Movie Diary 11/6/2022

I’ve watched a lot of documentaries over the last couple of months, but have been remiss in writing them down. So, a few profiles in pop-culture:

Moonage Daydream (Brett Morgen, 2022). An aggressive barrage of David Bowie, full of good music and some groovy images, which I found myself resisting. The film’s technique is avant-garde, but there’s something just a little middlebrow about the overall “it was a career full of change” arc of the narrative. Just to be mildly provocative, you might you say that about Bowie, too.

George Carlin’s American Dream (Judd Apatow, Michael Bonfiglio, 2022). A long look at Carlin’s journey, which had almost as many sharp turns as Bowie’s. It’s definitely the authorized version, but the footage is great, the testimonials are generally sound, and the portrait (heretofore unknown to me) of Carlin’s long marriage is absorbing.

Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen: A Journey, a Song (Daniel Geller, Dayna Goldfine, 2022). There’s the clip in here of Cohen observing that maybe it would be a good idea for people to stop singing his done-to-death hymn, and this film does note the overexposure. On the other hand, they made an entire feature about the song, with Cohen bio material woven in, which strikes me as a great idea for a film but tough to actually sit through, as you will almost certainly become sick of hearing the thing before you reach the 118-minute mark.

Sidney (Reginald Hudlin, 2022). Another one along the authorized-bio lines, but Sidney Poitier’s life was fascinating enough to keep your interest, especially his early life as a Bahamian kid shocked by rampant prejudice when he came to the United States at age 15. A few too many lightweight testimonials in this one – if you thought Oprah was going to produce it without weighing in, you were mistaken.