Tag Archives: documentary

Cold case

We have had more than enough reasons of late to question our leaders and institutions. So, perhaps you’re not ready for yet another in your entertainment viewing.

netflix-the-keepersBut I still must recommend The Keepers on Netflix.

This seven-part documentary series examines the unsolved murder of Sister Cathy Cesnik, who was abducted and killed in Baltimore in 1969 at age 26.

The circumstances surrounding her death are just one element of the story. The apparent cover-up by the church and police is even bigger and more disturbing.

And the entire investigation of this ‘cold case’ was led by Gemma Hoskins and Abbie Schaub, retirees and former students of Sister Cathy at Archbishop Keough High School.

The information they bring to light is shocking and sad — even more so because it took this long.

Sister Cathy Cesnik — and all the students at Archbishop Keough — deserve justice.

 

In 7 days…

During this fortnight that is Wimbledon, I can’t get enough tennis.

7DaysInHell-720x1066But that’s not why I loved and fervently recommend 7 Days in Hell, the hilarious mockumentary scheduled to air this Saturday night on HBO.

(I saw it early OnDemand. Gotta love OnDemand.)

Andy Samberg (SNL, Brooklyn 99) is Aaron Williams, a washed up former tennis star long removed from the game who returns for one last epic match against his bitter rival, young tennis phenom Charles Poole, played by Kit Harington (the late — or is he? — Jon Snow of Game of Thrones).

The match goes the full five sets and, since it is played at Wimbledon, does not have a tie break in the final set. So the play goes on and on — for a variety of bizarre reasons — for seven long days.

John Isner and Nicolas Mahut will be a tad jealous when they see why.  (They hold the real record for the longest match at Wimbledon, iffin you didn’t know — 11 hours, 5 minutes of play over three days.)

There are tons of cameos by celebrities from television, film, tennis, even the world of magic. The story is outrageous, but the documentary format is honored, so it looks right…

Even though it is gloriously wrong.

Woof

It’s hard to believe that it has been 15 years since Christopher Guest’s mockumentary Best in Show sent-up show dogs and the people they own.

So imagine my surprise when two familiar faces from the movie appeared on my TV set tonight, hawking Petsmart in the same hilarious fashion:

It’s no coincidence — Christopher Guest directed an entire ad campaign for the pet food chain, with other Best in Show stars making an appearance as ‘pet-obsessed nut jobs.’

Funny — they seem perfectly normal to me.

Bully for you

I didn’t expect the ESPN documentary I Hate Christian Laettner to make me like the guy.

image

It’s a movie, not a miracle.

But unlike a movie plot, Laettner’s story exhibits no signs of growth or learning over the past two decades. In his interview, he seems as much of an arrogant bully now as he was 20 years ago.

What did surprise me was not only  Coach K’s acceptance of his behavior but also his decision to let Laettner have ‘free reign’ to bully others — not the best message to send.

I guess winning was more important than how they won.

I’m glad we currently have teams in college basketball who can win the right way…and I still hate Christian Laettner.

ImPressed

Back in June, I discussed Eric Devine’s young adult novel Press Play, which has since been published in October.

press playIt tells the story of a high school student who accidentally captures footage of the violent hazing practices of the lacrosse team while filming his documentary film project.

I was impressed by Devine’s idea to create a book trailer — like a movie trailer, but for his book — and display it at the local movie theatre in his home town of Waterford, New York.

A film features prominently in the book, and Devine is using the movies to promote it.

Devine’s book trailer was played multiple times before the films, inviting viewers to purchase Press Play at the mall bookstore where the cinema is located.

I think this is inspired.

Even better — Devine saw my blog post about his book trailer and was nice enough to share a link so we could all take a look:

Thanks Eric — and congrats again on the book and your brilliant marketing campaign!  Can’t wait to read it.

 

 

Schooled

kidnapped for christIf you subscribe to Showtime, I encourage you to watch the documentary Kidnapped for Christ, currently available OnDemand.

The film centers on a Christian boarding school in the Dominican Republic that advertised itself as a rehab center for troubled US teens.  The filmmaker, an evangelical school student, was allowed complete access to the teens there and, during production, uncovers disturbing information about the school’s “behavior modification program.” She also learns that some students had been kidnapped from their homes with their parents’ full knowledge and permission.

Her commitment to the project eventually morphs into a determination to help these abused teenagers — one in particular who wants to leave the school where he is essentially being held prisoner.

This story is heartbreaking and, I learned, just one case among thousands around the world.

It is a must-see.

 

Renewed vows

It’s no coincidence that most movies end with the wedding.

That’s when reality kicks in.
112 WeddingsThe documentary 112 Weddings (HBO OnDemand) gives audiences the opportunity to see how that reality measures up.

Filmmaker Doug Block shot wedding videos for 112 couples over his career, and in this documentary, revisits some of those couples a decade or more later after the ‘I do’s.’

Most are still married. One couple is in the process of divorcing and agreed to be interviewed separately.  But all agree that marriage is far different from any idea they may have had at the start.

Many have faced real challenges.  Seriously ill children.  Depression.  But all answer the simple question: would we do it all again, knowing what we know now.

The film manages to be both sobering and joyful at the same time…which is how couples should probably approach such an important life choice.

If you stop and think about it.