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Score: A Film Music Documentary

Worthwhile for any movie-lover.
Score is a documentary that aims to highlight an important, yet often overlooked aspect of films: their soundtrack. The documentary takes the subject on mostly in chronological order, from early piano scores to the modern marrying of orchestral and electronic mediums. Along the way, the filmmakers interview film historians, directors, and the composers themselves.

It really is amazing to witness how much emotional impact a film's score can have, down to little details like the volume of a french horn. Though I don't think I will ever truly understand how one creates this music, this is undoubtedly a worthwhile film for any movie-lover. My only disappointment is that the filmmakers were unable to interview the great John Williams (though he was covered extensively).

Citizen Jane: Battle for the City

Urban Preservation Fights Back
Citizen Jane documents the battle between Urban Renewal and Urban Preservation, focusing specifically on post-WWII era New York City. It's painted as a classic David v Goliath story in which reporter/activist Jane Jacobs pits herself against the well-connected developer Robert Moses. It isn't a particularly suspenseful documentary - if you know anything about the current layout of Manhattan, you know the outcome - but it's still a highly educational piece that highlights many of the ongoing debates in the world of urban planning.

Those living in small towns or rural areas may not get too much out of this doc, but anyone living in a major city will easily relate to its themes. If I have one complaint, it's that the filmmakers worked a little too hard to paint Moses as a villain. They touch a bit on his early idealism, but then lean into the portrayal of him as a greedy bully. Perhaps he was simply blind to the damage he was doing in his quest to re-build the slums and tenements? I suppose it's a compliment to say that this documentary left me wanting to know more.

Roller Life

Fascinating subject, poor execution.
There's no argument that Roller Life focuses on a fascinating subject, the modern sport of roller derby, and features many strong, fun, and inspiring women. Knowing little to nothing about about derbies, watching this documentary was an entertaining experience. If nothing else, it'll inspire many viewers to go out and buy tickets to watch a match in real life.

Unfortunately, this documentary was made with little to no budget, and it really shows. Blurry shots and choppy editing plague the film. Ther are lots of interesting interviews with players, plenty of half-time locker room speeches, and mesmerizing match footage. However, we mostly just watch the derby season play out without being emotionally invested in any particular team. In turn, this makes many of the matches feel anti-climactic.

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