mon 20/01/2020

documentary

This Is Our Family, Sky Atlantic review - can Emma and Tony live happily ever after?

Sky Atlantic is usually where you go for big-hitting dramas, so this quartet of observational documentaries is an unexpected development. Each film follows a single family over three years, and each family faces particular challenges.In this opener...

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How to Steal Pigs and Influence People, Channel 4 review - the arcane world of the online vegan influencers

Filmmaker Tom Costello’s opening question in this quixotic but fascinating documentary for Channel 4 deftly skewered the journey he was about to take us on. Was making change or finding fame more important? he asked, and by the end of the story it...

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Cornwall: This Fishing Life, BBC Two review - a precarious trade on the ocean wave

Series about fishing have become a durable mini-genre, including the likes of Deadliest Catch and Saltwater Heroes. However, this new six-parter on BBC Two brings us much closer to home than Alaska or Tasmania, and probes into the lives of the...

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DVD/Blu-ray: The Emperor's Naked Army Marches On

When Sight & Sound compiled its “Greatest Documentaries of All Time” list five years ago, Kazuo Hara’s The Emperor's Naked Army Marches On came in at number 23 – proof, some three decades on from its 1987 release, that this remarkable film had...

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Liam Gallagher: As It Was, BBC Two review - no expletives deleted in exhausting rock-doc

Liam Gallagher knows exactly how "fucking fantastic… and fucking shit I am", and proceeds to tell us so for 85 minutes. This 10-year documentary project came about as a result of director Charlie Lightening’s friendship with Gallagher, formed...

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Heston's Marvellous Menu: Back to the Noughties, BBC Two review - ghost of food trends past

Heston Blumenthal, of triple-cooked chips fame, is a mad food scientist. Well, that’s how we’re introduced to him in Heston’s Marvellous Menu. Tonight’s BBC Two programme had a rather theatrical premise: a chef recreating the complete dining...

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Citizen K review - real power in Russia

Putin and Mikhail Khodorkovsky are “strong”, a Russian journalist considers. “Everyone else – weak.” This is essentially Khodorkovsky’s opinion, too, after the former oil oligarch’s decade in a Siberian jail for suggesting the President was corrupt...

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How They Built the Titanic, Channel 5 review - the great liner revisited again, but why now?

The appalling fate of the allegedly unsinkable liner Titanic in 1912 has fuelled endless feature films and documentaries, not to mention a dismal drama series by Julian Fellowes (there was also a proposed Titanic II vessel which would have been...

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The Cave review - heroic Syrian hospital workers

War crimes are war crimes, irrespective of the victims’ ages, gender, or ethnicities, and no one’s torture or murder is more abhorrent than anyone else’s. Yet because children are essentially innocent and incapable of defending themselves, and...

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The Family Secret, Channel 4 review - lives destroyed by historic sexual abuse

“Restorative Justice Practitioner” sounds like a euphemism for a Mad Max-style lone avenger, but in director Anna Hall's devastating film for Channel 4, it was a woman called Kate whose job was to bring together conflicting parties and help find a...

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Tutankhamun with Dan Snow, Channel 5 review - too many presenters spoil Egyptian boy-king doc

It’s claimed that the current world tour of Tutankhamun’s extraordinary treasures will be the last, but they said that about Frank Sinatra too. Whatever, the boy-pharaoh’s life and legend will retain their unprecedented mystique, but no thanks to...

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Country Music by Ken Burns, BBC Four review - grand history of fiddlers on the hoof

Ken Burns is the closest American television has to David Attenborough. They may swim in different seas, but they both have an old-school commitment to an ethos that will be missed when it’s gone – the idea that television is a place to communicate...

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