Amy (2015)

Review Amy

There are some artists which have this special sound you connect with the first time you hear them. It’s something I don’t have often, but I can still remember when I saw the video for Amy Winehouse’s “Stronger than Me”. Not only her voice was different, but so was the subject matter. When this came out it had been a while since I bought a CD, but for this one I immediately went to a record store to buy her album Frank.

She was an artist who I checked out a bit more than I did others and unfortunately you saw her taking some wrong steps in her life. Her death in 2011, even though shocking, never came as a surprise. Because of her popularity various documentaries have been made about this singer, but as this one has been made by director Asif Kapadia my expectations were high. Continue reading

Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck (2015)

Review Kurt Cobain Montage of Heck 1

The people who usually leave a lasting impression on society and are often seen as icons unfortunately have in common that the died earlier than expected. You might wonder whether James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Amy Winehouse and also Kurt Cobain might have left the same impression had they died in their eighties. The fact that they are suddenly no longer there make us dream about the potential that will never be realised anymore and makes us appreciate what they left even more. These are people who were popular and who haven’t lived to a time where they were less popular. It is exactly that reason why they speak to our imagination.

At 27 years old Kurt Cobain took his own life in 1994. This documentary only mentions that fact at the end in a short text, without giving it much attention. It’s all about Kurt Cobain, the person. Continue reading

Chef’s Table (2015) – Season 1

Review Chef's Table

The speed at which new shows appear on Netflix can make it hard to keep up with it all. I regularly notice that I have hardly finished one show and the next “Netflix originals” series is already available. Most of them are fictional shows, but with Chef’s Tabel Netflix has release a documentary series. The first season consists of six episodes and each one focusses on one chef and his/her restaurant, including their specialities. Continue reading

GameLoading: Rise of the Indies (2015)

Game Loading Rise of the Indies

Besides my love for movies, gaming has always been quite an important part to me when it comes to entertainment. Even though I still am interested in it I’ll have to admit that I don’t play as much as I used to. There was a time in which I religiously bought Edge magazine and read it back to back. I knew which games would be worth checking out and which ones I was going to purchase. Times have changed though as the number of unplayed games in my collection is way too high to actually consider buying new ones. When I can decide between gaming of watching a movie I usually pick the latter and if I game it probably is more on my mobile than on my console.

The past few year various game related documentaries were released. Some were about arcade games like The King of Kong, The King of Arcades en 100 Yen: The Japanese Arcade Experience. Documentaries like Atari: Game Over en Indie Game: The Movie. GameLoading: Rise of the Indies can now be added to that. Continue reading

Manny (2014)

Review Manny documentary

When growing up I regularly watched boxing matches. It always was an event when Mike Tyson or “Prince’ Naseem were fighting. Tyson was so explosive that you knew in advance that you were going to see a short match, but that it would be spectacular. Times have changed though and I haven’t followed the world of boxing anymore, which also meant that I didn’t know anything about boxer Manny Pacquiao, the subject of this documentary. Continue reading

Art and Craft (2014)

review Art and craft

That the art world is a special subculture won’t surprise anyone. For outsiders it is sometimes hard to understand why a specific painting or object is so loved or why the story about who made it is just as important (for example see the documentary My Kid Could Paint That) as what you are seeing. Various documentaries have been made who look critically at the art world, like F for Fake and Exit Through the Gift Shop.

Recently The Art of the Steal showed that art is, just like any other business, all about money. Getting a highly valued piece of art in your collection is important, because it will be the reason for people to visit your museum. The subject of this documentary, Mark Landis, uses that knowledge. What this forger did was copying famous paintings and then, after telling a story about a deceased loved one leaving it to him or pretending to be a priest, donate it to a museum. It is something he had been doing for decades and without knowing, over 60 museums were displaying his work. He seemed to be able to keep doing this, until he met Matthew Leininger, who worked for a museum in Cincinatti. Continue reading

Citizenfour (2014)

Review Citizenfour

The information that was made public by Edward Snowden in 2013 has had a lot of impact on the technology sector. In these documents there was information that the NSA had access to personal information (like email and phone records) of millions of people, both in and outside of the US. It is the reason many companies have added encryption options to their data or are planning to do so in the future. It’s something organisations like the NSA and FBI are not happy about as it will limit their access and the usefulness.

As a system administrator Snowden managed to gain access to a huge pile of sensitive documents and he started looking for a way to publish these that would have the most impact. He decided to contact documentarian Laura Poitras and journalist Glenn Greenwald resulting in this movie, showing how the world got to know about the information and him. Continue reading