Is it possible to separate the art from the artist? Documentarian Lisa Immordino Vreeland definitely doesn’t think so, as her examination of the life and career of photographer/artist/costume designer Cecil Beaton understands that the many contradictions in his character informed a lifetime of work across a variety of different mediums.
The public perception of bodybuilding is currently defined by the idea of warped masculinity – a heteronormative activity exclusively for men who take more steroids daily than they have braincells in total. It’s not entirely clear how media representation of bodybuilders has, in the past few decades, gone from presenting them as idealised men to cultural laughing stocks, but T. Cooper’s documentary Man Made is set to send stereotypes back in the opposite direction.
The New York nightclub Studio 54 was so iconic that we feel like we know its story, but this documentary is packed with never-heard details that cast it in a whole new light. The film Studio 54 is solidly well-made, assembled with an insider’s perspective and packed with photos and footage of the top stars of the day partying like there’s no tomorrow.
At one point in HBO’s original documentary Believer, Imagine Dragons vocalist Dan Reynolds is warned that he’s going to open himself up to criticism for organising a pro-LGBTQ concert – just not predominantly from the religiously conservative, but LGBTQ people aghast at a cis-gender, heterosexual white man co-opting their struggle. This is slightly unfair, as both the film and the charity concert presented within are born of good intentions that deserve the renewed spotlight this documentary will place upon them.
This film feels like a dream: a chance to sit down with Ian McKellen and talk about his life and career. McKellen: Playing the Part is a fascinating collection of interviews, snapshots, home movies and film clips, all narrated by the chatty McKellen, who fills every moment with intelligence, humour and emotion.
With a story so detailed that it feels autobiographical, this earthy, natural drama can’t help but catch the audience by surprise as it pushes the characters through a series of intense situations. Golden Boy, is a strongly personal variation on the usual story of a young man who ends up lost on the streets of Los Angeles.
You might think you know the story: two men meet at a remote cruising spot, where men have been mysteriously disappearing for weeks, and find themselves falling deeper into a murderous cat and mouse chase. But this surface level synopsis is the only true similarity between Devil’s Path and 2013’s widely acclaimed anti-thriller Stranger by the Lake, a film to which it will likely be compared based on the subject matter alone.
Every Act of Life proves to be a surprisingly comprehensive documentary, effectively recounting six decades of a successful career at a brisk pace. For theatre fans, this is essential viewing – and for those of you like me, who shamefully don’t watch as many plays as they should, this is still well worth a look.
The Miseducation of Cameron Post is set in the early nineties in Montana, but the film doesn’t wear the cultural differences separating then and now too heavily; a cassette tape here, a “Clinton/Gore” bumper sticker there, but no detail significant enough to leave the audience thinking that what we’re seeing is a relic of the past, and not something that’s unfortunately still taking place well into the 21st century.