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  • Holy Hell

    Holy Hell 2016

    ★★★★★ Watched 19 Apr, 2016

    *ANOTHER* cult documentary? Actually, HOLY HELL might be *THE* cult documentary. Director Will Allen spent 20 years within the Buddhafield, a hippie-ish cult, where he served as the official documentarian and too-close friend of Michel, a guru clad mostly in speedos, obsessed with his own appearance to levels that would make Liberace blush, and of course – dangerously drunk on power, spiritually and emotionally abusive. Michel is as creeptastic as they come, always staring through you, looking like a melted…

  • Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four

    Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four 2016

    ★★★ Watched 28 Apr, 2016

    The wave of interest in true crime stories laced with a dose of injustice is still in full swing, and another to add to your list is this film, which like PARADISE LOST before it, comes out of the last gasp of the Satanic Panic, and led to four Texan women subject to a homophobia-driven, literal witch hunt. This film, faced with the problem of not much footage from the time of the trial, forgoes suspense for an emotionally charged…

  • How to Build a Time Machine

    How to Build a Time Machine 2016

    ★★★★½ Rewatched 28 Apr, 2016

    Like THE SLIPPERS, Jay Cheel’s first documentary feature since 2011’s terrific, hilarious BEAUTY DAY dials back the lunacy into a more contemplative but equally compelling place through two obsessed men and an iconic piece of film memorabilia – the HG Wells time machine. Animator Rob Niosi has been replicating the prop for years in extreme nitpicking detail. Rob Mallett became a theoretical physicist for tragic reasons. Cheel’s Errol Morris influences shine through even more so than his previous effort as…

  • The Slippers

    The Slippers 2016

    ★★★★ Watched 25 Apr, 2016

    Just a bit over a year ago I finally laid eyes on THE REP, Morgan White’s excellent documentary about the rise and fall of the beloved and sadly out-of-business Toronto Underground Cinema. I went into this follow-up unsure if a focus tracing the cultural impact of a single piece of film memorabilia could sustain a feature length, and was more than pleasantly surprised to see that not only will THE SLIPPERS satisfy film lovers let alone Ozheads, but that White…

  • Tickled

    Tickled 2016

    ★★★★ Watched 18 Apr, 2016

    The less said about TICKLED is to your benefit, and the filmmakers would prefer it stay that way. All you need to know is that co-director and journalist David Farrier found a video online for something called “competitive endurance tickling”. Huh. Considering that we have pillow fight and ax throwing leagues, it was not absurd to want to make a short quirky news story about this oddball sport. But it became clear very quickly that the people behind this “sport”…

  • Credit for Murder

    Credit for Murder 2015

    ★★★★★ Watched 17 Apr, 2016

    If there is one documentary I have been pushing people to see, it is this film from Israeli director Vladi Antonevicz, a jaw-dropping, cinematic undercover procedural adventure which finds him posing as a white supremacist in Russia to solve the horrific murder of two immigrant men which had been posted to Youtube and ultimately became an infamous viral video. CREDIT FOR MURDER draws you in with the sordid allure of your first convincing conspiracy video and never lets up. The…

  • Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World

    Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World 2016

    ★★★½ Watched 28 Apr, 2016

    I have to wonder if I could have accepted a film like this from anyone other than Werner Herzog. LO AND BEHOLD is a meandering series of anecdotes about the wired age that almost feels like a proof of concept for a Cosmos-type TV series. Which is to say, it’s entertaining and Herzog’s trademark calm, collected nature makes it feel like a stream of consciousness. From the unbreakable box that represents the invention of the Internet to the solar flares…

  • Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru

    Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru 2016

    ★★★★ Watched 17 Apr, 2016

    Speaking of cults, Tony Robbins and his self-help seminars have themselves often been thought of as such, and similarly have been behind closed doors as well as very expensive. From Joe Berlinger of PARADISE LOST / METALLICA: SOME KIND OF MONSTER fame comes this unprecedented look at Robbins’ Date With Destiny series, and if there’s a twist to be found, it’s that Tony Robbins comes out of this looking really really good, to the extent that some have accused I…

  • My Scientology Movie

    My Scientology Movie 2015

    ★★★½ Watched 16 Apr, 2016

    After a decade of videos from Wise Beard Men, numerous expose books, countless articles, and most recently, the dense info dump of Alex Gibney’s Going Clear, you’d think we’d had enough Scientology documentaries. And maybe so. But along comes John Dowler and well known UK presenter Louis Theroux to pull an Act of Killing by hiring actors, who with the help of former Scientologist Marty Rathburn, recreate bizarre and violent events from David Miscavige and others that he had witnessed…

  • The Jungle Book

    The Jungle Book 2016

    ★★★★★ Watched 26 Apr, 2016

    Of all I've seen lately, this probably needs the least discussion. It never occurred to me that Jungle Book is a lot like Alice in Wonderland in how clearly segmented the whole thing is, generally avoiding its inevitable confrontation so it can just build a world and center around a new character. These are road movies.

    What Favreau has done is kept it simple. No delving into untold stories of iconic characters, but instead showcasing a new ferocity and amplifying…

  • Hello, My Name Is Doris

    Hello, My Name Is Doris 2015

    ★★★★ Watched 26 Apr, 2016

    It's been 10 years since Showalter helmed a feature solo, the underrated and underseen rom-com The Baxter, which has one of my favorite Michelle Williams performances.

    Maybe Sho, better known for his work in the State, Stella and Wet Hot American Summer, just has great taste in actresses, or maybe he's an excellent director of actors, because he's done it again, and this time I'd argue it reaches Oscar-worthy heights. Sally Field plays Doris, a hoarder who has cat-ladied and…

  • Look Who's Back

    Look Who's Back 2015

    ★★★★ Watched 26 Apr, 2016

    Admired more than loved but liked a lot. Based on a book, this is one you may have on your Netflix queue and are waiting to get around to it. Well, you should.

    Look Who's Back has Adolf Hitler - yes, actually Adolf Hitler - suddenly and unexplainably waking up in the present. It begins as a fish-out-of-water story of the most evil man in modern history confused at how much the world has changed in only a few generations.…