Miss Sharon Jones! is worth seeing for Jones' performance in a little country church of "His Eye is on the Sparrow" alone. Her grit, power and will to sing are amazing. The film covers a critical period in her life with her band, the Dap Kings, when she is dealing with intense cancer treatments and, at the same time, trying to keep the group together. Her humor, bravery and explosive talent fill the screen.
Dr. Maya Angelou was an author, poet, historian, songwriter, playwright, dancer, stage, and screen producer. In this documentary, filmmakers Bob Hercules and Rita Coburn Whack do a remarkable job of detailing her extraordinary life. The DVD includes details about her childhood in the Depression-era South, interviews with Dr. Angelou during different periods of her life, and video footage of her early performing career. It also contains interviews with her family and friends to reveal even more about her life and impact on others.
I Am Big Bird is a must-see for fans of Sesame Street, Jim Henson, Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch, or all of the above. It’s a documentary focusing on the life of Caroll Spinney, the puppeteer who plays both Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, and also sometimes other famous Sesame Street characters like Bert.
Photojournalist Sebastiao Salgado is known for his pictures of less developed countries, most specifically of regions swept into economic forces unleashed upon them by Western industry. Some of his photos, while technically stunning, depict humanities worst atrocities – forced exile, exploitation, extermination.
I have long admired climbers for their singleness of purpose and puzzling assessment of risk. Dwindling food reserves. Lack of oxygen. Numb toes. Incoming avalanche. Keep climbing!
A camera looks up at the sky as seagulls follow a fishing boat for the detritus left behind. Then the image topples. Birds are upside down, the water rushing above them. None of this is unusual within the context of Leviathan, which says a lot about how well the filmmakers prepare us to see the world reversed.
Rockumentaries can be pretentious, but not this one. The first thing you’ll discover in Andrew Horn’s documentary We are Twisted F***ing Sister is that the band members are great guys: hardworking, kind, mostly sober.
Sunshine Superman tells the story of Carl Boenish, an intrepid explorer pushing the limits of physical experience, and an inventive cinematographer of that boundary’s edge. He was a skydiver, whose footage from the 70s and 80s shows people seemingly capable of the ultimate assault on reality. They could fly.
Viewers might think Les Blank's film A Poem is a Naked Person is solely about legendary piano player Leon Russell as he is featured prominently in the title and cover design. But the documentary is more an artifact capturing Oklahoma folk culture in the early 1970s. More specifically, it captures the hot hypnotic mess of hippie blues and booze that orbits Leon Russell, which may have caused Russell and Blank to argue about its release.
Danny Garcia begins following and filming The Clash after their manager, Bernie Rhodes, has lifted the band to the heights of commercial success. Rhodes is ferociously competitive, blinding him to the idea that there is no place for success as he imagines it for The Clash. They’re part of, and play to, an angry underclass. They’re searching for an authentic voice (and find it, early on). But by the 1980's they’ve become stadium rock, their image looks bought not made, Mick Jones quits listening, quits collaborating, and Joe Strummer has a crisis of conscience.