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Documentary

‘Generation Wealth’ Tells Us What We Already Know

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

CHICAGO – When it comes to really being rich, what do we already know? Money doesn’t buy happiness. Family and friendship connections are more important than accumulation. Yet those simple lessons keep being broken up by the excess of more, the values of which are in the documentary “Generation Wealth.”

Director Eugene Jarecki Crowns Elvis Presley ‘The King’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 5.0/5.0
Rating: 5.0/5.0

CHICAGO – Elvis Presley, besides being one of the most famous entertainers of the 20th Century, does symbolize to an extent what can happen to icons when they turn towards certain directions in a career. Director Eugene Jarecki has created an amazing documentary about Elvis called “The King,” that uses his rise and decline as a symbol for the American Dream.

Life, Geopolitics & Hockey in Excellent ‘Red Army’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.5/5.0
Rating: 4.5/5.0

CHICAGO – How often can we learn life lessons from the most unlikely of sources? The documentary “Red Army” is one such source, as director Gabe Polsky tells the story of the Soviet Union hockey team, which expands to the the very parameters of human nature and competition.

BP Spill Aftermath Exposed in Humanizing Doc ‘The Great Invisible’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

CHICAGO – Four years later, and the change that lamentably only comes from the casualties of life and livelihood has not reached the Gulf of Mexico. Director Margaret Brown’s documentary compassionately bestows a disillusioned voice to the affected individuals, from oil riggers to oyster shuckers, whose reliance on the gulf’s livelihood was devastated when BP spilled a total of 176 million gallons of oil over 87 days starting on April 20, 2010.

Ego an Arduous Carousel in Documentary ‘Harmontown’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.0/5.0
Rating: 2.0/5.0

CHICAGO – Dan Harmon does not look very good in his documentary “Harmontown,” which is probably why he agreed to the project. The creator of NBC’s cult comedy “Community” is presented wantonly in this documentation of his tour across America to interact with his fans through live recordings of his podcast “Harmontown.”

More Questions Than Answers in ‘Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.5/5.0
Rating: 2.5/5.0

CHICAGO – Not much is really revealed about the subject of the documentary “Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon,” co-directed by comedian Mike Myers. Shep is a rock star agent, Shep gets rich, Shep shares his Hawaiian beach condo with big stars, Shep represents gourmet chefs, Shep likes to cook and Shep strangely wants kids, despite being in his sixties and not being able to maintain any domestic relationship. There is no there in this film, only the spoils of good representation.

Documentary ‘Kids for Cash’ Shares Multiple Viewpoints

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

CHICAGO – The funny thing about documentaries is that any goal of truly replicating reality, or the truth, is impossible. Unless a documentary film were to convey an experience with 360 degrees and 24/7 coverage (AKA life), it will always be a subjective endeavor. Documentary storytellers are always creating a point of view, simply by choosing where to point a camera, and where to cut a sequence.

‘Blackfish’ Emphasizes Folly of Animal Captivity

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

CHICAGO – We see the public service ads often – dogs and cats in captivity after neglect and abuse. The images parade by, and the sadness in their expressions are heartbreaking. The same can be said for killer whales in captivity, used for SeaWorld shows and exploited in “Blackfish.”

‘The Source Family’ Reveals a Communal Past

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

CHICAGO – What did you do during the 1970s, Daddy? After this Father’s Day, many adult kids might be asking that question after seeing “The Source Family.” This documentary is about a commune that began in California (naturally) in the 1970s, even after the infamous Manson Family.

Frustrating ‘Somm’ Fails to Justify a Tasting

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.5/5.0
Rating: 2.5/5.0

CHICAGO – “The history of wine is fascinating” – This is only one of many things in the frustrating “Somm,” opening today in Chicago at the Music Box and accompanied by actual wine tastings in the theater, that we’re told but not really shown. I love wine. I drink it too often.

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