sat 02/07/2022

documentary

DVD/Blu-ray: South

There is little denying that the Antarctic continent is no longer possessed of the allure that it once was. By all accounts, particularly those unspoken, Antarctica has been betrayed, usurped, eclipsed.Beyond the sober walls of research laboratories...

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The Real Charlie Chaplin review - not as revealing as its title suggests

Even today, Charlie Chaplin still earns glowing accolades from critics for his work during the formative years of cinema, though a contemporary viewing public saturated in CGI and superheroes might struggle to see the allure of his oeuvre as the “...

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Flee review - award-winning documentary portrays the refugee experience

It’s good timing for the release of Flee in UK cinemas. The Danish movie has just made Oscar history by being nominated in three categories – Animated Feature, Documentary, and International Feature and is bound to win in at least one of them. ...

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Long Promised Road review - another attempt to probe the fragile genius of Brian Wilson

There has been no shortage of documentaries about king Beach Boy Brian Wilson, not to mention the 2014 bio-drama Love & Mercy, so the purpose of this new effort by director Brent Wilson (no relation) isn’t altogether clear. Certainly Wilson (the...

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Russell Howard, Netflix special review - joyous return to live performance

In 2019, Russell Howard was all set to celebrate his 20th year in comedy by going on a world tour. Covid put paid to that, so it was with some genuine celebration that he was able to return to the stage with Lubricant, his second Netflix special,...

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The Beatles: Get Back, Disney+ review - 1969 revisited in Peter Jackson's three-part documentary

A caption tells us that while filming the Beatles at Twickenham Film Studios in January 1969 for a planned TV broadcast, director Michael Lindsay-Hogg and his crew amassed 60 hours of film and 150 hours of audio recordings. Some of it was seen in...

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The Velvet Underground review - Todd Haynes tunnels through band history

Todd Haynes’ documentary about the Velvet Underground has to be one of the better uses of time by a film-maker during the Covid pandemic. He spent lockdown putting the film together with a team of archivists and editors working remotely. It’s a...

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Oliver Sacks: His Own Life review - a complex portrait of a complex man

It’s well worth tracking down one of the September 29 special cinema screenings of Ric Burns' lovingly made documentary portrait of the writer and neurologist Oliver Sacks, or seeking it out online. Famous for his vivid, insightful descriptions of...

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Thomas Hardy: Fate, Exclusion and Tragedy, Sky Arts review – too much and not enough

Born in 1840, Thomas Hardy lived a life of in-betweens. Modern yet traditional, the son of a builder who went on to become a famous novelist, he belonged both to Dorset and London. When he died, his ashes were interred at Westminster Abbey, but his...

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Misha and the Wolves review - tricksy documentary about a child survivor

It has become so hard to find funding for non-fiction films that many documentary makers now feel compelled to sell their stories as racy detective yarns, larded with dramatic scores and sneakily obfuscating narratives. There’s a piece of deception...

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El Father Plays Himself review – a roller coaster ride of mixed emotions

A young film director writes a script based on his father’s life story and invites his dad to play the part. It’s an interesting gambit, given that the son, Jorge Thielen Armand left Venezuela with his mother at the age of 15 and has not returned...

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Reclaiming Amy, BBC Two review - Winehouse family and friends remember

“My worst fear? What am I scared of?” Amy Winehouse ponders. She pauses thoughtfully: “Myself.”Ten years to the day since she died, Reclaiming Amy, Marina Parker’s documentary, remembers and celebrates the singer, revealing the truth as her parents...

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