We have another documentary this week. That’s nice. I like documentaries. The bad part is this isn’t a very good documentary.
Rocket Men (2009) charts the history of the American space program from the days of Alan Shepard and the Mercury Seven astronauts, to the Apollo missions and the horrible accident on Apollo 1 and the great success of Apollo 11, to the shutting down of the Apollo program in the early 1970s, to the Challenger explosion, the launching of the Hubble Space Telescope, and finally the Columbia tragedy in 2003. Continue reading →
Story: In 1887, young American Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) falls for the mysterious Sir Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston), a English businessman who is in the United States looking for investors for his clay-mining invention. One of the men Thomas talks to is Edith’s father, Carter Cushing (played by Jim Beaver). Carter doesn’t trust Sharpe and even has a private investigator look into Sharpe’s troubled past. But Carter’s hesitations don’t stop Edith from marrying Sharpe and moving to his old, dilapidated, family mansion in England. Carter’s worries may not have been unfounded as Thomas and his sister, Lady Lucille (Jessica Chastain), seem to have something terrible in-store for Edith once she gets to England. The ghost of her mother having warned Edith about something called “The Crimson Peak” before she moves to the mansion where she starts seeing even more ghosts, Edith is suspicious of her new husband and sister-in-law, and she begins investigating the many floors of the mansion (even the forbidden basement) for answers. Meanwhile, Edith’s childhood friend in America, Dr. Alan McMichael (Charlie Hunnam), is worried about Edith and attempts to find out more about Thomas. With secrets, questions, and death behind every corner, will Edith find out the dark history behind the house before it’s too late? Continue reading →
It’s been a long time since I did one of these. So let’s cut to the chase.
Life Itself is a documentary about the life of Pulitzer Prize winning film critic Roger Ebert. It was based on his 2011 memoir of the same name. It chronicles his early life as a college student and journalist through to his hiring on as The Chicago Sun Times movie critic, his wining the Pulitzer Prize for film criticism, the review show Siskel and Ebert, his relationship with Gene Siskel, Ebert’s eventual marriage to Chaz Ebert, Siskel’s illness, and eventually Ebert’s own battle with thyroid cancer. The story isn’t always told absolutely chronologically. Sometimes the flow of events is interrupted with a segment about Roger’s battle with alcoholism or his relationship with the Cannes Film Festival, but the documentary always goes back to the overarching chronological life story.
The film features interviews with A.O. Scott (the film critic for The New York Times), Richard Corliss (the film critic for Time Magazine), various friends and colleagues of Ebert, Marlene Iglitzen (Gene Siskel’s wife), Chaz Ebert (Ebert’s wife), archive interviews with Gene Siskel, and interviews with Ebert during the last few months of his life as well archive interviews and excerpts from his reviews and memoir. Continue reading →