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Tag Archives: Podium

368 Ways to Kill Castro Wayne Smith, Enrique Encinosa, Enrique Ovares, Fabian Escalante, Antonio Veciana, Robert Maheu, E. Howard Hunt, Félix Rodríguez, Ann Louise Bardach, Fidel Castro

638 Ways to Kill Castro: Documentary about some of the attempts – and alleged attempts – by various agencies and radical groups to kill Cuba’s charismatic leader. TNT filled sea-shells, exploding cigars, poisoned wetsuits, Mafia hits… it all sounds rather exciting, but after a jovial opening 10 minutes or so the documentary switches focus to a couple of right-wing ‘Terrorist’ factions, and shows how America hold double standards in the old Terrorist Vs Freedom Fighter debate… pretty deep, man. You end up spending more time than you’d want to with a couple of old guys regaling how they came **“this close”** to pulling it off, but there’s not a shred of evidence to prove that it isn’t all nonsense. More focus on the full list, or some detailed commentary on the where/how/why would have been more interesting; instead you get a bunch of American foreign policy bashing. The Doc was made for TV, and it doesn’t aim any higher: it’s all very low budget, feels unfocused and ill-disciplined, and is a bit too one-sided. Even worse, there’s not even that much footage of the titular Castro!  Despite it’s sassy title, and a promising opening this is all just a bit dull considering the sensational subject matter.

Score: 4/10

Senna: documentary on Ayrton Senna – a Brazilian F1 racing driver and superstar – from the late 1980s to his career-ending bender in 1994. Director Asif Kapadia misses a massive trick putting the emphasis on the Formula One seasons and not making more of the personality, background and life story of Senna – a great, highly watchable, person with a ton of charisma and charm to spare – it’s definitely more of a racing documentary than the biopic title would suggest. As the film pans out we see the trials and tribs of several seasons – focusing on the politics of F1 and the Senna/Prost rivalry – most of which is dramatic and juicy enough to keep a non F1 fan like me interested. There’s a couple of crashes that turn your stomach and the odd interview clip of Senna. An unfortunate aspect is that the picture quality is piss poor, being mostly lifted from VHS archive footage that becomes more tolerable towards the end as TV technology improved. While it’s a decent enough picture, i walked out feeling I didn’t know much more about Senna than when I went in, which was a bummer as he seemed a fascinating person.

Score: 6/10