‘Crazy Horse’ and ‘Maidentrip’ Top This Week’s Nonfics Home Picks

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Most people don’t get to see documentaries until they arrive on a home video platform of some kind, whether it’s DVD, Blu-ray, VOD, iTunes, TV, Netflix streaming, etc. So, this may be the most important post of the week for fans of nonfics. Join us every Tuesday for a look at what documentaries and reality programming is recommended by myself and other contributors to the site. As always, if you know of something we missed or should be aware of, drop us an email or a note down below.

Here are our ordered picks for March 4, 2014:

1. Crazy Horse

[New to Sundance Now Doc Club] — Frederick Wiseman’s 2011 film of Paris’s Le Crazy Horse nude cabaret club — which is one of my least favorite Wisemans, but even then it’s better than most docs — is part of this month’s Sundance Now Doc Club curation, entitled “Naked Tales.” As is the norm with the Doc Club, I’ve only seen the one film in the bunch, programmed once again by Thom Powers. Other titles this include Orgasm, Inc., Live Nude Girls Unite!, A Wink and a Smile, Female Misbehavior, Behind the Burly Q and Passion and Power. All are available together for only $4.99, so go watch some docs full of skin. Also check out my review of Crazy Horse at Indiewire’s Spout Blog and my interview with Wiseman about the film on the Documentary Channel Blog.

Also available on iTunes, Amazon Instant Video and Google Play

http://vimeo.com/33371521

2. Maidentrip

[New to iTunes] — Ahead of its DVD release, Jillian Schlesinger’s coming of age film about 16-year-old Laura Dekker’s record-breaking sailing trip around the world is available exclusively on iTunes. Here’s what I wrote I wrote of the doc in my ★★★★ review: “Maidentrip isn’t about the sport of sailing. Any doc can be made about someone rounding the globe on their own, and in fact there’s even one about another teen girl who tried it before (Wild Eyes). That’s not the story here. At one point Dekker claims not to care at all about the record, though that seems to be a change of mind from the start. And changes of mind — others being which flag to fly under, where to finish up her trip, going from not being able to wait to get on land and “kick around” to making fewer port stops — are key to her character at this time in her life, because this is a film about a person finding herself…[it is] part of a new breed of nonfiction teen movies that acutely tap into the true heart and soul of that age better than any fiction filmmakers are doing right now. Specifically here, that time is an exploration, paralleled with a physical analogy of both triumph and inconclusiveness in the spirit of not only growing up but also growing outward.”

3. Dogtown and Z-Boys

[New to Netflix Watch Instantly] — Stacy Peralta’s history of skateboarding in 1970s Southern California is a modern classic, and definitely has to be seen if you’ve only watched the remake, Lords of Dogtown. Sean Penn narrates the film, which is otherwise primarily made by the people who were there. Peralta was a member of the Zephyr team he focuses on, as were other members of the production team. And most of the footage is first-hand archival material shot by Z-boys and their friends. Yet it never feels too introspective or narcissistic. It’s also one of a few docs that proves paying for a good soundtrack can pay off. In addition to now streaming on Netflix, Dogtown and Z-Boys airs this and next week on Robert Rodriguez’s new El Rey cable network.

Also available on DVD, iTunes, YouTube and Google Play

4. The Iran Job

[New to DVD, iTunes, Amazon Instant Video and Netflix Watch Instantly] — This documentary about American basketball player Kevin Sheppard playing for Iran’s Super League is a little unfocused, attempting to mix the sports stuff with context of what’s going on politically in the nation during the time (the film was shot during the 2008–2009 season) and a subplot involving Sheppard’s friendships with three women. It’s the last of these elements that I found the most interesting, but overall if you’re as much a sucker for fish-out-of-water stories as I am, you should enjoy it.

5. Linsanity

[New to Netflix Watch Instantly] — Another basketball doc, this one’s an imperfect but entertaining profile on NBA sensation Jeremy Lin. Here is what I wrote in my ★★★ review of the film: “Linsanity isn’t necessarily a sports movie, nor is it solely about Lin and his struggles to go pro. It’s also a heavy reminder of how racially minded we are in the U.S. That’s not just the outright racism, although the doc certainly addresses over and over the implication that Lin’s skill was consistently dismissed by owners and coaches because he didn’t “fit the mold,” plus the more direct verbal abuse he’s received from players and spectators throughout his life. Linsanity opens on the subject telling a story of security guards at Madison Square Garden not believing he was a player, and director Evan Leong holds onto that theme of ignorance for the rest of film.”

Also available on iTunes, Google Play, YouTube and Vudu.

6. Inequality for Now

[New to Netflix Watch Instantly] — This spotlight on economist and Berkeley professor Robert Reich was one of the highest-grossing documentaries of 2013. Here’s the positive side to what Dan Schindel wrote in his ★★★ review of the film: “As a basic primer on topics such as minimum wage, the virtuous cycle of a well-paid middle class, concentration of wealth, corporate personhood and more, the film is quite successful. Reich is a good shepherd, explaining these things simply but without condescension. And he’s backed up by crisp, easily understandable visual aids. Technically speaking, the doc is laudable.”

Also available on iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Google Play, Vudu and YouTube.

7. Pandora’s Promise

[New to Netflix Watch Instantly] — Note: this entry appeared in a previous edition of Nonfics Home Picks. Following up its CNN airings with a move to Netflix is this anti-anti-nuke film from Oscar nominee Robert Stone (Radio Bikini). I’m always for these kinds of works that go contrary to the normal liberal documentary viewpoint, and this one is particularly challenging and timely in the wake of the Fukushima meltdown. Stone is a longtime environmentalist who has turned toward being pro-nuclear energy and has traveled the world to show us how safe and green it is compared to our other options. One of the biggest conversation starters of the year.

Also available on iTunes, YouTube and Google Play

New to DVD [and/or Blu-ray]:

Alien Planets Revealed

Bad Seed

Bible Secrets Revealed

The Blue Angels 60th Anniversary Tribute

Comet Encounter

Girls Rising

The Iran Job (★★★ Nonfics rating)

Liberation Unit

Noah and the Great Ark

Reportero

Restaurant Impossible Season 3

Reunion

The Soil Solution to Climate Change

Untold History of the United States (★★★ Nonfics rating)

New to Netflix Watch Instantly:

1:1 Thierry Henry [Stream Now]

Chasing Beauty [Stream Now]

Dogtown and Z-Boys (★★★★ Nonfics rating) [Stream Now]

Inequality for All (★★★ Nonfics review) [Stream Now]

Into the Mind [Stream Now]

The Iran Job (★★★ Nonfics rating) [Stream Now]

Linsanity (★★★ Nonfics review) [Stream Now]

Mr. Angel [Stream Now]

Pandora’s Promise (Nonfics rating) [Stream Now]

Rush: Beyond the Lighted State [Stream Now]

Stevie Nicks: In Your Dreams [Stream Now]

New to iTunes/Amazon Instant/VOD:

All the Way Through Evening [iTunes/Amazon Instant Video]

Behind the Burly Q [Sundance Now]

The Conspiracy to Rule the World [Amazon Instant Video — Prime]

Crazy Horse (Nonfics rating) [Sundance Now]

Devil’s Farm [Amazon Instant Video]

Europe’s Roswell: UFO Crash at Abersytwyth [Amazon Instant Video]

Female Misbehavior [Sundance Now]

Genius On Hold [Amazon Instant Video]

Ghost Hunt: Paranormal Encounter at Burlington County Prison [Amazon Instant Video — Prime]

Girl Rising [Amazon Instant Video]

Honor Diaries [Amazon Instant Video]

The Iran Job [iTunes/Amazon Instant Video]

Live Nude Girls Unite! [Sundance Now]

Lunch Hour [iTunes/Amazon Instant Video]

Maidentrip (★★★★ Nonfics review) [iTunes]

Orgasm, Inc. [Sundance Now]

Passion and Power [Sundance Now]

Sherlock Holmes: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle — The Real Sherlock Holmes [Amazon Instant Video]

Until They Come Home [Amazon Instant Video]

A Wink and a Smile [Sundance Now]

Must-See Nonfiction TV:

Tuesday

West of Memphis [3/4 on Starz Edge, 2:50am ET]

Chimpanzee [3/4 on Encore Family, 6:45am ET]

State 194 [3/4 on Pivot, 2pm ET]

Wednesday

Chimpanzee [3/5 on Encore Family, 12am ET]

Microcosmos [3/5 on HDNET, 6am and 10:45am ET]

We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists [3/5 on Pivot, 1:30pm ET]

American Teacher [3/5 on Pivot, 9pm ET]

Thursday

West of Memphis [3/6 on Starz Cinema, 2:50am ET]

Friday

In the Shadow of the Moon [3/7 on Military Channel, 12pm ET]

Beware of Mr. Baker [3/7 on Showcase, 6:25pm ET]

Lenny Cooke [3/7 on Showtime, 6:30pm and 9:30pm ET]

Saturday

My Kid Could Paint That [3/8 on Starz Kids & Family, 12:15am ET]

Mad Hot Ballroom [3/8 on The Movie Channel East, 7am ET, and The Movie Channel West, 10am ET]

American Teacher [3/8 on Pivot, 10am ET]

Dogtown and Z-Boys [3/8 on El Rey, 5:30pm and 9:30pm ET]

Lenny Cooke [3/8 on Showtime 2, 6:15pm ET]

The Queen of Versailles [3/8 on CNBC, 10pm ET]

Sunday

The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia [3/9 on Showcase, 4am ET]

Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer [3/9 on HBO East, 5:30am ET, and HBO West, 8:30am ET]

Deep Sea 3D [3/9 on 3net, 7am and 2pm ET]

Kings Point [3/9 on HBO East, 10:30am ET, and HBO West, 1:30pm ET]

Chimpanzee [3/9 on Encore Family, 10:35am and 7pm ET]

Monday

Paul Williams Still Alive [3/10 on Showcase, 5:15am ET]

Tuesday

Ultrasuede: In Search of Halston [3/11 on Showcase, 12:05am ET]

Lenny Cooke [3/11 on Showtime Extreme, 8:30pm ET]

More to Read:

(Editor in Chief)

Christopher Campbell is the founding editor of Nonfics.