By Gregory Crofton
The DOC NYC film festival officially ran from Nov. 11-19, but about 70 select films remain available to watch through Nov. 29. Thankfully organizers have made it easy to sling docs from your computer screen to your TV via Roku.
Click here for tickets. Below find reviews of films we recently had a chance to watch.
IN MY OWN TIME: A PORTRAIT OF KAREN DALTON
Running Time: 85 minutes
Executive Producer: Wim Wenders
Production Company: Neighborhood Watch
Rundown: When Dylan says he likes someone, it gets your attention.
“My favorite singer … was Karen Dalton. Karen had a voice like Billie Holiday and played guitar like Jimmy Reed…I sang with her a couple of times.”
– Bob Dylan, “Chronicles: Volume One” (2004)
So I chose “In My Own Time: A Portrait of Karen Dalton” to watch out of DOC NYC’s huge selection of documentaries. It’s a tasteful introduction to Dalton’s poetry and music.
At 21, after two broken marriages, she left Oklahoma for New York City to make a splash in the folk scene. Not nearly as precocious as her contemporary Bob Dylan, she quit playing shows around Greenwich Village after a few years and retreated to a quieter life in Colorado. She would later return to the New York area.
Dalton’s story told on screen reminded me of the great Margaret Brown documentary “Be Here to Love Me,” about Townes Van Zandt, the influential Texas troubadour.
Dalton wrote poetry, but rarely turned it into a song. Instead she recorded tunes written by others, including a few by her good friend Tim Hardin. Dalton liked to make tweaks and would arrange song to her liking.
If you’re into docs about obscure artists, or you are a fan of American folk or blues music, “In My Own Time” is required viewing. Wim Wenders (Paris, Texas, Pina, The Salt of the Earth) on board as executive producer surely helped make this a better film.
No trailer is available, but some of Dalton’s music is on YouTube.
BLUE CODE OF SILENCE
Running Time: 80 minutes
Release Date: 2017, Rustic Canyon Pictures
Rundown: In 1981 director Sidney Lumet made a film based on a corrupt cop named Bob Leuci called “Prince of the City.” I want to see it because of “Blue Code of Silence,” a documentary about a corrupt narcotics investigation unit of the NYPD in the 1960s. Detectives who worked there ended up stealing cash and drugs from the criminals they busted.
Bob Leuci was a member of that unit. He became a “rat,” maybe the biggest rat in police history, when he decided that what he was doing was wrong and agreed to “blow the whistle” on colleagues by wearing a wire.
Leuci lived to tell the tale, and later went on to travel the country in order to train young police officers. He also write nine fiction books.
I don’t highly recommend this film, but if you’re interested in the genre, it’s worth a look. Trailer below.
We reviewed a more entertaining doc on the same subject earlier this year. It’s called “The Seventy Five.” Read our review here.