By Donna Bourgois. It’s that time again, y’all! (Time to… see how much of a piece of shit I truly am? Turns out, less than last month.)

I’m getting a lot closer to being on target. The carrot is dangling, folks, the finish line is in sight. All I need is just one day to sit and crank out the films for this project. Sure, I could watch some movies, but chapter four of Life is Strange just came out, and Xur most likely has some pretty sick exotics this week! In other news, I’m thinking of changing my middle name to “excuses”.

Despite trying to sabotage myself a much as possible, I did manage to watch a lot of documentaries this month. Fifteen out of the thirty-three films I watched this month were documentaries, and four of those fifteen were industry films, focusing on writing and directing. That’s insane, but you know what they say: knowledge is power. I certainly must be powerful, because I definitely gained some knowledge this month. A real +15 intellect on my character sheet.

Nina-Simone1-1024x677What Happened, Miss Simone?

Directed by Liza Garbus.

Running time 101 min.

Screened via Netflix.

Nina Simone is an icon with a beautiful voice and an amazing message. The film can be divided into two acts. Act one, setting the stage for Simone. Act two, Civil Rights. Garbus focuses too heavily on Simone’s integral involvement in the Civil Rights movement and loses the original subject by the end.

Inside-Out-Pixar-Post-1Inside Out

Directed by Pete Docter and Ronaldo Del Carmen.

Running time 94 min.

Screened via Alamo Drafthouse.

The latest and greatest from the Pixar crew does not disappoint. Of course the animation is amazing and the jokes all land perfectly. What I find most endearing about the newest animated tale is the way the team embraces the negative emotions. Sometimes you’re just a bummer and that’s ok.

sourcefamily_toppageThe Source Family

Directed by Maria Demopoulos and Jodi Wille.

Running time 98 min.

Screened via Netflix.

I’ve stated in previous reviews that I eat up anything about cults, so it was really only a matter of time before I watched The Source Family. The documentary does an excellent job going through the timeline of the Family and giving each of the members a fair shake. I found the film interesting, engaging, and well developed.

l-ecume-des-jours-05-2013-13-gL’écume des jours

Directed by Michel Gondry.

Running time 94 min.

Screened via Vulcan Video.

I am a hard sell on Gondry, but somehow I’ve managed to see all of his films. This carries on with Gondry’s familiar feel, as characters take a backseat to the insane contraptions and animations running around throughout the film. If you love a good Shakespearean-esque tragedy, or if you’re looking for something to wake up your eyes, this is for you.

Montage-Of-Heck-630x420Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck

Directed by Brett Morgen.

Running time 145 min.

Screened via HBO Go.

A tumultuous existence with relationships constantly bordering on turmoil: Cobain undoubtedly had a rough time accepting his life. Nirvana fan or not this film is a touching look at a band, a family, and a man, the likes of which we have not seen since.

the_sisterhood_of_night_stillThe Sisterhood of Night

Directed by Caryn Waechter.

Running time 104 min.

Screened via Netflix.

In the age of the internet it’s hard to believe there was a time when witch trials were a thing. Waechter brings the same feeling of secrecy and lies to The Sisterhood of the Night. The film deals heavily with technology and blogs and the “it” girls. It’s an interesting reboot on an otherwise overdone subject but the dialogue and acting is pretty difficult to sit through.

going-clear-1024Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief

Directed by Alex Gibney.

Running time 119 min.

Screened via HBO Go.

I’ve tried to wrap my head around Scientology a ton of times. I think I got it now? Maybe. It’s so insane! This is a great glimpse into the life of a scientology member(?), providing insight from members at all walks of the scientology ladder(?). I guess I still don’t get it.

MY-WINNIPEG.jpg.700x400_q85My Winnipeg

Directed by Guy Maddin.

Running time 80 min.

Screened via Vulcan Video.

As a lover of documentaries I found this movie infuriating. Maddin blends fact and fiction, scripted scenes with organic film, and I was not a fan. The dialogue is somewhere between mystic mantras and spoken word. Despite my desire to never watch this again, I must say that the film does have a lucid flow. I can see why people love this film; it just wasn’t for me.

hot-shots-1991-09-gHot Shots!

Directed by Jim Abrahams.

Running time 84 min.

Screened via HBO Go.

It had been a long time since I last watched this film and I’m happy to say that it was just as funny as I remember, but one that you certainly have to be in the right mood for. What is particularly insane in Hot Shots! is that it Abrahams basically predicted Two and a Half Men.

Deli Man

Directed by Erik Anjou.

Running time 92 min.

Screened via Vulcan Video.

Oh sweet, sweet pastrami on rye, how I miss you so. Deli Man is a documentary about the history of the delicatessen and the people that run these American staples. If you are thinking about sitting down to enjoy this film, make sure you do so with a reuben or whatever your favorite sandwich is.


Directed by Jennifer Phang.

Running time 90 min.

Screened via Netflix.

Phang succeeds in creating a science fiction film with a lead Asian American female, which is like hitting some kind of cinematic bingo. However, that is about the only place the film experiences success; Advantageous suffers from being terribly boring.

2268 (Medium)The Last American Hero

Directed by Lamont Johnson.

Running time 95 min.

Screened via Vulcan Video.

Johnson’s Hero has to have the most subdued Busey performance that I have witnessed so far. As you might have guessed, this was the early Busey film for the most recent Gary Buseytown Massacre podcast episode. I cannot stress enough how much of a boring waste of time this film was. barf.

ws7RUn6azElfZzBUieQc09V8nDsBlack Sheep

Directed by Penelope Spheeris.

Running time 87 min.

Screened via Netflix.

I am pretty certain it is safe to say that Black Sheep is the black sheep of Tommy Boy. The jokes don’t land, the physical comedy is sloppy, and the story relies on tired plot devices. It was nice revisiting a movie from my childhood, and of course I love a movie with Busey, but I’m happy to never revisit this family member again.

background_53183Grzeli nateli dgeebi

Directed by Nana Ekvtimishvili and Simon Groß.

Running time 102 min.

Screened via Vulcan Video.

An absolutely fascinating look at nineties Georgian life, focusing on two teen girls are their everyday trials. I was pretty engrossed by the story, and spent the majority of the time on the edge of my seat waiting for something terrible to happen. Ultimately, the film is a coming of age tale of two girls in a life that I will never know, and I found it captivating.

doc51b3fde7c2ecf587673359The Cheshire Murders

Directed by Kate Davis.

Running time 113 min.

Screened via HBO Go.

An interesting documentary that one could easily, and wrongly, assume is about a specific crime. The majority of the film is spent covering the trial and justification of capital punishment. I was primarily interested in the actual crime portion of this documentary and since the film did not deliver on that front I was a bit disappointed.

tso_liangThe Search for General Tso

Directed by Ian Cheney.

Running time 71 min.

Screened via Netflix.

I’m not really a fan of the General, but how could I possibly watch this doc without ordering delivery from the first good Chinese restaurant I’ve found in Austin? I happily munched on my Chinese and learned, laughed, and enjoyed the warm glow of the memories shared about this American delivery staple.

movgal3243Fight Club: Members Only

Directed by Abhay Chopra and Vikram Chopra.

Running time 145 min.

Screened via Vulcan Video.

Despite what you might be thinking, this is not a porno, but a Bollywood version of the schizophrenic classic Fight Club. Except it’s not, which is as good a mind fuck than anything that happened in the original. I’d be happy if I could go back in time and prevent myself from ever renting this bad boy.

B9316894349Z.1_20150408092716_000_GL1AEMMR9.1-0An Honest Liar

Directed by Tyler Measom and Justin Weinstein.

Running time 90 min.

Screened via Netflix.

Focusing on James Randi, a magician whose life’s work gained a new focus with the dawn of “healers”. The subject matter of this documentary is absolutely fascinating. Unfortunately despite such an interesting topic the film is moves at a crawling pace until it eventually crashes into the ending.


Directed by Judd Apatow.

Running time 125 min.

Screened via Alamo Drafthouse.

A sweet, carefree, amusingly perfect summer fling flick. I enjoyed myself and laughed throughout, this is exactly the kind of film I want to see in the hundred degree days in Texas. If you’re looking for a sweet comedy or something that might challenge your hatred for Lebron, look no further.


Directed by Patrick Brice.

Running time 82 min.

Screened via Netflix.

The story was more along the lines of something you’d read on /r/nosleep, but in a good way. What is most interesting about this film is that it is written, directed, and acted solely by Patrick Brice and Mark Duplass. Creep is, well, creepy, and mildly unsettling. If you’re looking for an easy-going, non-committal, real beachy stroll-loving horror film, this is the one for you.

It_Follows_review_-_CANNES_article_story_largeIt Follows

Directed by David Robert Mitchell.

Running time 100 min.

Screened via PSN Streaming.

While I can see an easy argument being made for this being an ultra conservative, super christian, pro-abstinence film, I think that is a cheap way to look at a film that’s so much more. Mitchell succeeds in capturing the old horror feel, and comes away with a refreshing film in the genre.

richie_sophia2_wide-5f0082fbbb62be438ce73ecc3337c7a8ece4b9cd-s900-c85 - EditedBefore I Disappear

Directed by Shawn Christensen.

Running time 93 min.

Screened via Netflix.

An interesting plot that unfortunately fell short due to poor execution. The main objective of the film is abundantly clear from the start of the film so the romance and mystery are gone right at the start. The best of the film is by far the cinematography, the film is really quite beautiful in a dark, dirty way.

MV5BNTUzMDIyMjYyM15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNDA0MTU4OQ@@._V1_SX640_SY720_Peggy Sue Got Married

Directed by Francis Ford Coppola.

Running time 103 min.

Screened via Vulcan Video.

The adult version of Freaky Friday and a movie I was forced to watch for Nic Cage special edition of the Gary Buseytown Massacre. After weeding through the dated jokes and references I found the true star of this film: Nic Cage’s hair. I imagine the voice Cage used here is the natural speaking voice for his hair.

246_4The Rock

Directed by Michael Bay.

Running time 136 min.

Screened via PSN Streaming.

The second film we watched for our bonus episode of The Gary Buseytown Massacre. Sadly, I wasn’t as in love with this film as when I was a child. This movie is like cargo pants, endless pockets filled with nothing. I’m talking minimal return on invested time. The nostalgia that put this film on a pedestal is what caused its demise.

lostsoulLost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island of Dr. Moreau

Directed by David Gregory.

Running time 97 min.

Screened via Netflix.

Lost Soul is easily one of the best documentaries I’ve watched this year. It’s hard to point one person at fault for what is probably the worst iteration of Island of Dr. Moreau. Not unlike a trainwreck, it’s impossible to look away.

13evil.600Deliver Us from Evil

Directed by Amy Berg.

Running time 101 min.

Screened via HBO Go.

Not to be confused with the countless horror films of the same name, Berg’s documentary focuses on pedophilia in the Catholic church. This heavy and emotional topic is navigated with expertise. This is a moody piece of work and you certainly have to be in the right mood and mindset to tackle this monster.

greenfield_ex_thin_01Thin (2006)

Directed by Lauren Greenfield.

Running time 102 min.

Screened via HBO Go.

Another raw and powerful documentary from the always relevant HBO. Thin takes place in rehab center for people struggling with an eating disorder. Greenfield shows the facility through the eyes of patients and staff alike. While the methods of the staff seem dated and careless at times, the message of the film is powerful and tragic.


Directed by Joey Figueroa and Zak Knutson.

Running time 103 min.

Screened via Netflix.

An interesting look at a revolutionary writer and director, where this documentary succeeds is in not revealing their hand. Figueroa and Knutson create a driving mystery around Milius, culminating in the reveal of his current day. A touching documentary that shows how prolific a screenwriter can truly be.

pactt1The Pact

Directed by Nicholas McCarthy.

Running time 89 min.

Screened via Netflix.

If twenty minutes of the plot wasn’t enough to turn you away; every time a character opens their mouth and vomits a slue of words should be. Through the direction and writing of McCarthy we have an absolute mess, but how much of the blame falls on him in place of the casting director, who can say.

8The Pact II

Directed by Dallas Richard Hallam and Patrick Horvath.

Running time 96 min.

Screened via Netflix.

One of the rare times when a sequel is better than the original, though that didn’t seem too difficult. Picking up where the last one left off, we fall into similar trap. However, this time around, and perhaps thanks to the new directing duo, we find ourselves in a position of mystery. Perhaps we don’t know who the killer is! Oh joy!

showrunners-the-art-of-running-a-tv-showShowrunners: The Art of Running a TV Show

Directed by Des Doyle.

Running time 90 min.

Screened via Netflix.

Clearly, I cannot get enough of Hollywood based documentaries this month. I’m all about that directing and writing life right now. You may ask, am I working on a script at the moment? So what if I am? What a great documentary to watch for any aspiring director or writer.

refn2__largeMy Life Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn

Directed by Liv Corfixen.

Running time 58 min.

Screened via Netflix.

Rounding out my month of documentary fixation, I decided why not and consumed what could have been a special feature on the Only God Forgives Blu-ray. Corfixen, wife of Nicolas Winding Refn, moves the family from Denmark to Bangkok, and naturally decides to film the entire thing. Surprisingly, the film is quite captivating.

0c6b7d0e_paulblart3x2Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2

Directed by Nick Fickman.

Running time 94 min.

Screened via PSN Streaming.

What if fat jokes didn’t stem from a body-shaming culture obsessed with bullying and hate, but from a film that embraced the American Dream, one that focuses on eating ice cream and cake for breakfast, and using a Segway in place of dumb human legs. Now that would be a powerful message, best served with a glorious burger.

Hey! Are you on Letterboxd? You should be. Follow Donna’s daily progress over on her Letterboxd page.