Posts Tagged ‘Alex Gibney’


Richard speaks to “CTV News at 11:30” anchor Andria Case about movies on VOD and in theatres to watch this weekend including “The Secrets We Keep” (digital and on-demand), “I Am Greta” (in theatres) and “Totally Under Control” (Digital and on-demand).

Watch the whole thing HERE! (Starts at 19:34)


Richard and CP24 anchor Cristina Tenaglia have a look at the new movies coming to theatres, VOD and streaming services including “The Secrets We Keep” (digital and on-demand), “Vampires vs. the Bronx” (Netflix), “I Am Greta” (in theatres) and “Totally Under Control” (Digital and on-demand).

Watch the whole thing HERE!


Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to theatres, VOD and streaming services including “The Secrets We Keep” (digital and on-demand), “Vampires vs. the Bronx” (Netflix), “I Am Greta” (in theatres) and “Totally Under Control” (Digital and on-demand).

Listen to the whole thing HERE!

TOTALLY UNDER CONTROL: 4 STARS. “The truth will make you sick.”

“Totally Under Control,” the title of the new Alex Gibney now on VOD, is a bad joke. Kind of like nicknaming a tall guy Tiny it’s an ironic, sarcastic comment on President Donald Trump’s repeated denial of the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic. Made in secret over the five months leading up to the U.S. Presidential Election, it features damning interviews with scientists, medical professionals and government insiders.

The opening narration sets the stage, not that anyone alive needs reminding that we are living in very strange times. “2020. Since the 1980s, it’s been a magical year for science fiction writers, the year of predictions about the future, and the ruthless power of technology and humanity would be bound together by a world wide web. Artificial Intelligence would exponentially expand the powers of the human mind. And the world would be dominated and controlled by information based mega corporations without need for government intervention. But all that turned out to be a technocratic illusion when nature set loose a terrible disease that took advantage of the very connectivity we had manufactured.”

The narration goes on to say, “At a moment of crisis the world’s most powerful nation didn’t rise to the occasion it descended into division and chaos,” before asking the million dollar question, “Why did it fail to reckon for a danger for which it should have been so well prepared?”

To answer the question Oscar winner Gibney with co-directors Ophelia Harutyunyan and Suzanne Hillinger invented the “Corona Cam,” an easy and sanitary way to do interviews—this does not look like a Zoom meeting—to interview a variety of experts like whistleblower Dr. Rick Bright who says, “We, the scientists, knew what to do for the pandemic response. The plan was in front of us, but leadership would not do it.”

Add to that recent newsreel footage, investigative reporting and ominous narration and you have a portrait of catastrophic systemic bungling, beginning in January 20, 2020 when the U.S. and South Korea both discovered their first cases of COVID-19, that has left hundreds of thousands dead, many hundreds of thousands more ill with side effects that will linger for years and an economy in tatters.

It’s a haunting collection of facts that would be unbelievable if it wasn’t true. Gibney, Harutyunyan and Hillinger’s aim to expose “a system-wide collapse caused by a profound dereliction of Presidential leadership,” is methodical and urgent, digging behind the headlines to reveal a timeline that should be of concern to everyone reading this or watching the film. It is a difficult watch, not because it isn’t slickly made but because it an infuriating reminder of how we got into this situation.

The movie’s tagline says it all, “The truth will make you sick.”

THE ARMSTRONG LIE: 3 ½ STARS. ” Fascinating stuff but a complex subject.”

9f7e669ac240de837ba1e862f65eb453-The_Armstrong_Lie_-_Main_2-w933h549czLance Armstrong was one of those athletes who transcended his sport. He wasn’t just a cyclist; he became a celebrity known to people who couldn’t even pronounce Tour de France.

When director Alex Gibney embarked on this Lance Armstrong documentary in 2009 it was meant to be a comeback story. After four years away, and seemingly done with the doping scandal that plagued him for years, the racer was planning to not just complete but win the most brutal road race in the world, the 2200 mile Tour de France.

History reminds us that the race wasn’t the comeback he hoped for, marred by a third place finish and new allegations of performance enhancing drugs. Gibney stopped production for several years, returning to the film—with Armstrong’s cooperation—pieced together a portrait of a complex man who allowed hubris and competitive spirit to run amok.

“I didn’t live a lot of lies,” says Armstrong. “I lived one big lie.” It was one huge fib that lasted for his entire career, and arguably made his career. Doping allegations dogged Armstrong his entire career and he did whatever it took, regardless of the repercussions to friends and colleagues, to protect his reputation.

Gibney, an Oscar winner for Taxi to the Dark Side, does a good job at taking us along for the bumpy ride that goes along with being an Armstrong fan. He’s a complicated man who beat cancer and became a hero but whose legacy will be that of a liar who cheated and denied cheating until the weight of evidence was too much to bear.

The movie carefully plots out his downfall, how he is undone by an enormous ego. The bulk of the film takes place during the 2009 race, the beginning of the end for Armstrong’s career, detailing the behavior that leads to one friend suggesting, “doping is bad but abuse of power is worse.”

We all know how “The Armstrong Lie” will end. It’s a portrait of man who lied with a straight face and yet doesn’t seem to quite understand or accept the repercussions of his actions. Fascinating stuff on a complex subject.