808 is a number you might not be familiar with, but if you do something with music chances are that you know what it references, namely the Roland TR-808 drum machine which was released in 1980. It might be an old machine, but the sounds it produces are still used today. When I made music myself I mainly did so on my PC, but I did have a digital version of this machine (in the form of Rebirth, which now is available as an app on your iPad) which I sometimes used. The 808 is a legendary machine that has left its influence and this documentary takes the viewer along on a musical journey to make that clear. Continue reading
My favorite music genre has been hip hop for years. Since I started listening at the beginning of the nineties I’ve read a lot about it and seen various documentaries (with a lot of them of pretty bad quality). So I’m not afraid to admit that I know quite a bit about it. When this documentary series showed up on Netflix I was curious if it would have to offer something I didn’t know yet. Continue reading
My first association I have when hearing the word mermaid (probably because of my kids) is Ariel and the famous fairytale. Mermaids are mythical creatures that have featured in a lot of stories and there are even people who are sure that they’ve actually seen one (including Christopher Columbus). The idea of them is beautiful, as the sea can be wild and without mercy, mermaids always look beautiful and are able to save people from drowning. Maybe that’s the reason they are some kind of comfort, something to hold onto. Despite the title of this documentary, it actually isn’t about these creatures, but about the fascination people have with the sea. Director Coco Schrijber tells three stories about Lex, Rebecca and Miguel whose fate is strongly tied to the sea. Continue reading
When growing up I, like probably most children, watched quite a lot of TV. Most of the cartoons weren’t in Dutch, but in English (and I sometimes watch German tv as well). Thanks to those English cartoons I could pick up on a lot when I finally got English lessons at school. Through the years that has changed and now most of the entertainment aimed at children (both on TV/VOD and in the cinema) has been dubbed. It is something I’m not a fan of, because it will take children longer to learn a foreign language. Luckily there are schools who start with English lessons as soon as the kids join the school, but I think entertainment could add something extra. So slowly dubbing has become the norm in the Netherlands. In other countries though, like Italy, France or Germany that has been the case for ages. This documentary, Being George Clooney, mainly focusses on voice actors who play the role of George Clooney in various countries, including Turkey, India, Brazil, Germany, Italy and France. Continue reading
As a politician, you are constantly in the spotlight and every action you take is looked at under a microscope. In such a position you are seen as someone who is an example to others and if you do things in your private life which are outside the norm and these become widely known you’ve got an issue. The media will jump on it and the impact will be huge. That is exactly what Anthony Weiner, a congressman experienced. He was a politician who could be very fierce when defending his points of view. And although he was married he regularly sent explicit pictures of himself to various women. It would eventually lead to him having to leave congress.
Just when that happened directors Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg wanted to make a documentary about him. They contacted the family and received permission to follow them everywhere, just as Weiner is planning a comeback by running for mayor of New York, which results in a fascinating documentary, for different reasons they were thinking. Continue reading
Humans are always searching for ways to simplify tough and complex issues. Partly because it makes it easier to understand, but also because many won’t make the effort to take the time to actually look at all the details. Just take a look at the huge number of refugees entering Europe from various countries. It is something which has been made a “theme” or an “issue” which allows everyone to say something about it. By grouping it, it becomes just one thing, running the risks of forgetting the details. Each refugee has his or her own story and was forced to make a tough decision to leave the place they grew up in and who are about to face an uncertain future. Sometimes not only for them, but for their family as well. The documentary Stranger in Paradise takes a look at a number of individuals who have come to Sicily and take part in a class, with the teacher played by Valentijn Dhaenens. Continue reading
David Farrier is a journalist from New Zealand who has an eye for funny and light reports about people who stand out. When he was looking for a new subject he came across a clip which interested him. It was about competitive tickling. This does sound very bizarre, but in the video you see how a man has been tied up by his hands and feet and how several men in sports outfits are tickling him. Farrier decides to make a story about it. He approaches the producers of the films, Jane O’Brien Media, but to his surprise he gets a very hostile reaction back from them. He blogs about it and the reaction he gets is that not only does he have to remove his post (because else he will be taken to trial), but the company also sends three men to New Zealand to meet Farrier. They try to convince him to stop what he is doing. Despite the warnings he continues as he wants to know more. Continue reading