Reel-View Ratings: The Bigger The Beard, The Better The Movie
Cinematographer Kirsten Johnson is the woman behind the lens of a number of famous documentaries — Darfur Now, Citizenfour and Pray the Devil Back to Hell, to name a few. This film is a compilation of outtakes from her previous work, stitched together with little comment or context. Yet it also serves as a strong thematic statement of how the reality of documentaries is crafted just so; of how the line between observer and actor is blurred; of how she yearns to alter the image before her — and sometimes does. Perhaps a surer narrative would have served her pristine images better. The result is a remarkable meditation, though a subtle one.
Plays at 1 p.m. Dec. 2 and 3, and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 4 at Doris Duke Theatre
THE EAGLE HUNTRESS
This simple documentary has a very clear, brief aim: that Aisholpan Nurgaiv, a 13-year-old Mongolian girl, is the coolest eagle huntress in the whole world. Yes, the venerable art, practiced only in Mongolia, has spawned an endless stream of mostly male hunters — but Aisholpan’s accomplishments are unprecedented. The documentary is content to follow that thread, and no deeper analysis of Mongolian culture, the practice or, well, much of anything besides “girl power!” is forthcoming. But Aisholpan’s story is a charming one, and she is a delight, capable of commanding her golden eagle with ease, and painting her nails like any girl. Star Wars heroine Daisy Ridley serves as narrator for an extra feel-good touch.
Opens Dec. 2 at Kahala Theatre
Sean Paul Lockhart (Garrett Clayton), aka “Brent Corrigan,” was a dewy-eyed, in-demand gay porn star, kept under contractual lock-and-key by producer Stephen Kocis (Christian Slater). As it happens, another producer (James Franco) yearns to hire Lockhart, and naturally decides the best way to do that is through murder. It’s based on a true story, but what a mess this movie is. The whirling plot is woozy and badly stitched together; the characters all seem a touch perplexed as to what they’re doing here. The sex is snuggled right at the line of “pornographic.” Yet it all reads like a parody (and not an intentional one), like the skeleton of a better movie.
Plays at 9:30 p.m. Dec. 2, and 4 and 9:30 p.m. Dec. 3 at Doris Duke Theatre