As we all know, this is the Age of the Documentary. Fiction films of late have been mostly meh, but charming docs, innovative docs, edgy docs, and docs that hold the door open for us and say "bless you" when we sneeze are always sweeping off our feet.
Caryn James in the New York Times points out that despite the attention docs have been getting (or because of it), for every great doc there’s a dozen mediocre ones that are almost identical. She looks over three current releases, declaring "Mad Hot Ballroom" a lesser "Spellbound," "Tell Them Who You Are" a lesser "My Architect," and "Shake Hands With The Devil," well, pretty damn good, actually. And she closes with "Grizzly Man," and we can’t tell you how awesome it sounds. If our summer movie picks weren’t all popcorn and light, we’d have listed it — it’s getting a limited theatrical release in August.
Robert Davis at Errata likes "Tell Them Who You Are" more than James, though he does add this:
If many more filmmakers decide to make documentaries about their famous, difficult fathers, we’re going to need a name for them. The dad docs.
indieWIRE‘s Brandon Judell has an interesting and slightly punchy interview with director Mark Wexler. Awesome fact: Mark is politically conservative while his father (and subject) Haskell Wexler is famously left-wing. Just like "Family Ties."
The Onion AV Club‘s Noel Murray has an extended interview with Steve James, who started filming two Chicago high school basketball stars, and followed up, checking in for more footage when he and his partners had time and money. This became "Hoop Dreams," the film that pretty much kicked off this aforementioned AotD and certainly one of the greatest documentaries ever made.
+ Nonfiction Is Flavor of Moment for Films (NY Times)
+ Tell Them Who You Are (Errata)
+ Papa Dearest: "Tell Them Who You Are’s" Haskell Wexler Battles His Offspring (indieWIRE)
+ Steve James (Onion AV Club)