Movie Diary 9/6/2021

Watching documentaries for a committee. Are some of these embargoed? Don’t know. I shall try to be discreet.

Val (Ting Poo, Leo Scott, 2021). Portrait of Val Kilmer, made up of his own ridiculously extensive home movies, plus footage of him living his current cancer-affected life. To say that Kilmer is rather childlike is to understate it, which makes it all the more intriguing to wonder where his best performances came from. Now, can we see the feature-length doc made entirely of footage from The Island of Dr. Moreau, please?

The One and Only Dick Gregory (Andre Gaines, 2021). Good profile of the remarkable comedian-turned activist. The early-60s stuff is especially fine in reminding us of how Gregory had developed a public presence – smooth, confident, droll – that in itself spoke as loudly as his jokes.

My Name Is Pauli Murray (Julie Cohen, Betsy West, 2021). The life of a notable civil-rights figure, historically significant as “the first Black woman” to achieve a variety of notable accomplishments (even if, in her later years, she stubbornly clung to “Negro” as the hard-won descriptor of respect), newly of interest as someone whose gender identification would likely find fuller expression today. A very good person to know about.

Gustav Stickley: American Craftsman (Herb Stratford, 2021). Yet another bio, of the designer. It was that kind of weekend.

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