never was made.
*** Keep On Keepin' On
As legendary trumpeter Clark Terry's health fails, he finds a new student who he connects with, a blind jazz pianist named Justin Kauflin. Each provides something the other needs as they work together to overcome Kauflin's performance nerves and CT's decline.
**+ King Of Kong
*** Koyaanisqatsi
Something of a visual extravaganza, both in nature and in the city in slow motion with dramatic music. This is Part One: Life Out Of Balance.
*** Man On Wire
Interviews and reenactments of an amazing stunt, that of stringing a high wire between the two towers of the World Trade Center. The amazing street performer then proceeds to walk back and forth between the two buildings some 110 stories above the ground. Unbelievable, plus footage of similar stunts of doing so on Paris's Notre Dame Cathedral and Sydney's Harbour Bridge.
** The Miles Davis Story
*+ My Date With Drew Barrymore
** Mysteries of Egypt (IMAX)
**+ Naqoyqatsi
Something of a visual extravaganza, in the city in slow motion with dramatic music. This is Part Three: Life As War.
** A Night In Havana
*** OutFoxed
**+ Piano Blues
**+ Powaqqatsi
Something of a visual extravaganza, in the city in slow motion with dramatic music. This is Part Two: Life In Transformation.
*** The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
** Religulous
*** The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson - Unforgivable Blackness - dir. Ken Burns
Jack Johnson's struggle to be given a chance to be respected as a human being and challenge for the heavyweight boxing crown, a daunting prospect in the age of Jim Crow - wherever a black person might be in the U.S. of A. then.
*** Satchmo
*** Sicko - dir. Michael Moore
In one of his better rabblerousings against the injustices of The Man, Moore takes on the inhuman system of health care in the U.S. The dollar always comes in first, yet other countries seem to have a bit for more heart for sharing with their fellow man.
*** Spellbound
** Standing In the Shadows Of Motown
** Startup.Com
**+ Supersize Me
***+ Thelonious Monk
** Unzipped
**+ What Happened, Miss Simone? - dir. Liz Garbus, Hal Tulchin
The life and times of Miss Nina Simone, (jazz) pianist extraordinaire with classical training who eventually also took to the civil rights movement with a passion... until she couldn't take life in the U.S. any longer and decamped for Paris. Fascinating, tragic, resilient.
**** When We Were Kings
** The Whole Gritty City - dir. Richard Barber, Andre Lambertson
Kids in New Orleans's tougher districts are afforded the interesting out of gang life in picking up an instrument and joining one of the local marching bands. Playing in Mardi Gras parades and football games is the prize for those who otherwise might get sucked into a world where all too often the reality is a violent end. A number of case studies provide the vehicle to explore this both hopeful and tragic world.
**+ Wild Man Blues
**+ Winged Migration
**+ The World According To John Coltrane

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