The aspect of this pensive, heartfelt doc that is pure cinema – the footage, small triumphs, haunted encounters, Ostroy’s astonishing prison confrontation with Shelly’s murderer, all the sweetness, minutia, and regret of a life that was in full bloom before it brutally ended, is truly chilling and stellar in its rawness and fortitude. Its weakness, sadly, is the overwhelming element of testimonies and therapeutic digressions, which certainly have its place within the orbit of this doc, but perhaps should have been included as an extra feature, rather than weaved into the narrative thread, itself. [read more] ★★★✩✩

Sisters With Transistors

An anthological expedition into the origins of machine-made sounds and the women who shaped the soundscape of our current simulacrum, this incredibly well-researched, hereto untold story of female pioneers who gave form to what is now electronic music, narrated by that icon of multimedia, Laurie Anderson, with her hypnotic voice, and steady pace, is absolutely brimming with Promethean insight, yet is also subdued in form, aiming for precision rather than panache. [read more] ★★★★✩

Britney Vs Spears

There is a stark difference between the tragic story of Britney Spears, and the sensationalist stories told about Britney Spears. Trying its hardest to prove its admirable intentions, and hard it does try, this doc still veers towards the latter. And as such, unfortunately, it does not get any closer to the human being that lives behind that perfect smile than an upset, well-meaning article in a fanzine would. [read more] ★★✩✩✩

The Capote Tapes

When his early days come up in the reels, it becomes clear how much was hidden about Capote - the darkness seething underneath the glitz in Breakfast At Tiffany's, a gruesome passion that was In Cold Blood - underbelly of the America he knew, and left behind. Truman Capote lived many lives, and inhabited manifold identities, partied hard, betrayed rich people, and wrote elegant, sharp words for posterity. This doc, somehow, managed to tailor it all to size - an hour and a half of note-perfect jazz. [read more] ★★★★★

The Witch Of King Cross

A flawed, but fascinating take on Rosaleen Norton, artist & dedicated occultist, notoriously active in 1950s Sydney, using all the tricks of the doc trade to conjure the self-declared witch in her nocturnal glory - showing fault only when it tries too hard to render her safer for the masses by confining her in feminist or archetypal tropes (however apt). An intoxicating brew, offering this truly unique counter-culture figure some posthumous justice. [read more] ★★★★✩

On The Record

Powered by the fearless testimony of former Def Jam Recordings executive Drew Dixon, as well as other survivors and activists, mostly women of colour, this is an era-defining, incredibly well-crafted doc tracing not only the irreversible intimate, creative, and professional loss of the survivors of sexual assault, but the loss the entire culture suffers without the brilliant voices of these women, in power, shaping it. [read more] ★★★★★

The War On Journalism: The Case Of Julian Assange

Let's say the worst of what we heard of Julian Assange is true, and he is indeed the disreputable human portrayed in established media lore - the question remains, what does this have to do with indicting journalists for receiving classified material in which various nefarious deeds of powerful governments are exposed? Solid campaign doc, cutting out sensationalist debris, reminding us that justice is not a congeniality contest. [read more] ★★★✩✩

Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend of Walter Mercado

This bubbly Netflix doc reveals an exuberant, strange, bitter-sweet bit of astro pop history, celebrating a dazzling figure, one Walter Mercado, caped wizard of entertainment-led stargazing, icon of Latinx culture in the U.S., a gender-nonconforming Puerto Rican-born psychic & astrologer, with an audience of millions across the globe, and an ultra optimistic bejeweled vibe that wavered before no misery.
[read more] ★★★✩✩

Bully. Coward. Victim. The Story of Roy Cohn.

Roy Cohn, a man who at the very beginning of his legal career was Senator Joseph McCarthy's chief counsel, and instrumental in the brutal sentencing of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg to the electric chair. An outrageously psychopathic political fixer now growing in posthumous infamy with each new month of Trump presidency, as he was Donald J.'s longtime lawyer and mentor, hence everything the 45th president of the Unites States learned about power came from Machiavelli himself (with apologies to the actual Niccolò). [read more] ★★★✩✩

Planet Of The Humans

Controversial doc, veering towards eco fatalism, executive-produced by Micheal Moore, sees environmentalist Jeff Gibbs ponder the effects of climate change and perpetual growth, while taking on sainted big guns of the eco-movement. Bluntly unpacks the extent renewable energy giants seem to depend on fossil fuels, how corporations rebrand green to access government subsidies, downsides of renewable energy, and as Vandana Shiva puts it, the way we allow ourselves to be hypnotised. [read more]

The Brink

In Alison Klayman's new gutsy fly-on-the-wall doc, Trump's ex-chief strategist comes across as a charismatic, amoral, but unfortunately pretty brainy Hollywood via Harvard player, who spotted a niche in the political market for disenfranchised white man rage, and grabbed it. Bannon knows he is the Pied Piper of Hamelin. [read more]

Ice On Fire

Leonardo DiCaprio opens his new climate change doc offering a view of the last 250 years of humankind as the longest science experiment in history. An apt take on the magnitude of human impact on the entirety of our planet - and the unhinged way we've been unleashing ourselves on our environment. [read more]

Third Eye Spies

Essential new mainstream doc on PSY research, a much denigrated fringe topic, one that, perhaps, should not have been left solely for the military to explore. Chock-full of top-tier scientists, high-grade spooks, plus a Nobel laureate and an Apollo astronaut thrown in, for good quantum measure.
[read more]

The Other Side Of Everything

It lands on a piece of me that is yet to accept loss – the devouring of a chunk of my life, of many lives, by the gods of lesser value. This is why I could not take it in any other way than lightly. Giving it my full attention meant giving in to a lack of meaning. A blank canvass of a memory of a home(land) that invites everyone to draw in their own conclusions. All of them true and entirely wrong. [read more]

Film vs. Death: One More Time With Feeling (revisited)

A testament to the inexplicability of mourning, and the therapeutic nature of art. In this case, the art of the moving image, the most conjuring art of all. The camera becomes a dignified way to navigate the grieving process, to share it. There is a great generosity in One More Time With Feeling. This is film as communion, echo of a longing, an evocation of love in that eternal painfully human quest to transcend death. [read more]

Maria By Callas

It was the humanity in the delivery of divinity that was the key to Callas's impact - the way she knew, by some uncanny ability, just how to channel an archetype. Seeing her in Pasolini's Medea, even just for a few screen seconds, shook my soul, if not my world. [read more]

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