Posts Tagged ‘Documentary’

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Haven’t done a documentary in a little while here, so let’s watch this one. This Ken Burns movie is the tale of the first cross country automobile journey undertaken by a rich Vermont Doctor. In one way, you might like the character of Horatio Nelson Jackson, in another way you might despise him and everything he purports to stand for. Strangely, this is also a movie where only men are interviewed save for two of Nelson’s granddaughters. So it’s guys, talking about a long car ride undertaken by a couple of guys. In a way, we could say that these are rich yuppies who have an adventure talking about another rich yuppie who once had an adventure. The story is pretty good, but there are drawbacks. Is it good or bad? Let’s have a look…

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Victory Through Air Power (1943 United Artists Prod. Walt Disney*)
*There are four directors listed, three animated and one live action director. Besides, in this context the producer is more important than the directors.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “He’s only reviewing this because it’s a 70 minute propaganda piece and he thinks he can get away with writing a really short review.” Now I could say many, many things about that. I could complain that I’m being insulted, that this is a cynical statement that detracts from my interest in historical documents, and that you smell and no one likes you. However, it’s hard to get away from the fact that all those things are actually true. Including the bit about how you smell. However, it’s an interesting enough piece to write a review on, so I’ll give it a go. Allow us to discuss.

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Donald in Mathmagic Land (1959 Buena Vista Film Dir. Hamilton Luske*)
*Luske was the supervising director, with three other’s listed as Sequence Directors.

Like a lot of Walt’s extended short subjects, this half hour production was actually given a theatrical release. Shown with Darby O’Gill and the Little People of all things, this movie interestingly offsets that one. I’m not sure why math and insulting the Irish with stereotypes was thought to have synergy, but there it is. The chief problem is that I’m not sure how educational this movie actually is in the format of a theatrical release. It isn’t that this is a bad movie or anything, it just seems like it’s more to stir your mind rather than actually teach you anything. I can understand it being a film shown in schools, because it seems like your teacher should come out and start talking as soon as it ends. It feels like a discussion tool rather than a piece of general admission entertainment.

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Koyaanisqatsi (1982 Dir. Godfrey Reggio)
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There isn’t much funny about a title screen.

Let’s change format a little and review a DVD instead of just a movie. You’ll understand why in a moment. The DVD I intend to review is The History of Christmas, which is from The History channel, or as they seem to be calling themselves now just HISTORY. I don’t know if you can get this DVD outside of North America, I don’t know if they bother importing TV documentaries from an American Cable Network. HOWEVER! I like this DVD and I want to review it so I’m going to so there!

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