Title: King Cohen: The Wild World of Filmmaker Larry Cohen
Director: Steve Mitchell
Starring: Larry Cohen, Rick Baker, Martin Scorsese, Eric Bogosian
Runtime: 1 hr 50 mins
What It Is: A documentary looking back at the film career of the emphatic writer-filmmaker Larry Cohen (The Stuff, Black Caesar, Phone Booth).
What We Think: Though the style of the doc itself is sort of dry and formulaic (with some rather unimpressionable stock music and cheap-looking graphics here and there), it does the right thing in stepping back and letting the real-life involved speak for themselves and deliver all that we need to know. Otherwise, it is edited well with great supporting footage and interviews as we drift through the history of Cohen’s filmography. Speaking of the titular character: Larry Cohen himself is an artistic force to be reckoned with, coming into his place as a director through the mid-20th-century in order to more properly bring his scripts and stories (often crazy crime dramas, body horrors, or mystery dramas) to life. He’s a unique filmmaker in his fearlessness and tendency to take guerrilla filmmaking to the next level. Cohen is inspiring in the interviews and the historical footage, revealing his relentlessness, creativity, and audacity. The man’s a madcap in the best way possible and is consequently fascinating to watch.
Our Grade: B, The film is a tale about being able to have faith in yourself, to take control of the creations you fall in love with, and to have the strength to carry them out on your own; it’s about quick-thinking and adventure and mischief and Hollywood—basically an IRL swashbuckler about filmmaking. King Cohen is a bedtime story for lovers of film: telling and enjoyable.