Dang that Ken Burns! I had my October classic horror movies all lined up, measured out, and meticulously scheduled, and then I started watching Country Music: A Film by Ken Burns, and now everything’s all messed up. Read all about it here. Dang that guy…
If you haven’t seen the new documentary Apollo 11, please do so at your earliest opportunity. My thoughts on the film here.
Rod Taylor: Pulling No Punches (documentary 2016)
Directed by Robert de Young
Produced by Stephan Wellink & Robert de Young
Executive Producer Alan Finney
Edited by Leon Burgher
When you see Rod Taylor for the first time, you simply can’t turn away. It’s not even an option. Regardless of whether you’re watching him in a romantic comedy, an action-adventure bonanza, a drama, or one of his many television appearances, your eye is naturally drawn to him. It’s impossible to look anywhere else. Taylor’s business manager Murray Neidorf remembers, “People in the industry saw him and said ‘Wow…’” Angela Lansbury sums it up best: “He’s a man’s man. He’s a woman’s man. He’s an ideal man.”
The Reichsorchestra: The Berlin Philharmonic and the Third Reich (Doc. 2007) Enrique Sánchez Lansch
Digital Concert Hall; Arthaus Musik Blu-ray (1:30)
It’s always difficult for people in the arts to continue to produce great art in the midst of a totalitarian regime, but that’s exactly what happened to the world-renowned Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in 1933 when it was taken over and placed under Nazi control. Most orchestras – even the great ones like Berlin – have had times of struggle and in a strange way, Nazi control offered stability, but at a huge price.
With apologies to Movies Silently, I didn’t watch that many silent films in 2016, but the ones I saw were exceptional. (I also saw lots of Buster Keaton shorts and shorts from the Pioneers of African American Cinema set, collections I hope to complete in 2017.)
The Beatles: Eight Days a Week (Doc. 2016) Ron Howard
Hulu streaming (1:45)
The Beatles: Eight Days a Week is still in theaters, but you can now stream it exclusively on Hulu, which I did tonight. If you’ve been a Beatles fan for decades (like me), you probably think you’ve already seen it all. Some experts have guessed that hardcore fans have already seen at least 90% of the footage in the new documentary, but you know we’re going to watch for that 10%. (Heck, I’d watch for 1%.)
The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young (doc. 2014)
Directed by Annika Iltis, Timothy James Kane
Netflix streaming (1:29)
The Barkley Marathons may be the oddest documentary I’ve ever seen. While watching it, I struggled with how much of the film was possibly being manipulated by the filmmakers, then at a certain point, I – like many of the runners in the film – quit thinking and just plowed ahead. Unlike the marathons themselves, this is a film that’s nearly impossible to stop watching once you’ve started it. It may also teach you things about yourself you’d rather not know.