Fighting With My Family (2019)

As someone who grew up with a family that adored wrestling, I had a very good time learning about Paige and the down to Earth working classic family she grew up in. “Fighting With My Family” is the adaptation of the documentary that tells the tale of Paige and how she grew up working with her parents, both of whom built their own home grown wrestling federation. Paige, the most popular of her brood, eventually rose to become a WWE star, allowing for a great tale of the working class rising to fame. With some liberties taken Stephen Merchant’s “Fighting With My Family” is almost as good that also works as a tribute to the power of family.

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Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror (2019)

“Black History is Black Horror.”

“Horror Noire” is the film you have to see right now. If you fancy yourself a horror aficionado, a film buff, or just a lover of history, “Horror Noire” is essential viewing that is long overdue. For a long time we’ve garnered some amazing documentaries that have covered a lot of overlooked chapters in horror cinema, and “Horror Noire” touches upon the most important era, exploring the history of African Americans in horror cinema, and how they evolved from being demonized, to becoming props, right up to becoming genuine heroes.

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Tungrus (2018) [Slamdance Film Festival 2019]

Documentary Shorts Block

 “Tungrus” is a short documentary that you’ll likely never see anywhere else. It’s a documentary about family, about living in confined spaces, and yes, it explores the idea that the possible to answer to a problem is eating the family pet. No seriously. “Tungrus” centers on the large Bharde Family, in Mumbai that lives in a cramped apartment with one another and their pets. After the father brings home a baby chick, the chick manages to survive and grow in to a large rooster.

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Behind the Bullet (2019) [Slamdance Film Festival 2019]

Director Heidi Yewman does a lot to conjure up awareness of gun violence and has contributed to injecting the reality of gun violence in the public consciousness. With ”Behind the Bullet” she continues that tradition for better and for worse. While “Behind the Bullet” is a documentary that everyone should watch, it’s a documentary people will only be able to see once, as it’s often difficult to endure. It shows us the stark reality of gun violence in four forms, but it’s also so incredibly depressing and soul crushing, and at rare times feels like its intent on shocking us more than informing us.

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The 10 Worst Films of 2018

I saw a ton of movies in 2018, and thankfully I didn’t see too many awful films in the theaters. 2018 was a pretty great year for film, and while I didn’t have enough time to see everything, the share of films I checked out were mostly passable. Even the really alleged awful films people complained about were just disposable junk, and not worth complaining about, or even reviewing. That said I did find ten particularly bad films in 2018, and these had the dishonor of making the list.

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Bad Reputation (2018)

“Bad Reputation” is less the life of Joan Jett, and more a publicity movie for Joan Jett fans. If you want to come to this documentary looking to learn about Joan Jett, warts and all, and how she turned music on its ass, then you’re going to walk away from this disappointed. If you want to celebrate everything about Joan Jett, and ignore all the nasty stuff, you’ll love “Bad Reputation” which very clearly has Joan Jett looming over it and calling the shots. “Bad Reputation” isn’t a disaster like “Bohemian Rhapsody” when all is said and done.

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Vice (2018)

For years, satirists pin pointed Dick Cheney as the man behind George W. Bush, a man who was much too smart for the man running the country, he was the man often depicted as the grouchy old grandfather, or stern dad watching over his under achiever son and pulling the strings behind the scenes while junior basically had no idea and was wiser for not knowing, and “Vice” doesn’t shy away from that common message. “Vice” is an engrossing often pitch black comedy that is so much more complex than that now infamous gag. But Adam McKay makes it clear what kind of person Dick Cheney is from the minute we see him. Upon the bombings of 9/11, he’s swept away in to a safe room and decides to commit to swift political, consciously and visually keeping Bush oblivious to the scenarios unfolding.

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Never-Ending Man: Hayao Miyazaki (2018)

“That song “Let it Go” is popular now. It’s All About Being Yourself. But that’s terrible. Self-satisfied people are boring. We have to push hard and surpass ourselves.”

Hayao Miyazaki has reached a point in his life where there is so much change but he doesn’t know what to do with any of it. He’s reached an old age and has barely any strength any more to sit down and draw all day, but he has no idea what he’d be doing without a pencil or paper in his hand. At his old age he’s still a very curmudgeonly individual who demands perfection and treats his protégés with harsh criticism when they fail to deliver storyboards that meet his pitch perfect idea of what life is. Miyazaki has lived a full life, and in a way he’s ready to go.

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