The Battered Bastards of Baseball is one of baseball’s last great, unheralded true stories. In 1973, Hollywood veteran Bing Russell (best known for playing Deputy Clem on “Bonanza”) created the only independent baseball team in America at the time, the legendary Portland Mavericks. Bing operated without a Major League affiliation while playing in a city that was considered a wasteland for professional baseball. Tryouts for the Mavericks, which were open to the public, were filled with hopefuls who arrived in droves from every state in America, many of whom had been rejected by organized baseball. Skeptics agreed it would never work. But Bing’s Mavericks generated unprecedented success: they shattered attendance records, signed Kurt Russell – Bing’s son – as a player and team Vice President, produced the most successful batboy in baseball (filmmaker Todd Field), re-launched the controversial career of Jim Bouton, hired the first female general manager in Baseball, and inspired one of America’s beloved bubblegums – Big League Chew.
The Battered Bastards of Baseball is as much about the independent spirit as it is about baseball. The Mavericks’ in your face attitude was contagious to fans, and during their short reign, they – and Bing Russell – basically held up their middle finger to the sports establishment and said we’re playing this game on our terms, not yours. Continue reading
Inequality For All is a documentary, but it feels more like a college lecture. A lecture well worth sitting through! Do you remember back in college when you would have one professor whose lectures you looked forward to? A professor that would not only enlighten you, but empower you? Well if politics, labor, and the economy are of interest to you, then Robert Reich, may be your favorite professor. Continue reading
This documentary shares the love and life of an unusual artistic couple, Ushio Shinohara and his wife Noriko. They first met in 1969. Ushio was a 41-year-old avant-garde artist in New York City. Noriko was a 19-year-old art student who idolized Ushio’s art and passion for his work. Ushio’s work often gained notoriety, appearing in numerous prestigious institutions, but rarely sold. Noriko was content assisting him in the studio, being his wife and raising their son, Alex. Noriko’s art was never the focus until recently when she finally felt free of the assistant role and once again began creating her own works. They’re life together has not been easy. Ushio’s life, much like his art, is bold, messy, impactful, exciting, and loving. Ushio is an eccentric character who for a period of time, struggled with alcoholism and partied as much as he painted. Noriko was the one who struggled to maintain a sense of stability in their household and raised their son. Clearly in the past Ushio was the dominant one, the teacher, but before our eyes we see Noriko finding her self, and her passion.
If you know the art world, you may enjoy this movie on that level, but if not, you can enjoy it for the love story it is. The very real struggles for both art and love. In a moment when Ushio is relaxing in a pool, he reflects saying, “Art is a demon…a demon that drags you along. It’s not something you can stop, even if you should. Maybe you go insane. Your wife leaves, your kid runs away. You throw yourself away to be an artist.”
An interesting, beautiful true story about two very artistic souls.
Rating- 4 stars
The Act of Killing is as bizarre as it is gripping. This documentary, directed by Joshua Oppenheimer, takes a very unconventional approach at getting the truth behind the mass killings made by Indonesian gangsters against those who were believed to be communists living in Indonesia. Continue reading
Perhaps the most overused word when describing fans is “passionate”, but that is the best way to describe all those who attend the behemoth convention that is Comic-Con.
Morgan Spurlock has taken on the task of telling the story of Comic-Con 2010 in the documentary Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope–not an easy feat due to the plethora of characters that attend this convention. Comic-Con is a unique experience for everyone who attends, but Spurlock chooses to zero in on a few specific characters: The Geek, The Designer, The Soldier, The Survivor, The Collector and The Lovers. The film takes these characters from Comic-Con prep time in their hometowns to Comic-Con go time on the convention floor and anyone who has attended can find a piece of their experience in these characters. Continue reading
This past Thursday the Phoenix Film Festival kicked off their 10th Anniversary at the Harkins Scottsdale 101 in Phoenix, Arizona. Over the past ten years the Phoenix Film Festival has given many Phoenicians the chance to see great independent films such as (500) Days of Summer, Do It For Uncle Manny, Bronson, and American Teen to name a few. This year things will be no different as festival goers will get the opportunity to screen films like Cryus starring John C. Reilly and Jonah Hill as well as Middle Men with Luke Wilson and Giovanni Ribisi. Continue reading
It’s understandable that Michael Jackson’s This Is It has become a controversial issue among fans. The film showcases Jackson’s indescribable talent and creative vision, cementing his status as the most amazing entertainer of all time, but will leave audiences with a bittersweet feeling in light of his untimely death. Continue reading
Chris Rock’s new documentary Good Hair began when one of his daughters came to him to ask, “Daddy, how come I don’t have good hair?” The question inspired Rock’s journey through the world of black hair, from barbershops to celebrity interviews to the largest black hair show in Atlanta. Continue reading
There’s no such thing as an objective documentary. Every documentary, right down to the ones about wild animals roaming the tundra, has been injected with some opinion because every documentary is composed of shots and scenes edited together to create a sort of story. Michael Moore is a master of piecing these elements together to create meaning and a message. Continue reading
What can be said about Sasha Baron Cohen’s latest “documentary” Brüno? With bolder quips and tricks, Cohen continues what he does best in films based on characters he originated in Da Ali G Show. Continue reading