Review of Criterion Collection's "Crumb" and "Ghost World" DVDs

Cartoonists Ed Piskor and Jim Rugg take a look at the booklets that come with Criterion Collection's Crumb and Ghost World DVDs and Blu-rays, both directed by Terry Zwigoff. I've seen both films multiple times and already have the Crumb DVD, but I wasn't aware that Criterion did one for Ghost World. Sigh *pulls out wallet* Read the rest

Today: Take part in an interactive online screening of "The Crossing" for Human Rights Day

Today is International Human Rights Day, and Storylab has arranged for a special free online screening of "The Crossing: Your Impact on Modern Day Slavery," via the interactive Hubhub platform, which lets viewers annotate and discuss videos, with comments linked to specific moments in the video. The video includes a special introduction by Emma Thompson, the project's patron. Read the rest

Key & Peele: "If Hogwarts were an inner-city school"

Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele reveal the "deplorable conditions at Vincent Clortho Public School for Wizards."

Read the rest

Netflix has a documentary about extremely creepy founder of Bikram Yoga

If you want to quickly find out about what kind of person Bikram Choudhury is, watch this interview, in which the yoga teacher and alleged serial rapist claims that women are begging to pay him $1,000,000 for a single drop of his sperm and that four women committed suicide because he denied them sex.

If you want to know more about Choudhury, you can watch an upcoming Netflix documentary about him, called Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator, premiering November 20, 2019.

Daily Beast has a review:

[A]t closed-off, multi-week classes held at hotels around the country, Bikram was constantly supplied Bikram with fresh new females who wanted nothing more than to earn his favor. Sexual assault—quite a lot of it, by many accounts—followed, although out of fear of being kicked out of the profession they loved, most refused to publicly speak out. Sarah Baughn changed all that, filing suit against Bikram in March 2013 for allegedly trapping her in his hotel room and forcibly trying to initiate sex. Though she was condemned and ostracized by those in Bikram’s camp, other ugly stories soon emerged, including from Larissa Anderson, who says she was raped by Bikram in his home, and from Jafa-Bodden, who sued Bikram for unlawful termination after she refused to continue being party to his predatory behavior.

Doing the guru no favors are deposition videos in which he pleads the fifth and, when speaking, curses Jafa-Bodden’s attorney Carla Minnard and admits that the four things he doesn’t like are “cold weather, cold food, cold hearts and cold pussy.”

Read the rest

Meet the hairdresser to Japan’s sumo wrestling elite

Once when I was on a train in Tokyo, I saw a sumo wrestler board and take a seat. He looked like a real life superhero and moved with grace that defied his massiveness. One of the things that made him look otherworldly was his topknot hairstyle. In this video, we meet Kato Akira, who had been the hairdresser for elite sumo wrestlers for over 50 years. He uses both hands and his mouth to tie knots in the wrestlers' hair, and uses a number of beautiful wooden combs.

Image: YouTube Read the rest

Beautiful footage of Parisian life from more than 100 years ago

A clip from director Hugues Nancy's "Paris 1900, the City of Lights," featuring restored and colorized film footage from the fin de siècle. From C21Media:

Thanks to incredible archives restored and fully colorized, this film presents a previously unseen journey through time and space. Discover, Paris in 1900 at the time of the Exposition Universelle and the very beginning of modern art and cinema. The City of Lights became a showcase city, displaying the latest technical and scientific inventions, and also boasting avant-garde art galleries, lively cabarets, the ultimate in high fashion, and… the Parisiennes. The myth of “La Belle Epoque” reigned supreme.

Read the rest

Watch David Crosby's hair-raising impression of a John Coltrane solo

David Crosby's "If I Could Only Remember My Name" (1971) is one of my favorite records of all time. I'm excited to watch Cameron Crow's documentary about him, "Remember My Name," especially after seeing this delightful clip of Croz recounting the time he was so high while at a jazz club during a John Coltrane gig that he had to hide in the bathroom. And then -- surprise -- Coltrane himself burst into the bathroom playing his horn. In the video above, Crosby beautifully expresses what it sounded like.

(Spin) Read the rest

Stealing Ur Feelings: interactive documentary on the snakeoil "science" of facial emotion detection

Filmmaker Brett Gaylor (previously) writes, "Stealing Ur Feelings is an augmented reality experience that reveals how apps like Snapchat can utilize facial emotion recognition technology to secretly collect data about your emotions to make decisions about your life and promote inequalities." Read the rest

Trailer for new documentary series about Bill Gates

Inside Bill's Brain: Decoding Bill Gates is a new three-part documentary that premieres on September 20. It's directed by Davis Guggenheim who produced An Inconvenient Truth and directed Waiting for Superman.

"When I thought about topics to cover, I knew I didn’t want to make a promotional piece about his work," Guggenheim said. "Instead, I opted to focus on the tougher, more complex problems that nobody wants to think about, like sanitation and nuclear energy. Bill chose to take these issues on, even knowing that he might fail, and I had an instinct that seeing him wrestle with these intractable and frustrating problems would reveal something interesting about him as a person.”

It'll be interesting to see how warts-and-all the documentary really is (or isn't). Read the rest

Trailer: Take a peek at Barack and Michelle Obama's first film, American Factory

The Obamas released their first film with Netflix, which started streaming today — a documentary called American Factory.

From Fast Company:

Called American Factory, the documentary follows the events of when a Chinese billionaire opens a new factory in an abandoned General Motors plant in Ohio and hires 2,000 blue-collar American workers to work alongside Chinese immigrants. As France24 explains:

In the new documentary’s early scenes, genuine attempts by the US and Chinese workers to bond with their new colleagues, including fishing and shooting lessons and shared Thanksgiving dinners, appear to bear some fruit.

But as the new Chinese owners become alarmed by heavy financial losses, they fire the American middle managers and increasingly invoke their Chinese replacements’ sense of nationalistic pride to spur harder work, leaving the workforce ever-more divided.

According to Fast Company, the reviews "have been off the charts." And the Obamas have four more films in the works.

Image: YouTube Read the rest

Fast times at Roosevelt Field Mall, a documentary (1983)

In 1983, a crew of young, DIY documentarians visited Long Island's Roosevelt Field Mall to study mall culture. This is Mall City. (via r/ObscureMedia)

Read the rest

Documentary about the 1980s SoCal underground art happenings with Sonic Youth, Einstürzende Neubauten, etc.

In the 1980s, Stuart Swezey was at the epicenter of Southern California's underground culture. The co-founder of Amok Books, Swezey was also known for organizing extreme industrial and avant-garde outdoor happenings in remote locations like the Mojave Desert that featured performances by Sonic Youth, Einstürzende Neubauten, Survival Research Laboratories, Minutemen, and many other experimental and transgressive artists. Now, Swezey has made a documentary about those extreme experiences. Above is the trailer for Desolation Center.

Read the rest

Los Reyes is the stray dog documentary I never knew I needed

The summer of movies that Séamus willing to pay to see in an actual pay-forty-bucks-for-a-small-popcorn movie theater continues!

Bettina Perut and Iván Osnovikoff spent two years hanging out at the oldest skate park in Santiago, Chile, looking to gain a window into the lives of the folks who congregated their to skate their days away. The documentary they came away with, however, is arguably one million times better. They framed their film through the lives of two stray dogs, Football and Chola, that call the skate park home.

Sadly, I live in oil and cowboy country, just now. I'll likely have to wait to watch it once it hits DVD. Read the rest

Triple Chaser: a short documentary that uses machine learning to document tear gas use against civilians, calling out "philanthropist" Warren Kanders for his company's war-crimes

Laura Poitras (previously) is the Academy Award-winning director of Citizenfour; she teamed up with the activist group Forensic Archicture (previously), whose incredible combination of data-visualization and documentary filmmaking have made them a potent force for holding war criminals and authoritarians to account: together, they created Triple Chaser, a short documentary that uses novel machine-learning techniques to document the ways in which tear gas and bullets made by companies belonging to "philanthropist" Warren Kanders have been used against civilians to suppress anti-authoritarian movements, and even to murder innocents, including children. Read the rest

Goreytelling: Animations to go with Edward Gorey's narration of his life

In the 1990s, student filmmaker Christopher Seufert talked his way into Edward Gorey's life and convinced him to record a series of memoirs and tales from his life; the project blossomed into a documentary, only to be derailed when Gorey died. Read the rest

Watch the 1983 breakdancing documentary that inspired the movie Breakin'

Directed by Topper Carew, "Breakin 'n' Enterin'" (1983) documented the Los Angeles B-boy scene emerging at Venice Beach and MacArthur Park's Radio-Tron nightclub. Keep your eyes peeled for a young Ice-T, Michael "Boogaloo Shrimp" Chambers, and Adolfo "Shabba-Doo" Quinones who all appeared the following year in Breakin'. The dancing in this documentary is much better than in the feature film though -- more complex, raw, and aggressive.

Read the rest

Boing Boing presents: Skeleton Boy, a moving short documentary about the life, death and afterlife of Harry Eastlack, star of the Mutter Museum

Philadelphia's Mutter Museum (previously) is one of my favorite museums in the world: built from the private collection of pathologist Dr Thomas Dent (who aggregated the collections of many other pathologists), it is a solemn and moving place to see the incredible breadth of human physiognomy and pathology. Read the rest

More posts