Melvin Van Peebles was one of the first black directors to challenge the white establishment in his films, which include Watermelon Man and Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song. In this documentary, the life of Van Peebles is discussed, including his work not only in film, but also as a novelist, actor, musician, stock trader and even Air Force pilot. Interview subjects include Gil Scott-Heron, Spike lee and Melvin's son and fellow filmmaker, Mario Van Peebles. [more inside]
Victoria's Secret: Angels and Demons: Inventing Victoria / The Secret Friend / Tarnished Angels Season 1, Ep 1
Investigated with journalistic rigor by director Matt Tyrnauer, this documentary tells the searing and provocative story of the Victoria's Secret brand and its longtime CEO, the larger-than-life, enigmatic billionaire Les Wexner. The underworld of fashion, the billionaire class, and Jeffrey Epstein are all revealed to be inextricably intertwined with the fall of this legendary brand. Available in the US on Hulu. [more inside]
Albert and David Maysles' classic Grey Gardens immortalized the estate of Edith and Little Edie Beale, relatives of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, who lived in alarmingly poor conditions. But there is more to the story: it was Lee Radziwill and Peter Beard who first brought the Maysles to the Beales, when the two set out to make a film about Radziwill's childhood. The reels of that first contact were shelved for 45 years. This documentary recovers the lost 16 mm footage. Anchored in Beard's recollections and artistic vision, we are returned to "that summer" in 1972, a seductive dream world and collage of radically unconventional creative personalities---Warhol, Bacon, Jagger, Capote---practicing the art of living amidst oppressive forces of class expectation and prejudice. [more inside]
Utilizing hours of unseen archival footage shot during by Albert and David Maysles as they were making their 1975 documentary, The Beales is a new take on the women of Grey Gardens. [more inside]
This film explores the daily lives of two aging, eccentric relatives of Jackie Kennedy Onassis. Edie Bouvier Beale and her mother, Edith, are the sole inhabitants of a Long Island estate. During the course of the documentary, they discuss their habits, desires and former loves with filmmakers Albert and David Maysles. The women reveal themselves to be misfits with outsized, engaging personalities. Much of the conversation is centered on their pasts, as mother and daughter now rarely leave home. [more inside]
Three teenagers are accused of this horrific crime of killing three children, supposedly as a result of involvement in Satanism. As in their previous documentary, things turn out to be more complex than initial appearances and this film presents the real-life courtroom drama to the viewer, as it unfolds. The film uses the music of Metallica instead of an original soundtrack, the first time that the band authorized their music to be used in a film. [more inside]
In this documentary, filmmaker Penelope Spheeris captures the life of Los Angeles "gutter punks": homeless teenagers who prefer anarchy and chaos to organized society. Many of the film's subjects come from abusive households and have developed alcohol and drug problems. While living on the streets, they must panhandle, squat in abandoned apartment buildings, and fight off skinheads to survive. The film also includes performances by several notable Los Angeles punk bands. [more inside]
The powerful story of the most iconic heavy metal/art collective/monster band in the universe, as told by the humans who have fought to keep it alive for over thirty years. [more inside]
What We Do in the Shadows: Reunited Season 4, Ep 1
The vampires return from their world travels to find their mansion on the verge of collapse, and a freakish new creature in the house.
In this follow-up to the 1981 punk rock documentary The Decline of Western Civilization, filmmaker Penelope Spheeris dissects the world of heavy metal. Through live performance footage and interviews that feature popular glam metal musicians, Spheeris examines the metal genre and the decadent Los Angeles music scene of the late 1980s; highlights include Ozzy Osbourne discussing the tedium of sobriety over breakfast and Aerosmith's Steven Tyler claiming to have spent a small fortune on drugs. [more inside]
The acclaimed Penelope Spheeris documentary takes a frank, often funny look at the punk culture of the late '70s and early '80s. With Alice Bag Band, Black Flag, Catholic Discipline, Circle Jerks, Fear, Germs, and X. [more inside]
A 2016 documentary about the world of show chickens and the people who love them. Three participants breed, raise, and care for many varieties of chickens as they prepare to compete in a US national poultry show.
Directed by Lance Bangs and Spike Jonze. A loving look at one of the most cherished and controversial figures in children's literature, Maurice Sendak. In this deeply moving tribute, spend time with the man who spoke to children through his stories and illustrations in a way no one else could. [more inside]
This classic documentary by Errol Morris showcases workers in the animal burial industry while dealing with heavier existential questions regarding mortality and the afterlife. [more inside]
Bad Vegan: Fame. Fraud. Fugitives.: Full Season Season 1, Ep 0
After marrying a mysterious man who claimed he could make her dog immortal, a celebrated vegan restaurateur finds her life veering off the rails. [more inside]
Football player Amaree McKenstry-Hall and his Maryland School for the Deaf teammates attempt to defend their winning streak while coming to terms with the tragic loss of a close friend. [more inside]
American Rock Stars: American Rock Stars Season 1, Ep 0
No, not those rock stars. Curling rock stars. Specifically, the US Men's team, led by John Shuster. This 4-part documentary on Peacock, narrated by Nick Offerman, covers their shocking gold medal in 2018, the aftermath, and the journey back to the Olympics in 2022. It's a fun show, and they all seem like genuinely down to earth people that you'd enjoy hanging out with.
When the 57 residents of Arizona border town Sangre de Cristo are massacred in a single night in 2011, the sole survivor, a Mexican immigrant, is quickly arrested, charged, and convicted of single-handedly murdering all of them. In 2015, a documentary examines the case and raises questions: Why doesn't the evidence seem to implicate him? Why were people so eager to blame him, no matter how implausibly? And do the horrors captured on the roll of film he shot that night provide a more plausible explanation for the killings? [more inside]
From writer/director Kier-La Janisse (author of House of Psychotic Women: An Autobiographical Topography of Female Neurosis in Horror and Exploitation Films comes "a seductive mega-text" (Indiewire) through the history of folk horror. Exploring the rural roots, occult creeds and cultural lore that continue to shape international cinema, this SXSW Audience Award winning documentary features clips from over 200 films and interviews with more than 50 filmmakers, authors and scholars. Severin Films presents this "astounding achievement" (Screen Anarchy) that Rue Morgue calls "an unprecedented journey into where folk horror has been, where it's going and ultimately what it says about humanity." [more inside]
The story of Mugur Călinescu, a Romanian teenager who wrote chalk graffiti messages of protest against the regime of dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu and was subsequently apprehended, interrogated, and ultimately crushed by the secret police. Radu Jude's film is a bold hybrid, combining archive documentary with a highly theatrical staging of a ‘documentary play’ by Gianina Carbunariu. [more inside]
Fake or Fortune?: Back at the gallery, the plot thickens Season 0, Ep 0
True detective TV brimming with mystery, suspense, and art history. British art dealer and historian Philip Mould pairs with journalist and Antiques Roadshow presenter Fiona Bruce to examine the provenance and attribution of questioned works of art. [more inside]
Deep in the forests of Piedmont, Italy, a handful of men, seventy or eighty years old, hunt for the rare and expensive white Alba truffle-which to date has resisted all of modern science's efforts at cultivation. [more inside]
In 2008, a few of the world's most distinguished Leonardo Da Vinci experts gathered around an easel at the National Gallery in London to examine a mysterious painting: an unassuming Salvator Mundi (Latin for Savior of the World), found in a shady New Orleans auction house, that a select few believed to be a long-forgotten masterwork by Leonardo Da Vinci. That day, Salvator Mundi was authenticated as being the creation of Da Vinci himself, and thus, one of the most beguiling and perplexing stories of the 21st century was set into motion. [more inside]
A documentary about Anthony Bourdain and his career as a chef, writer and host, revered and renowned for his authentic approach to food, culture and travel. (Trailer) [more inside]
"Traces the roots and history of this iconic musical legend with rare live and studio performances of Beefheart, interspersed with contributions from virtually all members of The Magic Band along with a panel of esteemed experts." - Amazon description
From Eric Idle, Neil Innes, George Harrison, and more, came the Rutles: an affectionate parody of Beatlemania, and a musical legend that will last a lunchtime. They were discovered by their manager, Leggy Mountbatten, in a lunchtime disco. Their first album was made in 20 minutes. Their second album took even longer. [more inside]
Musical documentary reimagines the narrative of Baltimore, a city rising above social and economic turmoil to develop a vibrant and close-knit community for the arts through its homegrown sound, Baltimore club music. [more inside]
A career retrospective of British punk band The Clash, featuring exclusive interviews with the entire band. - IMDB
Exterminate All the Brutes: Part One Season 1, Ep 1
Exterminate All the Brutes, from acclaimed filmmaker Raoul Peck (I Am Not Your Negro, HBO’s Sometimes in April), is a four-part hybrid docuseries that provides a visually arresting journey through time, into the darkest hours of humanity. Through his personal voyage, Peck deconstructs the making and masking of history, digging deep into the exploitative and genocidal aspects of European colonialism — from America to Africa and its impact on society today. Trailer [more inside]
First-time filmmaker and award-winning photographer Sam Jones documents the recording of Wilco's album, "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot." - IMDB
This film is a documentary about the personalities in, and the music of, the early 1980's Los Angeles punk band X. - IMDB
A look at the final moments of a Las Vegas dive bar called 'The Roaring 20s'. Currently available on Kanopy.
A celebration of the musical work of a group of session musicians known as "The Wrecking Crew", a band that provided back-up instrumentals to such legendary recording artists as Frank Sinatra, The Beach Boys and Bing Crosby. - IMDB
"A documentary on the 1970s punk trio Death, and their new-found popularity decades after they disbanded."
The making of Fleetwood Mac's album Rumours in 1976 - 77.
"The tale of the formation, journey and end of the seminal Punk/Reggae band The Slits." - IMDB
An in-depth look at the Canadian rock band Rush, chronicling the band's musical evolution from their progressive rock sound of the '70s to their current heavy rock style.
"The film follows Twisted Sister from their beginnings as a cross-dressing glam band, playing cover songs for 4 shows a night, 6 nights a week – from New Jersey bowling alleys and Long Island beach bars, to the suburban mega-clubs of the late 70s/early 80s, and on to their bust-out appearance on the UK rock TV show, 'The Tube'. Through it all, Twisted stood ready to do or die, not just for the music, but also 'the show'. They refused to play the usual bar band role of 'human juke box for drunk and horny teens'. Every night, the band would give their all to the crowd, and mounted a full frontal attack on anyone not participating. They were going to force you to pay attention – and you were going to have fun whether you liked it or not."
A documentary about the Japanese rock band X JAPAN. Content warning: there's a lot of talk about suicide in this film.
An exploration of the history of the Bee Gees, featuring revealing interviews with oldest brother Barry Gibb, and archival interviews with the late twin brothers Robin and Maurice. - IMDB. Trailer at HBO, YouTube, and Amazon. [more inside]
A woman walks into a New York gallery with a cache of unknown masterworks. Thus begins a story of art world greed, willfulness and a high-stakes con. [more inside]
The New York Times Presents: Framing Britney Spears Season 1, Ep 6
Britney Spears hasn't been able to fully live her own life for 13 years, stuck in a court-sanctioned conservatorship. A new documentary by The New York Times examines what the public might not know about the pop star's court battle with her father for control of her estate. It also explores the fervent fan base that is convinced Spears should be liberated from the conservatorship, and re-examines the media's handling of one of the biggest pop stars of all time. "Framing Britney Spears' premiered in the US on FX and Hulu.
After a tragic fire in the Romanian club "Colectiv" in 2015, burn victims begin dying in hospitals from wounds that were not life threatening, and the resulting public outrage topples the government. This documentary follows the investigative journalists (from a sports daily) and a young pro tem Health Minister as they work to uncover fraud and reform the health care system, even a little bit. [more inside]
Putting out a global call, documentarist Kevin Macdonald asked people to document their lives on July 25th and send him the footage. [more inside]
A behind-the-scenes look at the New York rare book world. Official site, trailer. Trailer on YouTube. Streaming on Amazon Prime and elsewhere. [more inside]
Season 6's "Episode 15" is a sweet coda to the series: "This special celebrates 'Schitt's Creek' and gives fans an intimate, behind-the-scenes look at the making of the final season including never-before-seen footage of table reads, auditions and celebrity interviews." The special originally aired after the series finale in April; now on Netflix, Amazon, elsewhere, and uploaded to YouTube.
Digging through the vast collection of his father's home videos, a young man reconstructs the unthinkable story of his boyhood and exposes vile abuse passed through generations.
A year in the life of a dying shopping mall. [more inside]
Frontline: The Choice 2020: Trump vs Biden Season 39, Ep 5
The latest in Frontline’s biographical specials has premiered before the upcoming election. If you missed its television premiere you can watch the 2 hour special on the PBS website or on YouTube. A text transcript is available. [more inside]
A filmmaker forges an unusual friendship with an octopus living in a South African kelp forest, learning as the animal shares the mysteries of her world.