Movie Diary 9/14/2021

More documentary watching for a critics-group committee.

The Lost Leonardo (Andreas Koefoed, 2021). Somebody discovered the Salvator Mundi by Leonardo da Vinci a little more than a decade ago – or, more precisely, somebody identified a painting of that name as actually being by Leonardo, rather than a student or imitator. A few years later it sold at auction for $450 million, allegedly to Mohammed bin Salman – yes, that MBS. But is the piece actually a Leonardo, or is this a fantastic tale of art-world delusion/greed? We’ve got a heckuva story here, full of shifty personalities and good insider dirt.

Bitchin’: The Sound and Fury of Rick James (Sacha Jenkins, 2021). A chronicle, from James’ early years as a Toronto bandmate of Neil Young to his late-coming success to his drug-addled dark time, and his eventual re-emergence as a Dave Chappelle punch line.

Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It (Mariem Perez Riera, 2021). Approaching 90 as the documentary is being shot, Moreno reflects back on a life devoted to showbiz. A spritzy profile that pretty much hits the expected marks, with the insistent drumbeat of how Moreno’s career was held back by Hollywood stereotyping.

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