Category: Documentary

Dancer

Summary: Sergei Polunin is a breathtaking ballet talent who questions his existence and his commitment to dance just as he is about to become a legend.

Year: 2016

Australian Cinema Release Date: 15th December 2016

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: United Kingdom, Russia, Ukraine, United States

Director: Steven Cantor

Screenwriter: N/A

Cast: Jade-Hale Christofi (himself), Sergei Polunin (himself)

Runtime: 85 mins

Classification: M

OUR DANCER REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Greg King:

 

Lovers of classical ballet and dancing have been well served recently with a number of documentaries about famous choreographers and dancers, and there is the wonderful animated film Ballerina due to hit cinemas shortly. In the meantime we have this documentary about Ukraine-born ballet dancer Sergei Polunin, a prodigiously talented dancer who was at one stage hailed as “the new Nureyev.”
This profile from director Steven Cantor (Chasing Tyson, etc) follows Sergei’s career and unfolds in largely chronological order. Dancer is not the first documentary about Polunin as he was the subject of the 2013 short 11 minute documentary The Fragile Balance, from Jem Goulding.

This documentary is an exploration of the artistic temperament, the creative process and the pressures artists feel. It follows him from a very young age, through his meteoric rise to the top and his decision to walk away from it all at the height of his fame. The film highlights the extraordinary passion and talent and the dedication it takes to rise to the top in such a demanding and competitive profession.

From the age of eight it was obvious that Polunin was a naturally talented dancer. His parents made numerous sacrifices in order to ensure that the youngster was able to fulfil his potential. They worked hard to allow the talented youngster to study at Kiev’s prestigious but expensive choreography school. At the age of 13 he auditioned for the Royal Ballet in London and was accepted. But his mother, who accompanied him to London was denied a visa, and he was largely alone.

At the age of 19 became the youngest ever principal dancer for London’s Royal Ballet, and he became ballet’s equivalent of a rock star. But he felt trapped by the adulation and his quick rise to fame, and walked away from it at the age of 22. And he soon became the bad boy of ballet, with the troubled prodigy making headlines for his rebellious behaviour and addictions to drug and alcohol. His body was also covered in tattoos, another act of rebellion. His bad boy reputation meant that no ballet company would offer him a position. He returned to Russia where he headlined a reality tv show about dance, which was a waste of his talent. Then he worked with choreographer and mentor Igor Zelensky, who briefly re-energised his passion for dance.

Polunin’s final dance was for the video Take Me To The Church, which was filmed by David Chappelle and highlights his creative genius and lithe movements. When posted on YouTube it went viral.

Cantor spent five years working on the film and has assembled an extensive a collection of archival footage, home movies and videos shot by his mother, performance footage, newspaper headlines, and candid interviews with some of his peers. This is a fairly sympathetic portrait of the troubled artist as it glosses over much of his bad behaviour and doesn’t offer up too many negative opinions.

 

Stars(3)

 

 

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(3)

 

IMDB Rating:  Dancer (2016) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Dancer Reviews: You can also listen to our Dancer review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #206

Trailer:

Where To Invade Next

Summary: To learn what the USA can learn from other nations, Michael Moore playfully “invades” them to see what they have to offer.

Year: 2015

Australian Cinema Release Date: 14th April 2016

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Michael Moore

Screenwriter: Michael Moore

Cast: Michael Moore (himself)

Runtime: 120 mins

Classification: M

 

OUR WHERE TO INVADE NEXT REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Greg King:

Michael Moore’s first film in six years is another provocative, acerbic and yet somehow entertaining polemic about the ills of contemporary America. As usual he is front and centre in his film, but here he seems a lot more positive and optimistic than he has been in eartlier documentaries. It seems that Moore hasn’t changed his approach to his subject matter, his political or social views – or indeed his clothes by the look of it – since his breakthrough film Roger & Me in 1989. Moore is a provocateur whose other films include the controversial Bowling For Columbine, in which he took a scathing look at America’s gun control laws, and Fahrenheit 9/11, which tackled the war on terror.

In Where To Invade Next he looks at the discordance between American values and actions at home, and he looks at social policies concerning education, health, justice from a unique perspective. He points the finger at the failings in these key social policies in the worls’s richest and most powerful country. Armed with an American flag and a sense of self righteousness, Moore and his regular film crew visit a number of countries which have social policies that instil a sense of compassion, justice and fairness into their society. His aim is to bring some of these “radical ideas” back home to America, which is floundering under a wealth of social problems that no army can fix. His grand idea is to bring these great social policies back home to America and fix the obvious problems. As he ironically points out, it seems that the American Dream is alive and well in other countries except America.

Thus he explores a utopian Europe. He visits places like Italy, where the people seem to live, on average, four years longer than Americans, because they enjoy a genuinely happy lifestyle. Workers are paid a generous salary and have eight weeks of paid vacation per year, and there seems to be harmony between the workers and management. He visits Finland which boasts the best educated students in the world, this despite cutting back on school hours and dropping homework altogether. He visits France, where the people pay a higher tax rate than the US, but where they benefit from free education and health care and a range of other social services. He even visits a school cafeteria to check out what the average French student eats, and is surprised at what he learns, and tastes with a gourmet meal prepared by a chef.

Slovenia has free university education – even for nonresidents! Unlike the US, where the average 22 year old is heavily in debt upon completing college and starting out in the work force. And Norway’s prison system is based on rehabilitation rather than punishment, and apparently has the lowest recidivism rate in the world. Portugal apparently solved its drug crisis by legalising drugs, which resulted in a lower crime rate.

Moore makes his comparisons with the US quite potent, especially when he includes footage of the national guard moving in to quell riots in the town of Ferguson, and footage of prison guards beating on prisoners. And, as he also points out, 60% of US taxes are spent on the military rather than other vital social services. It is all sobering stuff and quite persuasive. And much of its delivered with Moore’s trademark sense of humour and curiosity. He keeps things positive and upbeat with a sort of blind optimism. And his genial humour helps audiences swallow the bitter pill more easily.

But there is also a sense that Moore is cherry picking those social policies that satisfy his own personal outlook, and he obviously has his own agenda to follow. He is often manipulative in his presentation of facts, but it is less obvious here. Moore has a scattergun approach to his material, and he tends to overload the audience with too much information, Ultimately the documentary eventually becomes a little unfocused. This is especially so when he includes women’s rights in his agenda, and when he also visits Iceland, which started the economic collapse of 2008 but which managed to jail many of the corrupt bankers – unlike America, where the government spent billions of taxpayer dollars to bailout the banks.

There is no doubting Moore’s passion for his subject here, but while Where To Invade Next may not his most authoratative or persuasive documentary it is still provocative and entertaining with some eye opening revelations.

 

Stars(3)

 

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(3)

 

IMDB Rating: Where to Invade Next (2015) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Where To Invade Next reviews: You can hear our Where To Invade Next review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep # 172.

 

Trailer:

Wide Open Sky

Summary: Wide Open Sky follows the heart-warming story of an outback Australian children’s choir. Chronicling their journey from auditions to end-of-year concert, the trials of trying to run a children’s choir in a remote and disadvantaged region are revealed. Here, sport is king and music education is non-existent. Despite this, choir mistress Michelle has high expectations. She wants to teach the children contemporary, original, demanding music. It becomes clear for the children to believe in themselves, they all need someone who believes in them.

Year: 2016

Australian Cinema Release Date: 14th April 2016

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: Australia

Director: Lisa Nicol

Screenwriter: Lisa Nicol

Cast: N/A

Runtime: 87 mins

Classification: G

 

OUR WIDE OPEN SKY REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Greg King:

You can hear Greg King’s Wide Open Sky review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep # 172.

 

Stars(3)

 

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(3)

 

IMDB Rating: Wide Open Sky (2015) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Wide Open Sky reviews: You can hear our Wide Open Sky review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep # 172.

 

Trailer:

Peggy Guggenheim Art Addict

Summary: A portrait of a patron of the arts extraordinaire who transformed a modest fortune and impeccable taste into one of the premiere collections of twentieth century art.

Year: 2015

Australian Cinema Release Date: 26th December 2015

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA, Italy, UK

Director: Lisa Immordino Vreeland

Screenwriter: Bernadine Colish, Lisa Immordina Vreeland

Cast: Marina Abramovic (herself), Peggy Guggenheim (herself)

Runtime: 96 mins

Classification: M

 

OUR PEGGY GUGGENHEIM: ART ADDICT REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Nick Gardener:

You can hear Nick’s full Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #158

 

Stars(4)

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(4)

 

IMDB Rating:  Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict (2015) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict reviews: You can listen to our full Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict  review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #158.

Trailer:

Women He's Undressed

Summary: Orry-Kelly was Golden Age Hollywood’s most celebrated costume designer. Winner of three Academy Awards and responsible for the costumes of films as iconic as Some Like It Hot, Casablanca, An American in Paris, and Auntie Mame, Orry-Kelly was head of Warner Brothers costume department during the richest period of American film history.

And he was born in Kiama, New South Wales.

Acclaimed filmmaker Gillian Armstrong brings to life the tale of one of Australia’s undeservedly forgotten sons in her new documentary WOMEN HE’S UNDRESSED. The story of Orry-Kelly becomes one of discovery and intrigue, as Armstrong charts the trajectory of this most unusual and talented man. He was outrageous, witty, outspoken, a drinker, and uncompromising of his sexuality at a time when Hollywood was deeply conservative. From costuming Hollywood’s most glamourous actresses, to a scandalous secret affair with one of film’s most famous and iconic actors, WOMEN HE’S UNDRESSED uncovers a rollercoaster of a life sure to fascinate, shock and illuminate.

Year: 2015

Australian Cinema Release Date: 16th July 2015

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: Australia

Director: Gillian Armstrong

Screenwriter: Katherine Thomson

Cast: Louis Alexander (Young Orry), Tyler Coppin (Walter Plunkett/Jimmy Fidler/Sergeant), Lara Cox (Ginger Rogers), Jeanette Cronin (Bette Davis), Darren Gilshenan (Orry-Kelly), Sandy Gore (Hedda Hopper/Louella Parsons), Deborah Kennedy (Florence Kelly), Ted Maynard (Jack Warner), Nathaniel Middleton (The Lover), Paige Walker (Kay Francis), David E. Woodley (William Kelly)

Runtime: 99 mins

Classification: PG

 

OUR WOMEN HE’S UNDRESSED REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Greg King:

You can read Greg’s full Women He’s Undressed review on www.filmreviews.net.au

 

Stars(3.5)

 

 

 

Nick Gardener:

You can hear Nick’s full Women He’s Undressed review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #138

 

Stars(3.5)

 

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(3.5)

 

IMDB Rating: Women He's Undressed (2015) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Women He’s Undressed reviews: You can listen to our Women He’s Undressed review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #138.

Trailer:

Amy

Summary: A look inside the personal life of star Amy Winehouse. The film follows her from being discovered through to the dizzying heights of winning a Grammy Award to her tragic demise.

Year: 2015

Australian Cinema Release Date: 2nd July 2015

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: United Kingdom

Director: Asif Kapadia

Screenwriter: N/A

Cast: Juliette Ashby (herself), Darcus Beese (himself), Tony Bennett (himself), Sam Beste (himself), Yasiin Bey (himself), Russell Brand (himself), Raye Cosbert (himself), Dale Davis (himself), Shomari Dilon (himself), Pete Doherty (himself), Blake Fielder-Civil (himself), Nick Gatfield (himself), Lauren Gilbert (herself), Lucian Grainge (himself), Dave Grohl (himself), Tyler James (himself), Jay Leno (himself), David Letterman (himself), Monte Lipman (himself), Phil Meynell (himself), Guy Moot (himself), Andrew Morris (himself), Salaam Remi (himself), Cristina Romete (herself), Mark Ronson (himself), Nick Shymansky (himself), Chip Somers (himself), Amy Winehouse (herself), Janis Winehouse (herself), Mitch Winehouse (himself), Blake Wood (himself)

Runtime: 128 mins

Classification: MA15+

 

OUR AMY REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

Not being a fan of Amy Winehouse’s I wasn’t sure what to expect from the documentary Amy. The film had received rave reviews from right around but aside from knowing one of two of her big hits (namely Rehab) I actually didn’t know that much about her. Therefore the fact that this docco actually had me feeling somewhat emotional times really just goes to show how inside the life of his tragic star that director Asif Kapadia really goes… he doesn’t leave one single stone unturned.

Kapadia announced himself as a seriously gifted documentary maker when he released Senna in 2010. The docco went so far into Senna’s life that even those film critics and fans who despised and knew nothing about Formula One racing were listing the film as a film that you had to see. Kapadia does the same here with Winehouse. He doesn’t sugar coat anything and instead shows the tragic life of a girl who was given an amazing vocal talent but probably would have much better off and happier if she reached the level of stardom that she did.

One of the best things about Amy is just how watchable Kapadia has made the film. Yes it runs for 128 minutes (some would argue overly long for a documentary) but so gripping is the story being told that you never once start to feel bored and start to think what coffee you might order after the credits roll. Kapadia allows Amy to start off like any music documentary chronicling a young star’s life would. There are the customary shots of her mucking around with her friends, singing at clubs in front of small crowds, but Kapadia also allows the audience to see more than that as he clearly shows that even at the age of nine Winehouse was already deeply troubled and the rollercoaster was just starting to take off.

Like he did with Senna Kapadia breaks with normal traditional documentary filmmaking. There are virtually no talking head interviews here, instead the audience are treated to a lot of private home movies of Winehouse, her family and her friends that tell more about the star and her lifestyle than what any interview could ever do. Also making this a gripping watch is the fact that Kapadia doesn’t hold back when he is trying to tell his story. He doesn’t allow everybody in Amy Winehouse’s life come out of this smelling like roses. The audience watches as Winehouse’s life of destruction comes a lot worse with the arrival of her boyfriend (and then later husband) Blake Fielder-Civil on the scene – the film then basically points the finger as an expert eerily reveals that it was in Fielder-Civil’s best interest for his gravy train not to get sober again. Likewise Kapadia has the bravery to lump blame on Winehouse’s own father and he first reveals that Amy’s bulimia etc started when her father left the family home when she was just a child, how he was the main reason that she didn’t go into rehab when her managerial team was begging her to and how he brought film crews around and planned tours when all she wanted to do was rest and get herself well. It is a very brave documentary maker who is willing to tell a story with such brutal honesty.

Kapadia’s alternative style of filmmaking also allows for him to let the documentary move along as he showcases the events in Amy’s life that was making her write the music she was writing. As handwritten lyrics appear across the screen the audience watches the life events unfold that sparked her to write the usually dark lyrics in the first place. Just as that similar kind of thing made Teen Spirit a must read if you are a fan of Kurt Cobain, this style here makes Amy a must see for Winehouse fans. I know having seen the film set out in this way I will never listen to the track Rehab in the same way again.

There are times when you are watching Amy and it feels like you are watching car crash in slow motion. Instead of becoming a character study of one of the most successful young musicians of our generation the docco almost becomes a cautionary tale of what drugs, bulimia and super stardom can do to an ordinary person’s life. Kapadia’s brilliant style of story-making makes this the can kind of film that not only educates but washes over you with every emotion imaginable. One of the best music documentaries you will ever see.
Stars(4.5)

 

 

Greg King:

You can read Greg’s full Amy review on www.filmreviews.net.au

 

Stars(3.5)

 

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(4)

 

IMDB Rating: Amy (2015) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Amy reviews: You can listen to our Amy review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #167. You can also read our Amy review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt.

Trailer:

Journey To Space 3D

Summary: Journey To Space is a brand new IMAX documentary that tells the history of space travel while also taking a look at the machinery and people that will carry on the future of space expedition as humanity plans to walk on Mars.

Year: 2015

Australian Cinema Release Date: 26th March, 2015

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Mark Krenzien

Screenwriter: Mark Krenzien

Cast: Patrick Stewart (narrator)

Runtime: 45 mins

Classification: CTC

 

OUR JOURNEY TO SPACE REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

For most of us we fell in love with space by watching some pretty badly put together documentaries that were forced upon us in school science classrooms. Normally they contained dull and boring voiceovers that had the potential to make you lapse into some kind of coma, while the footage was so grainy you basically had to take the narrator’s word for it that you were actually seeing a star system in outer space. Well that is a thing of the past because now comes Journey To Space, one of the best space documentaries that you are ever likely to see.

It probably sounds like a bit of cliché but Journey To Space is a ground-breaking documentary. Seeing a documentary on one of the world’s biggest screens in IMAX is always a brilliant experience but seeing outer space in this format takes the whole documentary experience to a completely different level. As the film shows some spectacularly clear footage captured over the years it really feels like you are laying down on the grass looking up into a night sky that has been magnified a million times over.

Experience documentary director Mark Krenzien has put Journey To Space together in such a way that there simply no part of the docco that will make its audience lose interest. The brief look at the history of space travel is brilliantly put together and manages to capture the highs, such as the first moon landing, and the lows, such as the Challenger disaster, equally well. Even the footage of various space shuttles being retired and taken to their final resting places becomes fascinating as the gives the audience a chance to get really close to these fascinating piece of equipment.

And if that footage isn’t engaging enough the second half of the documentary takes a further step forward as narrator Patrick Stewart steps aside for astronauts to talk about their own personal journeys into space and to talk about what equipment is currently being developed to take humans to Mars over the next decade. This is also the best format to view the currently available footage of Mars because presented here in this docco it really blows you away.

Journey To Space is the kind of documentary that has the power to even floor those people who say that doccos are boring and uninteresting. The only way to see Journey To Space is in 3D and in IMAX because the visuals are designed in such a way to blow you away as they are presented on the biggest screen possible. To be honest I probably learned more about space travel in this docco than I did in any science class, and the visuals completely blew me away. This is a docco that really shows just how powerful IMAX can be… a must see.

 

Stars(5)

 

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(5)

 

IMDB Rating: Journey to Space (2015) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Journey To Space reviews: Nil

Trailer:

Keep On Keepin' On

Summary: First time Australian director/drummer Alan Hicks travels to the U.S. to follow and film 89-year-old jazz legend, Clark Terry (Quincy Jones’s first teacher) over four years – to document an unlikely mentorship between Terry and a driven, blind piano prodigy, Justin Kauflin, 23. Clark mentored Miles Davis as a young musician and is among the few performers ever to have played in both Count Basie’s and Duke Ellington’s bands. IN KEEP ON KEEPIN’ ON, as Justin is invited to compete in an elite, international competition while battling terrible stage fright, we are witness to two great friends tackling the toughest challenges of their interwoven lives.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: TBA

Australian DVD Release Date: 19th December, 2014

Country: USA

Director: Alan Hicks

Screenwriter: Davis Coombe, Alan Hicks

Cast: Candy (herself), Terri Lyne Carrington (herself), Quincy Cavers (himself), Bill Cosby (himself), Herbie Hancock (himself), Quincy Jones (himself), Frank Kauflin (himself), Justin Kauflin (himself), Phylis Kauflin (himself), Sandi McCree (herself), Mulgrew Miller (himself), Kevin Neaton (himself), Dianne Reeves (herself), Arturo Sandoval (himself), Clark Terry (himself), Gwen Terry (herself)

Runtime: 84 mins

Classification: M

 

OUR KEEP ON KEEPIN’ ON REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Greg KingYou can check out Greg’s Keep On Keepin’ On review on www.filmreviews.net.au

Stars(4)

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(4)

 

IMDB Rating: Keep on Keepin' On (2014) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Keep On Keepin’ On reviews: For our full Keep On Keepin’ On review make sure you check out The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #110.

Trailer:

Now In The Wings On A World Stage

Summary: Kevin Spacey, Sam Mendes and the Bridge Project Company reveal some of the most intimate moments behind the scenes of their staging of Richard III.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: 4th December, 2014

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Jeremy Whelehan

Screenwriter: Nil

Cast: Maureen Anderman (Duchess Of York), Stephen Lee Anderson (Sir Richard Ratcliffe), Jeremy Bobb (Sir William Catesby/Second Murder), Nathan Darrow (Lord Grey/Henry, Earl Of Richmond), Jack Ellis (Lord Hastings), Hadyn Gwynne (Queen Elizabeth), Chukwudi Iwuji (Duke Of Buckingham), Isaiah Johnson (Lord Rivers/Scrivener), Gemma Jones (Queen Margaret), Andrew Long (King Edward IV/Bishop Of Ely), Katherine Manners (Young Richard Duke Of York), Sam Mendes (himself), Howard W. Overshown (Brackenbury/Lord Mayor Of London), Simon Lee Phillips (Sir James Tyrell/Duke Of Norfolk), Gary Powell (First Murderer/Sir Frances Lovel), Michael Rudko (Lord Standley), Annabel Scholey (Lady Anne), Kevin Spacey (Richard Duke Of Gloucester), Gavin Stenhouse (Marquess Of Dorset), Hannah Stokely (Young Edward Prince Of Wales), Chandler Williams (Clarence)

Runtime: 97 mins

Classification: CTC

 

OUR NOW: IN THE WINGS OF A WORLD STAGE REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Greg KingYou can check out Greg’s Now: In The Wings Of A World Stage review on www.filmreviews.net.au

Stars(3.5)

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(3.5)

 

IMDB Rating: NOW: In the Wings on a World Stage (2014) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment NOW: In The Wings On A World Stage reviews: For our full NOW: In The Wings On A World Stage review make sure you check out The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #108.

Trailer:

Advanced Style

Summary: A documentary showcasing the lives of seven unique New Yorkers whose style and spirit define them. Based on the popular blog of the same name by New York photographer Ari Seth Cohen, the film presents us with moving portraits of these vibrant women- aged from 62 to 95, who are challenging conventional ideas of beauty and aging while navigating their newfound fame.

Thrust from the streets of New York to the big screen, the film follows seven women and their stories of style. From store owners to Apollo Theatre dancers, these women won’t go quietly.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: 4th October, 2014

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Lina Piloplyte

Screenwriter: Ari Cohen, Lina Piloplyte

Cast: Nil

Runtime: 72 mins

Classification: PG

 

OUR ADVANCED STYLE REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Greg King: You can check out Greg’s Advanced Style review on www.filmreviews.net.au

Stars(2)

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(2)

 

IMDB Rating: Advanced Style (2014) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Reviews of ‘Advanced Style′: For our full Advanced Style review please check The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #99 .

Trailer: