Tag: documentary

2020 Mid-Year Catch-Up: Reviews of SHIRLEY and SPACESHIP EARTH

by Ken Bakely

As we arrive at the midpoint of the year, I’ve gone back and started catching up with some noted movies from the last six months. As streaming becomes the only practical form currently available to films, this gives both an easier opportunity to keep tabs on titles of interest and makes it somewhat harder to stay up to date. I begin with capsule reviews of Josephine Decker’s Shirley and Matt Wolf’s Spaceship Earth.

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BLOG: Fyre Sale

Fyre Fraud.jpg

by Ken Bakely

It seems like some kind of bizarrely fitting joke – the kind of of-course onslaught that seemed to mirror the source material’s surreal slew of events – that two documentaries about the ill-fated Fyre Festival would premiere the same week. Watched in tandem, the collective surrealism of their anecdotes presents a distorted, funhouse mirror effect of the combined input of social media advertising, a voyeuristic pleasure that many took in watching the affluent-millennial-aimed music festival crash and burn, and the  delusions of grandeur that were behind the scheme in the first place. Both Jenner Furst and Julia Willoughby Nason’s Fyre Fraud, and Chris Smith’s Fyre, rightly paint the festival’s creator – venture capitalist Billy McFarland – as a con artist, but his actions are viewed differently in a broader spectrum, thus creating interesting fodder for how even the slightest changes in filmmaking approaches and access create radically different narratives. They present fascinatingly mounted investigations, but neither comes close to the sweeping conclusions that they aim for – though that’s not to say that they don’t each have their share of evocative achievements as they pursue their own ideologies, and have an odd synergy when taken together.

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