Diverse documentaries to stream now on Showmax


BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN fans will be swept away by Western Stars, the live, intimate concert performance of the 20-time Grammy winner’s 19th studio album, released in 2019.

Filmed at the artist’s own ranch, the film documents an intimate gig in a 100-year-old barn, where Bruce is backed by a band and a full orchestra as he performs all 13 songs from the album, taking us on a journey of love, loss, loneliness, family and the passage of time.

Western Stars was nominated for Best Music Documentary at the 2019 Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards, where Bruce himself won for Best Narration. The documentary has a 94% critics’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes, where the critics’ consensus calls it “a cinematic gift for Springsteen fans” and “a worthy companion piece to the album.”

The HBO documentary Fake Famous follows a social experiment in which an actress, a fashion designer and a real estate assistant attempt to become social media influencers by buying fake followers and bots to boost their popularity.

Peeling back the layers to reveal what’s really happening behind the scenes of influencer fame, Fake Famous highlights our obsession with the number of likes, followers, and favourites we get, and how most of our online world is more fabricated than we realise.

“While their tales don’t unfold entirely as planned, the HBO documentary exposes how ripe for manipulation this whole culture is, and the powerful incentives to game the system,” says CNN.com

Filmed over five years in Kansas City, Transhood follows four children – beginning at ages 4, 9, 12, and 15 – in a never-before-told chronicling of growing up transgender in the heartland of America. Directed by multi-award-winner Sharon Liese, the HBO documentary has an 86% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes and won the Audience Award at the 2020 AFI Docs Festival.

The Hollywood Reporter hailed Transhood as “gentle and absorbing,” adding, “Filmed cinema verité-style over five years, starting in 2015, Transhood follows four Kansas City families in various stages of this conversely agonizing and rewarding process. Offering no narration, expert talking heads or text interstitials, Liese forgoes contextualizing the culture wars and instead lets her subjects speak for themselves…”

Variety praises the documentary as “engrossing” and “surprising,” adding, “Transhood maintains an artful bifocal perspective, capturing both youthful impatience and parental whiplash.”

How To With John Wilson is “kind of like that show, Planet Earth, but if it was only in New York and David Attenborough was forced to film everything himself,” says Wilson in the trailer for his show, Rotten Tomatoes’ third highest-rated docuseries of 2020, with a 100% critics rating.

As the Rotten Tomatoes’ critics’ consensus puts it, “Surprising, thoughtful, and superbly strange, How To With John Wilson‘s blend of documentary styles comes together to create a singularly delightful experience.”

Or as Kathryn VanArendonk says in Vulture, “Maybe no TV show in 2020 has surprised me as much as How To With John Wilson, a documentary/comedy/personal essay/glorious portrait of weirdos unlike anything else I’ve seen. Much of the pleasure of the show comes out of its strange sense of humour, and it absolutely benefits from a hefty dose of surprise. Wilson has this fantastic capacity to notice unusual moments in everyday life. Even better, he has this ability to present those discoveries as beautiful treasures while also making clear that they are utterly, totally ordinary.”

How To With John Wilson has an 8.7/10 score on IMDb and was recently renewed for a second season by HBO. 

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