On VOD: RED PENGUINS

Coming to VOD tomorrow, Tuesday, August 4:
RED PENGUINS

Director:
Gabe Polsky

World Premiere:
Toronto 2019

Select Festivals:
DOC NYC, Hamptons, Palm Springs, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Santa Barbara, Miami Jewish

About:
A look back at an American-backed hockey team in post-Soviet Russia.

The film screened at DOC NYC, for which our program notes read:
Filmmaker Gabe Polsky’s previous film, RED ARMY, was an entertaining history of Soviet hockey players migrating to the United States. Now he examines a reverse trend after the Soviet Union’s collapse, when American hustlers tried bringing capitalism to Moscow by investing in its hockey team. This dark comedy contains strippers, gangsters, and live bears serving beer on ice. It’s a lively history lesson that helps us understand relations between the US and Russia today.

Leave a comment

Filed under Documentary, Film, Recommendations, Releases

On TV: THE GO-GO’S

photo by Lynn Goldsmith

Coming to Showtime tonight, Friday, July 31:
THE GO-GO’S

Director:
Alison Ellwood

World Premiere:
Sundance 2020

Select Festivals:
Sheffield

About:
A look back at the history of the 1980s pop phenomenon band.

I profiled the doc before Sundance here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Releases, Sundance

In Theatres, Virtual Release, & VOD: REBUILDING PARADISE

Coming to select theatres, virtual cinema, and VOD today, Friday, July 31:
REBUILDING PARADISE

Director:
Ron Howard

World Premiere:
Sundance 2020

Select Festivals:
Tribeca, AFI Docs

About:
A chronicle of the fate of a town caught in the November 2018 Camp Fire.

My pre-Sundance profile of the doc may be found here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Releases, Sundance

In Theatres: BOYS STATE

Coming to select theatres tomorrow, Friday, July 31:
BOYS STATE

Directors:
Jesse Moss and Amanda McBaine

World Premiere:
Sundance 2020

Select Festivals:
SXSW, New Directors/New Films, AFI Docs, Nantucket, Full Frame, San Francisco

About:
A group of high school boys create a mock government at an annual civics program hosted by the American Legion in Austin.

I profiled the doc before Sundance here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Releases, Sundance

In Theatres & On VOD: THE FIGHT

Coming to theatres and VOD tomorrow, Friday, July 31:
THE FIGHT

Directors:
Elyse Steinberg, Josh Kriegman, and Eli Despres

World Premiere:
Sundance 2020

Select Festivals:
AFI Docs, CPH:DOX, Miami, Full Frame, Cleveland

About:
A profile of several ACLU attorneys as they challenge the Trump administration’s assault on civil liberties.

My pre-Sundance profile of the doc may be found here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Sundance

On DVD: PAT STEIR: ARTIST

New to DVD this week:
PAT STEIR: ARTIST

Director:
Veronica Gonzalez Peña

World Premiere:
New York Jewish 2019

About:
A portrait of conceptual abstract painter Pat Steir.

Pat Steir emerged as a painter in the 1970s as part of a wave of pioneering feminist artists, but committed to her own abstract and conceptual work rather than using overt political imagery. In this free-flowing portrait, now in her 70s, she reflects on her career, art, process, and, mostly, other notable artists who were part of her circle. While Steir showcases her technique of conceptual abstraction – mostly consisting of her dumping buckets of paint at the tops of canvasses and letting gravity dictate what happens – the artist spends a lot of time discussing collaborators John Cage, Sol LeWitt, and Agnes Martin, sometimes drawing linkages to her own practice, but often just reminiscing and offering her perspective on their work and methods. Supplementing present day footage, filmmaker Veronica Gonzalez Peña intermittently turns to a past interview in which Steir reflects on her decision to become an artist, discusses feminism, and notes how gender informed her work and her placement within the art world. As a whole, the project feels a bit repetitive and gives short shrift to Steir’s own work and artistic process, trading what could have been a more comprehensive approach for a familiar but less enlightening one.

Leave a comment

Filed under Documentary, Film, Releases

On DVD/VOD: EL MAR LA MAR

New to DVD today and VOD last week:
EL MAR LA MAR

Directors:
Joshua Bonnetta and JP Sniadecki

Premiere:
Berlin 2017

Select Festivals:
New York, London, IDFA, Indielisboa, Dokfest Munich, Docaviv, Docs Against Gravity, AFI Docs, Camden, Chicago, Vienna, AFI Fest, San Francisco, Hong Kong

About:
An immersive exploration of life and death in a desert along the US/Mexico border.

I previously wrote about the doc here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Documentary, Film, Recommendations, Releases

On DVD: THE MAN WHO TRIED TO FEED THE WORLD

Coming to DVD today, Tuesday, July 28:
THE MAN WHO TRIED TO FEED THE WORLD

Director:
Rob Rapley

World Premiere:
American Experience broadcast (April 2020)

About:
An exploration of the work of the father of the Green Revolution, who worked to end global hunger.

I previously wrote about the doc here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Documentary, Film, Releases

On DVD: VIRAL: ANTISEMITISM IN FOUR MUTATIONS

Coming to DVD today, Tuesday, July 28:
VIRAL: ANTISEMITISM IN FOUR MUTATIONS

Director:
Andrew Goldberg

World Premiere:
Theatrical release (February 2020)

About:
An investigation of the growth of antisemitism around the world.

I previously wrote about the doc here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Documentary, Film, Releases

On DVD: MADE IN BOISE

Coming to DVD tomorrow, Tuesday, July 28:
MADE IN BOISE

Director:
Beth Aala

World Premiere:
AFI Docs 2019

Select Festivals:
Margaret Mead, GlobeDocs, Hot Springs Doc, Woodstock

About:
An exploration of how and why Boise ID has become the center of America’s surrogacy industry.

I previously wrote about the doc here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Documentary, Film, Recommendations, Releases