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Oscars: Netflix and Errol Morris Defy Convention With Hybrid Doc ‘Wormwood’

Oscars: Netflix and Errol Morris Defy Convention With Hybrid Doc ‘Wormwood’
Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Errol Morris has “run afoul” of the film Academy before, he jokes. After all, his unconventional 1988 cinematic investigation “The Thin Blue Line” apparently violated unspoken dogma within the documentary community that year, yielding one of the most egregious snubs in Oscar history.

Nevertheless, he’s ready to test the organization’s boundaries once again this year, and he’s found an apt partner in a trailblazing platform that’s no stranger to upsetting industry status quo.

Netflix will release Morris’ “Wormwood” as a four-hour, six-part event on the streaming site on Dec. 15. But following the series’ world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival in September, the director has prepared a non-episodic theatrical version with a single intermission, Variety has learned. Netflix plans to submit that version to the film Academy, and not only for documentary feature consideration, but for all other categories as well.

That in and of itself is not uncommon. But what makes
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Harvey Weinstein: His Career Timeline of Sexual Harassment Allegations

  • Indiewire
Harvey Weinstein: His Career Timeline of Sexual Harassment Allegations
In this week’s missile of a The New York Times story about the many alleged indiscretions of Harvey Weinstein, one of his past colleagues, former Miramax Los Angeles president Mark Gill, describes Weinstein’s professional climb from indie producer to Hollywood titan. “From the outside, it seemed golden — the Oscars, the success, the remarkable cultural impact.” Yet Gill said the persistent whispers that Weinstein was mistreating women were in fact “the biggest mess of all.”

While The Weinstein Co. co-founder publicly championed women’s rights, his accusers say that he was a hypocrite, secretly propositioning them for massages, kisses and more. One month after Weinstein distributed “The Hunting Ground,” a documentary about rapes on university campuses, he allegedly groped a college-aged woman in his office. Weinstein, 65, has a well-documented, on-the-record history of unflattering behavior, even against women (like in 2002, when he publicly berated director Julie Taymor at a screening of her film,
See full article at Indiewire »

11 great documentaries on Netflix

Catherine Pearson Feb 22, 2017

Documentary fans are well served by these 11 great documentary series and features, currently available on Netflix UK...

In recent years, even months, Netflix has upped its game. No longer just a site to instantly stream an old title you might have once picked up in Blockbuster, it's become a hub of quality new and original film and television and this is by no means limited to its vast selection of fiction.

See related The world of the Peaky Blinders

With the scope of possibility in visual effects and the boundlessness of imagination there are very few places we cannot explore in fiction nowadays… that is unless we explore stories that are stranger than fiction. There is a tangible thirst for the real; the overwhelming response to recent Netflix documentary Making A Murderer in the news and social media, as just one example, exposes the desire for and
See full article at Den of Geek »

6 Times Hollywood Shook Up Criminal Justice Before ‘Making a Murderer’

  • The Wrap
6 Times Hollywood Shook Up Criminal Justice Before ‘Making a Murderer’
Making a Murderer” subject Brendan Dassey had his conviction overturned by a federal judge on Friday. But “Making a Murderer” is not the first time a film or documentary has been a factor in a major legal reversal of fortune. “Gimme Shelter” (1970) A documentary directed by the Maysles brothers, “Gimme Shelter” started out as a simple concert film about The Rolling Stones, but turned out to be essential documentation of the fights and violence that erupted at the Altamont Free Concert. “The Thin Blue Line” (1988) Errol Morris‘ documentary depicted Randall Dale Adams, a man serving life in prison for a murder.
See full article at The Wrap »

Making A Murderer: 12 Documentaries To Binge-Watch Next

Netflix

By now, you’ve already sat through ten hours of Making a Murderer and, since turning amateur sleuth and staying up way past your bedtime, have ploughed through endless transcripts and YouTube videos to convince yourself that you will be the one to solve the case of Steven Avery.

Here’s the bad news; you won’t be.

Most of us have now realised that, however enthralling the season was, it was still a rather cunning move from Netflix. Huge accusations of bias toward Avery’s case have been thrown at the filmmakers and, with doubts of Avery’s innocence now being cast by ex-girlfriend, Jodi Stachowski and even his own son (who admitted that it’s possible that his father killed Teresa Halbach this week) the case is still as unsolved as ever.

Netflix has hinted at a season 2, but in the meantime the arm-chair detective in you
See full article at Obsessed with Film »

Errol Morris Discusses Making a Murderer’s Alleged Bias, His Netflix Series, and Why We Are Obsessed With True Crime

  • Vulture
Errol Morris Discusses Making a Murderer’s Alleged Bias, His Netflix Series, and Why We Are Obsessed With True Crime
Anyone who considers him- or herself a true-crime fan has seen Errol Morris's seminal documentary The Thin Blue Line, which unearths the truth about the 1976 murder of Officer Robert Wood and the subsequent conviction of Randall Adams for the crime. Adams's sentence was ultimately overturned, due in part to Morris's investigative work in the film. In an excellent interview with Slate, Morris discusses why we're experiencing such a collective infatuation with the true-crime genre:However you want to describe it: the whodunit; the mystery of what really happened; the mystery of personality; of who people really, really are is powerfully represented when you have a crime standing in back of all of it. It’s a way of dramatizing really significant issues: How we know what we know? How have we come to the belief that we have? Is justice served by the various mechanisms in our society? Is the
See full article at Vulture »

10 Best Movies and TV Shows to Stream in January

10 Best Movies and TV Shows to Stream in January
It's January, and if your new year's resolution was to watch better movies, then good news: We've got you covered (The bad news: You have terribly low ambitions). From comfort-food classics to a new Netflix documentary series that finds a comedian completely reinventing herself (and does not involve murder cases), there's a hot, hungover mess of great new things to stream this month. So sit back, relax, and enjoy our guide to the best of what's new to view during the first month of 2016. Because you don't have to get
See full article at Rolling Stone »

Errol Morris on His Early Films, and What He Thinks of The Jinx

  • Vulture
Errol Morris on His Early Films, and What He Thinks of The Jinx
This week sees the release of wonderful new Criterion editions of three of the greatest documentaries of all time: Errol Morris’s first three films, Gates of Heaven, Vernon, Florida, and The Thin Blue Line. Re-watching these films, it’s at times odd to think that the same man made them: Gates of Heaven is the deadpan, deliberate tale of pet cemeteries in California; Vernon, Florida is a weirdly meditative, austere portrait of the offbeat personalities in a rural southern town. And The Thin Blue Line, one of the most influential documentaries of all time, is a gripping investigation into a cop killing in Texas — complete with an evocatively tense Philip Glass score, stylized cinematography, and detailed, cinematic slow-motion reenactments. (The film was famously instrumental in the eventual release of Randall Dale Adams, who had been wrongfully convicted of the murder and condemned to die in the electric chair.) But
See full article at Vulture »

'Hobbit', 'Into the Woods', 'Unbroken' & 'Thin Blue Line' on DVD and Blu-ray This Week

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies We know this won't be the last we hear of The Hobbit as there will have to be the release of the extended edition and then there are box sets to consider, but we are getting closer to the end of our association with Middle Earth and it actually reminds me, what is Peter Jackson going to do nowc

Unbroken It's amazing to think that about a year ago we all thought this one had the best chance at winning Best Picture and now here we are, a year later and no one could really care less.

Into the Woods I really disliked this movie, but Mike, our resident lover of musicals, loved it. It's a story that cares nothing for its characters and feels like two movies smushed together to form a Frankenstein of a musical, and wow, the songs, I'm
See full article at Rope Of Silicon »

We Were All Suckered by 'The Jinx' -- and That's Ok

  • Moviefone
You'd think people would be happy with the finale this past Sunday of HBO's docu-series "The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst," Not only did the six-episode true-crime drama end with the kind of neat apparent-confession that real life seldom drops into the laps of journalists, but the episode was preceded by less than 24 hours by the actual arrest of its subject on a murder charge related to the crimes discussed on the show. Viewers got a bang-up ending, and the victims' families finally get to see the alleged killer face a court of law. Everybody wins, right?

And yet, there's been nothing but handwringing over the ethical questions raised by the conduct of filmmakers Andrew Jarecki and Marc Smerling and the fortuitous timing of the arrest. Jarecki and Smerling taped Durst's seemingly self-incriminating remarks ("What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course.") during a 2012 interview,
See full article at Moviefone »

We Were All Suckered by 'The Jinx' -- And That's Ok

  • Moviefone
You'd think people would be happy with the finale this past Sunday of HBO's docu-series "The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst," Not only did the six-episode true-crime drama end with the kind of neat apparent-confession that real life seldom drops into the laps of journalists, but the episode was preceded by less than 24 hours by the actual arrest of its subject on a murder charge related to the crimes discussed on the show. Viewers got a bang-up ending, and the victims' families finally get to see the alleged killer face a court of law. Everybody wins, right?

And yet, there's been nothing but handwringing over the ethical questions raised by the conduct of filmmakers Andrew Jarecki and Marc Smerling and the fortuitous timing of the arrest. Jarecki and Smerling taped Durst's seemingly self-incriminating remarks ("What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course.") during a 2012 interview,
See full article at Moviefone »

Harvey Weinstein on Best Pictures, 'Snowpiercer' and Theatrical vs. VOD and His "Harvey Scissorhands" Nickname

Harvey Weinstein is one of the most powerful, outspoken, and controversial men in Hollywood. The studio executive who launched Miramax and The Weinstein Company is a passionate film lover, a master promoter, a ruthless Oscar campaigner, and just about everything else you need to be in order to make it to the top in the business. Even if you find what he does unscrupulous or the content he produces not very good, it is hard not to admire the man for how successful he has made himself, no matter how frustrating it might be. Weinstein recently had a chat with Deadline, covering a wide variety of topics from the Netflix series "Marco Polo" to the troubles with the upcoming Broadway musical adaptation of Finding Neverland to Oscar campaigning to his reputation of recutting films, giving him the nickname "Harvey Scissorhands." I had no idea the Weinsteins were behind "Marco Polo
See full article at Rope Of Silicon »

The Top 25 Oscar Documentary Snubs of the Past 30 Years

By Anjelica Oswald

Managing Editor

After narrowing the Oscar documentary feature shortlist to five at the 87th Academy Award nominations Jan. 15, a number of notable exclusions were featured, particularly Al Hicks‘ Keep on Keepin’ On, which documents the mentorship and friendship of a jazz legend and a blind piano prodigy, and Steve James‘ Life Itself, about the life and career of famed film critic Roger Ebert. (James is no stranger to snubs and the exclusion of his 1994 film Hoop Dreams led to rule reform within the documentary category.) Both films hold 97 percent positive ratings on Rotten Tomatoes.

Some films surprised when they didn’t even land a spot on the shortlist, such as Red Army, which examines the rise and fall of the Soviet Union’s hockey team from the perspective of its coach. That film holds a 100 percent positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

In light of these best documentary feature snubs,
See full article at Scott Feinberg »

Films that contributed to a change in the law

  • Den of Geek
From fizzy drink sizes to video nasties to employment law, we look at the films that had an impact on legislation as well as culture...

Some films appear in the cinema, entertain their audience, make their money, and then dutifully shuffle off into the mists of history, only to be wheeled out now and again on TV. But occasionally, one comes along that has a lasting impact, and every so often, a movie has at least some influence on an eventual change in the law.

Here, we're going to look at a few examples of that, as we examine a selection of films that have had an impact more lasting than how much they made at the box office...

Scum

Originally conceived as a BBC Play For Today, Alan Clarke's Scum was pulled by the corporation from its broadcast schedules. Undeterred, Clarke and writer Roy Minton reworked it as a film,
See full article at Den of Geek »

Top 5: Deliver Us From Evil, Foxcatcher Trailer, Saturn Awards, Horrible Bosses 2 Trailer, Our Most Anticipated Movies: July to September

This week I rewatched Errol Morris' landmark 1988 documentary The Thin Blue Line for the first time in around six years and was reminded of how remarkable it is. Available on Netflix to stream instantly, the film is not only lauded for Morris' unique use of reenactments and "interrogation" style of interviewing but also because it was the primary catalyst behind Randall Dale Adams having his murder conviction and subsequent life sentence overturned. Morris' private investigator skills are on full display in the pic as he dismantles the flawed testimony of witnesses that led to Adams' conviction, culminating in a final taped interview with David Ray Harris that's as surreal and powerful a conclusion as you'll find committed to film. I try and avoid using hyperbole as much as possible, and I don't think I'm overselling it when I say that The Thin Blue Line is among the most important documentaries ever made.
See full article at Collider.com »

Thin Blue Lines and Beyond Edges: How the ‘dramatic reconstruction’ changed documentaries forever

  • HeyUGuys
Beyond The Edge is a tale of insurmountable odds. As a documentary recounting the 1953 expedition to the tip of Mount Everest, which saw Edmund Hillary and Nepalese Tenzing Norgay become the first to reach its summit, it takes quotes collected from the years since the journey and blends them with dramatic reconstructions of key points in their story. Reenactment has almost become an artform in its own right within the documentary format; in showing us something constructed as artifice, we’re given a rare chance to glean the truth. But it’s not as old as you’d think. So where did the trend originate from? How has it impacted how we make and – more importantly – watch documentaries?

The popularisation of reenactment can easily be traced back to 1988, when Errol MorrisThe Thin Blue Line first wowed audiences and critics. The film revisited a murder case from 1976, in which Randall Adams
See full article at HeyUGuys »

Donald Rumsfeld spills the beans on his time as Us Secretary of Defence in Errol Morris' documentary The Unknown Known

Imagine you save a man from Death Row – and he ends up suing you for 'stealing' his life story. That is what happened to Errol Morris after his 1988 film, The Thin Blue Line. The Oscar-winning 66-year-old filmmaker (whose documentary, The Unknown Known, about politician Donald Rumsfeld, has just been released in the UK) is still perplexed by the legal action that Randall Dale Adams, the man wrongfully convicted of murdering a police officer in Texas, took against him.
See full article at The Independent »

The HeyUGuys interview: Errol Morris talks The Unknown Known

  • HeyUGuys
He’s won an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature. His debut is in Roger Ebert’s 10 Greatest Films of All Time. He was instrumental to solving a murder case. He made Werner Herzog eat his shoe. He needs no real introduction, for Errol Morris is one of the world’s best makers of documentaries, if not the best.

In light of his forthcoming new film, The Unknown Known, which concerns ex-us Secretary of Defense and his interesting use of political language, Errol sat down with HeyUGuys and spoke at length about everything from his own obsessions, the legacy of The Thin Blue Line, the rise of digital technology in cinema, and Rumsfeld’s smile.

I guess I’d like to start by asking a very basic question. How did you manage to get Donald Rumsfeld to sit down and be interviewed?

I asked him. You know, there’s no great
See full article at HeyUGuys »

Top 10 documentaries

Cinema, as Jean-Luc Godard wrote, is truth 24 times a second. Documentaries both prove and disprove the point; but the truth is their strongest weapon. Here, Guardian and Observer critics pick the 10 best

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10. Man With a Movie Camera

To best understand this 1929 silent documentary, one ought to know that its director, the exotically named "Dziga Vertov", was actually born David Abelevich Kaufman in 1896. Some say the name derives from the Russian word for spinning top, but the pseudonym is more likely an onomatopeic approximation of the sound made by the twin reels of film as the director ran them backwards and forwards through his flatbed editor. For Vertov, film was something physical, to be manipulated by man, and yet, paradoxically, he also saw it as a medium
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Read This: Harvey Weinstein Calls Errol Morris "Boring" in 1988 Letter About 'Thin Blue Line' Interview

Read This: Harvey Weinstein Calls Errol Morris
The Letters of Note blog has unearthed a fantastic 1988 letter from Harvey Weinstein to documentary filmmaker Errol Morris. In it, Weinstein tells Morris that his NPR interview for the yet-to-be-released "The Thin Blue Line" wasn't so hot: "You were boring. You couldn't have dragged me to see 'The Thin Blue Line' if my life depended on it." Ouch. Full letter below. As a reminder, "The Thin Blue Line" is now seen as a landmark documentary, it won numerous awards, and most notably exonerated the film's main subject, Randall Dale Adams, from Death Row -- which also ultimately proved incredible publicity for Weinstein's Miramax. But before all this came to pass, Morris, per Weinstein's letter, needed to "start being a performer and understand the media." Weinstein also has some ideas about how Morris could spice up his description of the film ("It's scarier than Nightmare On Elm Street"), and goes on
See full article at Thompson on Hollywood »
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