Joe Berlinger

Joe Berlinger

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Whitey:United States Of America V. James J. Bulger Trailer


James 'Whitey' Bulger is one of America's most notorious organised crime figures having been responsible for a string of brutal murders over the course of his gangster career. In the 1970s, he was enlisted as an FBI informant which largely meant that a large proportion of his criminal misdeeds were left ignored by the Bureau in exchange for priceless information. Whitey boasted that he had contacts with officials from several police departments as well as the FBI itself, which was the reason he managed to avoid prosecution repeatedly. When it came out that the FBI had not been doing their job and protecting the public from Whitey's alarming dominance, they faced one of their most embarrassing scandals since they began. When he eventually appeared on the FBI's most wanted list, he was on the run for 16 years before his arrest in 2011 at the age of 81.

'Whitey: United States Of America V. James J. Bulger' is a gritty documentary about the real-life crimes of gangster Whitey Bulger. The film has been put together by Oscar nominated director and producer Joe Berlinger ('Metallica: Some Kind of Monster', 'Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills', 'Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2') and is due for release on June 27th 2014.

 

Under African Skies Review


Excellent
This beautifully assembled documentary traces the creation of Paul Simon's seminal 1986 album Graceland, focussing on the political controversy the recording sessions sparked because South Africa was under a cultural boycott at the time. It's a skilful film that entertains as it reveals something important about history.

In 1985, Simon quietly travelled to South Africa to record tracks for his next album, invited by local musicians. But he and was shocked by racial tension he saw between blacks and whites there, and afterwards was caught off-guard by criticism from anti-Apartheid leaders who said his visit violated the boycott.

Simon argued that he wanted to avoid politics and collaborate with fellow musicians. For them, working with a world-class artist was a chance in a million. And Ladysmith Black Mambazo leader Shabalala says Simon was the first white man he'd ever hugged.

Continue reading: Under African Skies Review

Crude Review


Very Good
This intense documentary tells a hugely important story that's packed with compelling characters and situations. Although a repetitive structure and a sense of agonising futility conspire to undermine the vital lessons it has to teach us.

Starting in the early 1960s, Texaco began drilling for oil in Ecuador's Amazon rainforest, displacing indigenous groups with polluted rivers and causing health problems for generations. In 1993, the poor residents of this area filed a class-action suit against Texaco (now owned by Chevron), which has been dragging through the courts ever since, delayed by lawyers and Ecuador's political instability. Chevron denies all blame, pointing the finger at PetroEcuador, the nationalised company that assumed ownership of the drilling sites in the 1990s. But human rights activists and lawyers argue otherwise.

Continue reading: Crude Review

Metallica: Some Kind Of Monster Review


Excellent
Metallica's St. Anger - the legendary metal band's first album of new material since the touchy-feely twin horrors Load (1996) and Re-Load (1997) - is a dense, sonically messy one-note return to their speed metal roots. Metallica: Some Kind of Monster, Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky's documentary about the trials and tribulations surrounding the making of that comeback album, however, is a full-blown opera of metallic drama, passion, and misery. Filled with the torment and rage that fuels the band's finest work, it's a piercing vision of an iconic band teetering on the brink of collapse, and a fascinating portrait of the creative process as explosive, potentially destructive, and, ultimately, cathartic.

Berlinger and Sinofsky's film began as a simple record label-financed project to help promote the band's new record, yet soon morphed into a marathon three-year venture as the group - reeling from the departure of its long-time bassist Jason Newsted, and with the remaining members struggling to cope with newfound adult responsibilities and long-held bad habits - began to fray at the edges. Forced to attend group sessions with therapist-to-the-stars Phil Towle after Newsted's sudden exit, the band's remaining three members seem thoroughly fed up with each other - diminutive drummer and band spokesperson Lars Ulrich refuses to see eye to eye with singer (and struggling alcoholic) James Hetfield, who exasperatedly rolls his eyes at Towle's "Metallica Mission Statement" and ignores guitarist Kirk Hammett's pleas to make nice with Ulrich. A dysfunctional family with Ulrich as the band's de facto mommy, Hetfield as the controlling, liquored-up daddy, and Hammett as the timid child trying to stop the fighting, the group seems ready to explode. Then, with inter-band relationships at their most strained, Hetfield unexpectedly leaves for rehab, bringing an abrupt halt to sessions for the new album and awkwardly placing his band members' professional lives on indefinite hold.

Continue reading: Metallica: Some Kind Of Monster Review

Joe Berlinger

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Joe Berlinger Movies

Whitey:United States Of America V. James J. Bulger Trailer

Whitey:United States Of America V. James J. Bulger Trailer

James 'Whitey' Bulger is one of America's most notorious organised crime figures having been responsible...

Under African Skies Movie Review

Under African Skies Movie Review

This beautifully assembled documentary traces the creation of Paul Simon's seminal 1986 album Graceland, focussing...

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Metallica: Some Kind of Monster Movie Review

Metallica: Some Kind of Monster Movie Review

Metallica's St. Anger - the legendary metal band's first album of new material since the...

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