My Amityville Horror (2012)

mmyDirector: Eric Walter

Writer: Eric Walter (Screenplay)

 

Plot: For the first time in 35 years, Daniel Lutz recounts his version of the infamous Amityville haunting that terrified his family in 1975. George and Kathleen Lutz’s story went on to inspire a best-selling novel and the subsequent films have continued to fascinate audiences today. This documentary reveals the horror behind growing up as part of a world famous haunting and while Daniel’s facts may be other’s fiction, the psychological scars he carries are indisputable. Documentary filmmaker, Eric Walter, has combined years of independent research into the Amityville case along with the perspectives of past investigative reporters and eyewitnesses, giving way to the most personal testimony of the subject to date.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple Documentary

 

Story: My Amityville Horror starts as we meet Daniel Lutz one of the children of the Lutz household that went through the Amityville Horror, he has struggled for years and continues to look for help. This is his story about what happened and how this effected his life.

We get to see how Daniel reacts to the accounts that were reported while giving his side to the story in what shows that this could be a mix of his belief in what happened or abuse he suffered. We also follow the journalists involved with the case as they look back on what they do believe to be true from what they reported.

My Amityville Horror is a documentary behind the films that became iconic because of the ‘based on actual events’ tag. We see how the grown up man is still damaged by what has happened and how it could be in his head too. Really this should just have been on television because well it just comes off very plain with it just being how people see what happened without being too interesting. This is nothing more than a discussion about what might have happened nothing more nothing less.

 

Director Review: Eric WalterEric gives us what would be a good television documentary but as a full film it just doesn’t reach the full levels.

 

Documentary: My Amityville Horror reaches the tele level of documentary standards without being overly compelling.

Suggestion: My Amityville Horror is one to watch just when you see it late night on television but not to go out your way to watch. (TV Time)

 

Best Part: It does open the idea of the outside victims.

Worst Part: We get no real answers.

 

Believability: It is all up to you what you want to believe.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $205,000

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

Tagline: The lost witness to a world famous haunting.

 

Overall: Average documentary that should just be a television hour at best.

Rating35

 

 

American Rodeo: A Cowboy Christmas (2013)

Director: H.D Motyl

 

Plot: The two weeks before the Fourth of July are unofficially called “Cowboy Christmas,” as there are 65 rodeos across 25 states and that many chances for the cowboys to win money. “American Rodeo : A Cowboy Christmas” follows four professional rodeo cowboys (steer wrestlers) as they travel the rodeo circuit looking for fame and fortune. From small towns in bustling cities from Arizona to North Dakota follow the cowboys participating in the 150 year-old tradition of bucking broncs and roping calves.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Documentary but Barbaric entertainment

 

Story: American Rodeo: A Cowboy Christmas starts as we join the rodeo tour where all the rodeos are competing in one of the most important time of their careers because the most prizes are up for grabs through July. We follow Matt Reeves who is a steer wrestler.

We go on to meet three fellow rodeos Jule, Darryl and Sam who travel around together and with this we see just how much these men put into this.

American Rodeo: A Cowboy Christmas shows just how much commitment these men have to put into this form of ‘entertainment’. Everything works for what world we are being put into but I can’t help but think this is a barbaric form of entertainment where these men just wrestle calves to the ground, it comes off kind of sick really. Once again I don’t have anything bad to say about the film making process just why these men would do this.

 

 

Director Review: H.D MotylH.D does a great job showing us these men’s journey to do what they see as fun.

 

Documentary: American Rodeo: A Cowboy Christmas can’t be faulted as a documentary because it does show the subject matter as his best.

Settings: American Rodeo: A Cowboy Christmas does show us all the locations where you would see these men.
Suggestion
: American Rodeo: A Cowboy Christmas is one to try if you are a fan of the rodeo scene or ever wanted to learn more. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Looking at these men’s form of entertainment.

Worst Part: It comes off very sick watching the steer wrestling.

 

Believability: Yes

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 14 Minutes

 

Overall: While the documentary can’t be questioned the subject matter really leaves plenty of questions about why this is classed as entertainment.

Rating51

 

 

High There (2014)

hih thereDirector: Wayne Darwen, Henry Goren

Writer: Wayne Darwen (Screenplay)

 

Plot: A real-life attempt to film a reality television pilot turned into the most unreal experiences of a lifetime for veteran journalist and producer Wayne Darwen and videographer Henry Goren, when they found themselves transformed into the characters Dave High and Roland Jointz in an accidental immersive investigation of the marijuana wars on the island of Hawaii.  

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Party Time

 

Story: High There starts as David High a journalist and his cameraman Roland Jointz head to Hawaii to shot a new travel show but along the way David enjoys drugs, drinks and woman as they go to make their own story. It isn’t long before David and Roland find themselves being followed around the island as the island looks to clean up the drug problems on the island.

Dave goes around different ideas to make his show work but just can’t shake the drugs every day, where he makes each outing a party. David continues to learn about a bigger problem on the island dealing with marijuana.

High There is a documentary that wants to tackle the real problem of marijuana on the island in Hawaii, we only see small parts of this with most of the film being David High just wanting to smoke drugs and get drunk, this really takes away with what we want to learn about and it turns into just the life experience of the two men on the island. Not being a fan of drug usage I personally didn’t enjoy the almost glorification of using them during the adventure the men go on.

 

 

Director Review: Wayne DarwenWayne puts together the trip well to show the good, the bad and paranoia drugs cause people.

 

Documentary: High There is a documentary which also happens to play out as party holiday for David.

Settings: High There uses the Hawaii settings but most importantly showing how it isn’t all beauty we get led to believe.
Suggestion
: High There is one to try, it is very heavy on using drugs which isn’t something I enjoy. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Seeing the dark side of Hawaii.

Worst Part: Too much drug usage.

 

Believability: Based on the real trip the two men had.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: Yes

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 27 Minutes

Trivia: Director, writer and star Wayne Darwen is a celebrated tabloid newspaper and television journalist and producer who was the inspiration for Robert Downey Jr.’s character “Wayne Gale” in Oliver Stone’s 1994 film, Natural Born Killers.

 

Overall: Documentary that feels like it is a film party for the men involved.

Rating55

Oscar Season Challenge – The Hunting Ground (2015)

Continuing our Oscar Season of reviews, Rob and I have decided to pick one of the best Oscar nominated documentaries.

 

huntingDirector: Kirby Dick

Writer: Kirby Dick (Screenplay)

 

 

Plot: An exposé of rape crimes on U.S. college campuses, their institutional cover-ups, and the devastating toll they take on students and their families.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Important News

 

Story: The Hunting Ground starts as we see the real reaction of college students getting accepting into their choices before we move into the real issue this film is about. We follow interviews with a string of students who experienced sexual assaults during their time at college and how little the college helped support them.

We go through certain cases that are more intense, following both females and males that have been raped and how the statistics show that no college is take responsibility for what happen on their grounds. We see how certain survivors fight to find a way to make more victims speak up and change how rape is reported.

The Hunting Ground is a film focusing on a real problem in America with how the colleges deal with rape, the film points out that the victims are to blame which is a huge no to say to any victim. Growing up in England I have never been exposed to the college style that Americans go through other than from film, so my look into the world everything is happening is never going to be full supported. Coming in from the outside all I could think about was the naïve nature of the American treat the idea of American football being more important that morale correct ideas. This is a difficult watch because of the nature of the material but also comes off as a forced way to expose a culture which is considered normal in America

 

 

Director Review: Kirby DickKirby gives us an important insight into what is happening at these schools as well as how important change is needed in these locations.

 

Documentary: The Hunting Ground is very important to see because it does open the eyes to what is really happening.

Settings: The Hunting Ground brings us to all the big colleges in America to show what is happening in America where all the students are trying build their future.

Suggestion: The Hunting Ground is something for all Americans to see because we don’t have the issues like this in England. (Americans Watch)

 

Best Part: Important things to learn about.

Worst Part: Difficult to watch

 

Believability: Based on the real accounts and interviews of the victims only.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Nominated for an Oscar

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

Tagline: Their dream school will become a nightmare.

 

Overall: Important documentary that really shows the problem in American colleges

Rating70

 

Racing Extinction (2015)

raceDirector: Louie Psihoyos

Writer: Mark Monroe (Screenplay)

 

Plot: A documentary that follows undercover activists trying to stave off a man-made mass extinction.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Important Documentary

 

Story: Racing Extinction is a documentary that shows the horrors of the world killing animals for profit, while this is hard to watch the film does show that this is the way these people feed their families which is why they do it. We follow the documentary crew and activist which show these people what they can achieve through other means which is good to see. We do have to see how these activist got into the illegal trading of animals and how the people running them just don’t care which is very difficult to watch. We always end up coming back to the idea of seeing what we can do to change things but it isn’t just a campaign film as we learn how little changes can help ourselves along with the wildlife on the Earth. I do think this was good documentary to watch with a strong message instead of just slamming certain cultures beliefs.

 

Documentary: Racing Extinction is a strong documentary that isn’t all about the slamming people but teaching them about a better way to live along with the wildlife of the world.

Suggestion: Racing Extinction is a film I think people should watch mainly because of the important message being told. (Watch)

 

Best Part: Seeing how easy change could be.

Worst Part: Manta Ray scenes.

 

Believability: Based on a real events going on through the world.

Chances of Tears: Maybe through the tough scenes.

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too: The Cove

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

Tagline: Winning is the only option

 

Overall: Important documentary that could change our futures

Rating85