Binge Guide

What I'm Watching: With Alex Gibney

Academy Award–winning filmmaker tells us what he's watching and recommends a few essential documentaries.

by | April 15, 2020 | Comments

With so many of us social-distancing and staying in, our Watchlists are going to empty out very quickly as we burn through all those “I’ve-been-meaning-to-watch” shows and movies we’ve been saving for a rainy day. To help you find more great content (and some undiscovered gems) to keep you going, we’re turning to the people that make it: the film and TV writers, directors, craftspeople, and performers who, just like you, are stuck home and bingeing like crazy right now.

For our latest installment of “What I’m Watching,” Academy Award–winning filmmaker Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side) reveals what he’s watching now and recommends some essential documentaries. Gibney’s latest project is The Innocence Files, a nine-episode series now streaming on Netflix about the personal stories behind wrongful convictions overturned through the efforts of The Innocence Project.

Death Is a Woman (1967) 82%


Gibney says: “The first one isn’t a doc at all …. It’s A Woman Is a Woman. It’s a film I was watching while social distancing. I picked it [because] I hadn’t seen it before. [Director Jean-Luc] Godard made it right after Breathless, and it’s an incredible film — so inventive, so full of ideas, so colorful. With a wonderful Anna Karina as the star. Check it out. It’ll infuriate you. It’ll make you howl with laughter. It’s so much fun.”

Critics Consensus: One of the last times Godard could make film paradoxes with glee, A Woman Is a Woman is a mocking, genuine tribute to musicals.

Stream now on Criterion Channel.  

Stop Making Sense (1984) 100%

Gibney says: Stop Making Sense is a concert film, by Jonathan Demme, of the Talking Heads. I was at that concert at the Doolittle Theater in L.A. But this film is maybe one of the best concert films ever made. And just take my advice: put it in, dial it up, and turn it up really loud.”

Critics Consensus: Jonathan Demme’s Stop Making Sense captures the energetic, unpredictable live act of peak Talking Heads with color and visual wit.

Stream now on Criterion Channel or Amazon Prime Video

Stories We Tell (2012) 94%

Gibney says: “This is a magnificent film about where we all come from, and who our parents are, and how that’s different from who we thought they might be — in the deepest sense. A great film.”

Critics Consensus: In Stories We Tell, Sarah Polley plays with the documentary format to explore the nature of memory and storytelling, crafting a thoughtful, compelling narrative that unfolds like a mystery.

Stream now on Tubi (free with ads). Rental and purchase available at various streaming sites: FandangoNowiTunes, Vudu, and more. 

Gimme Shelter (1970) 93%

Gibney says: Gimme Shelter [is] a documentary about the Rolling Stones — a cinéma vérité doc by the Maysles brothers. But there’s a third director here we don’t hear much about: Her name is Charlotte Zwerin. Charlotte was the editor on the film, and she takes this magnificent cinéma vérité look at the Rolling Stones on tour and ultimately the events at the Altamont Festival in California and weaves it into a a murder-mystery. It’s the mystery of a person who was killed, and it’s also the mystery of who killed the ’60s.”

Critics Consensus: Equal parts essential and chilling, Gimme Shelter provides a spine-tingling look at how the Rolling Stones’ music paralleled the end of the counterculture movement.

Stream now on Criterion Collection and Kanopy.

When We Were Kings (1996) 98%

Gibney says: “So this was something where Leon Gast in 1974 was in Zaire while Muhammad Ali and George Foreman were there for their Rumble in the Jungle, one of the great fights in history. Gast was there  to hang out with Ali, and that’s where the most riveting footage comes from is:  as Ali gathers all these kids who are rallying to his side, singing ‘Ali bomaye.’ You see Ali, who had passed his prime as a boxer, but was at the height of his intellectual powers, that is just extraordinary to see now, so full of vitality, such a leader. And then in the fight itself, he wins the fight with his wits, his brain, not his brawn, though he ultimately knocks Foreman out. It’s a great film, and there’s something at the end that’s particularly worth noting now: Ali was invited to the Harvard commencement, and gave a speech, a wonderful speech to the kids about making a difference and then somebody shouted out, ‘Hey, Ali! Give us a poem.’ And Ali thinks for a second, and he says, ‘Me. We.’ At this moment in time, it seems the perfect distillation of social distancing and isolation and how that can lead us to understanding and appreciating the collective.”

Critics Consensus: An engrossing documentary that’s as much about a time and a place as it is about a fight.

Stream now on DirecTV or MaxGo

Looking for more great shows and movies to binge? Head to Rotten Tomatoes’ Binge Central.

Thumbnail images: John Lamparski/Getty Images; Rialto Pictures; Everett Collection; Gramercy Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection; Roadside Attractions/Courtesy Everett Collection; Cinecom International/courtesy Everett Collection

Tag Cloud

scorecard Hulu diversity ITV summer preview National Geographic docuseries Sundance Now animated trailers biography universal monsters Oscars HBO Go christmas movies scary movies A&E Sony BBC 2017 GLAAD boxoffice First Reviews Amazon Prime Video saw cancelled History japanese green book LGBT Spike binge Nominations Rocketman Tarantino Vudu cancelled TV shows adenture Hallmark toy story hollywood screen actors guild 90s teaser 2015 The Walking Dead Pop Stephen King composers Interview Fantasy Writers Guild of America spider-verse Turner Classic Movies Mary Tyler Moore debate Ovation GoT quibi breaking bad mission: impossible Paramount Marvel adaptation scary blockbusters Reality Drama Chernobyl Thanksgiving GIFs game show Arrowverse unscripted scene in color series Endgame Emmy Nominations Reality Competition revenge TCA italian Ellie Kemper period drama 93rd Oscars comic books dreamworks anthology Film robots Amazon Election thriller Mary poppins Crackle 94th Oscars lord of the rings rt archives Britbox Countdown video on demand 45 Sci-Fi Spectrum Originals stand-up comedy streaming dragons BAFTA RT History Columbia Pictures streamig Disney Plus mockumentary comics 20th Century Fox Women's History Month know your critic E! godzilla Kids & Family emmy awards Tomatazos spain Marvel Television 21st Century Fox sequels crossover spanish YouTube Premium Classic Film Native Teen Mystery all-time Television Critics Association ratings romance doctor who basketball 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Fargo reviews hispanic heritage month ABC Family Awards politics TV movies crime drama PlayStation Exclusive Video gangster Travel Channel superhero HFPA FX The Witch nature Holidays technology Pirates superman boxing marvel comics Hallmark Christmas movies BET Awards FX on Hulu TCA Winter 2020 Animation international DC streaming service casting ABC OneApp Apple TV+ fresh war OWN 73rd Emmy Awards Best Actress MCU TV renewals child's play leaderboard dceu Christmas Calendar Trivia space MSNBC documentary Heroines historical drama 2018 science fiction finale Masterpiece HBO Video Games disaster Box Office Crunchyroll women psycho cars cats target black LGBTQ TV Mindy Kaling Martial Arts Showtime DirecTV target scene in color independent El Rey Pixar medical drama Comic-Con@Home 2021 Neflix razzies obi wan AMC suspense true crime Hear Us Out RT21 cinemax Fall TV slashers Logo trophy SundanceTV Horror Cartoon Network movie rotten movies we love social media Cosplay Rom-Com dramedy Epix game of thrones FOX discovery stop motion book adaptation live event heist movie Lionsgate PaleyFest scene in color film series black comedy tv talk Apple TV Plus Superheroes TLC renewed TV shows miniseries worst parents BBC America rt labs Legendary canceled MTV Universal Pictures First Look Tags: Comedy Food Network rt labs critics edition 71st Emmy Awards book kong BET travel Creative Arts Emmys video based on movie directors DGA talk show Sneak Peek Pride Month CBS All Access elevated horror Oscar Extras werewolf comiccon broadcast Black Mirror TNT films Alien comic book movies political drama Nickelodeon zombie cops halloween tv 79th Golden Globes Awards Star Wars Celebration TCM facebook YouTube Red marvel cinematic universe Tokyo Olympics The CW justice league CMT award winner Superheroe genre Shondaland 24 frames Watching Series SXSW 2022 Mudbound Comedy Central Bravo venice documentaries sopranos Super Bowl Focus Features summer TV The Academy foreign halloween Academy Awards Rock Paramount Plus Starz die hard classics Lucasfilm popular X-Men jamie lee curtis Hollywood Foreign Press Association Best Picture children's TV Discovery Channel TruTV cartoon rotten Summer 2019 Biopics Comedy supernatural Rocky President Apple best wonder woman The Walt Disney Company japan Country dc Comic Book Western nfl The Arrangement Opinion blockbuster romantic comedy New York Comic Con APB comedies singing competition stoner Sundance Red Carpet south america TBS ESPN james bond cancelled television Infographic Spring TV joker NYCC transformers Television Academy strong female leads latino kids Esquire legend rom-coms Star Trek feel good Music Funimation sitcom dogs Disney streaming service American Society of Cinematographers sag awards serial killer sequel Anna Paquin festival witnail Song of Ice and Fire docudrama SXSW CW Seed Syfy kaiju Holiday spider-man monster movies YouTube San Diego Comic-Con free movies DC Universe IMDb TV Avengers prank hispanic Pacific Islander canceled TV shows CBS Star Wars criterion news NBA what to watch Shudder Comics on TV Grammys SDCC Sundance TV 007 VICE Netflix Disney+ Disney Plus Warner Bros. IFC Films laika Emmys ViacomCBS Set visit Awards Tour series Amazon Prime a nightmare on elm street fast and furious name the review hidden camera Premiere Dates Chilling Adventures of Sabrina psychological thriller Marvel Studios Pop TV worst movies The Purge Trophy Talk Disney WarnerMedia twilight movies TV One comic indie spinoff Turner MGM vs. indiana jones Image Comics cooking Baby Yoda 2016 HBO Max USA Network ABC Signature critics Netflix Christmas movies scene in color NBC slasher action-comedy Adult Swim Film Festival pirates of the caribbean biopic Elton John spanish language Fox News interviews Year in Review TV Land VOD cancelled TV series 4/20 Polls and Games new york harry potter adventure TCA Awards hist festivals Amazon Studios sports olympics crime mob Winners Podcast Dark Horse Comics 72 Emmy Awards Cannes mcc AMC Plus Tumblr live action police drama high school E3 aapi dark golden globes YA South by Southwest Film Festival toronto Disney Channel football Winter TV Nat Geo young adult Quiz summer TV preview Fox Searchlight Toys Paramount Network aliens CNN Mary Poppins Returns WGN golden globe awards anime 2021 deadpool remakes Acorn TV Prime Video Musical television royal family Tubi Freeform Family king arthur 1990s Best Actor FXX dexter Captain marvel jurassic park Marathons A24 zombies Certified Fresh chucky USA obituary 99% TCA 2017 TIFF comic book movie cults Character Guide See It Skip It ghosts Wes Anderson DC Comics Black History Month Geeked Week Instagram Live Sony Pictures Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt richard e. Grant telelvision zero dark thirty streaming movies IFC Lifetime Binge Guide Brie Larson new zealand Action Peacock Best Director king kong Ghostbusters Pet Sematary blaxploitation mutant Universal Valentine's Day versus screenings Broadway Schedule art house french crime thriller ID vampires Paramount Pictures critic resources new star wars movies Lifetime Christmas movies concert posters archives Indigenous Walt Disney Pictures nbcuniversal VH1 spy thriller franchise theme song Best and Worst Photos Trailer Musicals reboot batman australia 2020 satire asian-american BBC One natural history PBS