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19 items from 2012


West of Memphis – review

22 December 2012 4:03 PM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Errol Morris's classic 1998 documentary The Thin Blue Line anatomised a defective Texas legal system and the underside of American society while reinvestigating the murder of a Dallas cop in the mid-1970s. It managed to obtain a full pardon for the falsely convicted itinerant worker railroaded by the police. The equally riveting West of Memphis is a scrupulous examination of the conviction of three small-town Arkansas teenagers for the brutal murder of three small boys in 1993. The evidence was flimsy and contrived, the confessions extracted under duress, the social prejudice palpable and perjury rife. But it took 17 years of investigation, much of it paid for by the New Zealand film-maker Peter Jackson, to right even partially this gross miscarriage of justice. The prevaricating Arkansas authorities were at best pigheadedly cynical, at worst criminally conspiratorial, and the movie is both a shocking indictment of the American criminal justice system and »

- Philip French

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2013 Sundance Film Festival Predictions: Atom Egoyan’s Devil’s Knot

19 November 2012 2:30 PM, PST | ioncinema | See recent ioncinema news »

Atom Egoyan has been invited to Sundance as a filmmaker Next of Kin (Sundance ’87), Exotica (Sundance ’95), producer, juror and the list goes on, but the chances are less than likely that he shows up with his latest — as it comes across more like a Tiff, award season title. So why include a completed project that has long been in the works and whose relevance might be in question because of the intense film treatments it has received from the docu world with the Paradise Lost trilogy and West of Memphis? Simple. I’m thinking that the pro-active fest would want a narrative feature that not only continues this discussion but might contribute to the current aftermath a la The Thin Blue Line. Devil’s Knot has heavyweights Reese Witherspoon and Colin Firth are joined by Alessandro Nivola, Amy Ryan, Matt Letscher, Michael Gladis, Stephen Moyer, Rex Linn and Bruce Greenwood. »

- Eric Lavallee

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Drafthouse Films Nabs The Act Of Killing - See Images from the film!

31 October 2012 5:52 AM, PDT | Upcoming-Movies.com | See recent Upcoming-Movies.com news »

Drafthouse Films has acquired U.S. rights to Joshua Oppenheimer's The Act of Killing documentary Chronicling one of the most overlooked genocides in recent history. The deal was negotiated by James Emanuel Shapiro, Evan Husney and Tim League on behalf of Drafthouse Films, as well as Philippa Kowarsky of Cinephil, on behalf of the film's producer Signe Byrge Sørense. The Act Of Killing utilizes dramatization to illustrate the banal state of corruption and impunity the unrepentant, locally celebrated former executioners inhabit. The film earned early praise from master documentarians Werner Herzog (Grizzly Man, Into The Abyss) and Errol Morris (The Thin Blue Line, The Fog Of War), whose enthusiasm for the film lead to their role as Executive Producers. "I have not seen a film as powerful, surreal, and frightening in at least a decade," says Herzog, "it is unprecedented in the history of cinema." Morris adds, "like all great documentaries, »

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Drafthouse Films Nabs The Act Of Killing - See Images from the film!

31 October 2012 5:52 AM, PDT | Upcoming-Movies.com | See recent Upcoming-Movies.com news »

Drafthouse Films has acquired U.S. rights to Joshua Oppenheimer's The Act of Killing documentary Chronicling one of the most overlooked genocides in recent history. The deal was negotiated by James Emanuel Shapiro, Evan Husney and Tim League on behalf of Drafthouse Films, as well as Philippa Kowarsky of Cinephil, on behalf of the film's producer Signe Byrge Sørense. The Act Of Killing utilizes dramatization to illustrate the banal state of corruption and impunity the unrepentant, locally celebrated former executioners inhabit. The film earned early praise from master documentarians Werner Herzog (Grizzly Man, Into The Abyss) and Errol Morris (The Thin Blue Line, The Fog Of War), whose enthusiasm for the film lead to their role as Executive Producers. "I have not seen a film as powerful, surreal, and frightening in at least a decade," says Herzog, "it is unprecedented in the history of cinema." Morris adds, "like all great documentaries, »

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Watch: Errol Morris and the Youth of America Explain Why Not Voting Is a Good Idea (Not Really) (Video)

30 October 2012 10:34 AM, PDT | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

What's the use of voting? Is my one vote really going to matter? That's the perennial lament among many young people. So Oscar-winning filmmaker Errol Morris ("The Fog of War," "The Thin Blue Line") has teamed with the New York Times' Op-Docs intitiative to make the new film "11 Excellent Reasons Not to Vote?" Though the title implies a celebration of abstention, Morris is, for the most part, only being tongue-in-cheek about how unimportant Americans' democratic civil duty really is. One young woman gives Morris a zinger back when he suggests that we shouldn't vote because we could get killed on the road on the way to our polling place. A young man, recently naturalized, is excited to vote for the first time. Another man, whose grandmother wasn't able to vote until the passing of the 15th Amendment, when she was 43, votes in honor of her. Morris, a master of levity and gravity, »

- Bryce J. Renninger

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London Film Festival 2012: West of Memphis Review

13 October 2012 4:40 PM, PDT | Obsessed with Film | See recent Obsessed with Film news »

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

It’s difficult to imagine that Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky’s massively comprehensive docu-trilogy about the infamous West Memphis Three case, Paradise Lost, could be topped as far as fastidiousness and sheer detail goes. The entire, near 7-hour saga began as a somewhat ambiguous depiction of the Three, a group of young men who were convicted of murdering three children in Arkansas in 1993, but by its final entry, had become the grandest cinematic indictment of the justice system since Errol Morris’ sublime The Thin Blue Line. Here Amy J. Berg (Deliver Us From Evil) proves there’s merit in another take on the story, even if West of Memphis struggles to compete with Berlinger and Sinofsky’s grand opus.

What’s clear from minute one is that Berg’s film – produced by Peter Jackson, a passionate follower of the case – benefits from much higher production »

- Shaun Munro

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Lawsuit Against Filmmaker Errol Morris Raises Interesting, Bizarre Questions

24 August 2012 5:06 PM, PDT | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

In such films as The Thin Blue Line, The Fog of War and Mr. Death, Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Errol Morris has won acclaim for his attention to detail in challenging conventional wisdom on historical subjects. Then last year, Morris was sued by Joyce McKinney, the central figure in his documentary, Tabloid, for allegedly tricking her into appearing in the film. Photos: Top 10 Legal Disclaimers in Hollywood Since first being filed, the lawsuit has taken some twists and turns, with some parts being dismissed and others being allowed to continue. If the dispute gets to trial, the case could

read more

»

- Eriq Gardner

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The Sight & Sound Top 250 Films

17 August 2012 7:37 PM, PDT | Dark Horizons | See recent Dark Horizons news »

After much media hoopla about "Vertigo" toppling "Citizen Kane" in its poll, Sight and Sound magazine have now released the full version of its once a decade 'Top 250 greatest films of all time' poll results via its website. The site also includes full on links showcasing Top Tens of the hundreds of film industry professionals who participated in the project.

For those who don't want to bother with the individual lists and to save you a bunch of clicking, below is a copy of the full 250 films that made the lists and how many votes they got to be considered for their positions:

1 - Vertigo (Hitchcock, 1958) [191 votes]

2 - Citizen Kane (Welles, 1941) [157 votes]

3 - Tokyo Story (Ozu, 1953) [107 votes]

4 - La Règle du jeu (Renoir, 1939) [100 votes]

5 - Sunrise: a Song for Two Humans (Murnau, 1927) [93 votes]

6 - 2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick, 1968) [90 votes]

7 - The Searchers (Ford, 1956) [78 votes]

8 - Man with a Movie Camera (Vertov, 1929) [68 votes]

9 - The Passion of Joan of Arc (Dreyer, »

- Garth Franklin

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The Imposter, a tale of identity theft par excellence

17 August 2012 4:06 PM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

In 1997 Frenchman Frederic Bourdin persuaded an American family he was their missing teenage son. Now a new film revisits the events, uncovering an even murkier tale

After his film became a word of mouth hit at the Sundance festival in January, British director Bart Layton was flown to Hollywood for "a mad tour" of the big studios. When he got there, though, he realised no one quite knew what to make of his work. "People are desperate to find categories," he says. "They say, is it documentary? Is it fiction? Americans refer to everything that isn't documentary as 'narrative', but I would absolutely argue that this is a narrative film."

"This" is a documentary called The Imposter, the story of Frédéric Bourdin, a mixed-race Parisian who, in the late-90s, adopted the identity of Nicholas Barclay, a boy seven years his junior. Bourdin's age – 23 – and appearance – stubbled and swarthy – didn't »

- Damon Wise

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Michael Mann, Mike Leigh, Kevin Macdonald and Michel Hazanavicius - Your Favourite Filmmakers' Favourite Films Part 3

6 August 2012 1:02 AM, PDT | Flickeringmyth | See recent Flickeringmyth news »

This month's Sight and Sound dropped through my letterbox this morning, and in it contained their once-a-decade Top 10 Films of All Time, as voted for by critics and filmmakers. If you've been living as a recluse in your own personal Xanadu, Orson Welles, who's been number one for the past half century, got Citizen Kaned by Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo (James Stewart).

In the issue, Sight and Sound also included "100 sample entries" representing "edited highlights of the 358 voting entries we recieved for the 2012 Directors' Poll." The whole bunch will be available online from 22nd August, but until then, here's Part 3 of our own sample of your favourite filmmakers' favourite films...

Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist)

City Girl (Murnau)

City Lights (Chaplin)

To Be or Not to Be (Lubitsch)

Citizen Kane (Welles)

The Apartment (Wilder)

The Shining (Kubrick)

North by Northwest (Hitchcock)

The Third Man (Reed)

Raging Bull (Scorsese)

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs »

- Chris Villeneuve

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Hot Docs 2012: ‘Herman’s House’ a deeply moving account of penitentiary life

24 April 2012 8:13 PM, PDT | SoundOnSight | See recent SoundOnSight news »

Herman’s House

Directed by Angad Singh Bhalla

Canada, 2012

Today is April 24th 2012. Last week marked the 40th anniversary of Herman Wallace’s initiation to a punitive epoch in solitary confinement. This commemoration is made even more lamentable when we learn that he’s been there ever since.

In a documentary shot over five years, Toronto filmmaker, Angad Singh Bhalla, tells the story of Jackie Sumell, an American artist looking to give Wallace a small semblance of life and humanity. At times an intricate political statement and at others a torrid character study, Herman’s House is a contemplative look into the searing brutality of the American justice system, as well as the seemingly altruistic compassion of strangers.

In 1972, a 25-year old Wallace was already repaying his 25-year debt to society for a bank robbery, when he was accused, and convicted, of murdering Brent Miller, a 23-year old Angola Prison guard. »

- Justin Li

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Review: 'Scenes Of A Crime' Is A Riveting True-Crime Documentary Worthy Of Errol Morris

31 March 2012 3:16 PM, PDT | The Playlist | See recent The Playlist news »

The following is a reprint of our review which ran during the 2011 Doc NYC Film Festival. "Scenes Of A Crime" is now out in limited release.

When the West Memphis Three were freed just a wee bit before Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky's third film about their plight ("Paradise Lost 3") was about to hit the festival circuit, people were again reminded of the brass strength of cinema. After the first of the trilogy was aired on HBO, the public was wooed and spoke out against their conviction, with loud voices such as those of Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder bringing even more heat to the topic (with some celebrities even helping to fund the legal defense team). We often forget that film can help elicit change -- maybe it's our general apathy or maybe we've been conditioned to turn away from whatever new "issues" doc is at our door, »

- Christopher Bell

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Into the Abyss: A conversation with filmmaker Werner Herzog

31 March 2012 3:20 AM, PDT | Flickeringmyth | See recent Flickeringmyth news »

Matt Smith takes part in a roundtable discussion with acclaimed filmmaker Werner Herzog about his latest documentary Into the Abyss: A Tale of Death, A Tale of Life...

So. My first ever Q&A. And it’s with a cinematic great. Greeeaaat. No pressure then. So I pack my bags, head off to London with my questions in my back pocket, my head full of dreams.

But you don’t need to care about that. You’re here to read about Werner Herzog. Writer, director, actor. He’s a busy man, working on projects ranging from art installations to starting his own rogue film school as a movie villain. Differing projects that require a lot of talent just to get off the ground, let alone make a success as he has. Even ate his own shoe once. Once that we know of.

I walk in, three questioners already sat down. »

- flickeringmyth

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Errol Morris Will Point The Interrotron At Donald Rumsfeld In A New Documentary

14 March 2012 10:04 AM, PDT | The Playlist | See recent The Playlist news »

Controversy has never scared off Errol Morris, and in fact, it has powered some of his best work. From the true crime tale "The Thin Blue Line," powerful portraits of war in "The Fog of War" and "Standard Operating Procedure," and more recently the JFK assassination (in the astounding short "The Umbrella Man"; watch it here) he has faced some tough material head on with tremendous insight. And his next effort promises nothing less.

Vulture reports that Morris and his Interrotron sat down last month with Donald Rumsfeld for a series of interviews covering his entire career. If somehow you have no idea who this guy this (and really, you should), he has impacted American politics in huge and very controversial ways. Most know him as the Secretary of Defense under George W. Bush who came up with the framework for "enhanced interrogation techniques." Or as the guy who eluded »

- Kevin Jagernauth

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Philip Glass @ 75

1 February 2012 9:16 AM, PST | MUBI | See recent MUBI news »

Besides the two dozen operas, the symphonies, concertos and solo works, Philip Glass, who turns 75 today, has composed literally scores of scores for films, beginning most famously with Koyaanisqatsi (1982), an essay film as dependent on its music as any other. Glass and Godfrey Reggio would complete the trilogy with Powaqqatsi (1988) and Naqoyqatsi (2002). Another crucial cinematic collaboration has been with Errol Morris (The Thin Blue Line (1988), The Fog of War (2003)), and other notable scores would be, for example, those for Paul Schrader's Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985; sample it here) and Martin Scorsese's Kundun (1997). And whatever you think of Stephen Daldry's The Hours (2002) — and chances are, if you're reading this, you may not think much of it at all — that soundtrack, aimed straight at the mainstream and nominated for an Oscar, holds up better than you might remember.

"Glass is the only living classical composer with anything »

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A Conversation with Errol Morris on the Nature of Truth, Photography, and Documentary

20 January 2012 3:00 PM, PST | Slash Film | See recent Slash Film news »

Director Errol Morris has made a career out of solving mysteries, which comes as no surprise since the man used to be a private detective. Whether he was exonerating Randall Dale Adams in The Thin Blue Line or unraveling a sordid sex tale in Tabloid, Morris has deftly used his subjects to provide gripping accounts of situations that have been wrapped in intrigue and ambiguity. In his book, Believing is Seeing, Morris turns his attention to the art of photography.  In a series of photographic whodunnits, Morris explores the truth-telling capacity of photos. His conclusion? "Photographs don't have truth value." I had a chance to sit down with Morris in his Cambridge, Ma office during his recent book tour and chat extensively with him about the nature of photography, the plausibility of re-enactments, and Joyce McKinney's controversial reaction to Tabloid [1]. After the break, read highlights of my discussion with Morris. »

- David Chen

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How the Oscars Dropped the Ball (Again) With New Documentary Rule

9 January 2012 1:18 PM, PST | NextMovie | See recent NextMovie news »

Just when you thought the Oscars couldn't possibly screw up the nomination and voting process for Best Documentary Feature any further, Deadline is reporting that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has instituted a policy in which all entries must receive a review in either the New York Times or the Los Angeles Times in order to be eligible for consideration.

This new rule is just the latest in a long and increasingly exasperating series of hurdles for potential nominees.

Over the last three decades, the Oscars have consistently failed to recognize some of the greatest achievements of each year in the documentary category. Films like "The Thin Blue Line," "Roger & Me," "Hoop Dreams," "Fahrenheit 9/11," "Grizzly Man" and "Waiting For Superman" all either failed to secure a nomination or were deemed ineligible for a variety of provincial, outdated or genuinely arbitrary reasons. For example, Werner Herzog’s "Grizzly Man »

- Todd Gilchrist

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Should film critics decide who gets an Oscar?

9 January 2012 12:30 PM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

The new rule that, from next year, a review in the New York Times or La Times will be necessary to qualify for the best documentary Oscar has put unprecedented power in the hands of two heavyweight Us media organs and their chief critics: Ao Scott and Manohla Dargis in New York, and Kenneth Turan in La.

The battle lines are clear. On one side is the Academy and its governor responsible for documentaries, Michael Moore (yes, him), lining up behind the two venerable newspapers who are asserting, in Scott's description, that "print criticism and the theatrical release of movies remain important in a media environment that has rapidly expanded". On the other, a host of independent film-makers whose films won't have a chance of getting a notice from the big-shot critics, »

- Andrew Pulver

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Kristen Wiig, Paul Rudd & Owen Wilson Believe Freezing People Is Easy

6 January 2012 8:39 AM, PST | kidspickflicks | See recent kidspickflicks news »

Paul Rudd (Dinner for Schmucks), Owen Wilson (Marley and Me), Kristen Wiig ("SNL") and Christopher Walken (Click) will star in Freezing People is Easy, based on -- believe it or not -- the True Story of the TV repairman that started the cyrogenics industry in the 1960s by trying to, yes, freeze people. Spoiler alert: it turns out it's harder than he expected. Oscar-winning documentarian Errol Morris (The Thin Blue Line) will make his feature film directing debut from a script by Zach Helm (Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium).

Wiig, who is in her last season of "Saturday Night Live,"  is attached to the film but she's not locked in: she is mulling over tons of offers to do other movies.

Source: Deadline »

- tara@kidspickflicks.com (Tara the Mom)

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19 items from 2012


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