Politics, crime and racial issues dominated the documentaries of 2016.
…O.J.: Made in America:
Don’t let the nearly 8-hour running time of this epic documentary
The 1964 murder of Kitty Genovese became an infamous case of urban apathy as 38 of her fellow New Yorkers reportedly did nothing to help her. Following her brother Bill as he investigates the crime and its aftermath, this fascinating documentary unfolds like a mystery, with moments of bittersweet revelation and discoveries of maddening misinformation. The witness of the title is ultimately Bill himself, a man who will go to great lengths to find the truth even if the answers are as elusive as a scream fading into the night. (8/10)
Selma director Ava Duvernay delivers a powerful indictment of the American penal system in 13th, named after the constitutional amendment that abolished slavery. Or did it? It is compellingly argued that, thanks to institutional racism, prison orange is the new black oppression. And with the evidence presented it is A) amazing, B) baffling, C) enraging, or D) all of the above that this has been going on for over 150 years. A vital additional voice to the rallying cry for justice and equality. (8/10)
|American Horror Story|
...I Am Not Your Negro:
With a title like that, you know this one has something to say… and in the voice of Samuel L. Jackson no less, speaking the words of gay writer and intellectual James Baldwin in an(other) examination of race relations in the United States. What sets it apart is director Raoul Peck’s use of evocative imagery to accompany Baldwin’s eloquent prose, from old Hollywood movies and vintage advertising to the latest disturbing police brutality cell phone videos. The more things change... (7/10)
|Baldwin, James Baldwin.|
The makers of this fly-on-the-wall look at a modern political campaign must have been high-fiving each other when it starts to implode from a sex scandal. Disgraced ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner (bravely? foolishly?) decides to run for Mayor of NYC, until evidence of his sexting random skanks on the internet resurfaces; cue the media frenzy. You can see the toll it takes as Weiner’s (brave? foolish?) façade slowly erodes on camera. In the end, you may not respect him, but you may feel sorry for him. The schmuck. (8/10)
(Hey, I made it through that whole review without making one dick joke!)
|[Insert dick joke here]|
Reviews by Kirby Holt, Movie Dearest creator, editor and head writer.