Arts & Culture(Archives)

Oct
01
2014
Volume
-

The Entertainiac

(0 votes)

Documentaries

I hate to say it, it saddens me to say it, but the temperature is starting to drop and winter is right around of the corner. Soon beach blankets will be traded for Snuggies, camp fires for fireplaces, and Coronas for Baileys and hot chocolate. With the winter coming, along with it is more indoor activities. I too will be joining my vampire(esq) pale peers who are closing the curtains, taking pints of hot chocolate, and hitting play on their Netflix account. If you’re looking for something a little different this hibernation season than the usual, I did some summer recon in the documentary section. After watching four documentaries, I learned that there are the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to a real-life narrative. Some not even the hot chocolate can make better. Here’s how I rated them.

The Good

1.Blackfish: This 2013 documentary hit the target at the Sundance Film Festival but more notably hit a note with commercial audiences, and for good reason. The film lifts the veil on orcas in captivity, in particular the conditions which is believed to have led to the tragic death of a Seaworld trainer. While spun as an isolated incident, the documentary shows there are many more “isolated incidents” around the world involving these creatures in captivity and their trainers. While documentaries, especially environmental ones can be overly preachy, this one’s message isn’t from those with an agenda, however the seeming genuine past trainers themselves. From these sources, the film doesn’t feel sensationalized, it feels like a very personal plea from the people who have had their foot on the tourism industry end, as well as the preservation side. I for one will be jumping on the Free Tili bandwagon after seeing what can only be described as a psychological thriller.

5 STARS 2. Myth Hunters: I started a series entitled Myth Hunters which looks at some of the world’s most infamous myths and legends. Episodes in this series include lore from Hitler and the Spear of Destiny, to the Lost City of El Dorado—there’s 13 documentaries to follow so far. As a kid, choose your own Indiana Jones adventure books, and old National Geographic magazines lined my bookshelf, therefor a documentary series which Hunts for Pirate Treasure, and searches for Crystal Skulls fits perfectly into this vicarious adventurer’s mould. The only thing better, would be executing my very own search party.

4 STARS

The Bad

3. The Truth about Webcam Girls: This documentary follows the lives of three-online sex workers, and its impacts on their personal lives. While it’s a somewhat interesting looking at the personal lives of those who work in the unconventional profession–especially one as sensational as online pornography–this documentary substantially misses the mark. The challenge this documentary faces is that a proper telling of three different stories couldn’t be told in under an hour. The documentary just scratches the surface, despite opportunities to dive deeper into more the fascinating aspect of their lives. One worker talks about leaving prostitution, while another’s mother is her very own porn manager. Just when the story grabs your attention with an online WTF, a new and more sensational storyline is introduced, and then documentary moved on, never quite fully uncovering the complexities of the subject. Perhaps there will be a sequel entitled The Complete Truth about Webcam Girl.

3 STARS

The Ugly

4. Chasing Beauty: It seems ironic that the documentary falling into my ugly category is Chasing Beauty, however I call ‘em like I see ‘em. This documentary promotes itself as an all access behind the scenes look into the modelling industry, but it falls drastically short on its mark. It says in 1 hour and 24 minutes what Tyra had been saying since 2003, and in 20 seasons of America’s Next Top Model. By the time this documentary went to air, society had 10 years of hearing that “modeling is hard work, and most won’t make it.” Umm, thanks tips! There was nothing new in the telling of this retelling, leaving it to be quite drawn out. There’s no lesson to be learned, or moral to share; just a superficial telling of a decade old story. Perhaps Beauty and the Beast said it best- tale as old as time.

1/2 STAR

PAULA OGONOSKI

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