The Best of 2014

What went into the creation of this list? Mostly strong first impressions, followed by second (or third or fourth opinions) and a second viewing, confirming that there is some “there” there. Because this compilation is made right at the end of the year, it’s a judgment of its time made under at least condition since […]

Death Metal Angola

Directed by Jeremy Xido Produced by Xido, Joseph Castelo Portuguese, with English subtitles Released by the Vladar Company USA/Angola. 84 min. Rare is the region with no sound of its own. For the Dominican Republic: merengue and bachata. For Lebanon: dabke. For Angola: death metal? In Jeremy Xido’s docu—dare I say-rock-you—mentary Death Metal Angola, we […]

Keep On Keepin’ On

Directed by Alan Hicks Written by Hicks and Davis Coombe Produced by Quincy Jones and Paula DuPre’ Pesmen Released by Radius/The Weinstein Company USA. 86 min. Rated R Keep On Keepin’ On intimately catches lightning in a bottle, for what is usually only talked about but rarely seen on film: how a dedicated mentor can […]

20,000 Days on Earth

Directed by Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard Written by Mr. Forsyth, Pollard and Nick Cave Produced by James Wilson and Dan Bowen Released by Drafthouse Films UK. 97 min. Not rated Nick Cave must say the word transformation about a half a dozen times in the quash-documentary 20,000 Days on Earth. It’s what he feels […]

Finding Fela

Directed by Alex Gibney Produced by Gibney and Jack Gulick Released by Kino Lorber US/UK/Nigeria/France. 119 min. Not Rated Finding Fela started out as the making-of the Tony-winning Broadway show Fela!, before journeying with the American production’s tour to superstar Fela Kuti’s home base in Lagos, Nigeria. With the discovery of rare performance outtakes and […]

Tribeca Arts Documentaries 2014

The Power of Art: Real or Fake   Documentaries on artists are an annual presence at the Tribeca Film Festival, but the breadth of art this year is exceptional. Tomorrow We Disappear By the time directors Jimmy Goldblum and Adam Weber finally got around to finishing Salman Rushdie’s 1981 novel Midnight’s Children (just before I […]

Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon

Directed by Mike Myers Produced by Myers and Beth Aala Released by Radius/TWC and A & E IndieFilms USA. 84 min. Rated R If success is all about promotion, then the fact that this is the debut directing effort by comic actor Mike Myers is one part of the package. Amidst the constant name-dropping, testimonials, […]

Mercedes Sosa

Written & Directed by Rodrigo H. Vila Released by First Run Features English, Spanish, Portuguese & French with English subtitles Argentina. 93 min. Not rated The biographical documentary Mercedes Sosa: The Voice of Latin America is a fine introduction to—or, for those who are familiar with Mercedes, a welcomed reminder of—the major turning points of […]

Inside Llewyn Davis

Written & Directed by Joel & Ethan Coen Produced by Scott Rudin, Ethan Coen & Joel Coen Released by CBS Films USA. 105 min. Rated R With Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, Garrett Hedlund, Justin Timberlake,  F. Murray Abraham, Stark Sands, Adam Driver, Jeanine Serralles, Max Casella, Ethan Phillips, Robin Bartlett, Jerry Grayson & […]