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Movie Review: “Chemical Hearts”, “Words on Bathroom Walls”, & “You Cannot Kill David Arquette”

Here are reviews of three new films, available for streaming or a night out at our newly reopened movie theaters. Check out my thoughts on two teen dramas, “Chemical Hearts” and “Words on Bathroom Walls,” and the new documentary, “You Cannot Kill David Arquette.”

“Chemical Hearts” is available to stream on Amazon Prime

“Words on Bathroom Walls” is playing at select theaters.

“You Cannot Kill David Arquette” is available On Demand August 28.

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Fourth Annual Critics’ Choice Documentary Award Winners

Fourth Annual Critics’ Choice Documentary Award Winners Revealed

Apollo 11 Named Best Documentary Feature

Peter Jackson (They Shall Not Grow Old) Ties with Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar (American Factory) for Best Director 

Apollo 11 Takes Home Five Awards
 

(Brooklyn, NY – November 10, 2019) – The Critics Choice Association (CCA) announced the winners of the fourth annual Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards tonight at a gala event, hosted by HGTV’s Property Brothers Jonathan Scott at BRIC in Brooklyn.

Apollo 11 took home the evening’s most prestigious award for Best Documentary Feature as well as Best Editing for Todd Douglas Miller, Best Score for Matt Morton, Best Archival Documentary, and Best Science/Nature Documentary.

There was a tie for Best Director between Peter Jackson for They Shall Not Grow Old, and Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar for American FactoryThey Shall Not Grow Old also brought home the award for Most Innovative Documentary. American Factory also won the award for Best Political Documentary.

“Once again, we are thrilled to celebrate and support the vibrant and groundbreaking work of these talented documentarians. We are proud that our yearly gala event has become an informed and valuable way for people to find the best films out there and for the work of these filmmakers to find their audiences,” said CCA CEO Joey Berlin. “It was a great night of lauding the greats in the documentary field as well as some outstanding newcomers.” 

At the ceremony a special new honor, The D A Pennebaker Award, was  presented to legendary documentarian Frederick Wiseman. The award, formerly known as the Critics’ Choice Lifetime Achievement Award, is named for prior winner D A Pennebaker, who passed away last summer. It was presented by filmmaker Chris Hegedus, Pennebaker’s long-time collaborator and widow.

Acclaimed filmmaker Michael Apted was presented with The Landmark Award, an honor bestowed upon him for his extraordinary and unparalleled achievement with the Up series, which has just added 63 Up, distributed by BritBox,to this historic work. The award was presented by Michael Moore, who was honored with the Critics’ Choice Lifetime Achievement Award last year.

Presenters at the star-studded event included Jim Gaffigan (The Pale Tourist Comedy Tour), Zooey Deschanel, Rose McGowan (Citizen Rose), Dr. Ruth Westheimer, Wyatt Cenac (Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas), Lou Diamond Phillips, Gloria Reuben (Mr. Robot), Erich Bergen (Madam Secretary), Nicole J. Butler and Reggie Currelley (She Shed State Farm commercial), Aasif Mandvi (The Daily Show), Ryan Serhant (Million Dollar Listing New York), and Amir Arison (The Blacklist).

The award for Best Cinematography went to John Chester for The Biggest Little Farm.

Best Narration went to Bruce Springsteen for Western Stars.

Honeyland took home the award for Best First Documentary Feature for directors Tamara Kotevska an Ljubomir Stefanov.

The award for Best Biographical Documentary went to Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am.

The Best Music Documentary award went to Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice.

Maiden won the Best Sports Documentary award.

The Best Short Documentary Award was given to Period. End of Sentence.

This year’s honorees for Most Compelling Living Subject of a Documentary are Dr. Amani Ballor (The Cave), David Crosby (David Crosby: Remember My Name), Tracy Edwards (Maiden), Imelda Marcos (The Kingmaker), Hatidze Muratova (Honeyland), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Amy Vilela, Cori Bush, and Paula Jean Swearengin (Knock Down the House), Linda Ronstadt (Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice), and Dr. Ruth Westheimer (Ask Dr. Ruth).

Last year, the Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards introduced the Catalyst Sponsorship, a program for industry leaders to support the event. The 2019 sponsors include National Geographic Documentary Films, Netflix and Showtime Documentary Films..

About CRITICS’ CHOICE DOCUMENTARY AWARDS
The fourth annual awards ceremony took place Sunday, November 10, 2019 at BRIC in Brooklyn, New York. The Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards was again produced by Bob Bain Productions. 

About CRITICS’ CHOICE AWARDS
The Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards are an off-shoot of The Critics’ Choice Awards, which are bestowed annually by CCA to honor the finest in cinematic and television achievement. Historically, the Critics’ Choice Awards are the most accurate predictor of the Academy Award nominations.

The CW Television Network will again partner with CCA as the exclusive broadcast home for the 25th annual Critics’ Choice Awards, honoring the finest achievements in both movies and television as part of a three-hour special on The CW on January 12, 2020. For more information, visit: www.CriticsChoice.com

4th Annual Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards Nominations

The Critics Choice Association (CCA) has announced the nominees for the fourth annual Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards (CCDA). The winners will be presented their awards at a gala event, hosted by Property Brothers’ Jonathan Scott, on Sunday, November 10, at BRIC in Brooklyn, New York.

The Critics Choice Association will once again be honoring the finest achievements in documentaries released in theaters, on TV and on major digital platforms, as determined by the voting of qualified CCA members.

Leaving Neverland

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

American Factory (Netflix)

Apollo 11 (Neon)

The Biggest Little Farm (Neon)

The Cave (National Geographic)

Honeyland (Neon)

The Kingmaker (Showtime)

Knock Down the House (Netflix)

Leaving Neverland (HBO)

Maiden (Sony Pictures Classics)

One Child Nation (Amazon Studios)

They Shall Not Grow Old (Warner Bros.)

The Cave

BEST DIRECTOR

Waad Al-Kateab and Edward Watts, For Sama (PBS)

Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert, American Factory (Netflix)

John Chester, The Biggest Little Farm (Neon)

Feras Fayyad, The Cave (National Geographic)

Peter Jackson, They Shall Not Grow Old (Warner Bros.)

Todd Douglas Miller, Apollo 11 (Neon)

Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang, One Child Nation (Amazon Studios)

Aquarela

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Ben Bernhard and Viktor Kossakovsky, Aquarela (Sony Pictures Classics)

John Chester, The Biggest Little Farm (Neon)

Fejmi Daut and Samir Ljuma, Honeyland (Neon)

Nicholas de Pencier, Anthropocene: The Human Epoch (Kino Lorber)

Muhammed Khair Al Shami, Ammar Suleiman, and Mohammad Eyad, The Cave (National Geographic)

Richard Ladkani, Sea of Shadows (National Geographic)

One Child Nation

BEST EDITING

Georg Michael Fischer and Verena Schönauer, Sea of Shadows (National Geographic)

Todd Douglas Miller, Apollo 11 (Neon)

Jabez Olssen, They Shall Not Grow Old (Warner Bros.)

Amy Overbeck, The Biggest Little Farm (Neon)

Lindsay Utz, American Factory (Netflix)

Nanfu Wang, One Child Nation (Amazon Studios)

Sea of Shadows

BEST SCORE

Jeff Beal, The Biggest Little Farm (Neon)

Matthew Herbert, The Cave (National Geographic)

Matt Morton, Apollo 11 (Neon)

Plan 9, They Shall Not Grow Old (Warner Bros.)

H. Scott Salinas, Sea of Shadows (National Geographic)

Eicca Toppinen, Aquarela (Sony Pictures Classics)

The Elephant Queen

BEST NARRATION

Anthropocene: The Human Epoch (Kino Lorber)

   Alicia Vikander, narrator
   Jennifer Baichwal, writer

The Biggest Little Farm (Neon)
   John Chester and Molly Chester, narrators
   John Chester, writer

The Edge of Democracy (Netflix)

   Petra Costa, narrator
   Petra Costa, Carol Pires, David Barker and Moara Passoni, writers

The Elephant Queen (Apple)

   Chiwetel Ejiofor, narrator

   Mark Deeble, writer

For Sama (PBS)

   Waad Al-Kateab, narrator

   Waad Al-Kateab, writer

Joseph Pulitzer: Voice of the People (First Run)

   Adam Driver, narrator

   Oren Rudavsky and Bob Seidman, writers

One Child Nation (Amazon Studios)

   Nanfu Wang, narrator

   Nanfu Wang, writer

Western Stars (Warner Bros.)

   Bruce Springsteen, narrator
   Bruce Springsteen, writer

Love, Antosha

BEST FIRST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

Midge Costin, Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound (Matson Films)

A.J. Eaton, David Crosby: Remember My Name (Sony Pictures Classics)

Pamela B. Green, Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché (Kino Lorber/Zeitgeist Films)

Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov, Honeyland (Neon)

Richard Miron, For the Birds (Dogwoof)

Garret Price, Love, Antosha (Lurker Films)

Apollo 11

BEST ARCHIVAL DOCUMENTARY

Amazing Grace (Neon)

Apollo 11 (Neon)

Maiden (Sony Pictures Classics)

Mike Wallace is Here (Magnolia)

Pavarotti (CBS Films)

Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese (Netflix)

They Shall Not Grow Old (Warner Bros.)

What’s My Name: Muhammad Ali (HBO)

BEST BIOGRAPHICAL DOCUMENTARY

The Kingmaker

David Crosby: Remember My Name (Sony Pictures Classics)

The Kingmaker (Showtime)

Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice (Greenwich)

Love, Antosha (Lurker Films)

Mike Wallace is Here (Magnolia)

Pavarotti (CBS Films)

Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am (Magnolia)

David Crosby: Remember My Name

BEST MUSIC DOCUMENTARY

Amazing Grace (Neon)

David Crosby: Remember My Name (Sony Pictures Classics)

Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice (Greenwich)

Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool (Abramorama)

Pavarotti (CBS Films)

Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese (Netflix)

Western Stars (Warner Bros.)

Knock Down the House

BEST POLITICAL DOCUMENTARY

American Factory (Netflix)

The Edge of Democracy (Netflix)

Hail Satan? (Magnolia)

The Kingmaker (Showtime)

Knock Down the House (Netflix)

One Child Nation (Amazon Studios)

The Biggest Little Farm

BEST SCIENCE/NATURE DOCUMENTARY

Anthropocene: The Human Epoch (Kino Lorber)

Apollo 11 (Neon)

Aquarela (Sony Pictures Classic) 

The Biggest Little Farm (Neon)

The Elephant Queen (Apple)

Honeyland (Neon)

Penguins (Disney)

Sea of Shadows (National Geographic)

Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable

BEST SPORTS DOCUMENTARY

Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable (Entertainment Studios)

Diego Maradona (HBO)

Maiden (Sony Pictures Classics)

Rodman: For Better or Worse (ESPN)

The Spy Behind Home Plate (Ciesla Foundation)

What’s My Name: Muhammad Ali (HBO)

Screwball

MOST INNOVATIVE DOCUMENTARY

Aquarela (Sony Pictures Classics)

Cold Case Hammarskjöld (Magnolia)

Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese (Netflix)

Screwball (Greenwich)

Serendipity (Cohen Media)

They Shall Not Grow Old (Warner Bros.)

The Chapel at the Border

BEST SHORT DOCUMENTARY

The Chapel at the Border (Atlantic Documentaries)

   (Director and Producer: Jeremy Raff)

Death Row Doctor (The New York Times Op-Docs)

   (Director: Lauren Knapp)

In the Absence (Field of Vision)

   (Director: Yi Seung-Jun. Producer: Gary Byung-Seok Kam)

Lost World
   (Director and Producer: Kalyanee Mam. Producers: Adam Loften and Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee)

Mack Wrestles (ESPN)

   (Directors and Producers: Taylor Hess and Erin Sanger. Producers: Erin Leyden and Gentry Kirby)

Period. End of Sentence. (Netflix)

   (Director: Rayka Zehtabchi. Producers: Melissa Berton, Garrett K. Schiff and Lisa Taback)

The Polaroid Job (The New York Times Op-Docs)

   (Director: Mike Plante)

Sam and the Plant Next Door (The Guardian)

   (Director and Producer: Ömer Sami)

The Unconditional
   (Director and Producer: Dave Adams. Producers: Adam Soltis, Renee Woodruff Adams, Josie Swantek Heitz, and Chris Tuss)

The Waiting Room (The Guardian)

   (Director and Producer: Victoria Mapplebeck)

Honeyland

MOST COMPELLING LIVING SUBJECTS OF A DOCUMENTARY

Dr. Amani Ballor – The Cave (National Geographic)

David Crosby – David Crosby: Remember My Name (Sony Pictures Classics)

Tracy Edwards – Maiden (Sony Pictures Classics)

Imelda Marcos – The Kingmaker (Showtime)

Hatidze Muratova – Honeyland (Neon)

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Amy Vilela, Cori Bush, and Paula Jean Swearengin – Knock Down the House (Netflix)

Linda Ronstadt – Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice (Greenwich)

Dr. Ruth Westheimer – Ask Dr. Ruth (Hulu)

Quick Review: “Backstreet Boys: Show ‘Em What You’re Made Of”

Before One Direction, before The Jonas Brothers, and even before N’Sync there was The Backstreet Boys.  We all remember them because, whether you liked their music or not, you knew their songs.  The group had a debut international album, Backstreet Boys (1996).  In the following year they released their second international album Backstreet’s Back (1997), and their U.S. debut album which continued the group’s success worldwide.  They rose to superstardom with their third studio album Millennium (1999) and its follow-up album, Black & Blue (2000).

The legendary 90’s boy band finally gets a chance to tell their whole story, the good and the bad.  For BSB fanatics, most of what is revealed will come as no shock.  But, for those who aren’t Backstreet savvy, it may be surprising and intriguing to learn of their struggles with health, drugs, alcohol, and even a shocking betrayal.

The film follows the reunited boy band as they prepare for their 20th anniversary world tour in 2013.  Along the way, the boys take a stroll down memory lane back to where it all began.  Nearly half the film is told through older video footage from the 90’s, back when the boys were only performing in High School gyms.  Meanwhile in present day, Nick, Brian, AJ, Kevin, and Howie re-visit their hometowns, old rehearsal studios, and a few influential people from their lives.

Other film highlights to look forward to–The Backstreet Boys’ react when they first learn of N’Sync.  The members re-tell funny embarrassing stories.  Nick loses his cool and goes off on Brian in a raw, intense scene.  But what’s most enjoyable to see is how much these guys mean to each other.  Their bond is only solidified in the film when Kevin emotionally tells the group, “Not only are we group members and business partners, but we’re family.”

Director Stephen Kijak does such a fantastic job presenting the Backstreet Boys’ rise from a group of small town boys to the sensation of a decade, that it makes Backstreet Boys: Show ‘Em What You’re Made Of worth a watch whether you’re a fan or not.

Rating: 4/5

Backstreet Boys: Show ‘Em What You’re Made Of  is playing in select theaters and is available on VOD.

“Backstreet Boys: Show ‘Em What You’re Made Of” Official Trailer HD

Movie Review: “Divorce Corp” Reveals Shocking Villains in the Justice System

Although this documentary begins with the deceit and manipulation of lawyers, it ends with a much more powerful scoundrel.

Narrated by Dr. Drew Pinksy, Divorce Corp is a surprising exposé of the inner workings of the $50 billion a year U.S. family law industry.  Yes, that’s right $50 billion!  The film sheds light on how divorce lawyers are ripping off their clients by charging ridiculous amounts of money, ranging from $400-$900 per hour.  Which proves to be quite a profit, when the lawyers are spending years on one case.  Often times the divorce lasts longer than the marriage.  But the deception doesn’t stop there.   Throughout the film we are shown how everyone involved in the family court justice system partakes in extortion, bias judgment, and appalling scandals.

Director, Joe Sorge provides interviews by the nation’s top divorce lawyers, mediators, judges, politicians, litigants, and journalists.  And might I say these lawyers have no problem admitting the shady way they do business.  Clients seem to believe the more money a lawyer charges, the more “skilled” they are.  When in fact, the name of the game for these divorce lawyers is, “How much money can we make off these people?  That’s the standard.”

About halfway through the film, the lawyers start looking like puppets getting their strings pulled by the true villain of the film.  The ever so controlling judge!  Taking actions as if they were God, the portrayal of every judge publicized is unspeakable and quite frankly, terrifying.  You are completely helpless once a judge has your life in their hands, and it is best not to rub them the wrong way.

In comparison to the recent documentary I reviewed over the same topic, Romeo Misses A Payment, this one fell a little short for me.  Divorce Corp is better in a technical aspect- professionally shot, well prepared interviews, dramatizations with decent actors, and a celebrity voice over (i.e. Dr. Drew).  Yet, somehow this documentary lacked the immediate emotional connection I felt with Romeo Misses A Payment.  The film starts out a bit slow and repetitive.  As it picks up with personal stories of affected parents, you just become angry at how messed up the family court is; and how when it really comes down to it, there doesn’t seem to be anything anyone can do to fix it.

A glimmer of hope is shined when we see the comparison of how much simpler and cheaper it is to get a divorce in other countries like Scandinavia.  A country that views men and women as equals, therefore their divorce system is easy and free.

Divorce Corp is an astonishing documentary that leaves the question “Is anyone actually getting a fair trial in family court?”  Feelings of hope and happiness may not occur after watching this film, but this is a must see for anyone who is considering marriage or a divorce.

Divorce Corp hits theaters January 10th.

Divorce Corp Movie Trailer

Originally posted on RedCarpetCrash.com

Movie Review/Interview: “Romeo Misses A Payment” Hits An Important Issue

When it comes to child support, the courts and movies usually villainize parents as someone who wants nothing to do with their child’s life. Romeo Misses a Payment shows an eye-opening discovery of how unjustly the family courts are in handling divorces, and how the monthly check is far from an easy way out.

Director, Angelo Lobo, is a twice divorced single father who is struggling with his own finances and issues dealing with the family law court system.  Upon his own experience, he has decided to take a deeper look into how other parents just like him have been unfairly treated through the American divorce system.  Lobo travels to multiple cities, including Dallas, for in-depth interviews explaining how distressing of a situation it is for the children, parents, and extended families involved.  The film also features the expert testimonies of attorneys, judges, and law officers who are caught up in the business of divorce.

This is a simple documentary.   Shot with one camera, Lobo pretty much interviews whoever he could get that would best impact his message.  He does throw in some old black and white movie clips for transition as they relate to the topics at hand.  Though the documentary may not be filmed in the highest quality (weak lighting, low budget), it makes the film more personable.  This is a documentary with an objective.  Lobo cares about his subject, and the people he is interviewing.  He is hoping that after people watch his movie, there is an affect, and steps are taken for the system to finally be rightly handled.

This may not have been an issue that most people would think needs concern, but as shown in the documentary, parental suicides have gone up five times for fit parents that are removed from their children.  Arrests have been made to parents who simply can not afford to pay their child support.  They are treated like criminals, and there is nothing they can do about it.  “If you have money, the courts listen to you; if you don’t have money, the family system really sucks.”

Romeo Misses a Payment is shocking and emotional.  The upsetting revelations that surface throughout the film will leave audiences truly appalled, and quite possibly ready to take action for a much needed change in the system.

I also got a chance to have an e-mail interview with Angelo Lobo to talk about the movie.

Angelo Lobo-Picture

Were there any specific interviews in this film that was particularly hard for you to shoot? If so whose and why?

Yes, mostly all made a difference in the direction of the film. The interview that stood out the most to me was of Kenneth from New York. Here was a man who invented MRI equipment to save lives and help people. In his interview you could feel his pain and standing there it was almost like he was not present because he was recalling everything that was being done to him. After the interview he went into the restroom so I waited outside to say goodbye and thank him, and I could see the tears in his eyes- an knew then as I walked out that I had to keep this film alive.

crew5 2

After the interview he went into the restroom so I waited outside to say goodbye- thank you for what seemed to be 30 minutes then I went into the rest room and he was just standing there- all alone in tears with blood shot eyes- I just turned around and as I walked out I knew I had to keep this film alive.

crew

It was frustrating to see you not able to film in the family court houses in the beginning of the film, how did you finally get the footage in court?

After trying unsuccessfully, we finally got a lead and we begged the Dallas George Allen Court because they had the most cases of support incarcerations. Once we got the permits and started interviewing, everyone was kind, cooperative until we started asking questions regarding money, their collections, and the federal tax incentives they were getting. We were then asked to call the attorney general to explain what we really filming and we were quickly escorted out of the property. I was told that day off the record “the court has obtained more than 100,000 families and exceeds that each year”. Another turning point for the film because some of the parents were telling the judges right in front of us they did not want to bring the other parent to court and the court would persuade them to do it. Very bizarre.

IMG_2611

How was your experience filming in Dallas in comparison to other cities you visited?

I believe all the cities run in parallel because the system seems broken all around except for states that have 50/50 shared custody bills and mandatory paternity tests are in place. Dallas – at the time of filming, the parents that were incarcerated and begging for release had no proper legal representation they seemed to be belittled and forced to agree to terms that seemed unrealistic for their release. Dallas – At the time of filming the parents that were incarcerated and begging for release had no proper legal representation they seemed to be belittle and forced to agree to terms that seemed unrealistic for their release.

IMG_2947

Anything you enjoyed about our city?

I like Dallas a lot, been there few times and have good friends there. Overall it is a great city.

What steps do you think need to be taken to improve the divorce system?

I hope and pray that once the film is released parents,judges, and the overall system itself can see from the stories that deny basic human rights to our children will hurt the children and “battling” will not solve anything.

What did you enjoy most about making this documentary?

I really enjoyed meeting so many great people that were working towards positive changes not only in the court systems, but also to strength they way we think about marriage and teaching our children how important that is.

What do you hope all of your audiences will do after watching this documentary?

I would hope that if they or others that are going through those issues see the hope in unity and feel that they are not alone. They can go to our website for resources and get involved. We hope that this can help and hopefully things will get better for them and their families.

Join Angelo for a Q&A at the Magic Johnson Theater AMC on December 14th. And at the Regent Theater in LA on December 16th.

Originally posted on RedCarpetCrash.com

Movie Review: “MOMO: The Sam Giancana Story” Reveals more than you Expect

Out of all the documentaries I have seen this year, Momo: The Sam Gianca Story, would not be my top recommendation. Don’t get me wrong, this is a fantastic documentary and absolutely worth the watch for the shocking details alone. The film tends to drag bit, and is more informative than emotionally impacting. It’s a documentary about the infamous Chicago mob boss, Sam Giancana.  The narration is done by two of Sam’s loving daughters, Bonnie Giancana and Fran Giancana, who are now both in their sixties.  They are speaking about their father publicly for the first time in 30 years, and present audiences with never-before-revealed insight into Sam when he was at home.

Sam ran the Chicago Outfit from the late 50’s to the early sixties. He had a long running relationship with famous singer, Phyllis McGuire, from the McGuire Sisters.  He had three daughters that he raised and adored very much.  He was also best friends with Frank Sinatra.

Given his abusive background from his own father, Sam proved to be nothing like his old man when raising his little girls. Sam’s daughters loved their father, which is shocking that this man could be two totally different guys at once.  Half the time he was a loving dad, while the other half he was one of the coldest hearted bosses ever to run Chicago.

Director, Dimitri Logothetis (Champions Forever, The Lost Angel), does a great job of not only showing us the two sides to Sam, but also revealing secrets about his life that I would have never known.  Including how Sam helped John F. Kennedy get elected President by swinging several Midwest and eastern states.  He was also hired by the CIA to assassinate Fidel Castro.

Just from the batch of documentaries this year, if you want an informative and gripping documentary that will literally haunt you even after it is over, watch God Love Uganda.  However, you will still be pleased with Momo: The Sam Giancana Story.

Available on DVD and Streaming on November 19th

Originally posted on RedCarpetCrash.com

Movie Review: “Bridegroom” A Heartbreaking Story Of True Love Lost

For anyone who thinks, “Why would getting married make a difference for gay couples?” This documentary is for you.  Inspired by the viral YouTube video posted by Shane Bitney Crone, director Linda Bloodworth-Thomason (Designing Women) takes a deeper look into the life of an unmarried gay couple and what happens when one of them dies after a tragic accident.

Shane and his partner, Tom Bridegroom, both grew up in small conservative towns.  While a vibrant Tom, from Indiana, was popular among his classmates, a quiet Shane was constantly bullied at his Montana high school. Tom’s parents would choose to ignore the thought of their son being gay, while on the other hand Shane’s parents accepted their son for who he was. Shane planned to head straight to Los Angeles after graduation, where the two would eventually meet.   Once they met, they became inseparable.  Tom and Shane were together for six years.  They were living together and were described by others as “the kind of couple that makes you believe in love.”  Tom had even given Shane a ring, but only wanted to get married when California legalized gay marriage. Sadly, in 2011, while taking pictures of a friend, Tom fell four stories to his death.  He was 29.

At this point, you are already broken hearted and can barely watch as Shane and their friends and family discuss his death.  But you are filled with sympathy and disgust when you hear about the lengths Tom’s family took to prevent Shane from attending the funeral or having anything to do with Tom after his death.  The two were not married, so Shane had no legal standing in the relationship. After his passing, it was as if Shane never existed in Tom’s life.

Tom’s parents never responded to a request from the filmmakers to take part in the documentary.  And with out their comments we are presented with a clearly one-sided story.  However, this film isn’t trying to bad mouth anyone or even trying to promote gay marriage. For the most part it is celebrating Tom’s life, and we are shown how he was loved by everyone he met.  Bloodworth-Thomason is able to send a message and prove a point by simply telling the audience what happened through personal interviews, photographs, and an abundant amount of video diaries Shane had made.

Though I was sobbing through most of the film, I did enjoy the documentary.  I like that I never felt like I was being forced to believe a certain way on the topic.  Not once during the movie does someone say “gay marriage needs to be legalized”.  It is through the struggles that Shane went through that we are able to see the after affect that the death of a partner has on you when you are not married.

Virgil Films will release BRIDEGROOM in theaters in Los Angeles on October 18.

Bridegroom Official Trailer HD

Originally posted on RedCarpetCrash.com