Best Documentary Features of 2012 (that I saw)
THE IMPOSTER – A troubled French teen claims to be the missing son of a grieving Texas family in the hopes of gaining a new life. A fascinating true crime documentary, if forces you to ask yourself over and over how this family allowed themselves to be duped into believing this man was their son.
THE AMERICAN SCREAM – Neighbors in a Massachusetts town compete to prepare the best haunted house each Halloween. Styrofoam skeletons and latex monsters clutter the yards of three charmingly amusing “home haunters” as they celebrate the bewitching holiday. A must see for any fan of Halloween.
SEARCHING FOR SUGARMAN - Rodriguez spends his days laying foundations and restoring homes in Detroit. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to him, he is a rock icon in South Africa. An uplifting, lyrical tribute to a mysteriously fascinating man. A commendably simplistic doc that at a mere 86 minutes, is as tight as the tunes produced via its central character.
WEST OF MEMPHIS – Reveals a number of the injustices surrounding the Wests Memphis Three. Big money allowed for a re-examining of old evidence and the conducting of new interviews with those directly involved in the case. I only hope that if I am wrongly accused, Eddie Vedder gets my back.
THE CENTRAL PARK FIVE – Ken Burns’s latest effort examines the 1989 case of five youths who were wrongly convicted of raping a woman in New York’s Cental Park. A shocking examination of injustice. What’s amazing is the lack of animosity on the part of the victims.
JIRO DREAMS OF SUSHI – The world’s greatest sushi chef is an 85-year-old man running a 10-seat restaurant inconveniently located in a subway station. A sparse, affectionate documentary that takes something as seemingly banal as preparing raw fish and makes it look fascinating. You leave with a profound respect for the craft.
The Queen of Versailles – Opening as a biopic studying the decadent lifestyle of a billionaire and his trophy wife, The Queen of Versailles quickly changes gears as the real estate bubble bursts and our protagonists are forced to make a change to their comfortable lifestyle in a major way. You’ll be stunned, you’ll be revolted, you’ll laugh, you’ll frown and somehow, you’ll empathize with the queen through it all.