Film music can make or break a film. Whether you are aware of it or not (I belong to the latter camp), it sets the tone for what you see. It can create tension, strengthen emotions and can even help making a movie a classic. If you hear the word Star Wars, Psycho or Jaws, you can easily sing the music that goes along with those films. But what has been the role of music over the years, who are the composers behind all that music and how do they work? These are all questions that are addressed in this documentary. Continue reading
How good are your dance skills? Whatever the answer, after seeing this documentary you might start to doubt them. This documentary is about the world of swing dancing. A way of dancing that is extremely energetic, fun to watch and sometimes acrobatic. A dance that seemed to have died a silent death and wasn’t performed for many decades, but which suddenly became enormously popular again in the late 80s and early 90s. The reason? The fact that a large film studio decided to release old films with the dance on video. People who saw the Lindy Hop being performed in old films wanted to know more about it and the popular dancers of that time were suddenly asked to teach again, even though they were already elderly. Swing dancing made a huge comeback and never disappeared. Alive and Kicking tries to make it clear why. Continue reading
Although I have been listening to hip hop for more than 25 years now, if you asked me to name some American rappers with an Asian background, I would not get very far. The only one I could name is Jin, who became known years ago by his performance on Freestyle Friday at 106 and Park, where he beat other rappers for several weeks. The others tried to use the stereotypical images of kung fu, chinese food, and so on, but Jin went so hard that they didn’t stand a chance. Of course there are many more and this documentary looks at four other rappers, who all try to make a name for themselves. Continue reading
During the nineties you could not ignore Puff Daddy and his music label Bad Boy Records. The label scored hit after hit and the videos were mini movies with budgets that many directors would kill for. With artists like Total, 112, Craig Mack, Ma$e, Faith Evans and The Notorious B.I.G. Puffy had an impressive lineup and he was at the top of his game. When in the second half of the nineties a rivalry arose between 2Pac and Biggie, Bad Boy Records and Death Row (where 2Pac had a contract) were also pulled into it, which eventually resulted in the death of both rappers. It also meant a huge setback for Puff Daddy, not just because B.I.G. a good friend, but also one of his most successful artists who, due to his appearance on singles by other artists, ensured that sales were higher.
And although he scored a big hit with “I’ll Be Missing You” after that, the best days of the label were over. Diddy, however, had turned himself into a businessman who looked beyond music and built an empire worth $820 million. This documentary shows how Puffy brings everyone back together for two Bad Boy Reunion concerts in 2016 and how the preparations go. It tries to dive into history and show how P.Diddy made his label so successful. Continue reading
When you hear the name McLaren you think of speed and cars. It is a name which is automatically connected to it, but how much do you know about the man behind that name? Bruce Mclaren, the man from New Zealand who became famous with his racing team. This documentary tells his story. Continue reading
Dr.Dre and Jimmy Iovine, who both started their music careers producing music and having a lot of succes with it, sold the company which they started together, Beats Electronics, to Apple in 2014. Their company, which sells headphones and speakers and also had its own music streaming service, sold for 3 billion dollars. It was a deal which could have fallen through though. While the negotiations were still going on Dr.Dre, while drunk in the studio with Tyrese Gibson, made a video boasting about the fact he would become the first hip hop billionaire. This four-part documentary opens with that moment and shows how the son of an Italian immigrant and a boy who grew up in Compton became successful together. Despite their, sometimes controversial, but also influential past. Continue reading
I can still remember the time when I first got on the internet. It was at the end of the nineties and the web was a completely different place from the one it is now. For most it was new and exciting and almost everyone I was in class with spent so much time on it that they had to redo the year. We were all at an age where we were looking for the extremes, where we were playing a game of cat and mouse with the system administrators, making sure that we could get online and onto message boards at moments when we weren’t supposed to. Anything you could think of was easy to find, even more extreme stuff and one of the was The Anarchist Cookbook, written by William Powell. Fortunately no one actually did anything with the information, but it was just cool to show others you had found something like that. But this infamous book has been used a lot since its publication in the seventies. It has recipes for bombs, making silencers, drugs and other things to attack others. In this documentary director Charlie Siskel talks to the writer of the book. Continue reading