Roadrunner

October 27, 2021 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | Documentary, FILM, FOOD, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

A film about Anthony Bourdain  (Directed by Morgan Neville) (2021) Famously rockstar-level restaurateur, best-selling author (Kitchen Confidential), martial arts expert and prolific television host, the subject of Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain was no doubt a wildly successful man.  As we have come to expect from biographical documentaries, this level of achievement means that he must also have been deeply unhappy. And often unkind.  One of his friends is reduced to tears recalling Bourdain telling him, “You’ll never be a good dad”.   Bourdain’s two marriages, to a childhood sweetheart and a restaurant executive, failed, in part because he was…

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This is a Robbery

April 22, 2021 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, Documentary, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(The World’s Biggest Art Heist) (Directed by Colin Barnicle) (Netflix, 2021) The documentary tells (at Dickensian length) an intriguing story: how in 1990 two men dressed as Boston police officers were admitted to the elegant and boutique Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, in dead of night, tied up the two slipshod guards and stuck them in a basement area, and helped themselves, in a leisurely fashion, to 13 artworks, several of them priceless (to use an old cliché). SPOILER ALERT: We have to plough through 4 episodes to learn that, $10m reward notwithstanding, the works have not been recovered, nor anyone…

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Zappa

February 21, 2021 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Documentary, FILM, Modern Music, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Directed by Alex Winter) (2020) Frank Zappa (21/12/1940 – 4/12/1993) was a one man show created for an audience of one: himself. Obsessively writing, arranging and producing realms of material, he’d allow others to perform with him, though they were never quite good enough, and he’d suffer people to buy his records or attend his concerts, although they weren’t really hip enough to understand the work. It was either his way or go elsewhere. And his unorthodox, multi-faceted output is always interesting, even if, for example, a double album like 200 Motels turns out to be a bizarre waste of time….

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Brian Pern: A Life in Rock

November 12, 2020 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Comedy Film, Documentary, FILM, MUSIC, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

BBC TV (2014 – 2016) These 3 series, following, in semi-documentary style, the musical wanderings of Stowe-educated prog rock mystic and pain-in-the-neck Brian Pern, is one of the most hilarious things on TV, a worthy descendant of This is Spinal Tap, only better because it is not so loosely based on Peter Gabriel. The [Genesis/Thotch] pastoral schoolboy silliness of the early seventies gives way to the Great schism of 1977, allowing Brian Pern to pursue both solo career and role of secular saint and activist, where his insane lack of sense of linear time drives record producers, his former band,…

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The Circus

(Showtime) This documentary (more of a fly-on-the-wall ride-along) looks at the bizarre 2016 primaries and general election in the US. The access to the candidates is terrific, even better than the Pennebaker piece, but you get the sense that whilst Donald Trump kept on winning, his rivals kept attacking the Republican candidate next in line, as they clearly couldn’t accept such an outlier: denial of clear facts over bruised feelings aka derangement syndrome, replicated even after he was endorsed by the GOP and contested the election against Hillary Clinton. The footage is king here; but the analysis is also vastly…

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