Category Archives: documentary

Danny Says

Directed by Brendan Toller, Danny Says is a documentary that will send you into the world of Danny Fields.  Fields was a groundbreaking publicist and manager who worked with countless legends such as The Doors, Lou Reed, Judy Collins and The Ramones.

The film is guided by Fields’ voice and with tons of interviews, photographs, and audiocassettes. Just an amazing body of work if you are familiar with the legends he promoted in Rock n’ Roll history.

The guy is viewed as weird, twirling, frenzied waves of the late 60’s to the Bowery punk scene. Here are some names in the documentary that most people will recognize from the Lizard King, Iggy, and the Stooges, to Patti Smith.

The point is Fields dominated the scene with his eye for the art of the rhythmically irreverent. Since 1966, Danny Fields has played a pivotal role in music and culture of the late 20th century. The movie follows Fields from Harvard Law dropout, to the Warhol Silver Factory, to Director of Publicity at Elektra Records, to “punk pioneer” and beyond. Danny’s taste and opinion once deemed defiant and radical have turned out to have knowledge of events before they take place. It’s unreal in so many ways.  The guy knew the trends.

Danny Says is a story of marginal turning mainstream, Avant Garde turning prophetic, as the movie showed Fields looking to the next generation I was in awe watching this documentary. The amazing stories are literally whimsical. I found myself in wonderment of the way his life and career influenced so much of the kind of freak culture that became popular. The line-drawing animations enchantingly illustrate some of the stories in a rapid pace worthy of so much information to be viewed.

If you are a lover of the scene behind the rock n’ roll, then you must see this documentary.

Lo and Behold: Reveries of The Connected World

loandbeholdDirected by Werner Herzog, Oscar-nominated documentarian, Lo and Behold: Reveries of The Connected World chronicles the virtual world from its origins to its outermost reaches, exploring the digital landscape with the same curiosity and imagination Herzog does with all his movies.

In his other movies like Lo and Behold, Herzog set his camera on destinations as disparate as the Amazon, the Sahara, the South Pole and the Australian outback. Now, he leads us on a journey through a series of provocative conversations that reveal the ways in which the online world has transformed how virtually everything in the real world works – from business to education, space travel to healthcare, and the very heart of how society conducts our personal relationships.

Lo and Behold: Reveries of The Connected World features interviews with well-known internet pioneers and visionaries including Bob Kahn (Co-Inventor of Transmission Control Protocol and the Internet Protocol), Elon Musk (Founder and CEO of SpaceX) and Kevin Mitnick (Hacker, Author and Computer Security Consultant).

The movie holds a tremendous amount of intellect and honesty. Herzog’s calculation about the future of the Internet is eye-opening if not kind of daunting. The Internet is only 25 years old with nothing ever like it before in human history. Society has become very dependent on our technological advances. As a result, society would be lost without it.  If a lasting interruption happened today, saying chaos would ensue is being gentle. Most people would not be able to survive. Then, there would be those that do survive, but not on the strata they do now. The movie says billions would succumb, which is scary to imagine – life without the Internet and other technologies.

All in all, the movie’s message is something society needs to know. But, the flow of the movie is a bit disjointed with the pros and cons of the internet being presented in a way that lacked uniformity. I got lost a few times where is seemed like Herzog threw out ideas that were unrelated but important.

Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party Giveaway

hillarysamerHillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party takes a rich peek into America’s future as Dinesh D’Souza, a leading voice in the conservative movement, uncovers the truth of what a country lead by the Democrats will look like if Hillary were President.

With an unprecedented election coming up, this detailed look at the Democrats’ agenda is practically essential viewing. D’Souza is well-known for agitating the film industry with the $33 million earned by his Obama 2016 film.

Bestselling author and influential filmmaker, Dinesh D’Souza reveals the sordid truth about Hillary Clinton and the secret history of the Democratic Party. This important and controversial film was released at a critical time leading up to the 2016 Presidential campaign and challenge the state of American politics. The film is his response to relentless Democratic attacks on Republicans as racist, greedy, and their cold-hearted attitude toward minority concerns.

The movie follows D’Souza as he researches the history and methods of the Democratic party. He indicates records showing Democratic President Andrew Jackson’s expulsion of the Indians to reservations in the 1830s was opposed by Republican congressman Davy Crockett.  Other documents included northern Democrats were key players to slavery’s survival in the pre–Civil War era. The Democrats at the federal level after the war voted against civil rights for blacks. They lost that battle in congress but managed to enforce Jim Crow laws, the former practice of segregating black people in the US, particularly in the South.

There are more records and more evidence that proves the Democrats did block civil rights throughout history such as the 1964 Civil Rights act.

The Hillary’s America includes special features like extended and deleted scenes, along with extended interviews.

Movie Roar has three copies of this controversial film in DVD format to giveaway. You can post your name in the comments and consider yourself in the drawing for the winners.

First Monday in May

firstmondayFirst Monday in May, directed by Andrew Rossi, is an experience I thoroughly enjoyed because I have never been a woman of fashion. It is nice to get a rare peek at the behind-the-scenes of the ultra-exclusive Met Gala.

I have produced videos with fashion experts, which is all fine and good, but this movie is unique because it centers on the celebrated event taking place annually at New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

Rossi is a Yale graduate, who has been nominated for an Emmy, his door opener is the documentary Page One: Inside The New York Times.  His latest movie proves to be a fashion film not meant to be missed, follow Andrew Bolton and Gala co-chair and Vogue editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour during the crucial eight months before the show’s debut, as they travel from New York to Paris to Beijing to build support for their daring endeavor.

Revealing a fascinating look at the creation of The Met’s “China: Through the Looking Glass” exhibition, an exploration of Chinese-inspired Western fashions, the film explores how the gala continues to inspire high fashion, art, and culture. Diving into the debate of whether to view fashion as art, the documentary focuses on the creativity of fashion and brings it to life.

Rossi speaks with renowned creators including filmmaker Wong Kar-Wai as well as preeminent fashion designers Karl Lagerfeld, Jean Paul Gaultier, Guo Pei and John Galliano. They all offer a unique look at the relationship between art, craft, and commerce.

The epic fundraiser raises enough money to operate the Metropolitan Museum of Art for an entire year. In the documentary, we see Hollywood celebrities galore including Kate Hudson, George Clooney, Julianne Moore, Jennifer Lawrence, Gong Li, and Lady Gaga. Then, there are Alicia Keyes, Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, Justin Bieber, Michael Bloomberg and Rihanna, who literally brings down the house with a stunning live performance.

Do I recommend First Monday in May? Yes. Rossi dives into the debate about whether fashion should be viewed as art, which I find very intriguing because I know nothing about fashion. I only recently became interested when I started working with fashion consultants in video productions.

 

The Making of Trump

makingoftrumpI am a voter and want to really know our candidates because so many times our country has experienced the old bait and switch in the winners of the Presidential election. So, I am wondering if the documentary is truthful.

The Making of Trump is filled with interviews and sound bites of Trump’s successes and failures.  We meet the swagger, the ego, the outrageous claims, and of course…the hair. I never understood his do, but who am I to say. I am not a hairdresser.

The documentary is not really a story, but more of film clips that try to show how a kid from Queens took New York City and then the nation by storm. In truth, the documentary didn’t answer the question “What kind of leader might Trump make?”

I discovered in the documentary, which, by the way, doesn’t have a director, but a hand full of editors, his father loaned him a million dollars, which he turned into a ten-billion-dollar empire. Trump owns golf courses and is media-savvy. He authored best-selling books like “The Art of the Deal” and had a hit TV show called “The Apprentice.”  He has 5 kids, 3 sons, and 2 daughters, by 3 wives. His wives are Ivana, Marla, and Melania. Melania was born in Yugoslavia in 1970. Donald Trump announced he was running for president of the United States on June 16, 2015.

There are his interviews with Phil Donahue to statements from celebrities, politicians, and those close to him, rarely seen footage sheds some light. Love him or hate him, Donald Trump is a truly American phenomenon, and he has woken up our citizens by saying such things as, “So Bush certainly wasn’t the greatest, and Obama has not done the job. And he’s created a lot of disincentives. He’s created a lot of great dissatisfaction. Regulations and regulatory is going through the roof. It’s almost impossible to get anything done in the country.”

Here is the documentary in full:

Noma: My Perfect Storm

nomaI worked with a lot of chefs when I was a casting producer at Demand Media studios. Each chef was a unique and talented problem solver. When they are given their freedom to create in the kitchen, the results are bon appetite – marvelous.  With that freedom comes a lot of responsibility. In the feature-length documentary Noma: My Perfect Storm, we meet celebrated chef René Redzepi set against the backdrop of the Copenhagen-based restaurant, Noma, The Best Restaurant in The World 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014.

Written and directed by Pierre Deschamps, the documentary stages Redzepi as a famous chef, rightly so, for his reinvention of Danish cuisine and pioneered approach to “foraging”, sourcing nearly all ingredients from the various environments of Scandinavia. Though the dishes do not seem appetizing, Noma is at the forefront of experimenting with new techniques in food. The documentary follows Redzepi, co-owner of Noma, on a creative culinary journey as he traverses the Danish landscape for inspiration, striving to achieve perfection and concoct bold, exciting dishes for travelers from around the world.

Truly a creative genius, Redzepi has been credited with revolutionizing the food world with his radical take on classic cuisine.  When I say radical, I mean, not everyone is going to like his dishes. Still, Noma has won its fair share of awards. That is what makes the documentary hold its own.  But, you need to be a foodie to appreciate all the complexities and personalities that go with celebrating a famous restaurant.

Movies Giveaway

Movie Roar is giving away three movies. Each person who comments on this page will be entered in the giveaway. Once we have a good number of comments the winner will be picked from a drawing.

Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger: United States of America v. James J. Bulger

WhiteyDirected by Oscar-nominated Joe Berlinger, we witness the sweeping and revelatory documentary film that follows the trial of the infamous gangster James “Whitey” Bulger, using the courtroom action as a springboard to examine accusations of multi-faceted corruption within our nation’s law enforcement and legal systems. Some of you are familiar with Johnny Depp’s Black Mass will recognize this story which is dramatized in Depp’s portrayal of Whitey.

 

 

Tangerine

tangerineDirected by Sean Baker, it’s Christmas Eve in Tinseltown and Sin-Dee, played by Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, is back on the block. Upon hearing that her pimp boyfriend, played by James Ransone, hasn’t been faithful during the 28 days she was locked up, the sex worker and her best friend, Alexandra, played by Mya Taylor, embark on a mission to get to the bottom of the scandalous rumor. Their rip-roaring odyssey leads them through various subcultures of Los Angeles.

 

 

White God

whitegodA Hungarian movie and Cannes Film Festival winner, directed by Kornél Mundruczó, White God is an allegory of the human experience. Young Lili is forced to give up her beloved dog Hagen because its mixed-breed heritage is deemed unfit by The State. After the separation, she and the dog begin a dangerous journey back towards each other. At the same time, all the unwanted, unloved and so-called unfit dogs rise up under a new leader, Hagen, the one-time house-pet. Hagen has learned all too well from his Masters in his journey through the streets and animal control centers that man is not always dog’s best friend.

 

Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon

drunkstoneGrowing up, I never became interested in the National Lampoon magazine and then the movement because the humor didn’t impress me. But, I cared more for the actors involved in the productions, like Animal House, which completely changed the stage for teenage comedies.

With that, Drunk, Stoned, Brilliant, Dead is a funny documentary that will shine humor for anyone who remembers the era of National Lampoon.

In the documentary, the story shows how the magazine came to fruition with examples of the covers, cartoons, stories, and funnies. I didn’t find myself laughing out loud, but I am sure a few of you will. Politically Correct hadn’t been invented yet, so National Lampoon used the freedom to upset the status quo and rock the stuff-neck-shirts of American and thus the world.

Clearly, the magazine had more freedom than we do today. There wasn’t college campus censorship or PC-police at standup comedy shows. No one pointed fingers at the magazine’s cultural humor that we don’t see today.

The documentary also notes the launching the careers of legends like John Belushi, Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, Christopher Guest, and Gilda Radner.

The documentary clearly states the magazine changed comedy in America, and Hollywood is still trying to determine how they changed it and if they can bring it back.  The only way such humor can come back is if our culture would allow us to communicate freely and opening about social issues.

 

History of War Collection

History WarHistory Channel is pretty darn good at making documentaries. The History of War Collection is an excellent example of how well the History Channel produces documentaries. The 17-Disc set takes you on a tour of America’s military role through all of its major wars.

You will learn and see how warfare evolved from the time of the American Revolution up through the Civil War and into modern times. The discs offer so much information about how America became the land of the free and home of the brave.

I was able to immerse into the 17-disc set, which digs deep into the twists and turns of America’s most significant and deadly conflicts-from the American Revolution, the Mexican-American War, the War of 1812, the Civil War, and the Spanish-American War to WWI, WWII, and the Vietnam and Korean Wars.

Produced as a documentary, the set features over 42 hours of programming amassed from over 20 History Channel documentaries. The credits are impressive with renowned historians and scholars, special guest narrators Edward Herrmann, Oscar de la Hoya, and Sam Rockwell on several programs.

Teachers, historians, and students will find the set informative and eye-opening tour of America’s military role through all of its major wars.

I was most impressed with how warfare evolved from the time of the American Revolution into modern times. Evidence depicted with reenacted stories of the countless brave Americans who put their lives on the line to defend their country and their beliefs.

You might not get through the entire set, but I highly recommend The History of War Collection.

Racing Extinction

racing extinctionDirected by talented Louie Psihoyos, who also directed The Cove, Racing Extinction focuses on Psihoyos as he reveals all the dark secrets of the illegal black market trade of animal parts. The footage is captivating with vast underwater splendor at one end of the story and vast human corruption of ocean life on the other end of the story. He also brings a message to the populace of the grandeur and beauty of animals.

The movie follows Psihoyos as he treks to small villages where we see local fishermen hunting and killing manta ray gills for soup. With the help of his crew and other activists, they educate the locals on how their fishing is influencing the entire ecosystems. Another topic taken on is the hunt for sharks. Their fins are a delicacy for shark fin soup. The hunting has caused dwindling numbers in sharks. Clearly and right so, the movie seizes the moment to stand against the destruction that humanity has headed toward for many environments.

Elon Musk, the founder of the Tesla car, joins the crusade and attaches a projector to the Tesla car Psihoyos drives around town, so he can project beautiful animals on various buildings. The citizens see the images on the buildings and are amazed by the beautiful animals, instilling the importance of saving them from extinction.

The grand visual highpoint is when New York architectural representations of ocean life stop crowds walking through the city. They are even recording beautiful images on their devices while we see children’s faces mesmerized. Psihoyos clearly states in the movie, a vital message for everyone, when people truly view the life of the sea, we can choose to “Do one thing” protect species balance.

I recommend this movie for everyone to see, and teachers play it in your classrooms because it is truly an education.