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Review: Author: The JT LeRoy Story

Posted by Matt Looker at 07:00 on 08 Jul 2016
Author: The JT LeRoy Story
Watching this fascinating documentary about a celebrity/literary scandal that unraveled in the media in 2005, it struck me that this is really something I should already know about. It's astonishing that the high-profile hoax at the centre of this film, which connected - and fooled - so many famous names across film and music, managed to happen at all, but the real miscarriage of justice here is that apparently I have been completely unaware of it until now. Was I more ignorant of the literary world and of pop culture in general than I thought? It seems unlikely. Regardless though, it's probably fair to say that going into this film entirely 'blind' makes for a more incredulous (and therefore more rewarding) experience.

Review: The Armstrong Lie

Posted by Ed Williamson at 09:30 on 28 Jan 2014
The Armstrong Lie
If documentary film was once considered the presentation of truth, the best examples of its contemporary boom seem now more concerned with examining the nature of truth itself. As if the genre had begun to no longer trust its own motives, we now see deliberate use of unreliable narrators, and are invited to consider the anatomy of a lie. Lance Armstrong is as unreliable a subject as you're likely to find, and by the end of Alex Gibney's latest film, you're still not sure whether he's telling the whole truth.

Review: We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks

Posted by Ed Williamson at 12:00 on 10 Jul 2013
We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks
Right, let's stop mucking about with the gifs and the cock jokes. This is a serious documentary about war and lies and cover-ups and stuff. But have no fear: both I and this website are more than capable of sober critical discourse, and will address the subject with no small amount of intellectual rigour. Also, that Julian Assange has funny-looking hair, right guys?

Review: The Imposter

Posted by Ed Williamson at 14:30 on 24 Aug 2012
The Imposter
Last time I saw a documentary that had some scenes dramatised by actors, I think it was 'Women Who Kill: The Rose West Story' or maybe 'Inside Hitler's Bunker' on the Biography Channel. It's never been a very credible device, especially nowadays, when the fashion in documentary is 'stripped back, no narrator'. So The Imposter deserves no end of praise, not only for bucking this trend with its acted-out scenes, but for taking what could've been a weeknight Channel 5 true story and telling it like a truly gripping drama.

Review: Catfish

Posted by Ali at 21:26 on 19 Dec 2010
If you want to get the best out of Catfish, stop reading this review immediately and just go see it - it's in cinemas and available to watch online now. The movie's marketing team know an enigmatic approach is key, as its ads suggest you "don't let anyone tell you what it is" a la Psycho - the first hint you're in for a surprise that's nasty and nice in equal measure.

Review: Religulous

Posted by Mark at 23:18 on 18 Apr 2009
There's a new kind of film on the block. And Religulous is it. To call it a documentary is a palpable nonsense: it's a documentary in the same way that a film without any CGI is a documentary - a record of staged events engineered to create and further an opinion. In effect, Religulous is a filmed thesis; a visual presentation o...

Review: Man On Wire

Posted by Anna at 19:56 on 04 Aug 2008
Man On Wire
On August 7th 1974, one man crossed the void between the two towers of the World Trade Center, 1,350 feet above the streets of New York - on a wire. No harness, no safety nets, no TV crew filming him. The only thing stopping him plummeting hundreds of feet was his own skill and determination; one quiver and he'd had it. The m...

Review: Joy Division

Posted by Mark at 20:39 on 08 May 2008
Joy Division
"After those two records, those two works of art, everything else is merchandising the memory." - Peter Saville The lens of time perverts memory. Now, right now, this very second, we are living in historic times. Across the world, right now, events are happening that will be chronicled in history. But us, we're too busy livin...

Review: Shine A Light

Posted by Mark at 23:18 on 17 Apr 2008
Shine A Light
Martin Scorsese's long-running love affair with music - first cemented with The Last Waltz, confirmed with Bowie's best ever role in After Hours and the Dylan documentaries - becomes flesh with Shine A Light. Ostensibly a recording of a Rolling Stones concert in New York, Shine A Light is actually an unwitting comedy classic. ...

Review: Sicko

Posted by Ali at 21:07 on 22 Nov 2007
Michael Moore makes horror films. The truths uncovered by the tubby liberal are often far more terrifying than the half-baked shocks of the tired old slasher genre and the manner in which his greedy subjects use regular people as commodities makes me sick to my stomach, more so than any torture porn. His latest polemic sees him ...
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