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

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