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9 items from 2011


My favourite film: Readers' comments – week three

14 November 2011 9:20 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

We're picking out your finest responses to our My favourite film series, for which Guardian writers have selected the movies they go back to time and again.

Here's a roundup of how you responded in week three, when the selections were American Splendor, The Red Shoes, The Princess Bride, Rio Bravo and Hoop Dreams

Who was Harvey Pekar? He was a grouch, a slouch, a miserablist. He griped and bitched about everything. But he did it in style. And he did it publicly, through American Splendor – a series of autobiographical comic books and the subsequent movie adaptation, which Amy Fleming chose to open the third week of our My favourite film series.

"Harvey didn't do happy," wrote Amy. "But he did funny and truth, and so does this movie – beautifully." Robert Pulcini and Shari Springer Berman's film was a cinematic holiday from Hollywood's gloss and fantasy, she said. Trudging around, »

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My favourite film: Hoop Dreams

11 November 2011 7:49 AM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

In our writers' favourite films series, Christian Bennett explains why the story of two teenagers aiming to make it big in basketball is a slam dunk of a documentary

• Did this review miss the hoop? Score on the rebound with your own attempt – or prepare for a basketbrawl in the comments

For a 17-year-old, the prospect of legitimately missing a few hours of college and going to the cinema was always appealing. So with the blessing of our tutors, a group of us folded ourselves into my F-reg Austin Metro, cranked up Elastica on the tape deck, and made the short trip across Sheffield to attend Newcomers Day at the the Showroom cinema, home to what was then a relatively new documentary festival. The curators had scheduled two features to inspire prospective young film-makers. Despite getting into a spirited – and still unresolved – argument mid-film about the motivations of the baliff in Roger and Me, »

- Christian Bennett

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My favourite film: Hoop Dreams

11 November 2011 7:49 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

In our writers' favourite films series, Christian Bennett explains why the story of two teenagers aiming to make it big in basketball is a slam dunk of a documentary

• Did this review miss the hoop? Score on the rebound with your own attempt – or prepare for a basketbrawl in the comments

For a 17-year-old, the prospect of legitimately missing a few hours of college and going to the cinema was always appealing. So with the blessing of our tutors, a group of us folded ourselves into my F-reg Austin Metro, cranked up Elastica on the tape deck, and made the short trip across Sheffield to attend Newcomers Day at the the Showroom cinema, home to what was then a relatively new documentary festival. The curators had scheduled two features to inspire prospective young film-makers. Despite getting into a spirited – and still unresolved – argument mid-film about the motivations of the baliff in Roger and Me, »

- Christian Bennett

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Hoop Dreams is Current's top documentary to see before you die

30 August 2011 8:10 AM, PDT | Reality Blurred | See recent Reality Blurred news »

Current's countdown of 50 Documentaries to See Before You Die ends tonight, and it will name Hoop Dreams as its number-one pick. The film is a 1994 documentary about two black teenagers recruited to play basketball at a suburban Chicago high school, and on the conclusion of the special tonight, Morgan Spurlock will talk to its stars, Arthur Agee and William Gates. (Spurlock's own Super Size Me is number five on the list.) The rest »

- Andy Dehnart

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Trailer trash

13 August 2011 4:09 PM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

The Duke's grandson Brendan gets the Wayne family back in the saddle, while comic horror Attack the Block takes on new significance in the wake of the UK riots

Wayne's world

A piece of the old west lives on in the blockbuster Cowboys & Aliens, in which a spaceship lands in an Arizona town in 1873. Manning up in the posse alongside Hollywood stars Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford is a certain Brendan Wayne, grandson of cowboy legend John Wayne. California-born Brendan grew up on rodeos and film sets and does all his own stunts playing Deputy Lyle in the new film, finally fulfilling a boyhood dream hatched while watching Duke on set in the original True Grit. Having decided late to study acting at university, Brendan even majored in his grandfather's movies. Now married to an actress and with three daughters, Brendan owns two horses, Out of Money and Deuces, neither »

- Jason Solomons

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Meet Chicago's Interrupters…

8 August 2011 1:33 AM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

They are the shock troops in the city's battle against endemic street violence – peacemakers who once lived by the gun. As a documentary on their work reaches cinemas, we visit Chicago to see the campaigners in action

On the stoop of a house on a dilapidated block in Englewood, the south side Chicago neighbourhood that tops the city's statistics for murder, drug addiction, teen pregnancy and most of other indices of social dysfunction, are eight young African-American men and two or three women. It's an oven-hot summer afternoon and the group is kicking back, drinking, shouting and laughing.

"I don't like crowd scenes," says Shango, a member of the city's anti-violence project, CeaseFire, as we pull up outside. He explains that such gatherings increase the chances of becoming a victim of a drive-by shooting.

The street we're in stands in the middle of a few blocks that have seen three murders in recent days, »

- Andrew Anthony

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What’s All The Hulu-baloo About? This Week In Criterion’s Hulu Channel

26 June 2011 4:23 PM, PDT | CriterionCast | See recent CriterionCast news »

This one is coming up late, due to Criterion jam packing a ton of releases on Friday, right while I was finishing up the original post. I think they wanted to mess with me, which is very funny. But being the premier (and only) site that gives you the best coverage of Hulu Plus movies, I don’t mind taking the time at all. I’m hoping it has nothing to do with the recent shake-up going on that Josh just reported on the other day (here), and with Hulu wanting to be bought because of financial problems stemming from multiple sources, this makes one wonder what’s going to happen to the Criterion Collection and their deal with Hulu. I’m crossing my fingers that whoever buys the service, be it Amazon, Google or Yahoo (who is the frontrunner), it doesn’t ruin the deal in place for Criterion and its films. »

- James McCormick

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The new wave of sports documentaries

13 May 2011 2:27 AM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

This spring no less than three British-made sports documentaries get a cinematic release. Does this mark the start of a new relationship between sport and film?

Sport and cinema have been uneasy bedfellows over the years, their dual history mapped out by a series of rather awkward public conjoinings. Football has long been something close to a running joke on film, its high points restricted to the Brian Glover Pe teacher bits in Kes, the luminous pre-modern internationalism of Escape to Victory, and any action movie in which geezer-for-hire and former Wimbledon clogger Vinnie Jones takes a beating.

Perhaps sport and film stand apart as poles: an oil-and-water collision of the loud, the outdoor and the boisterous with the dimly lit, the indoor and the ruminative. That might be about to change. This month three British-made sporting documentaries have had a cinematic release. Two are cricket films: From the Ashes »

- Barney Ronay

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David’s Ten Criterion Collection Films to Celebrate Mother’s Day

7 May 2011 7:11 PM, PDT | CriterionCast | See recent CriterionCast news »

[From the Editor: I'm publishing this Mother's Day list tonight, before the holiday, so that readers will have the opportunity to head out to their local video store, and get these films before their Sunday viewing. That is assuming, of course, that you still have a local video store. I'll link to the Hulu Plus / Netflix pages under the films. I'm also linking the covers to their corresponding Amazon pages. Don't forget, many of them are still on sale right now!]

Mother’s Day weekend, besides being one of those pleasant harbingers of spring and typically the occasion for a time of family togetherness, can also be a bit of an awkward time for your typical film geek. Sure, some of us have awesome moms and we enjoy the opportunity to let her know just how wonderful and special she is to us. But let’s admit it, parental relationships also create their share of awkwardness and tension. Even though none of us came into this world by any other route than through our mother, things happen along the way in that pivotal mother-child attachment that tend to complicate the situation going forward.

So even though today is an occasion to celebrate all those wonderful characteristics about Mom that we love and appreciate so much, there’s always more to the story. Let’s take a stroll through a few of the many moods of Motherhood, »

- David Blakeslee

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9 items from 2011


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