Thursday, February 6, 2014

What's Good on Netflix?

My Netflix streaming account is fast becoming my go-to place to watch documentaries.  Here are short summaries of three docs I recommend checking out.

  • Cutie and the Boxer--This 2014 Oscar-nominated doc is a candid look at married artists Ushio Shinohara and Noriko “Cutie” Shinohara.  Ushio, the titular “Boxer” in the film,  came to NYC from Japan  in the 1969 and took the art world by storm and later met Noriko, a fledgling artist 20 years his junior.  The film not only captures the drive and suffering artists endure for their art, but provides a window to the ups and downs of married life, and the sacrifices we make for our loved ones.

  • Blackfish--This doc chronicles the life of Tilikum, a captive killer whale who killed his trainer at SeaWorld in 2010.  The film documents Tikilum’s initial capture, other fatalities in which he was involved, and the circumstances of the 2010 incident. Featuring interviews with former SeaWorld trainers and whale experts, Blackfish is a bleak indictment against SeaWorld for keeping these magnificent animals in captivity for our amusement.  I know I was ready to burn the place down after watching.  Whatever side of the issue you find yourself, this film will invoke a lot of discussion.

  • A Band Called Death--In the 1970s there was a little known punk rock band made up of three brothers (the Hackneys) out of Detroit who called themselves Death.  What makes Death so unusual is the fact that it was probably one of  the first African-American punk rock bands. [Yes, the Hackneys are brothers who are Brothers!]  The doc explores the history of the band and the fairytale-like rediscovery of its music and rise out of obscurity almost four decades later.  What’s even more intriguing is that one of the brothers, who died before the band’s rediscovery, predicted Death’s phoenix-like rise from the ashes.  Worth the watch.

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