Nick Broomfield

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Whitney: Can I Be Me Review

Excellent

Notorious British filmmaker Nick Broomfield teams up with Austrian music documentary producer Rudi Dolezal to tell the story of Whitney Houston's tumultuous life. As the title suggests, what haunted the iconic singer most was an inability to live on her own terms. With strong echoes of 2015's Amy, this film presents a range of never-seen footage without commenting on it.

Broomfield assembles his movie around Dolezal's unfinished documentary about Houston's 1999 world tour, which turned out to be her final triumphant performances. As she travelled the globe, her world was unravelling around her. But the issues go back to her early childhood as a singing prodigy sculpted into a pop princess by her controlling mother, the gospel singer Cissy. And her record company maintained the popstar image. Meanwhile, her personal life was shaped by two key figures: her husband Bobby Brown and her manager-assistant Robyn Crawford, who clashed loudly about who should make decisions about Whitney's life. All of this led to crippling self-doubt, fuelled by a drug habit that had started when Whitney was a teen.

The story is edited out of sequence, circling around Houston's life. Much of the 1999 backstage footage is shockingly intimate, revealing aspects of the singer's personality and relationships with unexpected openness. And since it's accompanied by archive interviews and present-day comments from people who were there, each moment comes with a strong kick of resonance. The most striking interviewee is bodyguard David Roberts, who in 1995 warned the family of coming tragedy if they didn't make changes (he was sacked for speaking out of turn). Most glaringly absent are Brown and Crawford, who have simply refused to clear up the biggest rumours that have surrounded Houston's life, including the one relating to her sexuality.

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Whitney: Can I Be Me Trailer


Whitney Houston, the woman behind the 1992 number one hit cover of 'I Will Always Love You', was without doubt one of the finest voices in the history of pop music having won nearly 250 awards in her career including 7 Grammys. Unfortunately that was the problem. She was only ever seen as this brilliant talent, a commodity for her record label. This was a woman who struggled with the pressures of fame in a business that refused to let her be her true self, to find her own identity, and ultimately destroyed her. 

As if she didn't have enough in her life to contend with, such as her passionate yet turbulent relationship with Bobby Brown. She did have people looking out for her including PA Robyn Crawford, but it wasn't enough in the end to save her from her tragic fate. At just 48-years-old, she drowned in the bathtub of her hotel after a cocaine and prescription drug binge. It was a shocking end to woman who only ever wanted to entertain since she was a child singing in a New Jersey church choir. But as much as it was her passion and her identity, it was also her downfall.

'Can I Be Me' is a heartbreaking documentary echoing a haunting sentiment that Whitney Houstin continually expressed. It has been directed by the award-winning Nick Broomfield ('Kurt & Courtney', 'Biggie And Tupac') alongside Austrian filmmaker Rudi Dolezal. It features plenty of live performance and interview footage from the legend herself as well as new interviews with those who knew her and those who admired her including her mother Cissy Houston.

Continue: Whitney: Can I Be Me Trailer

Nick Broomfield - Raindance Film Festival inaugural party to celebrate independent film and filmmakers. Event also raises funds for the Independent Film Trust (IFT), which teaches disadvantaged adults and children film making skills. - London, United Kingdom - Wednesday 30th April 2014

Nick Broomfield
Nick Broomfield

Battle For Haditha Review


Excellent
The new Iraq war film Battle for Haditha digs its heels into the cracked earth good and deep as if it was a communiqué from an embedded reporter in the field. It was directed by the seasoned British documentarian Nick Broomfield and is, by a large margin, the most sustained and unshakable narrative film to investigate the occupation of Iraq and the instances that keep this unmitigated fiasco in a perpetual tailspin.

It was November 2005 when a convoy of American soldiers were attacked while patrolling a main strip of road in a suburban section of Haditha, a city in the western Iraq province of Al Anbar. The resulting death of Lance Corporal Miguel Terrazas is said to be the instigating factor in the massacre that directly followed the attack. The original reports stated that 15 noncombatant civilians were killed in the convoy blast with eight subsequent deaths of "insurgents" handed out by the surviving soldiers.

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Nick Broomfield - Sunday 10th February 2008 at BAFTA London, England

Nick Broomfield

Nick Broomfield - Saturday 9th February 2008 at BAFTA London, England

Nick Broomfield
Nick Broomfield
Nick Broomfield
Nick Broomfield

Biggie And Tupac Review


Good
Rappers Tupac Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G. are starring in a new movie. Surprised? You shouldn't be, considering that posthumously the two legendary rappers have continued to release a steady stream of best selling albums and still frequently appear in music videos, five years after their deaths.

The mystery that shrouds the unsolved murders of two of hip-hop's biggest stars will serve as fuel for conspiracy theorists and rap fans alike for years to come. Biggie and Tupac is a documentary that examines the killings, the evidence, and those most intimate with the stars under the lens of filmmaker Nick Broomfield. (Broomfield is most renowned for the controversial Kurt & Courtney, in which he alleged that Courtney Love conspired to murder her husband Kurt Cobain, former lead singer of the grunge band Nirvana.)

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Aileen: Life And Death Of A Serial Killer Review


Good
Nick Broomfield's new documentary Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer is a wispy and tenuous affair; arbitrary and uncomfortably personal at the same time. Broomfield, the stumbly yet sly provocateur who took some loose conspiracy theories and a no-guts-no-glory attitude and made the documentaries Biggie and Tupac and Kurt & Courtney, aims smaller this time, going for something a little closer to home.

Back in 1992, Broomfield filmed Aileen Wuornos: The Selling of a Serial Killer. Wuornos had been convicted and sentenced to death in early 1991 for murdering seven men in Florida. She shot to fame pretty fast for being the first female serial killer of note in the nation's history. The fact that she was a lesbian prostitute who'd been on her own since the age of 13 and claimed to have only killed johns who were trying to rape or kill her only added to the tabloid allure. In the 1992 film, Broomfield documented the attempts of several police officers and Wuornos's mother to make her into a Hollywood development deal, making him oddly empathize with this woman who, although a serial killer, who had been systematically abused and betrayed by pretty much everybody in her life.

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Kurt & Courtney Review


Good
A can't-lose premise about the "conspiracy to kill Kurt Cobain" gets mangled in esteemed documentarian Broomfield's treatment of the famed grunge hero. There's no resolution at all except for the not-so-stunning revelation that Courtney Love is a real bitch, and the filmmaking itself is so lousy that one can hardly believe it got released in this form.

Continue reading: Kurt & Courtney Review

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Nick Broomfield Movies

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Notorious British filmmaker Nick Broomfield teams up with Austrian music documentary producer Rudi Dolezal to...

Whitney: Can I Be Me Trailer

Whitney: Can I Be Me Trailer

Whitney Houston, the woman behind the 1992 number one hit cover of 'I Will Always...

Biggie And Tupac Movie Review

Biggie And Tupac Movie Review

Rappers Tupac Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G. are starring in a new movie. Surprised?...

Aileen: Life And Death Of A Serial Killer Movie Review

Aileen: Life And Death Of A Serial Killer Movie Review

Nick Broomfield's new documentary Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer is a wispy...

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