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.
by Ken Bakely
As the end of 2018 approaches, critics everywhere are drawing up lists and countdowns to commemorate the year in movies. While I plan to compile a traditional top 10 list, I still have a few 2018 releases to catch up on, and so I’m not ready to debut it just yet. However, I would like to take this opportunity to share capsule reviews on five movies from the past year that I didn’t have the chance to write full reviews for, but would strongly recommend seeking out before you fill out your own retrospectives for the year. They’re listed in alphabetical order.