Movie Mondays: A Dozen Documentaries to Devour

~posted by Frank

It’s fall, and the days are getting shorter and darker. For those of you who are underwhelmed with feature films and unable to commit to another TV series, I offer you a list of a dozen recent documentaries to fill the void.

The Jinx breathes new life to the tired cliché “truth is stranger than fiction.” This six-part HBO documentary series looks at three murders linked to Robert Durst, part of a New York real estate empire. Durst was arrested on the eve of the airing of the final episode, for reasons that will be abundantly clear in the final moments of the series. Equally astonishing is Going Cleara revealing investigation into the secretive Church of Scientology based on the bestselling bookArt and Craft, about a skilled art forger whose paintings found their way in dozens of museums around the country; and Happy Valleywhich examines the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal at Penn State and the far-reaching effects it has had on the legacy of coach Joe Paterno, football fans, students and the community. 

Science fans will be riveted by Particle Fever, which follows an international team of scientists who built the Large Hadron Collider in order to recreate the Big Bang and find the elusive Higgs boson, the missing link to identify how matter is created. You can also spend a year in Antarctica, from the beautiful summer with hundreds of workers to the winter months, where a hardy group of a dozen or so women and men brave total darkness, extreme winds and dangerously cold temperatures. You also won’t want to miss Tim’s Vermeerin which Tim Jenison sets out to prove that Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer painted his extraordinarily detailed masterpieces with the aid of technology – and paints a reproduction to prove his theory.

For insight into the minds of some fascinating people, look no further than these five docs. I Am Chris Farley is a loving portrait of the troubled comedian, who died at 33 from a drug overdose. Life Itself is an inspiring and brutally honest look at the career and life of revered film critic Roger Ebert, who lost his ability to speak in his last years due to jaw cancer but wrote until the very end (his autobiography of the same name is also worth checking out). I Am Divine sheds light on the public and private life of drag performer who rose to fame (and infamy) in a number of John Waters films. Jodorowsky’s Dune is as much about avant-garde filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky as it is about his visionary but failed attempt to bring Frank Herbert’s Dune to the big screen. Finally, be sure to check out Stories We Tell from actor/director Sarah Polley as she interviews family members to find out the truth of who her father is. One need not be famous to be fascinating.

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