REVIEW: The Kids Grow Up [2010]

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“I think I’m just mourning her childhood” It’s easy to get caught up in the extreme physical and mental alterations that occur during the life of a child from adolescence to adulthood and forget the parents’ evolution paralleling it so closely. How children age and mature is a direct response to this relationship whether with […]

REVIEW: Tickled [2016]

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“All of this over some tickling” When a journalist known for delving into the weird side of pop culture and society stumbles across an online video depicting a young man tied to a table as four other young men tickle him in a “sport” dubbed “Competitive Tickling,” there’s no way he closes that window to […]

REVIEW: The Decline of Western Civilization Part III [1998]

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“Your spit is greatly appreciated” To a certain extent The Decline of Western Civilization Part III could have been titled The New Western Civilization. The first two films in Penelope Spheeris‘ trilogy showed us the music that was changing American youth culture as well as the people performing it and listening to it. This entry […]

REVIEW: The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years [1988]

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“It doesn’t matter—the size of your pencil. It’s how you write your name.” Director Penelope Spheeris changes the aesthetic and to some extent the goals of her documentary series The Decline of Western Civilization with Part II: The Metal Years. Like its predecessor depicting the contemporary 1980 Los Angeles punk scene, we get a glimpse […]

REVIEW: The Decline of Western Civilization [1981]

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“I don’t think of myself as a happy person, but I had fun tonight” You don’t get much more punk rock than Penelope Spheeris‘ concert documentary The Decline of Western Civilization. At least not American punk since the film details the club life in Los Angeles during the 80s rather than mid-70s Britain. We’re talking […]

REVIEW: The Trials of Muhammad Ali [2013]

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“A white man’s heaven is a black man’s hell” While the structure of Bill Siegel‘s The Trials of Muhammad Ali delivers nothing new to the language of documentary—archival footage mixed with present-day interviews working towards a specific thesis—the story at it’s back is too interesting to blindly dismiss. We all know Ali as a poet, […]

REVIEW: De Palma [2016]

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“I’m driven by unrealistic ideas” I’ve seen twelve Brian De Palma films in my lifetime—a seemingly healthy number when you consider the industry. A guy like Terrence Malick began his career just five years after Brian and it’s only his seventh film that hit DVD this week. Unfortunately for me, twelve doesn’t come close to […]

REVIEW: Weiner [2016]

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“We don’t care about the personal garbage. We’re from the Bronx.” Here’s the rub on the whole Anthony Weiner scandal(s): Bill de Blasio’s approval rating just fell to 41% on May 24th. Would Weiner have been better? Who knows? Would he have won if not for a faulty timeline between his final sexting partner and […]

REVIEW: Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World [2016]

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“Did you get the ‘G’?” Documentarian Werner Herzog‘s latest film Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World peers into the longer than expected history of our uncontrollable phenomenon known as the internet. The word uncontrollable doesn’t, however, allude to this network having created an artificial intelligence—although, as one subject states, who’s to say an […]

REVIEW: Atomic: Living in Dread and Promise [2015]

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“The cherry blossom and the sharp sword. Humility and arrogance.” Director Mark Cousins leaves us with a quote at the end of his experimental documentary composed solely of archival video and audio entitled Atomic: Living in Dread and Promise. It’s by W.G. Sebald and reads: “We gaze at it in wonder, which in itself is […]

REVIEW: The Royal Road [2015]

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“These inconceivable melodramas punctuate my waking life” No description of Jenni Olson‘s essay over landscapes film The Royal Road is more concise or accurate than the final words spoken upon the culmination of its 65-minute visual monologue: “I want to tell you a story about love and loss and San Francisco that reveals more about […]