Documentaries are so perfect because they help provide insights into aspects of life that are often outside the realm of our own experience. Here are five dynamic docs that are worthy or your time. Although vastly different, each of these offers up a candid analysis of its topic — mirroring the human experience along the way.
Produced by Paramount Pictures in the early 1930s, these short subjects offered fans a peek behind the studio gates, with some of the biggest stars of the era seen performing, relaxing, or mugging for the camera. Gary Cooper, Joan Crawford, Bing Crosby, Cary Grant, Jeanette MacDonald, Tom Mix, Mary Pickford, Ginger Rogers, Randolph Scott, and Barbara Stanwyck are just a few of the featured notables.
Filmmaker Yaniv Schulman didn’t know exactly what he was getting into when he befriends (and soon falls for) the sister of an 8-year-old Michigan artist over the Internet–and chances are, neither will you when you settle in to watch this talked-about, suspenseful “reality thriller.” Sensing his new online friend has some secrets to uncover, “Nev” allows brother Ariel (who co-directs with Henry Joost) to videotape his unnerving and fascinating journey towards “the truth.” With Megan Faccio, Melody C. Roscher.
Only one man can make that claim with that kind of gravitas–and he is the subject of this inspiring new portrait of Muhammad Ali. Employing rare audio materials from Ali’s personal archives, along with heartwarming insights provided by friends, family members, and fellow fighting titans Mike Tyson, George Foreman, and business manager Gene Kilroy, the film delivers an intimate account of the sports legend unlike any previous examination of his life and career.
Incisive, absorbing documentary looks at the career and troubled personal life of “On the Road” and “The Dharma Bums” author Jack Kerouac. Anecdotes and recollections from William S. Burroughs, Neal Cassady, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Allen Ginsberg, and others, along with rare TV interviews with Steve Allen and William F. Buckley, offer a distinctive film portrait of the Beat Generation icon.
Show business sensation Madonna pulls out all the stops in this really neat chronicle of her 1990 Blonde Ambition Tour. The film captures the intensity of her performances, as well as many controversial behind-the-scenes moments. Songs include “Material Girl,” “Like a Prayer,” “Cherish,” and “Like a Virgin.”
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