It may not be the kind of life I would love, but there’s something romantically appealing when “fashion photographer” (he loves the clothes, not the game) Bill Cunningham, whose shots of people of the celebrity and non-celebrity ilk have appeared in publications like Vogue and the New York Times says, “Who needs a kitchen?” Certainly not Cunningham, who until recently lived in an artist’s loft at Carnegie Hall with little more than a pot to piss in and miles of negatives. This loving, lively documentary enlists the standard testimonials from movers and shakers like Anna Wintour and Tom Wolfe, but its greatest asset is its subject, a monk-like, possibly asexual delight of a human being who wants nothing more than to do what he loves: take pictures. (available now)
Special Features: Additional scenes, 12-page booklet
Like the aforementioned Bill Cunningham, TV entertainer Conan O’Brien wants only to do what he does best – entertain – but for him, it’s as much a curse as it is a gift. Director Rodman Flender follows O’Brien through the inception and aftermath of his post-late-night-war 30-city tour that stormed the country last year in the wake of the talk-show host’s very public exit from The Tonight Show. It finds O’Brien a broken, bitter man who sees performing musical and comedy bits to arena crowds as his only remaining glimmer of personal salvation. The problem, as this conflicted, sometimes torturous doc illustrates, is that his desire is so strong that it can’t be limited to scheduled tour stops. Whether on a bus, a plane, backstage or even at a gas station, he’s compelled, both by his massive celebrity and by a brutal, barbed self-destructive streak, to keep the funny coming. Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop starts rockily – the comedian’s self-pitying grates at first. But once the tour starts, it becomes crystal clear that it’s no act: He can’t decide if he wants to hide in a cave or dance on top of one. (available now)
Special Features: Audio commentary, outtakes, deleted scenes
Rounding out this week’s collection of singular personalities is writer-actor Carrie Fisher, the one-time most lusted after girl in the galaxy who transitioned to a successful screenwriting career (she wrote Postcards from the Edge based on her difficult relationship with real-life mother Debbie Reynolds) and now, as seen in this fascinating one-woman show, has a helluva story to tell. Fisher literally needs charts and graphs to detail just how fucked up her family life was growing up. How this child of the previous century’s Brad and Angelina came out of it alive, let alone articulate, is a wonder. (Her real-life father is Eddie Fisher, who left her famous mom for the even more famous Elizabeth Taylor.) It’s ugly and painful, yes, but also inspiring in a bizarre way to watch Fisher pick up the pieces, stand back and simply shake her head. (available now)
Special Features: Additional footage, interview with Debbie Reynolds
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