Thursday, July 12, 2012

Homo Box Office: 'United in Anger,' 'The Six Degrees of Helter Skelter' and 'To Rome With Love'

Saw two excellent documentaries over the weekend. They were about disparate subjects, but were made with similar storytelling techniques that served both topics well. Jim Hubbard's "United in Anger: A History of ACT-UP" is a detailed look at the pioneering activist group that was greatly responsible for getting the world to respond more urgently to the AIDS epidemic. And Michael Dorsey's "Six Degrees of Helter Skelter" is an intimate look at the Tate/LaBianca murders, narrated (and cowriten) by celebrity death guru Scott Michaels, of and Dearly Departed Tours fame. Both films use time lines, interviews with principals and archival footage to take you through each moment of every major point of their respective stories -- "Helter Skelter" goes so far as to show the shocking autopsies and crime-scene photos, including Sharon Tate's butchered pregnant body -- leaving the viewer with stark view of what took place and how.

My only minor complaint about "United in Anger" is that it touched on the internal rift that began to tear ACT-UP apart, but then left us hanging by never explaining what caused it. (Hubbard was at the Quad for a post-screening Q&A and explained time constraints made it impossible to include everything.) Both films are must-sees for anyone interested in the subject matter. "United in Anger" -- which should probably even be required viewing for all LGBT people -- is making the festival circuit now, and will be coming to DVD soon. For the latest updates, click HERE. "Six Degrees in Helter Skelter" is streaming now on Netflix HERE.

Oh, and we saw Woody Allen's "To Rome With Love," which suuuuuuuucks!


Anonymous said...

Hey, Kenneth. Just a little side note: did you know that Scott Michaels was born & raised on Detroit's east side? I found this out when I took one of his fabulous tours. I was wearing a Made In Detroit t-shirt and he commented on it. Turns out we grew up at the same time just a few miles apart! His website is addictive! "To Rome With Love" was mildly amusing; I think "sucks" is too harsh a critique.
Tom W.

Woody for Woody said...

This movie was very funny. But, it helps greatly if you speak Italian.

Kenneth Walsh said...

@Tom W: Yes, I did know that! My friend Mark and I have tried to befriend him online (because of the connection and because he seems like a riot) but he doesn't seem to have any use for us!!!

You're kinda right about "To Rome With Love," but the people OVERLAUGHING all around me forced me to hate it completely!

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