Archive for the ‘Documentary’ Category

Jackass 3D

Monday, November 15th, 2010

tn_jackass3dThe first JACKASS movie was one of the weirder and more enjoyable crowd experiences I can remember. It was in a pretty small theater and the movie had been out for a while, but there was a decent sized audience, and more than any horror movie it seemed like we all went through some kind of torment together. We winced, we laughed uncomfortably, we even covered our eyes like Michael Jackson’s girlfriend in the “Thriller” video. It was such a good time I knew I had to see part 2 with an audience also. But for some reason I never made it. So I don’t really understand entirely what’s going on with these characters in part 3, I missed alot of stuff for sure.
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Steven Seagal: Lawman Season 2 Episodes 3-4

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

tn_lawman2Episode 2.3: “Crossfire”

As the episode opens Seagal explains that one of their duties is to protect the public from “bad guys” who drink and get rowdy. Once again the Seagal Squad report to the scene of a truck shot full of holes, this time owned by white people for once. Around the corner there’s another vehicle shot up, this one with two people inside, but they say they didn’t see anything. Seagal gently narrates that they have a “street code” that prevents them from telling the cops anything. There’s also a long shot of a stop sign, possibly a reference to the street code and smoke shop t-shirt phenomenon known as “stop snitching.”
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Steven Seagal: Lawman Season 2 episodes 1 and 2

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

tn_lawman1Episode 2.1 “They Drive By Night”

The second season of LAWMAN opens with a kick to the balls – not literally, unfortunately, but still a surprisingly eventful opening. Seagal and his partners have responded to a call for an erratic driver going around with his lights off, hitting mailboxes. They catch up with the car and see it going the wrong way in traffic. You can hear officers yelling “No!” sounding seriously distressed. Many of these episodes have Seagal just showing up to the scene where other officers already have things under control, but here the camera captures a head-on collision over Seagal’s shoulder. (read the rest of this shit…)

Steven Seagal: Lawman – Episode 13

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

tn_lawman3When the first season of LAWMAN wrapped up I must’ve been busy with something real important, like the birth of a child or the construction of a bridge. I don’t remember anything like that going on, but it had to’ve been something big to prevent me from writing a review of the season finale.

After some legal delays and what not the show resumed last Wednesday with 2 new episodes, and 2 more tomorrow, so I figured I better play catch up. I dug up the extensive notes I wrote for that last first season episode, watched it again on DVD, and now I will present to you my findings. (read the rest of this shit…)


Monday, October 11th, 2010

tn_chokeCHOKE is an early mixed martial arts documentary, released in ’99 and directed by one Rob Goodman. They don’t call it “mixed martial arts” or “MMA,” they seem to like “no rules fighting,” even though the movie makes it clear that there are rules, and even shows people arguing over what the rules should be. It focuses on the 1995 Vale Tudo tournament, a Japanese freestyle fighting competition similar to Ultimate Fighting Championship except in a ring instead of an octagon. It has ropes instead of walls and is a totally different shape although the number 8 is divisible by 4, in my opinion. (read the rest of this shit…)

I Think We’re Alone Now

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

tn_ithinkwerealonenowI THINK WE’RE ALONE NOW is an hour long documentary following Jeff and Kelly, two fans of the ’80s teen pop singer Tiffany. While most of us forgot Tiffany existed until we read that she was teaming with Debbie Gibson for MEGA PYTHON VS. GATOROID, these two remained dedicated fans the whole time. Jeff continued to follow her career long after she fell off the map. He went to all her shows around Santa Cruz, went to every autograph show she did, collected magazine articles, wrote her letters, etc. And by etc. I mean that in ’88 he got arrested at a courthouse trying to give Tiffany some flowers and a samurai sword, and the year after that she got a restraining order against him. In the opening scene he sarcastically reads an old magazine article about it and laughs when they use his full name and call him a “stalker.” He thinks the whole thing has been blown out of proportion. But, you know, most of us don’t end up in any situations that could be blown into those particular proportions. (read the rest of this shit…)

Still Bill

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

tn_stillbillAfter all that EXPENDABLES business, how ’bout a musical interlude?

STILL BILL is a sweet, intimate reunion with Bill Withers, the great singer and songwriter known for songs like “Ain’t No Sunshine,” “Lean On Me” and “Just the Two of Us.” Withers has a great voice soaked in emotion, but what I love most about his music is his honest and down to earth lyrics that cover topics dear to his heart that aren’t usually covered by other singers. Take for example “Grandma’s Hands,” about his love and gratitude for everything his grandma did for him and others when he was growing up, and ultimately how much he misses her. Or “I Can’t Write Left Handed,” about a wounded war veteran. He had more on his mind than “baby I love you” type of business. (read the rest of this shit…)

Best Worst Movie

Friday, June 18th, 2010

tn_bestworstmovieIf you’ve ever seen TROLL 2 you know what a weirdly terrible movie it is. A little boy discovers that his town of Nilbog is secretly overrun by goblins who are feeding the humans foods that turn them into plants so they can be eaten by the goblins, who are vegetarians. (Ever thought of that, Tofurkey people? Just turn real turkeys into plants and sell ’em!) The main thing I remember from the movie is that nobody believes the kid that they shouldn’t eat the food, so he stands up on a table and pisses all over it.

Well, that kid was Michael Stephenson, he’s now grown up, has a sense of humor about the thing, and has written and directed a documentary about it. A little under a third of BEST WORST MOVIE is the type of deal you expect: interviews with “fans” about their TROLL 2 parties, their homemade masks and childhood memories, and scenes of the cast finally enjoying the limelight as the movie is rediscovered and enjoyed in revival screenings, even if it’s in a sarcastic or ironic type of way. Some of this material would be a pretty good DVD extra, some gets a little tedious. But it’s well worth sitting through for the rest of the movie, which in my opinion comes close to True Greatness in its exploration of relative fame, abandoned dreams, the subjectivity of art and the dangers of smug hipsterism. (read the rest of this shit…)

Bruce Lee: A Warrior’s Journey

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

tn_warriorsjourneybruceleeiconIt just occurred to me that there’s a Fred Williamson movie I could’ve reviewed to go from GAME OF DEATH to DEATH JOURNEY to WARRIOR’S JOURNEY. But we don’t got time for word games. Let’s get rollin.

There are a whole lot of documentaries and TV episodes about the short life of Bruce Lee, so why did we need another one in 2000? Well, because this was the uncovering-King-Tut’s-tomb of Bruce Lee documentaries, created by John Little, a bodybuilding expert who is also considered one of the world’s foremost authorities on Bruce Lee. Little went through the archives and studied notes, sketches, outlines and footage to find out what Lee’s plans were for his unfinished movie GAME OF DEATH and what footage was shot that wasn’t used in the fake-beard version that was released (the Graverobber’s Cut). He shows through interviews and archival business how Lee’s career and evolving martial arts philosophy were all leading up to what would’ve been his masterpiece, a movie where he teaches all his ideas but through some of the best fight scenes ever constructed. Then Little unveils what was made of GAME OF DEATH, edited together with the takes Lee planned to use (luckily he wrote all this down!) (read the rest of this shit…)

Ginger Baker in Africa

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

tn_gingerbakerWell, I’m feeling good, my new book is getting good reviews, I got the next two days off work. What should I do? How ’bout review something even more obscure than the other day’s comments-killer THE DEADLY ART OF SURVIVAL? I mean, if I had to guess I’d say this one was probly a little better known that that one, but I can’t even find it listed on IMDb. So everybody’s gonna think I made it up. They need documentation and records. But I swear to you, I watched GINGER BAKER IN AFRICA on an officially released DVD and everything.

Before you get too excited, I gotta tell you that GINGER BAKER IN AFRICA is not at all like SHAFT IN AFRICA. It’s much more experimental. It’s about how in 1971 Ginger Baker, the drummer from Cream, wanted to build a recording studio in Nigeria, so he flew to Marrakech and then drove across the desert. Although it’s real footage it’s not really what you would usually think of as a documentary. It doesn’t really explain much, but it also doesn’t linger on scenes long enough to be direct cinema. It’s pretty confusing. It doesn’t matter. (read the rest of this shit…)