Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Even more half-assed reviews!

Clearing them out! Everything must go! More reviews that I'm never going to get around to finishing, this time focusing on music, masks, and science. SCIENCE!

It's Bootsy, baby! It's the Shat! Dig it.

Tales Of Masked Men

Masks have been used to transform for thousands of years. Featuring both El Santo and the Blue Demon, the history of Lucha Libre is examined in this PBS documentary. Obviously, this documentary hit me close to home, as I enjoying wearing the occasional mask, and by "occasional" I mean "all the time".

Edge Codes: The Art Of Motion Picture Editing

Edge Codes is a documentary examining the language of film and the techniques used by film editors to construct a story using images. Through association and juxtaposition, meaning and drama is conveyed through cutting and reassembling lengths of film. From the earliest moments of cinema, various schools of film editing is shown, and the film-makers demonstrate many of the techniques being discussed through well-known film clips to emphasize the points being made. Intriguing and enlightening, Film Codes is an excellent film-length course in film making.

Particle Fever

The building of the Large Hadron Collider and the search for the Higgs-Boson particle is examined in this dry, but well-shot, scientific documentary. It's hard to believe that just a few short years ago, people were genuinely concerned the Large Hadron Collider would generate a massive black hole, engulfing us all. Unfortunately, that didn't happen, which is a shame because that would have been pretty sweet. Did you know physicists dig the music of Uriah Heep? Neither did I, as there is one physicist briefly seen wearing a Uriah Heep concert t-shirt. 


The extraordinary life and career of the influential physicist is outlined in this warts-and-all biographical documentary. Born 300 years after the death of Galileo, Stephen Hawking partied his way through college until ALS forced his to get serious and completely change the way we see the cosmos. Narrated by Hawking himself, we see him in some unflattering situations as he struggles with his many health issues, as well as all the accolades that have piled up as one of the smartest people who ever lived. He is still an active participant in his life even though nearly completely paralyzed, and it's truly inspiring to see someone at 72 years of age be as energetic as he is, even while confined to a wheelchair and only able to move tiny portions of his entire body, and having lived with an almost certain death sentence for half a century.

Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me

The Broadway legend sings, dances, curses, and strikes terror in everyone's hearts in this entertaining documentary. I'm not much of a musical fan, but I'm now a fan of this fiery force of nature, merely because I loved watching all her famous co-stars try very, very hard not to call her a raging bitch on wheels, and I admire the heck out of that, because you know very good and well everyone interviewed was quaking in their boots that Stritch would would've stalked them and applied a serious beat down, even at almost 90 years of age. Unfortunately, she died earlier this year, after struggling with alcoholism and other health issues. Another engrossing, warts-and-all biographical documentary.

Twenty Feet From Stardom

The lives and careers of legendary backup singers is shown in this music filled documentary. Merry Clayton, Darlene Love, Gloria Jones, and many, many more are featured, and their tales of triumph and tragedy earned this documentary an Academy Award. Thrilling and inspiring, many of their performances are highlighted, including a hair-raising account of when Merry Clayton sang on the Rolling Stones' tune Gimme Shelter where her vocal track is isolated. There really are no words for this performance, but I'll try. Amazing. Breathtaking. Astonishing. Brutal. Soaring.

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