Note: click on the links below to watch trailers and find out where these films are available.
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A crop of intimate biographical docs have become popular over the past few years. What I have found interesting about them is that despite their hype, they often leave me with a sense of incompleteness, and too often the presentation follows the same template: they were troubled; they were brilliant; they were too sensitive for fame; they succumbed to their unfortunate deaths. Out of the following I’d say Amy is the strongest in its content and the way it was presented. Still, if you’re a fan of any of these artists it becomes required viewing, even if you don’t learn anything new (Montage Of Heck) or balk at how they left some important stuff out (Heaven Adores You).
I have to set What Happened, Miss Simone? apart since it more thoroughly covers the artist’s life, particularly her relationship with her daughter, her involvement with civil rights and struggle with bipolar disorder. However, out of all of these documentaries I’d say Listen To Me Marlon was the most interesting and immersive, which says a lot. Although I respect Marlon Brando’s contributions to cinema I have little regard for him as a person. Still, listening to him discuss his life and dissect himself from beyond the grave was unlike anything I expected.
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Bonus: Bios For Nerd Culture
I Am Your Father – Need another reason to dislike George Lucas? Well here you go. This is a doc about David Prowse, the actor who portrayed Darth Vader, and how Lucas slowly pushed him (then eventually drop-kicked) him out of Star Wars history.
For The Love Of Spock – This retrospective on the cultural power of Star Trek, Spock and Leonard Nimoy’s life is sure to make many a nerd tear up. It was a joint project between Nimoy and his son, Adam, who took it upon himself to complete it after his father’s death in 2015.