Moonage Daydream is a beautiful tribute to David Bowie.

A cinematic odyssey exploring David Bowie’s creative and musical journey. From visionary filmmaker Brett Morgen, and sanctioned by the Bowie estate.

Moonage Daydream is yet another beautiful documentary that’s entirely made up of archival footage, this year has already had a decent amount of those including The Princess (Princess Diana documentary), Fire Of Love and Riotsville USA. The documentary shows a lot of concerts from David Bowie as well as some very interesting interviews that the film goes over in great detail, the editing combined with the film’s style is truly fantastic. It completely matches David Bowie’s style and what made him so recognizable what’s even better is despite simply showing archival footage the documentary still has a large goal, which is to give compelling insight in Bowie’s career what he thought of certain times of his career, and his path as an artist. David Bowie was a major influence to several people and film is very aware of that, Bowie share’s his experiences through his career as well as his goals. The music is fantastic as always reminding us of Bowie’s talent which really dives head first into entertaining the viewer, Brett Morgan does a fantastic job creating a journal like film for David Bowie. It’s one of those documentaries where it’s a lot more personal, like David Bowie’s narration at times feels like he’s having a direct conversation with you. It’s truly a beautiful showcase of never before seen footage combined with excellent visuals both of which blend so well together to create a stunning portrait.

Moonage Daydream is available in theaters.

9/10 A

We Met In Virtual Reality is a surprisingly touching documentary about the VR Chat community.

Filmed entirely inside the world of VR, a look at the excitement and surprising intimacy of a burgeoning cultural movement, demonstrating the power of online connection in an isolated world.

I know very little about the VR Chat program itself, I know that it exists and has a decent amount of people within the community but that’s really it. However We Met in Virtual Reality really teaches you quite a lot about the community itself, it’s actually surprising how much this documentary covers, the footage is entirely the VR program which is pretty impressive and has it’s own charm to it. Jenny who is one of the people interviewed in the documentary teaches ASL to a class full of students some of which are deaf and others who simply want to learn it. You have someone named DustBunny who teaches belly dancing as well, the film also follows the relationships of DustBunny and Toaster and ItsYourBoi and DragonHeart. The documentary was done during the COVID-19 pandemic so with a lot of bad in the world during the time it’s a very beautiful thing to see community where they can express who they are, interact with friends and even find love. And by watching the documentary start to completely understand how and why the VR Chat helped certain people in the community during the pandemic. There’s a lot of heart out into this documentary and really shows how a community bonds incredibly well through very tough times! Finally there’s a few genuinely touching scenes that are absolutely beautiful here make sure to go watch this one.

We Met In Virtual Reality is available on HBO Max!

9/10 A

Halftime is a decent documentary but leaves the viewer wanting more.

Global superstar Jennifer Lopez reflects on her multifaceted career and the pressure of life in the spotlight.

It honestly pains me to give the rating I’m going to give Halftime, I’ve always been a fan of Jennifer Lopez even if a lot of her performances are misses. Her music has always been enjoyable and lately her performances (Hustlers and Marry Me) have been quite great. I will say that a lot of articles are flat out lying about what this documentary is about, it’s not some “Jennifer Lopez attacks Shakira because of the Halftime show” situation that articles would have you believe. In fact Lopez herself does not blame Shakira at all, most of the documentary is about the NFL and the 92nd Academy Awards aka the Oscars. Anyone who remembers the huge discourse about The Oscars that year would tell you how badly the Oscars dropped the ball with some of the nominations, so many people got snubbed for ridiculous reasons Jennifer Lopez (Hustlers) and Adam Sandler (Uncut Gems) being the main two. It was nice that Jennifer Lopez told how she felt about the situation and the message of wanting to be taken seriously as an artist only for people to flat out laugh at you definitely sticks with you plus can feel quite relatable. The main problem is this documentary is it feels like it’s trying to say something much more before ending abruptly, it also doesn’t help that it doesn’t fully connect the viewer to Jennifer Lopez. Some of the last few celebrity documentaries such as the Billie Eilish one and The Blackpink one were successful because they connected the viewer with Billie or Blackpink, it felt like we got to know them more as people and saw their day to day life. You don’t get that same freedom in Halftime, it feels much more closer which is unfortunate. The only people who are going to instantly connect are fans of Jennifer Lopez, which is fine but it’s such a shame to try and included a bigger audience. Overall Halftime isn’t a bad documentary and as I said before it’s nice Jennifer Lopez told her story and how she felt. It’s just a documentary that needed a lot more power to it and deserved a lot better.

Halftime is available on Netflix!

6/10 C+

Cow is a disturbing yet important film about the daily life of a Cow.

Chronicling the daily life of a dairy cow in an attempt to move humans closer to them. Hoping to see both their beauty and the challenge of their lives. Hoping to understand one dairy cow’s reality and acknowledging her great service.

Cow is one of those films where it’s sort of hard to describe, the plot summary is exactly what it is the daily life of a dairy cow, the first scene even starting with the birth of the cow the film follows which is named Luma. Throughout the film we follow Luma and director Andrea Arnold who’s on a mission to humanize Luma and get the audience to feel for the other cows as well. Arnold succeeds in ways that feel much more organic than what other movies would, she uses camera angels, a ton of moments with no dialogue and it’s just the cows. If you know anything that eventually happens to cows that is hinted at and shown in the film and the empty atmosphere makes it all the more horrifying to watch. Milk being forcibly out by machinery is shown, tattooing and drilling through the skin are shown. Arnold show’s how cows are treated from birth all the way till the end, by the near end cows like Luma are emotionally drained it’s absolutely heartbreaking to watch. Arnold doesn’t really give a answer to the film of “what can be done?” However the film does end with a hopeful light despite the scenery being very haunting. Overall Cow is a very strong film that definitely get’s the message across, it’s definitely a disturbing but very meaningful film that will stick with you.

Cow is available on all VOD Platforms.

8/10 B+

Olivia Rodrigo: Driving Home 2 U (A Sour Film) is a entertaining and well crafted film on Olivia Rodrigo’s music!

Singer-songwriter Olivia Rodrigo takes a familiar road trip from Salt Lake City, where she began writing her debut album ‘SOUR’, to Los Angeles. Along the way, Rodrigo recounts the memories of writing and creating her record-breaking debut album.

Watching Olivia Rodrigo’s career quickly skyrocket and transform has only been and will still continue to be a beautiful site. There isn’t a whole lot to be said here as it is another one of those films where it plays out like a concert film, however what makes Driving home 2 u so successful is Rodrigo’s personality, the journey that’s being taken place in the film and how it’s honestly just beautifully made. It feels like a personal film from Olivia Rodrigo, she gives her opinions on each of her songs and what she liked or disliked about them. Plus giving some more context of each of the songs which is always nice, the songs are well done and the filming is quite beautiful as well particularly Brutal which was only thought of in one day but went on to be a huge favorite from audiences and fans (myself included). Lastly what really helps with this film is Olivia Rodrigo herself, she comes off as a genuine person which the same can’t be said for a lot of other celebrities, in this case it feels like you are actually learning a bit more about her which is truly a breath of fresh air. If you are a fan of Olivia Rodrigo this is definitely something worth watching and if you are someone who wants a great introduction to her this is honestly the best way to start.

Olivia Rodrigo: driving home 2 u (A Sour Film) is available on Disney+

9/10 A

SXSW Review: Tony Hawk Until The Wheels Fall Off (2022)

Follows famous skater Tony Hawk’s personal life, career and relationship with skateboarding, including never-before-seen footage and unprecedented access to Hawk, along with interviews with figures from the skateboarding world.

Honestly there isn’t a lot here to be said despite the documentary being 2 hours and 15 minutes, what we have here is a deep dive into Tony Hawk’s career and him as a person. The documentary surprisingly goes in great depth and has this element in it about moving on as you get older. Tony Hawk is a skateboarding icon heck a sports icon at this point, yet we still learn so much more about him from this documentary it feels very personal and really grabs the attention of the viewer quite well. There’s so much detail in this documentary to the point where it’s quite fascinating and while yes some of the information is common knowledge it’s still beautiful to hear Tony Hawk talk about his career, the only main flaw with the documentary is the running time as I said earlier it’s 2 hours and 15 minutes. Which I do feel like 10-13 minutes could have easily been trimmed because it does feel like the documentary crams a little too much information at once at times. However everything else about this documentary is incredibly solid and quite interesting, even if you aren’t a fan of Tony Hawk or skateboarding I do highly recommend checking this out!

Tony Hawk: Until The Wheels Fall Off will release April 5th on HBO and HBO Max!

8/10 B+

SXSW Review: Under The Influence (2022)

When Casey Neistat first sat down to interview YouTube sensation, David Dobrik, neither of them knew they were about to capture one of the most precipitous rise and falls in the history of the internet… in real-time. David, protected by the belief that he’s just a kid with a camera, has constantly assumed risks. Even as a story of a sexual assault breaks, he’s busy covering up a near-lethal accident caught on film, intended to be entertainment. In the real world, these kinds of actions have life-changing consequences, but in the gold rush ecosystem of Social Media influence, the audience decides who succeeds, and who gets banished forever. 

I heard about a David Dobrik documentary being made but I assumed that it was going to be slapped on to YouTube and that would be the end of it. So I was surprised to see it at SXSW and decided to watch it out of pure curiosity, this is pretty much the story of David Dobrik and the controversies that happened particularly what happened to Jeff Wittek and the situation involving Durte Dom. If you were going into the documentary hoping for new information you aren’t going to get any here, if you know everything that happened nothing in this documentary is going to be new maybe except a few reactions from a few people. The most interesting thing about this documentary is how the public who has no idea about this situation is going to react, will the discussion of why Dobrik walked away with his career still intact be discussed again? Will this lead to more people speaking up and coming forward? As far as filmmaking goes it’s fine, there’s really nothing noteworthy about it outside of a few shots that are pretty neat. I do think there’s a conversation to be had about how your own platform can turn you into a completely different person in a negative way, which is definitely the strongest part about the documentary. But everything else is either common knowledge or nothing very interesting, overall Under The Influence is a documentary that will be good for people who have no idea about David Dobrik not so much for people who are well knowledgeable about the subject.

Under The Influence currently has no release date.

4/10 D+

SXSW Review: Spaz (2022)

Steve ‘Spaz’ Williams is a little-known pioneer in computer animation. This intimate account examines his life story and events surrounding the historical moment when his digital dinosaurs walked onto the silver screen in JURASSIC PARK. Steve and a chorus of expert witnesses recount a dramatic tale of rebellion and revolution at Lucasfilm’s Industrial Light & Magic in the early 1990s–a time when creating realistic creatures with a computer was considered impossible. As the industry changes at breakneck speed, Steve’s longing for acknowledgement triggers a humble reckoning with his chaotic past.

Spaz is a very straightforward documentary about the pioneer of computer effects Steve ‘Spaz’ Williams, this is the man who gave us iconic moments from Jurassic World, Star Wars, Terminator 2 and many others. It’s very refreshing to see computer effects artists get praised for their work as it often does feel like they are put on the sidelines, there’s a lot of great archival footage and interviews in the documentary that really show how beautifully made Williams’s work was and still is. Plus Williams is a great speaker he’s the type of person where you could just listen to him talk to you forever and not get tired of it. The documentary does struggle when it comes to the last half, as it does struggle to to keep both conversations of Williams success and his career’s fall balanced. There’s a lot of one conversation talking over the other, however that doesn’t stop it from being a very interesting piece about someone who gave us some of the most iconic moments in film history.

Spaz currently has no release date.

7/10 B

Lucy and Desi is a solid documentary about the iconic Hollywood couple!

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz form an unlikely partnership to become one of the most prolific power couples in Hollywood.

Going to keep this relatively short because there really is not much to go over. But I got a hell of a lot more out of Lucy and Desi than I did from Being The Ricardos, while the documentary is surface level and doesn’t break any new ground for documentaries. It’s still a very nicely put together documentary that lays out all of the information for the viewer, the interviews of the people who knew Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz are both very captivating and interesting to listen to, the movie goes through the ups and downs of the iconic comedy couple’s relationship over the years. It tells us how they felt, what they were thinking and what inspired them to keep moving their careers along, it’s actually a pretty inspiring documentary at times and really does a pretty solid job of telling the couple’s story. If you are a fan of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz you will definitely appreciate the documentary!

Lucy and Desi is available on Amazon Prime Video!

7/10 B

A Peloton Of One is an important documentary for survivors of sexual abuse.

In late 2018, Dave Ohlmuller embarks on a solo bike ride from Chicago to New York City. As a survivor of sexual abuse by a priest, Dave rides to inspire other survivors to come forward and tell their stories.

A Peloton Of One is not an easy watch as the documentary is about a survivor of sexual abuse by a priest tries to inspire other survivors to come forward and tell their stories. The survivor is named Dave Ohlmuller who is very inspiring throughout the documentary, he rides his bike from Chicago to New York City it’s a journey he takes you on while sharing his story and the survivors he meets a long the way share there’s as well. The documentary also talks a bit about the American Justice system and how these cases either get ignored or can’t be put on trial, the journey Ohlmuller takes is a powerful one that really captures tons of emotions, hearing survivors share their stories is truly heartbreaking. There’s a lot of sense of healing in the documentary, you could look at Ohlmuller’s journey as sense of healing but also one that helps survivors and teaches the audience. As far as filmmaking there isn’t anything that crazy or something worth mentioning but there really doesn’t need to be. In fact that benefits the film when you think about it, it’s shot in this very raw style to it that moves the documentary along very well. Overall A Peloton Of One is a fantastic documentary that while it might be hard for some people to watch it is a very important documentary.

A Peloton Of One is currently in theaters. It will release on all VOD Platforms March 11th!

8/10 B+