mon 21/01/2019

documentary

DVD/Blu-ray: The Rider

A cannily crafted biographical docudrama about the Lakota Sioux broncobuster and horse trainer Brady Jandreau – playing himself as Brady Blackburn – The Rider will resonate with anyone whose dreams have gone up in smoke. Jandreau was 20 when, on...

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RBG review - a compelling, restrained insight

Very few could have predicted Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg becoming a cultural icon, least of all herself. A quiet, studious, first-generation American girl who broke down boundaries, not with force, but with a reasoned reproach and a calm demeanour...

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The Sound of Movie Musicals with Neil Brand, BBC Four review - genius of song and dance

The movie musical: money making or true art – or both? This was a programme to sing along to, in the company of Judy Garland and Gene Kelly, Elvis Presley and Cliff Richard. In this second instalment of Neil Brand’s brilliant three-part history, he...

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Sir Cliff Richard: 60 Years in Public and in Private, ITV review - bachelor boy bounces back

It was when he was on holiday at his agreeable estate in the Algarve in August 2014 that Cliff Richard got a phone call telling him his Berkshire home was being raided by the South Yorkshire Police. It was the beginning of a four-year ordeal in...

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Barbra Streisand: Becoming an Icon 1942-1984, BBC Four review - the way she was

Perhaps belatedly prompted by the release of Barbra Streisand’s new album Walls, the worst-selling disc in her 55 years with Columbia Records, this documentary was an uncritical celebration of Babs’s brilliant career from her first stage appearances...

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Three Identical Strangers review - an extraordinary true story

The privileges of writing reviews are very few (it’s certainly no way to make a living these days) but one that remains is the possibility of seeing a film before reading about it. Sometimes it doesn’t matter knowing in advance how a story will play...

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Tim Wardle: 'A documentary director has huge power over the interview subject'

(Warning: spoilers ahead) For a brief 15 minutes, this was the biggest story in America: three boys, identical in looks, discovering each other at the age of 19. Edward “Eddie” Galland, David Kellman and Robert “Bobby” Shafran were all adopted from...

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Louis Theroux's Altered States: Choosing Death, BBC Two review - profound and moving

The toughest subject you can imagine: when, and how, would you choose death over life? This riveting film examined that excruciating dilemma within the legal frameworks on offer to some of the terminally ill in the United States. Louis Theroux,...

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They Shall Not Grow Old, BBC Two review - Peter Jackson's Great War finale

Peter Jackson has form when it comes to re-examining cinema history. In 1995 he made Forgotten Silver, a documentary about Colin McKenzie, a New Zealand filmmaker who not only made the first sound recordings but also invented the tracking shot and...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Hitler's Hollywood

Apart from Leni Riefenstahl’s insidiously seductive celebrations of Nazism and the propaganda excesses of Veit Harlan’s Jud Süß (1940), the films that were made in Germany during the Hitler period have been air-brushed out of cinema history, almost...

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WW1: The Last Tommies, BBC Four review - Great War stories

“Why should I go out and kill somebody I never knew? There was no reason at all in it in my way of thinking.” Britain’s very last Tommy was Harry Patch, born in 1898, conscripted in 1916 and still alive on his 111th birthday in 2009. He was one of...

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The Yukon Assignment review - two men in a boat test father-son bond

The Yukon Assignment tracks a 500-mile canoe journey along a remote river in Canada taken by a British adventurer and his father. The feature-length documentary is a gentle, unpretentious love-letter to untamed nature and its ability to bring two...

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