Tag: Docudrama

2010, Movies, TV

Carlos (2010, Oliver Assayas)

This is one of those innumerable high end European miniseries that got transformed into a movie in North America, both in its full version and in a shortened version. I watched the full version because I really don’t get why we should be satisfied with cuts that are just a little bit more than a …

2009, Movies

Carmel (2009, Amos Gitai)

This is one impressionistic film. Impressionistic films deserve your attention and concentration, they should not be watched while you empty the dishwasher and work on your podcast. Alas, that’s how I watched this film, so my appreciation of it, or lack thereof, is coloured by my wavering attention.

2008, Movies, Music

Cadillac Records (2008, Darnell Martin)

From the opening scenes of this docudrama about history of Chess Records, things feel a little off. The attempt to balance the stories of Leonard Chess and Muddy Waters feels a little wonky and the pacing definitely seems off. A man just walks up to Muddy in a field and says he’s Alan Lomax and …

2013, Movies

Lee Daniels’ The Butler (2013, Lee Daniels)

Yes, seriously, Lee Daniels’ The Butler is the name of this movie. Even though this movie is ostensibly “based on a true story,” the director is responsible for it. The title is actually a clue: the filmmakers have so altered the story as to completely alter it. This is, in effect, the Black Forrest Gump.

2007, Movies

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (2007, Yves Simoneau)

My country was founded in genocide, as was our neighbour to the south. This is a fact that we still haven’t dealt with as evidenced by how many Canadians and Americans would find my initial statement controversial – even offensive – despite its truth. I was born in the last fifth of the 20th century …

2017, Movies

Tiff 2017: The Death of Stalin (2017, Armando Iannucci)

Iannucci’s new film is, as I understand it, a bit of a left turn for him: it’s an adaptation of a graphic novel based upon the real event of the title. Though I had no such fears, one could be understandably trepidacious about Iannucci turning his satirical eye to something historically accurate.

2008, Movies

Bronson (2008, Nicholas Winding Refn)

There are probably two types of people: people who think Winding Refn is a genius and people who think he is ponderous, boring and way too interested in style over substance. You can count me among the latter. Despite all the praise over Valhalla Rising and Drive, I found both movies to be flawed. I …

2016, Movies

93 Days (2016, Steve Gukas)

After watching an absolute mess of a film the night before, my expectations about Nigerian films had perhaps been lowered so much that I was kind of astounded by this film. I think it’s safe to say that, had I seen this movie before Just Not Married, I might have liked both less.

2015, Movies

The Big Short (2015, Adam McKay)

Let’s get this out of the way: this is not a perfect movie. It has what you might call ‘formal’ flaws; inconsistencies in style, in tone and in perspective. It is meta in a way that you might find obnoxious. But I think it might be the single most important film made about the 2008 …

2011, Movies

Bernie (2011, Richard Linklater)

This is one of those films that is played so straight you aren’t sure whether or not it’s a comedy. It’s also rather unique in the sense that, though it is a fictionalized version of a true story, it’s not only partially told as if it was a documentary, but it features interviews with numerous …

2007, Movies

Battle in Seattle (2007, Stuart Townsend)

This is an attempt to produce an alternative version of the infamous Seattle WTO protests than the one produced by the mainstream media at the time, a version that was decidedly anti-protester and pro-WTO, pro-State of Washington, pro-Seattle. There’s an all-star cast (I mean, seriously, look at that cast) and the film mixes actual footage …

2012, Movies

Argo (2012, Ben Affleck)

I have generally had an issue with Affleck as a director, at least with his first movie. I felt like he almost hindered the strong material. But I don’t feel that way here. Though this is a by-the-numbers spy procedural, and Affleck doesn’t bring anything new to the style, he executes it near-perfectly.

2013, Movies

Fruitvale Station (2013, Ryan Coogler)

This is an affecting portrait of the other side of the police shootings we hear so often hear about in the news. The media, and so many people we know, usually appear to take the side of the police, almost as a matter of course, without even wanting to understand what may have happened. Though …

2006, Books, Fiction

The Poe Shadow (2006) by Matthew Pearl

This is a novel about a fictional lawyer investigating the death of Edgar Alan Poe. I appreciate the effort that went into this to make it historically accurate. And I appreciate that, instead of writing a work of scholarship, he tried to make it exciting by writing a novel.

2013, Movies

12 Years a Slave (2013, Steve McQueen)

This may seem a weird thing to say but I think this is McQueen’s least difficult material to date. Obviously, slavery is a difficult subject – this is not an easy film to watch – but it is not morally difficult subject, at least for most of us. Hunger may not have been morally difficult …

2011, Movies

A Dangerous Method (2011, David Cronenberg)

This is a fictional version of the conflict between Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung which caused a major fracturing in psychoanalysis, leading to the birth of a second school of thought. I think the major problem with this movie is that the filmmakers were not sure what story they were telling: the story of Freud …