I’m a big fan of the thought provoking documentaries that can usually be found on Turner Classic Movies, but every once in a while, I also adore documentaries that just celebrate the magic of film. “Time Warp” is a fun and insightful look at some of the all time greatest cult films, films that have helped shape the cinematic landscape. Before the internet age, cult films were often accidental. They were films that were usually born from word of mouth or crept up from the corners of studios and captured some sense of awe from the gradually growing fan base.
Severin Films has done an amazing job showing movie fans and collectors the generally colorful and interesting body of cinematic work that Al Adamson left behind. While he’s more generally known for his unfortunately terrible murder, Adamson was also, by all accounts, a very nice man who was creative, innovative and had a genuine love for filmmaking and the people he worked with. “Blood & Flesh” successfully takes us inside the life of the man who had a sincere love for entertaining people, and then digs in to how sometimes our good hearts can put us in the company of the wrong people.
The Ventures are the number one instrumental rock group in the world and everyone has heard at least one of their tracks. To celebrate their 60th anniversary in the business, this documentary digs into where they are from, what makes them so popular, and what’s next for a group that’s been around since the 1960s.
I’ve been an animation nut ever since I was a kid, and it was tough to find varieties of animation since in the nineties it was a steady diet of Disney and Disney only. I was never really aware of the vast possibilities of the medium well into my early adulthood. “Spike & Mike’s Sick & Twisted Festival of Animation” is an event I would have loved to attend early in to my teens, if only to verify that there’s so much more you can do with the medium beyond singing animals, and fairy tales. “Animation Outlaws” is a very niche documentary but an outstanding film that will also speak to all kinds of fans of film and animation.
Satoshi Kon’s “Millennium Actress” has become one of the most celebrated animation masterpieces of all time, and for good reason. It’s managed to transcend everything about its medium to convey a tale that everyone can relate to. A big departure from “Perfect Blue,” his grim polemic about fandom, Kon gifts us “Millennium Actress,” a film that is a great and often riveting celebration about life.
Another year, another mediocre big budget biopic, filled with Oscar aspirations, about a musical genius. I’m a huge fan of Elton John, and have been for years, but he deserves so much more than what is mainly just a serviceable musical drama about his life. While it gets credit for consciously dodging biopic tropes (and seems to also be a retort to “Bohemian Rhapsody” which openly shied away from Freddie Mercury’s sexuality), “Rocketman” only inspired me to re-visit his classic music.
In 1988 my kindergarten class was having a Halloween party with just the class immediately after lunch. It was a very exciting experience for me considering I’d never done anything like that before. At the time we couldn’t really afford elaborate or huge costumes, so my dad bought me a generic mask in a box with the classic plastic smock. I was a mutant. So for a few Halloweens we opted for the sweaty plastic mask with no peripheral vision, and odd smock. That is until they were phased out. For years one of the highlights of Halloween was seeing the rows of boxes of plastics masks and smocks for various characters from Superman to Popeye.
You could basically call “Power of Grayskull” one of the first spin offs from Netflix’s “The Toys That Made Us.” The hit documentary series about the creation of some of the most popular toy lines of all time recently ran an episode about the fascinating history of He-Man. The monstrous eighties toy line and eighties franchise apparently warranted its own documentary. If you haven’t seen the episode, “Power of Grayskull” is a wonderful documentary about the series that digs a bit deeper in to the weird history of He-Man and the Mattel toy line.