Whovian Adventures, Sinéad O’Connor, and a 60-and-Older Dance Troupe | Real Reels

This month's must-see documentaries include an eye-opening film about Sinéad O’Connor, a look at the use and disuse of scrap metal, and a glimpse of a close-knit group of Doctor Who fans. 

Calendar Girls. 85 min. Greenwich Entertainment. 2022. DVD UPC 3832926173. $19.99.

It’s never too late to embrace a passion, as demonstrated and by these Florida women who are devoted to their ages-60-and-older dance troupe. Known for colorful costumes, the troupe gives over 100 performances each year to raise money for charity. This isn’t a carefree hobby, as the women dedicate many hours to practice and performing. This profile of the troupe’s members is ultimately life-affirming and a dose of pure positivity. The film’s subjects are also honest about the realities of getting older, including philosophical discussions about aging and frank talk about health issues the dancers face. VERDICT A glimpse of the empowerment of older people through dance.

Doctor Who Am I. 80 min. Gravitas Ventures. 2021. DVD UPC 1009777360. $18.99.

Doctor Who is a beloved science-fiction television show—at least the English one is. The 1996 American TV movie on Fox? Not so much. Whovians (fans of Doctor Who) admit they are a “niche within the niche” of fandom conventions. The TV movie is at the bottom of that niche. Matthew Jacobs wrote the screenplay, and in this documentary he and director Vanessa Yuille chronicle his appearances at various conventions, facing Whovians who have strong feelings regarding the TV movie as a failed blip in the doctor’s universe. There are a lot of fandom docs out there, but this documentary finds some emotional intimacy in capturing Jacobs’s surprising journey in the close-knit fan community. VERDICT Those interested in geek subcultures will be entertained.

Nothing Compares. 95 min. Showtime. 2022. DVD UPC 1010368654. $26.99.

Focusing solely on the early, controversial years of singer-songwriter Sinéad O’Connor, Kathryn Ferguson’s lively documentary gives both an explanation of O’Connor’s actions and a loving validation of her music. O’Connor was a genuine star in mainstream culture when she tore up a photo of Pope John Paul II during her performance on Saturday Night Live in 1992. Though she has never stopped making beautiful, challenging music, her “career” as a popular artist was effectively over. In a smart decision by Ferguson, O’Connor narrates the doc, but viewers only see her in archival clips. This locks viewers into a specific place in time with a fiery, youthful, outspoken O’Connor refusing to back down as she performs some of her most memorable and powerful music. VERDICT An honest, eye-opening film about complex Irish firebrand O’Connor.

Scrap. 78 min. First Run Features. 2022. DVD UPC 2022991827. $19.99.

Stacey Tenenbaum travels around the globe (the U.S., Thailand, Spain, India, South Korea, England) investigating the use and disuse of scrap metals. Cars, ships, airplanes, farm equipment, telephone boxes, and old phones are some of the objects being repurposed or turning to rust in heaps or rows of metal wreckage. The doc is eerily meditative and strangely beautiful as drone footage shows scrap metal in woods, on water, or in densely populated cities. It quietly delivers a message about the environment, often letting the camera tell the story without much dialogue. The images are the strongest element of the film, so that is a wise decision by Tenenbaum. VERDICT A blend of environmentalism, eccentricity, and a statement about waste in the 21st century.


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