Viewer’s Discretion: ‘Abducted in Plain Sight’ and ‘The Cry’

‘ABDUCTED IN PLAIN SIGHT’ (NETFLIX) Much has been made of this true-crime documentary in regards to the victim and her parents, with the idea that only stupidity on the part of Mary Ann and Bob Broberg could explain their gullibility in falling for the manipulations of sociopathic pedophile Robert Berchtold that led to his abduction […]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘Dreams of a Life’ and ‘Putin’s Kiss’

“Dreams of a Life” (Fandor, Vudu) Loneliness can be a hard thing to portray in a film. The challenge is to show what isn’t there and what the person is missing, to capture a negative space so that we not only understand the enormity of what is missing from the person’s life but what about […]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘Art and Craft’ and ‘Keeping Faith’

‘ART AND CRAFT’ (AMAZON, FANDOR, HOOPLA, SUNDANCE NOW) When I think of art forgers, I think of crafty con men who are in it for the big money, so Mark Landis, the subject of “Art and Craft,” went against what I envisioned. Landis is an art forger, but a quirky one. He gives his art […]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘Killing Eve’ and ‘The Pain of Others’

“Killing Eve” (Amazon, Apple) “Killing Eve” manages the impossible by feeling fresh without actually doing much radical to the genre it inhabits, espionage. At least not much obviously radical — it’s the subtleties that do that work. This is the story of a woman operative for MI5 who feels she never gets her due and finds an […]

From The Archive: The Movie Bastard

(Back in the 1990s when everyone was creating their own zine, I set about — inspired by everything from Psychotronic to Leonard Maltin — to create my own movie guide in zine form. I called it The Movie Bastard. At the time we were working on a comic called Very Vicky and didn’t have a lot of money, especially […]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘Journey To Greenland’ and ‘Thicker Than Water’

‘JOURNEY TO GREENLAND’ (NETFLIX) Cross-cultural stories have become harder to put onto film as awareness has risen about the offensive tropes such narratives cling to. If it’s not the white-person-as-savior chestnut, then it’s the magic foreigner one. We’ve become so accustomed to those cliches that they seem reasonable as if they somehow reflect any of […]

Viewer’s Discretion: “On Body and Soul” and “Who Are You People?”

‘ON BODY AND SOUL’ (NETFLIX) Despite our scientific understanding of attraction, the specifics of why we fall in love with the people we do still command a mystical place in our experience. Some of us believe in soul mates, while others subscribe to more practical reasoning, like having the same interests. This Hungarian drama explores […]

Viewer’s Discretion: “The Breadwinner” and “The Square”

Viewer’s Discretion: “The Breadwinner” and “The Square”

‘THE BREADWINNER’ (AMAZON, GOOGLE PLAY, NETFLIX, VUDU) Based on the book by Deborah Ellis, this gorgeous Oscar-nominated animated film tells the story of Parvana (Saara Chaudry), a young girl living in Afghanistan during the rule of the Taliban. She usually accompanies her father, a former teacher, to the marketplace to help sell off their belongings […]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘The End of the Fucking World’ and ‘Spettacolo’

‘THE END OF THE FUCKING WORLD (NETFLIX)You can stare at your TV forever and never see another show like “The End of the Fucking World,” a heartbreaking, stunning adaptation of the graphic novel by cartoonist Charles Forsman. There are shows that portray broken people, indeed, but it’s rare that rather than focusing on the points […]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘I, Olga Hepnarova’ and ‘Phyllis and Harold’

“I, Olga Hepnarova” (Amazon, Netflix, Vudu) Based on the life a Czechoslovakian murderer — who killed eight people and injured 12 by driving a truck into them in 1973 — this story is well-known in the country of the horror, but less so in America. As such, depending on the nationality, different viewers are going to get different things […]

Forgotten TV: The Girl From Tomorrow

In the annals of cool girls in science fiction, The Girl From Tomorrow stands out as a little known, but entirely pivotal chapter. So much better than it ever needed to be, this Australian show from 1990 follows the adventures of teenager Jenny Kelly ((Melissa Marshall) dissatisfied, bored, a kid who doesn’t fit in at […]

Alicia Svigals

Klezmatics founder Alicia Svigals is considered one of the foremost Klezmer violinists in the world, and her work on a new score for the 1918 silent film “Yellow Ticket” has allowed her to immerse herself in the world her music evokes. “Yellow Ticket” will screen at Mass MoCA on Saturday, Nov. 16, at 8 p.m., […]

Sam Green “The Love Song of R. Buckminster Fuller”

R. Buckminster Fuller is renowned for his work as an architect, inventor and much more, including the development of geodesic domes. In the documentary, “The Love Song of R. Buckminster Fuller,” Fuller’s work is expressed as a live performance with director Sam Green and rock band Yo La Tengo making film-going less reliant on just […]

Omar Mullick and Bassam Tariq “These Birds Walk”

A new documentary captures the dark world of Pakistani runaways and the streams of light that manage to get into their lives. “These Birds Walk” screens at Images Cinema on Monday, July 22, at 7 p.m., with an appearance by Todd Reynolds, the film’s soundtrack composer. Co-directors Omar Mullick and Bassam Tariq originally wanted to […]

Jeff Kleiser

Visual effects master Jeff Kleiser has taken his work to Bollywood recently, but now he has his vision focused directly at home. Kleiser will host a screening of the Indian film “Ra.One,” which his company, Synthespian Studios, did the visual effects for, at Mass MoCA on Thursday, Aug. 22, at 8 p.m. Kleiser’s company was […]

Kathy McCabe, producer of “Good Ol’ Freda”

You already know all the famous names in The Beatles legend. There’s John , Paul, George, Ringo, of course. Yoko. Linda. George Martin. Brian Epstein. Maybe Pete Best. You might even know Stu Sutcliffe and Tony Sheridan. But there’s one fixture of The Beatles’ camp — Freda Kelly — whose existence might surprise some. A new documentary, “Good Ol’ Freda,” […]

Jeffrey Schwarz , director of “I Am Divine”

Overweight drag queen actor Divine’s name largely lives on in infamy for his outrageous acts, which include eating dog feces on camera. A new documentary film suggests that his real radicalism was the way he lived his private life, as much as his public one. “I Am Divine” screens at The Beacon in Pittsfield on […]

Cano Rojas “The Human Tower”

The documentary film, “The Human Tower,” follows three manifestations of human tower festivals around the world — in Spain, Chile and India. These events involve crowds of people forming multi-level towers by climbing up on one another in competitions and performances The film, co-directed by Ram Devineni and Cano Rojas, began when Devineni invited Rojas to join […]

Scott Thurman “The Revisionaries”

Local politics is of national concern — that’s one of the lessons from Scott Thurman’s documentary covering the attack on evolution by the Texas Board of Education. The film began as Thurman’s graduate thesis and eventually expanded to focus on the state board of education debate on science standards. Thurman attended board of education meetings and turned […]

Ben Shapiro “Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters”

A new documentary about photographer Gregory Crewdson captures not only his creative method, but his life-long relationship with the Berkshires, which fuels his photography. The film “Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters” makes its area premiere at the Berkshire International Film Festival on Sunday at 7 p.m. at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center. Crewdson’s renown has centered […]

Kevin Clash

Kevin Clash might be one of the most famous people in the world, but you probably wouldn’t recognize him or even know him by his voice. He looks much different on television. Clash is best known for his work on “Sesame Street” as the red Muppet superstar Elmo. He will appear at Images Cinema in […]

Marco Benevento

Pianist Marco Benevento never imagined his greatest career challenge would be lobbed at him by none other than Vincent Price. Benevento was commissioned by Celebrate Brooklyn to provide a new score for Roger Corman’s adaptation of Edgar Allen Poe’s “House of Usher,” which starred Price. The 1960 film will be screened at Mass MoCA as […]

Califone

Musician Tim Rutili and his band Califone play ghosts in their new film “All My Friends Are Funeral Singers,” as well as on stage where they play alongside the movie as the audience watches. In Rutili’s film, the destructive nature of superstition and tradition are examined through the life of a young psychic, Zel (played […]

Profile: Michael Sladek, director of “Con Artist”

A new documentary film by Michael Sladek captures one dangling thread from the New York City art world explosion of the 1980s — the controversial figure Mark Kostabi — and imbues the legend with a level of humanity that does not soften his impact, negative or otherwise. Sladek’s film, “Con Artist,” screens at the Berkshire International Film Festival on […]

Profile: Penny Lane

Filmmaker Penny Lane has taken her experimental video-making and passed it along to her students at Williams College — as with any good experimental art, she was surprised by what her students came up with. Lane’s class, “Experimental Television Production,” gave her the chance to pass on her expertise in the area — and discover how differently those younger […]

Profile: Ilisa Barbash and Lucien Castaing-Taylor “Sweetgrass”

Filmmakers Ilisa Barbash and Lucien Castaing-Taylor are both anthropologists based at Harvard University — she is curator of visual anthropology at the Peabody Museum; he is director of the Sensory Ethnography Lab. Their new documentary film, “Sweetgrass,” captures the change in the American West by documenting the last sheepherders on Montana’s Beartooth Mountains to make a practice […]

Andrew Cockburn “American Casino”

When the subprime meltdown became critical in January 2008, husband and wife filmmakers Andrew and Leslie Cockburn jumped into action to capture the unraveling — and try to make some sense of it. The result was the film “American Casino.” What the Cockburns found was a situation so labyrinthine, so confusing to the general public, that much […]

The Yes Men

In the new movie “The Yes Men Fix the World,” Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno continue their performance infiltrations, which serve as political action with a sense of humor. The film documents their recent exploits, including a fraudulent apology and promise of a clean-up from Dow Chemical for the 1984 chemical spill in Bhopal, Madhya […]

Profile: Found Footage Festival

As technological standards move along, a pile of discarded videotapes has been created — and people like Joe Pickett and Nick Prueher are wading through the mounds to retrieve otherwise lost gold from oblivion. Pickett and Prueher are the curators behind the Found Footage Festival, a collection of oddball video clips that could feature anything from animated […]

Scott Hicks

Director Scott Hicks won acclaim — and a couple Oscar nominations — for his film “Shine,” which told the traumatic story of Australian pianist David Helfgott, but he’s finding himself once again on the Academy Awards shortlist for a documentary about legendary musical composer Philip Glass — “Glass: A Portrait of Philip in Twelve Parts.” The experience of making the film […]