301 posts categorized "Documentary"

November 07, 2018

THE WORLD BEFORE YOUR FEET

World Before Your FeetMatt Green’s labor of love to walk all 8000-plus blocks (between 6000 and 8000 miles) of New York City’s streets has taken over six years to complete. Green’s insatiable curiosity about the concrete, glass, and stone fabric of “the most populous city in the United States” is contagious. Dressed frequently in the same clothes, and shoes, the thirtysomething Green couch-surfs while frequently cat (or dog) sitting while spending around $15 a day on transportation and food. His is a monk-like existence introduces him to a range of locals who he never fails to charm with his pedestrian story of urban exploration that is nothing if not a living celebration of New York City’s five boroughs. The Queens Museum’s Panorama of New York City (built for the 1964 World’s Fair) gives a sense of scale.

Matt Green

Another aspect of Matt Green’s mission involves constant online research that he turns into articles for his website (imjustwalkin.com) after visiting specific locations. Green is a fountain of historic information. He describes former synagogues turned churches (churchagogues) that dot New York City neighborhoods. Harlem, East New York, South Bronx, and Brownsville once had significant Jewish communities that have been replaced by an ever-changing population. If you look closely at these sanctuaries you can see traces of their religious origins.   

Documentarian Jeremy Workman (son of the revered documentarian Chuck Workman) underscores the film with an array of appropriate instrumental music that lends an emotional underpinning to the seamless editing that transitions from distant neighborhoods like Flatbush, Brooklyn to Gramercy Park, Manhattan. The effect is a feast for the eyes, ears, and heart.

World Before Your Feet

Executive produced by Jesse Eisenberg and Allen Altman, here is a delightful documentary that beckons to be revisited.

“The World Before Your Feet” is an exquisitely profound cinematic historic document on New York City. That might be a mouthful, but Jeremy Workman connects Matt Green’s foot journey to the real-time scale of New York City and to the soul of its citizens. This inspired documentary is perfect. Don’t miss it.

Five Stars

Returning guest co-host documentarian Jeremy Workman discusses his new film THE WORLD BEFORE YOUR FEET and his dad Chuck Workman's Beat Generation documentary THE SOURCE over BROOKLYN OKTOBERFEST from Brooklyn Brewery.

JEREMY WORKMAN


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September 11, 2018

FREE SOLO

Free_soloTerrifying, invigorating, and heart-pounding describe this unforgettable documentary about free climber Alex Honnold and his efforts to climb Yosemite’s daunting 3,200 foot El Capitan Wall.

Co-directors Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi (“Meru”) delve into Alex’s guarded personality as he prepares for the treacherous climb that will define his life, whether or not he lives or dies attempting it.

We get a sense of the childhood elements that contributed to Alex’s obsession with free climbing even as he enters into a romantic relationship that threatens to derail the strict focus and discipline essential for him to accomplish his goals. Every millimeter of Honnold's mind and body must be diamond-sharp to execute the climb.

Alex-honnold-freerider

Significant is the filmmakers’ willingness to delve into Alex’s meticulous rehearsal process using ropes and the help of master climber Tommy Caldwell to prepare for the solo climb. As Caldwell puts it, “Imagine an Olympic gold medal-level achievement where if you don’t get that gold medal, you’re going to die.”

Placing cameras along various places on Alex’s path up the behemoth mountain allow him to climb without being distracted by buzzing drones or cameramen.

Alex Honnold

With his large dilated brown eyes and wiry frame, Honnold resembles a young Iggy Pop at the height of his powers circa the Bowie-produced “Lust for Life” era. Honnold’s easy charisma masks onion layers of emotional armor that his doting girlfriend Sanni McCandless pokes and prods at to varying levels of guarded verbal responses from our brave protagonist.

El Capitan

Alex Honnold carries the spirit if a samurai warrior with him. Hearing him describe the grips, holds, and complex maneuvers necessary to climb El Capitan’s sheer face, convince the viewer of his amazing climbing abilities that most of humanity hasn’t the first clue about. Here is a man who knows his limitations and how to push them right to the edge of existence.

To watch “Free Solo” is to take a journey into an incredibly dangerous if joyful world of free physical expression. Go on the adventure of a lifetime. The rewards are enormous.

Not rated. 97 mins. (A+) 

Five Stars

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September 01, 2018

McQUEEN

Mcqueen_ver2Alexander (Lee) McQueen was a prodigy fashion designer from humble beginnings with a boundless imagination and a fierce determination that skyrocketed him to the top of industry. McQueen became a household name in the 90s, when he worked as chief designer at Givenchy. It is only fitting that co-directors Ian Bonhôte and Peter Ettedgui have crafted a soaring documentary that celebrates McQueen’s visually stunning creations while telling his tragic story. Thoughtful interviews with friends, family, mentors, partners, and associates harmonize with impressive clips from trailblazing fashion shows to leave a permanent mark on the viewer.

McQueen5

The film symptomatically serves as a crash course through the kooky world of haute couture, from the UK to Paris and back again. Here is a lush and haunting documentary that should be received on the big screen to fully appreciate the epic scope of McQueen’s outrageous designs and rebellious approach that revolutionized the fashion industry at a point in time when such a bold attack was necessary if not essential to its future.   

Mcqueen

The filmmakers diligently connect McQueen’s dark fixation with death — a skull was the logo for his design house — to his punk inspired methods for provoking the haute couture industry at large. Daring fashion shows introducing collections based on such incendiary subjects as the abuse of women, contrast with McQueen’s gentle nature and genuine sense of humility. His 1995 “Highland Rape” collection comes across like a truckload of social dynamite.

It is rare for one person to embody so much talent, skill, and committed work ethic; Alexander McQueen did it with style, panache, and modesty. His undeniable genius continues to inspire artists of all disciplines, so too will this film. 

McQueen3

Rated R. 151 mins. (A+) 

Five Stars

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