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.

A Woman Is a Woman (Une femme est une femme) (1964) 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 (2013) 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

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