After he graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a degree in print journalism, Jonathon joined the web team again as a web producer in February of 2011.
When he is not editing and/or writing articles, Jonathon writes for the movie blog and sometimes interviews directors with whom he is nearly too impressed to speak.
Aside from cinema, Jonathon enjoys video games, the music of Omar Rodriguez Lopez, rock climbing and reading.
Jonathon also has a huge crush on Carl Sagan.
Here are five excellent documentaries that are now on Netflix Instant. So when you’re out of TV shows to binge on, pop these into your queue.
As the Sochi Olympics loom, this is, without doubt, the documentary to see. Directed by Lucy Walker, The Crash Reel is a powerful and sobering look at the blood on the snow of the action sports world that forces us to question our devotion to sports cliches like “go big or go home.”
Submerged, sublimely it starts. Light slices through water, and we hear the voice of Emanuel, a beautiful teenage girl, who’s enveloped in her life’s great tragedy: the death of her mother. The 17-year-old (played by the British actress Kaya Scodelario) tells us she killed her mom, and that she’s “not supposed to be here.” Her mother died giving birth to Emanuel, and she blames herself, going so far as to say she’s a murderer.
How does the world seem to you? Do you grow older, finding you have a pretty good understanding of the way things work socially, politically and scientifically? Or do you find yourself often puzzled, caught up in a web-like mess of extremely complex systems you have no clue how to grapple with despite honest attempts to learn a thing or two each day?
In The Great Beauty, director Paolo Sorrentino channels a Rome as classical and surreal as anything made by the great Golden Age master Federico Fellini. Within the first 15 minutes of Sorrentino’s latest, hints of the Italian titan’s La Dolce Vita and 8 1/2 flash before one’s memory, but this time in pulsing electric, rapturous colors.
Bluegrass, sex and the shadow of death. Those are the elements that bind together the lyrical and longwinded Broken Circle Breakdown, a drama that simultaneously tells two stories: that of how a young couple fell in love, and how their love failed.
Despite the snow and the cold, the Twin Cities are a place many Africans call home, and those over at the Film Society of Minneapolis/St. Paul decided to celebrate that fact with a festival called Images of Africa.
An astounding work of documentary film making, Let The Fire Burn uses only archival footage to tell the devastating story of Philadelphia’s 1985 police raid fiasco, which turned a working-class neighborhood into a fiery war zone, a living hell that claimed 11 lives, including those of five children.
The trailer above is for Wampler’s Ascent, a film following Steve Wampler, who has cerebral palsy, as he does some 20,000 pull-ups to conquer the 3,000 foot face of Yosemite’s iconic El Capitan. Part determination doc, part nature flick, the film is just the thing you’d want to kick off the Twin Cities’ inaugural Reel Abilities film festival: five days of inspiring stories and profound insights into realities not often explored in today’s cinema.
Eran Riklis’ Zaytoun tells the odd-couple story of an Israeli soldier and a Palestinian boy as they journey through peril and personal prejudice toward home and eventually friendship. It’s a promising concept — just watch the trailer above — but Riklis doesn’t get the better of it. Instead, the film flounders in a muddled tone and that muck of mucks: sentimentalism.
There are two ways of looking at the great boxer. One has only to do with us, the American public; and the other has to do with him: the man, the fighter, the political and spiritual figure. Siegel’s film takes the latter approach, showing that the heavyweight champion’s most grueling fights weren’t ever in the ring.
Remarkably, all the killing that takes place in Blue Caprice is anything but sensational. Moors describes the movie’s tone as that of a “sad poem” or requiem only occasionally broken up by the crack and vacuum of rifle fire. Style-wise, Blue Caprice is no triller, and there’s no cat-and-mouse game between cops and criminals. This is a twisted family drama with a father, a son and a blue 1990 Chevrolet Caprice.
So who’s Freda? She’s the band’s longtime secretary, who literally grew up with the Beatles, and saw their lives like no other fan girl did.
The luster of eroticism — a naked 19-year-old girl polished in olive oil — doesn’t do all that much in Il Futuro, a film that tries to be literary but comes off as something more pretty than poetic.
In Museum Hours , director Jem Cohen does this beautiful trick where he takes details of Vienna’s cityscape (a dreary playground, for instance, or a remnant of WWII weaponry), and splices them together with tiny details of old, old paintings. The wonderfully executed yet simple technique produces this lovely little feeling, a sort of emotional reminder that art reflects life, and vice versa.