Week 23

Valley Uprising

Valley Uprising- Question: Who is more insane? The men who climbed with tennis shoes and rope on the rock faces of Yosemite Valley fifty years ago with no one to lead the way or the ones who free solo (sans gear) the same rock faces armed with 50 years of knowledge? I vote for the former but in the end they are all nutjobs. Great use of 3d photography conversion with in depth interviews of the different eras in this sport. One of the better documentaries based largely on there being many iterations of climbers who came to the valley over the years and how they reflected a change in the sport and the country.

C8 A8


Blackout PBS

Black Out- Man, New York had issues. One time in 1977 all of the turmoil of that decade boiled over when the lights went out. It is aptly described by one citizen as a turning point in the city’s history. Short and sweet doc.

C6 A7



The New Rijks

The New Rijksmuseum- The remodel for the “Rembrandt Museum” was slated to take 3 years and ended up taking 8. Much like I’m sure this documentary was supposed to be 1.5 hours but is now almost 4. Still, it features amazing art and the cinematography of the museum even at its barest is stirring. Also on display are the individual efforts of curators to bring to life their respective areas of the museum. Their knowledge and attention to detail borders on the absurd at times and each one of them are curios in themselves. This is an exhaustive, beautiful piece of work but maybe too long for those not interested in the renaissance or bureaucracy.

C8 A7


Terminator Genysys

Terminator Genysys- No one was asking for this other than studio heads and Arnold. You are choking the life out of your child, Schwarzenegger.

One Good Thing: Hmmmm. This is tough. They are retconning so many things here, what nice thing can you say about someone with their cold steel foot on your childhood’s neck?

Watch Instead: T2: Judgement Day.

C3 A5



The Program- At times, Ben Foster looks exactly like Lance Armstrong. That’s not the best thing about this well-documented and acted movie with a great lead and strong supporting but it’s a plus, right? Makes cycling interesting and at times even exhilarating. Just like in real life I rooted for him to win in the beginning and then disliked him in the end, thinking “Don’t do it!” in my head as he goes back to the sport for the last time.

C8 A7


Better Angels

Better Angels- After 30 minutes I had to check and make sure this movie wasn’t directed by Terrence Malick and it turns out it was Malick’s long time editor. This makes me think either Malick’s movies are a result of editing or Malick’s editor is highly influenced by his style. Column A/Column B I’m guessing. This is a slow, methodical walk through the black and white youth of Abraham Lincoln. It’s beautiful and believable with Jason Clarke thankfully washing his role in Terminator: Genysysisysss out of my eyes.

C8 A5


the killing joke

The Killing Joke- I talked about this in my Justice League Dark review but film versions of video games, don’t pack the same punch. When a truly great creation comes out of a medium, everyone wants to port it into other concoctions but maybe part of why it’s great is how it was designed specifically for the medium it was in.  Watching Barbara Gordon get shot in a cartoon just doesn’t hold the same impact for me as it does in a comic book format. I used to read a lot of “novelizations” of R-rated movies when I was a kid because I couldn’t see the movie. These were not literary masterpieces I can tell you but how else was 11-year old me supposed to watch Backdraft? That’s right. I read Backdraft the Book.

C6 A7



Evolution- This movie subtly and quietly builds its own little foreign coastal world that is equally fascinating and horrible. Not exciting to watch but strange and wonderful to look at.

C7 A5


dark web

Deep Web- Manipulation is inherent in documentary filmmaking. Objectivity is rare and, some might argue, pointless. Merely presenting facts is the job of legitimate news organizations. Beyond the facts of the Dark Web’s story they want you to believe that the person it centers around is innocent or a victim. Like Aaron Schwartz in The Internet’s Own Boy, we watch as the government, unaware of how to handle the complexity of technology and those with the ability to wield it, apply draconian tactics in punishing them. It is also a story about the internet’s underbelly, but it’s mostly about freedom and those who would restrict it. It’s a frustrating film but, manipulation or not, it’s hard not to side with someone arguing against tyrannical agencies that the internet should be open and free.

C8 A6



Some Kind of Monster- I was never into Metallica. I’ve always been peripherally aware of them but never purchased or even borrowed an album. The premise here of a metal band in turmoil, seeking alignment via “band therapy” and lineup changes seems like a slog but I couldn’t look away. The dynamic between Ulrich and Hetfield is palpable and it’s like a watching a fuse burn for two-and-a-half hours. A lot of it was interesting from a music recording aspect so that kept my attention as well.

C8 A6

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