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Occupied City

An unofficial cut of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining titled The Shining Forwards and Backwards supposedly features hidden meanings and themes when a reversed version of the movie is superimposed on the original. Filmmaker Steve McQueen (director of the Oscar-winning 12 Years a Slave) applies a similar narrative with his very ambitious (and very long) documentary Occupied City. But instead of mirrored images, McQueen presents several locations around Amsterdam and has narrator Melanie Hyams recite the…

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Your Fat Friend

Anonymous blogging activist-turn-New York Times best selling author Aubrey Gordon is a joy to listen to.  Her opinions regarding her size, as well as the personal experiences that have tangentially spawned because of her weight, have led to outlets allowing Gordon to discuss being fat.  Her career path has also opened opportunities to educate others about various biases and complexities that come from inconsiderate assumptions and soured good intentions.

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One Road to Quartzsite

By: Trevor Chartrand The town of Quartzsite, Arizona hosts an eclectic mix of wanderers each winter, from senior snowbirds in RVs to homeless nomads, from drug addicts to nudist bookstore owners. You’d think the locale, with its bizarre amalgamation of citizens and a variety of worldviews, would be a melting pot for an inevitable conflict.  However, as filmmaker Ryan Maxey demonstrates in his doc One Road to Quartzsite, the town is surprisingly tranquil – peaceful…

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Smoke Sauna Sisterhood

The smoke sauna tradition of Vőromaa, in southern Estonia, is nearly a thousand years old.  On UNESCO’s list of intangible cultural heritage of the world, smoke sauna practices include the building and maintenance of saunas, smoking meat, making bath whisks, and bathing and cleaning rituals.

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Immediate Family

Denny Tedesco’s Immediate Family is the ideal spiritual sequel to his doc debut The Wrecking Crew, and a great example of a comfort film.  I’ve seen this documentary twice now: once to review it, the second just to revisit the groovy atmosphere.

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Billion Dollar Babies: The True Story of the Cabbage Patch Kids

Andrew Jenks’ documentary Billion Dollar Babies: The True Story of the Cabbage Patch Kids will obviously appeal to fans and collectors of the famous toy brand, but it should also reel in viewers who are obsessed with streamable studies on snowballing catastrophes (Tiger King, Fyre, Pepsi, Where’s My Jet?, Trainwreck: Woodstock ’99).  This nichey flick doesn’t boil over with ridiculous, jaw-dropping climaxes, although it is a shock and a hoot to watch ‘80s video footage of…

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Mister Organ

David Farrier is an intrepid journalist and documentarian, but he may have met his match with Mister Organ, an unconventional film that changes its purpose almost as often as its subject changes his personality.

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Silver Dollar Road

Silver Dollar Road, the latest documentary from Oscar nominatee Raoul Peck (I Am Not Your Negro), sets out to make an example of the Reels’ family.  Currently residing in Adams Creek, North Carolina on valuable property sought out by developers, members of the Reels family recount the harassment and drawn out legal battle that they’ve experienced trying to keep their ownership and generational ties to their land.