Archives for posts with tag: Documentary

Grade A +

A terrifying documentary on the U.S. government’s suppression of evidence of intelligent, extra-terrestrial beings visiting Earth.  Explanations are offered as to why aliens have increased their visitations since the 1940s; and why U.S., ultra covert organizations are willing to do anything to keep the public stupid regarding intelligent, extra-terrestrial life.  For true believers, your life just got darker and more hopeful at the same time.  For non-believers, it’s a hell of a story.

My most memorable, movie moment of “Unacknowledged” is the scene when Steven M. Greer tells his story of a visit from a close friend of Bill Clinton years ago.  The friend tells Greer that Clinton won’t delve too deeply into the secrecy of alien visitations of Earth for fear of being assassinated by those in the U.S. government who wish to keep it secret.

— M

Grade A

A look into the lives of 8 bodybuilders who are competing for Mr. Olympia, the top bodybuilding contest in the world.   With a running time of about 1 hour 46 minutes — less when you take into account the opening and ending credits — there’s not much time to really get into lives of the aforementioned 8; but this documentary wisely focuses on the top two contenders for the title: Kai Greene and Phil Heath (reigning Mr. Olympia at the time this movie was being shot).

Heath seems to have it all: a big house in a nice neighborhood, nice cars, a beautiful wife, the favorite of the crowd, good looks, and a seemingly endless supply of confidence.   Virtually the opposite is true for Kai Greene: he lives in Brooklyn, NY (in what seems to be the projects), takes the bus and train to get to where he wants to go, lives alone, and has a quiet confidence that is surprising for a man his size.  Both men will endure countless hours of pain in the gym and make many more sacrifices to win the highly coveted title of Mr. Olympia.

“Generation Iron” is a great companion piece to “Pumping Iron,” giving people a glimpse into the lives of top bodybuilders 40 years after “Pumping Iron.”  We see the same sacrifices, grueling workouts, strict diets, rivalry, bravado, doubts, the single goal of being the biggest and the best…only the prizes and the competitors are much, much bigger.

My most memorable, movie moment of “Generation Iron” is the scene when bodybuilder Branch Warren was on a horse and was asked if he was worried about being injured in the gym.  After replying that all his major injuries have been outside of the gym, Warren takes off on his horse; and soon after his horse bucks him off and he falls hard on the ground, giving him an injury that could threaten his attempt at the Mr. Olympia title.

An honorable mention goes to the very end of the movie, when ex-bodybuilder and “Pumping Iron” alumni Mike Katz jokes about still looking for his shirt that Arnold Schwarzenegger supposedly stole in “Pumping Iron.”

Obviously, “Generation Iron” will be mostly enjoyed by bodybuilders and anyone who has ever lifted weights or pushed their bodies to their limits.   But I believe this documentary can be enjoyed by all, as the theme of this movie is the extremes that people will go through to get what they want, to be the best in their field; and that is something that we all can relate to.

— M

To paraphrase the quote at the end of this movie: money and success doesn’t change people, it brings out the person’s true personality.

“Overnight” is a documentary about up and coming filmmaker/ musician/ singer Troy Duffy’s amazing rise and fall.  You know that movie, “The Boondock Saints?”  Duffy is the director and screenwriter of that flick.  Once Harvey Weinstein (of Miramax studios) showed interest in Duffy’s script for “The Boondock Saints,” Duffy’s star power shot up like a rocket.  He was to get a large sum for his script, he was going to direct it and get final cut — if you’re familiar with the business, that last part should have your eyebrows rising — and his band, “The Brood,” would create the soundtrack.  Yup, that’s a hell of a deal for barfly who had no experience directing a movie.

All this hoopla brings out the leeches, and Duffy and the bar he hangs out in are visited numerously by Hollywood celebrities who want a piece of the newest, hottest property.  Instead of being grateful and treading carefully in this unfamiliar territory of Hollywood politics and movie making deals, Duffy rushes in like he owns the damn industry.  He not only boasts constantly of his prowess as a writer/director/singer/musician despite not having any finished product, Duffy also starts talking trash about specific actors; and tells anyone who would listen that he will show Hollywood how it’s really done.

Duffy’s deal with Weinstein and Miramax quickly falls apart, leaving him and his agents to scramble and find another studio to finance his movie.  It’s very surprising to see that Duffy makes no connection of his trash-talking and disagreeable attitude to his failed Miramax deal.

Eventually finding financing for “The Boondock Saints” at a much lower price, Duffy makes his movie.  But selling it becomes another problem.  Is he being blacklisted, or do the buyers think his movie isn’t worth buying?  Oh, his band is also struggling to find a deal.  You would think Duffy would get an attitude adjustment after all this, right?  Nope.  He continues to go on the offensive, attacking all those whom he feels are holding him back, and that includes his friends and relatives and band members.  He promises to make them all pay once he is a big shot!

Well, there is no revenge for poor Duffy.  Instead of someone who wannabe filmmakers want to emulate, Duffy becomes a cautionary tale.  My most memorable, movie moment of “Overnight” is the part when, during a screening of “The Boondock Saints,” a slow-moving car supposedly speeds up and jumps the curb and heads for the spot where Duffy was standing.  The car speeds off, Duffy is unhurt, and he flees his home and arms himself.

There is no footage of this implied assassination attempt on Duffy, as the camera was on someone yapping away about the movie.  We hear a car screech, a crashing sound, people yelling and screaming.  Was someone really trying to kill Duffy for all his trash talking?  My opinion: possibly.  He did piss off a lot of very powerful people.  Whatever the case, it makes for a more interesting story.

— M

Why do people get into the porn business?  What happens to their lives because of that involvement?  How and why do they get out of the porn business?  And what happens to them when they do get out?  “After Porn Ends” interviews over a dozen porn stars to give us those answers.

For those who are porn fans, the names of the interviewees should be familiar.  Amber Lynn, John Leslie, Seka, Nina Hartley, Asia Carrera, Randy West…I remember them I’ve seen them all in their glory days.   Yup, you read that right, I’m a porn fan, and I’m proud of it!  If black people can be proud of being black, if gay/lesbian/bi-sexual/transgender/tri-sexual/hermaphrodites are proud of who they are, if white people can be proud of being white and having white power, if politicians are proud of their job (stealing, lying, cheating, killing),  then God damn it, I can be proud of liking porn!

Surprisingly, it’s not all sad stories coming from the porn stars.  Some got into it knowing exactly what they were getting into, and some look back at their porn experiences with fondness.  Randy West is such an example.  Based on the interviews, he seems to be a well-adjusted man who took advantage of the better things about the porn business: sex, money, fame, and making new friends.   Others got into the porn business in order to survive; and quickly wound up being hooked on drugs, their lives quickly spiraling out of control until they finally got out of the business.

Before you look at the porn business as a cesspool, do not forget that other businesses/workplaces/industries are far worse.  Take Wall Street, for example.  Some of those traders wearing very expensive suits are major scumbags.  They are on drugs, they lie and cheat and steal on a regular basis, wiping out the hard-earned investments of tens of thousands of people  because of greed.  Financial Crisis, anyone?  How about the auto business?  Is that more respectable than the porn business?  Before you answer, think back to all the news reports of cars malfunctioning and hurting or killing people.  Pure accident, or is it due to negligence on the part of the auto industry in order to lower their manufacturing costs and increasing their profits at the cost of the lives of the drivers?

You say you don’t watch porn because you believe it exploits the women and men in the movies?  Oh, but you buy clothing and shoes made in China, or Vietnam, or Lesotho, where the workers are abused every day and possibly killed if they speak out for more workers’ rights?  Get off your high horse.

It’s important to remember the actors in the pornography business are just people.  They have hopes and dreams; some do well, some do badly; they work, they have children, and they have feelings.  One of my memorable, movie moment is the scene where Randy West talks about how some charities don’t like to get money from porn stars, but those same charities will happily take money from politicians or corporations that destroy the environment and abuse their workers.  My most memorable movie moment is the part where Mary Cary says something like if she’s older and she’s broke and needs money, then she’ll be willing to do a movie with a black guy!  Wow.  I think she lost the chocolate fan base there.

What really, really happens after porn ends?  You wash your hands; and possibly the sheets, too, if you’re the messy type.


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