Category Archives: 4 out of 5 Cheers
FILM: Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work
REVIEWER: Becky Beamer
Summary: Documentarians Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg provide an uncompromising glimpse into the personal and professional life of comedian and red-carpet mainstay Joan Rivers, a woman clinging stubbornly and steadfastly to the pop-culture bandwagon. Stern and Sundberg — whose previous film, The Devil Came on Horseback, covered the Darfur genocide — take a no-less-intensive approach to their subject here, taking a hard look at fame’s bitter toll.
Joan Rivers surprised me. Before seeing this movie I had zero interest in Joan RIvers as a person and certainly didn’t care about her career. But now … I think she’s super hard working, strong woman, who deserves appreciation for more than her comedy. Can someone out there try her in drama? Her stand up is hilarious. She can laugh at herself but, takes working very seriously. I had no idea that she thinks “no job is too small”. She comes across as lovable and impressive.
I totally forgot about the camera work or composition. I was sucked into her character.
Come on everyone … give Joan Rivers a chance.
And guess what? You can stream it on Netflicks.
4 out 5 Cheers.
FILM: Deep Water
FILMMAKER: Louise Osmond & Jerry Rothwell
REVIEWED BY: Kathleen B. Jones
I am on a bit of a nautical kick lately. Recently watched Deep Water. This 2006 film follows the story of a yacht race round the world. I should preface with rather a sad failure of a yacht race round the world. In 1969, in a twisted race of torture that humans sometimes like to create for the themselves, a race was created for who could conduct a solo circumnavigation of the globe – without ever stopping. So, to be clear, you are talking about months at sea alone with nothing but ocean. I like to be alone sometimes, but this is intense personal solitude.
There are nine people crazy enough to enter, and most of them fail. Some are dead. And one crazy fool named Donald Crowhurst enters with almost no sea experience and completely mortgages himself to the hilt in order to do it, leaving himself and his young family destitute if he fails.
The film is fascinating, because with no tools other than 60′s archival footage, a few interviews from people still alive four decades after this insanity, and some actors reading journals, the film creates a sense of extreme tension and drama. And I found myself chewing through nails unable to sleep. I don’t want to give it away, but it’s a true adventure film. At the same time a testament to the greatest of human acheivement and the depths of human foolishness. One of the best archival films I’ve ever seen.
Four out of five cheers.
FILM: Keep the River on Your Right: A Modern Cannibal Tale
REVIEWER: Becky Beamer
In 1955, while a Fulbright scholar, a Manhattan painter named Tobias Schneebaum spent seven months in the Amazon basin with the Harakambut. When he returned to the US, he could no longer paint. What happened? Nearly 45 years later, filmmakers want Tobias, now 78 and suffering from Parkinson’s, to return to Peru & New Guinea.
This documentary is an adventure. It will whisk you away to far away lands and answer cannibalistic curiosity. Tobias’ story is exciting and nostalgic. It’s infused with primitive culture and extremes but it’s just plain humanity that shines through.
Tobias is a wonderful painter, explorer, and anthropologist. My heart was touched when Tobias re-unites with his ex-Lover who he thought had passed. I appreciated Tobias’ interview candor. He speaks from an acceptance of dying and with an open mind . Tobias had the opportunity to explore many cultures before they were severely influenced by Western Culture. I envy that.
Through out the documentary – Tobias expresses a mental battle regarding returning to the jungle in Peru where he witness and participated in murder and cannibalism. In fact – I was so distracted by the story – I hardly noticed the constant soft focus and poor framing. I just wasn’t impressed with the camerawork from any angle. I guess that just goes to show that the most important thing is putting the story to tape and not fretting over “what you are shooting on”.
I really enjoyed the journey – being exposed to traditions passed down through generations. The tribes display their dancing, sculpting, their sexuality and language. I like that this documentary will keep some of these traditions “alive”.
AND Don’t worry – you won’t fall asleep for this adventure. But, you may think about death, watching National Geographic, and taking a holiday to a far away land.
4 out of 5 Cheers