A Musical Month for Documentaries

Who says the movie musical is dead? Inspiring music makers — both the legendary and the little-known — dominate the documentary landscape this September.   Born to Fly: Elizabeth Streb vs. Gravity In the distinctive work of 65-year-old American choreographer Elizabeth Streb, dancers swing from harnesses, dodge cinderblock pendulums and hurl themselves from platforms onto cushions — and occasionally into each other. (No one should be surprised to learn that Streb has studied advanced physics.) Streb’s work must be witnessed …

Burt’s Bees Founder Still a Maverick at Age 79

Burt Shavitz, the 79-year-old founder of Burt’s Bees cosmetics, lives the life of a recluse. And he’s very happy about it. “There’s no noise,” Shavitz, 79, told the New York Times by way of describing his 40-acre spread in northern Maine. “There’s no children screaming. There’s no people getting up at 5 o’clock in the morning and trying to start their car and raising hell. Everybody has their own idea of what a good place to be is, and this is …

IPod + Alzheimer’s = Miracle! (Plus More New Documentaries)

  Alive Inside (Theaters, July 18) Can music do more to help Alzheimer’s patients than any medication? Dan Cohen, founder of the nonprofit Music & Memory, makes his case for the affirmative in this deeply moving film in which  patients-some of them unresponsive for years-flicker to life (and sometimes explode into song) the moment they hear music from their past. You’ll rush from the theater to buy an iPod for someone you know.     Life Itself (Theaters, July 4) …

‘Supermensch’ Starts Off a Summer of Documentaries

  Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon (Theaters June 6) Austin Powers star Mike Myers tries documentary filmmaking with a fond look at one of his oldest friends, Hollywood superagent Shep Gordon. Actually, it seems that Gordon is just about everybody‘s oldest friend: He’s the ultimate people person, a guy who got where he is by collecting, repaying and cashing in what he calls “coupons” – favors, acts of kindness and professional courtesies. It’s hard to argue with his results: …