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I watched Jodorowsky's Dune on Netflix tonight and loved it.

It’s about the director Alejandro Jodorowsky trying to make a film of the sci-fi novel Dune. It interviews everyone involved in the failed project and looks at how close it came to being made.

This was absolutely superb and totally fascinating. Jodorowsky himself is the star of the film. He’s in his 80’s now but is still full of energy and drive for his art. He talks with real passion about assembling his crew of artists ahead of starting production; these include HR Giger, Chris Foss, Dan O Bannon and others. He traveled around the World to get the people he wanted on board for the project, bringing them all to Paris then letting them work on his vision.

Some parts are completely crazy. He agrees to pay Salvador Dali one hundred thousand dollars a minute for his role in the film. And recruited Orson Welles to play a big fat character by telling him he will get his favourite chef to cook for him on set every day.

I can’t recommend this highly enough. Anyone with an interest in film making, sci-fi, artistic madness and passion will enjoy this.

Shine on Jodorowsky, you crazy diamond.

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There was a great (but thoroughly heartbreaking) Storyville last night on BBC4 about the scandal of Killer Whales in captivity at SeaWorld. Well worth checking out on iplayer, not sure what it was called though, sorry.

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When I first heard the title I thought this was a new character Myer's had created. Turns out it's a documentary he's directed about uber-manager, Shep Gordon. Looks interesting.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGQAthMo4NE

Just started watching this and it's really enjoyable. Very funny, with some incredible anecdotes.

Edit: This was great. It didn't reinvent the wheel, but it was just a good story about a really incredible guy.

Edit: Just noticed the video doesn't exist any more - it was Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon.

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Another shout here for Jodorowsky's Dune on netflix.ca

One of the best docs I've seen, a genuine treat of a film and quite moving in its way - to see what this man's creative vision so nearly brought to pass - and then to acknowledge the debt owed it by so much of modern sci-fi cinema...

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I'm 25 minutes in and I think I'm going to give up. The list of names flashing up during the opening credits should have been my first clue. It's not so much controversial and revealing the truth as just plain shit. It re-treads the same old conspiracy theory everyone's heard of.

My problem so far really is that it tells lots of things but shows and explains nothing. "It was very convenient for the Royal family that Diana died." Why? Why was it convenient? There's a lot of statements made with nothing presented to back it up. "She was clearly an enemy of the armaments industry because of her campaign on land mines." Clearly? Well I'm sure you have.... oh, no, it's just obvious enough for me to be told, ok. Oh, Piers Morgan says her campaign if successful would have had crippling economic effects on the UK and US... I see. I didn't realise our economies were built on land mine production.

One quite funny thing about the documentary is the evidence that Diana's phone was tapped by GCHQ and the NSA, and how this is incredibly suspicious and suggestive of her being an enemy of the state somehow. This show is a couple of years too early sadly - having your phone calls and emails checked by the NSA says nothing but how paranoid the intelligence agencies/governments are.

I don't know how or why I'm still watching this. I think it's just got me angry and I have to see it through.

It's an opinion piece, not a documentary. "It took an extraordinary 37 minutes to remove Diana from the car, odd because the back of the car wasn't damaged". Yes, emergency crews do routinely just drag victims of serious car accidents out through the window by whatever limb they can get hold of. There's never any counter-point put forward which always irks me. I love a good conspiracy, but the key to presenting a good argument about anything is to put forward strong points and not to include bollocks that is easily explained and dismissed.

The sad thing about this documentary, really, is how Dodi's death seems to have consumed his father's life - Mohamed Al-Fayed having funded this documentary himself, of course. I'm sure that had no influence.

Oh, God, and banging on about the inquest being held at the High Court in London (officially called the ROYAL!!!! Courts of Justice) and how can the ROYAL Court investigate the ROYAL family. FFS. We should have held it in my shed, obviously.

The Royal family are a legal mafia... Christ. I'm out.

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For those with Sky, How to Die in Oregon should be on their Sky Store for free (it was shown on Atlantic earlier in the week). It is a documentary about assisted suicide in Oregon, the first state to legalise such a practise, and it is absolutely devastating. It follows terminally ill cases going through the process and manages to be as life-affirming as it is heart-breaking. It is one of the toughest films I've sat through but it really is essential viewing.

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The Final Member

Man collects penises but feels his penis museum is not complete until he has a human penis. This odd documentary goes over the complicated journey involved in actually making that happen. I didn't think I'd get far with this, that I would either be spewing or getting bored of the joke well before the end of the movie. I was surprised by just how compelling it was, there was almost a tension in who of the 3 men offering to donate their penises would get the honour. The whole thing is up on youtube or on most netflix regions.

https://youtu.be/sZMaheZ_Iy0

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Yeah, The Jinx looks great. I'll watch it over the next few days.

Last night I watched -

Page One: Inside the New York Times
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1787777/

Unprecedented access to the New York Times newsroom yields a complex view of the transformation of a media landscape fraught with both peril and opportunity.

This was a year in the life of the NYT. A year when advertising revenue and the revenue generated by sales dropped off a cliff. And media companies across America went out of business. It has a standard fly on the wall/talking heads documentary structure. The film tracks the lives and jobs of a handful of writers.

The access to the writers was the best part of this film. I always love watching journalists at work on screen – the multiple computers, juggling phone calls, the cluttered desk, the stressed editors. Fairly clichéd stuff but always compelling. The journalists they trail are really interesting – David Carr especially.

The problem is that it tries to cover too much. Two hours of David Carr shouting at the dickheads from Vice magazine would have been great. In fact any of the main contributors could have been the central role in a feature documentary. This is a Wikipedia list of everything the film tries to cover:

• Publication of Afghan war logs by WikiLeaks
• Release of the iPad
• Bankruptcy of the Tribune Company
• NBC Universal merger with Comcast
• The Jayson Blair scandal
• Judith Miller
• Gawker and its "Big Board"
• Pro Publica and new models for investigative reporting
• Charging for news online
• Watergate and the Pentagon Papers
• Staff cuts in Network News and coverage of the White House
• The purported end of U.S. combat operations in Iraq
• CNN's partnership with Vice

Some of these could fill 90 minutes on their own but Page One tries to cover them all. And doesn’t really do them justice. But despite that this was pretty good and I’d recommend it to anyone with an interest in the state of the media today.

US Netflix.

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The Jinx is so good. I love these intelligent takes on the whole dateline formula. It's not even that they are intelligent, they just aren't dumbed down.

I'm only on the 3rd episode and saw the news/spoilers. Didn't really ruin it for me.

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