Two podcasting comedians – a skeptic and a believer – investigate the existence or otherwise of ghosts. This fine documentary spin-off from the Parapod podcast balances comedy, exploration of the value of evidence and the power of belief while probing tensions in male relationships, largely through testing the limits of the wind-up. Recommended.
A history – and a geography – of this mode of storytelling in film and television. More folk than horror, this overlong documentary is somewhat unfocused (depth is sacrificed for breadth), but nevertheless interesting. Feels like a TV series re-edited without titles: something to dip into rather than watch in one go. Worth your time though.
A continuation of the documentary exploration of 1980s-made (mostly) US horror. Much more (4.5 hours) of the same, though with some deeper cuts this time around. Depth is sacrificed for breadth, and the pattern of trailer clip plus talking head per movie gets repetitive, but there’s affection on display for the genre throughout.
A documentary about revival cinema (and the need for there to be 35mm prints of movies), focusing on the New Beverly cinema in Los Angeles. A straightforward but charming little film about cinema, the communal experience of watching together, and about movie-going. Recommended.
A documentary filmmaker investigates whaling, to uncover a global network of criminal and climate-challenging practices liked to commercial fishing. Seaspiracy doesn’t really connect the dots (there isn’t a conspiracy – it’s just plain greed) or land all of its punches, but there’s some interesting material and footage presented, even if the subject matter doesn’t fit with the film’s structure.
A documentary covering a season’s dig at Saqqara outside Cairo, focusing on the tomb of Wahtye. Excellent, compassionate, and detailed overview of an archaeological dig, keen to emphasis the humanity of the participants and links between Egypt’s ancient past and its present. Recommended.
A documentary on Action Park, a notoriously dangerous New Jersey amusement park, and on its charismatic criminal owner. A straightforward and largely enjoyable overview, though one that struggles to balance the human impact of negligence with fond and at times gung-ho 80s nostalgia.
A team of Nepalese clear Everest of detritus left by climbers, while also retrieving bodies. Slightly clumsy, but well-meaning and with a strong central message, this Patrick Stewart-narrated documentary makes clear environmental points as well as commenting on wasteful adventure tourism.
A history of capitalism with projections for the future, based on Thomas Piketty’s bestseller. A clear and accessible overview, engaging and brisk, documenting continuity and change in economic terms between the Industrial Revolution and now. Recommended.
A fascinating documentary surrounding the rise and fall of arcade coin-op game company Williams/Bally Midway. In depth and detailed insight from the management, design teams and infamous game designers like Eugene Jarvis and Mark Turmell. Niche but excellent!