320 posts categorized "Documentary"

December 18, 2020

OLIVER SACKS: HIS OWN LIFE

OliverEssential. Ric Burns’s brilliant deep-dive documentary about neurologist and author Oliver Wolf Sacks, captures the complex mind and wild life-story of a scientist whose profound influence continues to expand in minds across global societies. Burns gives the loquacious doctor center stage at his living room table with his closest friends and colleagues to underpin a seamless documentary that informs, motivates, and enthralls in equal measure. The vibe is joyful and homey even as news of Sacks’s terminal cancer comes to the fore during the making of the film.

Oliver

From his strained relationship with his parents, due to his gayness, to his struggles with severe shyness, Oliver Sacks’s immutable drive to better understand the human brain’s functions toward helping individuals with debilitating central nervous system problems, presents an extraordinary humanist portrait. Self-character-study was an ongoing obsession for Dr. Sacks.

Oliver-Sacks

There is more than a little irony in the fact that it took the machinations of Hollywood to finally win the respect and regard of his medical peers relatively late in Oliver Sacks’s storied career with Penny Marshall’s 1990 filmic adaptation of his book “Awakenings.” You’ll probably want to check out Robin Williams playing Oliver Sacks after seeing this inspiring documentary about a true genius with a scientific mind and a gift of empathic instincts that were and are truly visionary. Fantastic.

Oliver+Sacks

Not Rated. 111 mins. 

5 Stars

COLE SMITHEY

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

This website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon. Thanks a lot pal!

Cole Smithey on Patreon

November 08, 2019

ECHO IN THE CANYON

Echo_in_the_canyonThis beautiful musical performance/documentary love letter to Los Angeles’s mid ‘60s Laurel Canyon music scene that gave rise to The Beach Boys, The Mamas and the Papas, and The Byrds, is an addictive experience. I’ve watched it four times, and will gladly watch it again.

Jacques Demy’s underseen L.A.-set 1969 romantic drama “Model Shop” serves as inspiration for Jakob Dylan (a revelation as the band leader for a concert with a rotating group of co-singers that include Jade Castrinos, Cat Power, Fiona Apple, Beck, Regina Spektor, and Norah Jones) to interview the musicians who created such classics as “Go Where You Wanna Go” and “Never My Love.” Tingles run up your spine. 

Echo petty

Jakob's cool-hang interviews with the likes of pop music royalty as Stephen Stills, Brian Wilson, Tom Petty, Ringo Starr, Roger McGuinn, and Lou Adler allow for some hilarious tales told outside of school. Jakob Dylan’s subtle sense of humor get nice traction with Brian Wilson when discussing a song’s key. Jakob offers to “get out the capos.” Funny musician humor, I know, but I love it. Jakob Dylan is as unpretentious as they come  

Echo

Recording sessions as historic Los Angeles recording studios where great artists have recorded countless hits segue into Jakob Dylan’s live concert celebrating Laurel Canyon’s 50-year anniversary. The briefly utopic community of musicians who gravitated to Laurel Canyon created a Niagara of poetic pop songs turning folk music into rock ‘n’ roll. This is a groovy movie about a brilliant period of music that flourished before its awe-inspiring flight came to an inevitable end. This is a really fun movie to savor. My only complaint is that they didn't feature another four or five songs.

Echo2

Sidebar: Although it's never brought up in the film, the Laurel Canyon music was a direct outgrowth of Bossa Nova. Bossa's utopian romanticism came out of a desire to soften samba into a Sinatra-influences style. The early '60s period of Bossa Nova's explosive popularity in the country occurred prior to a movement of young musicians to turn up the heat on folk music and make it rock with the same attention to songwriting that Gilberto and Jobim utilized for their timeless songs.

Rated PG-13 — 88 mins.Five Stars

COLE SMITHEY

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

This website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon. Thanks a lot pal!

Cole Smithey on Patreon

March 06, 2019

MADE IN SHEFFIELD

MadeThe industrial city of Sheffield, England was the birthplace for the electronic pop explosion of cool post punk bands such as "Vice Versa," "The Human League," "Heaven 17," "ABC,” and "Cabaret Voltaire." Slick style and a rejection of cultural limitations at hand, these daring musicians created a utopian attitude of romanticized clarity and precision. 

Songs pulse, heat up, and grow on an international level in a bastion of fearless creativity. Here is an essential chapter of musical history brought to relevant life and context in fun documentary.   

In this enthusiastic, if brief (it clocks in at only 52 minutes), documentary filmmaker Eve Wood charts the lineage of musicians whose music inspired modern-day bands such as "Stereolab," "Ladytron," and "Peaches."

Made In Sheffield

Through insightful interviews with band members (such as Phil Oakey of The Human League), and rare live performance footage, "Made In Sheffield" fills an essential period that linked Punk to the British New Wave with bands intent on destroying rock music. Interview subjects such as the late John Peel, The Human League’s Phil Oakey and Ian Craig Marsh, and music critic Andy Gill shed light on the indispensable influence of Sheffield’s electronic music scene. This thrilling documentary is an important film for any serious music lover to learn about the origins of a time and place where musical creativity ran wild.

Not rated. 52 mins.Four Stars

COLE SMITHEY

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

This website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon. Thanks a lot pal!

Cole Smithey on Patreon

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