9 items from 2014
Michael Moore has created some of the most talked about documentaries of all time. It’s been 25 years since his ground-breaking film Roger & Me, so it’s time for it to get the Blu-ray treatment. Here is a portion of the news release…
Roger & Me, the highly acclaimed and groundbreaking hit film that launched Michael Moore’s career as a documentary filmmaker and a leading nationwide activist, debuts in a new 25th Anniversary Blu-ray™ edition, DVD and Digital HD on October 7 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.
Roger & Me is a highly original, personal and satire account of one of America’s greatest urban disasters told against the background of the tough times in Flint, Michigan, Moore’s hometown. The birthplace of General Motors, Flint had been economically decimated by, among other things, plant closings and the elimination of 30,000 Gm jobs. In Roger & Me, Moore gives cinematic voice to his razor-sharp, »
- Jeff Bayer
Commenting on the Critics with Simon Columb…
The recent UK release of Fruitvale Station has inevitably provoked conversation on this side of the Atlantic, whereby re-reading articles from last year only seems to blur lines further:
“Hoping to stir the public, though, the film dances around the facts. Its first problem is how to handle its 22-year-old subject [Oscar Grant III] … flaws are depicted in the film, but nevertheless “Fruitvale Station,” a debut effort from young filmmaker Ryan Coogler, tries to fit a halo on its subject, seemingly to play up the audience’s sympathies.”
Read the full article by Kyle Smith, from July 2013, here.
Following the release, it does seem that clarity over the “truth” about the events is somewhat hazy. Finding a video of the phone footage at Fruitvale Station on YouTube reveals a CNN video that stresses the “fictionalised account” of the story in the film. When we are observing »
- Simon Columb
Documentaries serve a crucial role in our culture — not only because they can challenge the way we look at the world, but also because, occasionally, they might actually prod us off our collective asses to do something. An Inconvenient Truth, Bowling for Columbine, Paradise Lost: these films motivated some moviegoers to get involved in important issues in ways they never thought they would. Other documentaries aren’t trying to change the world necessarily, but still discover and dissect fascinating people and events in ways that fiction can’t or won’t. Offer me Michael Mann’s Ali and Leon Gast’s When We Were Kings, »
- Jeff Labrecque
What will it take for the Cannes Film Festival to show more documentaries? In the last 58 years, Cannes has selected only three documentaries for its main competition: Jacques Yves Cousteau and Louis Malle's "The Silent World" in 1956 and two films from Michael Moore ("Bowling for Columbine" and "Fahrenheit 9/11"). Rather, docs frequently pop up in the Special Screenings section. This year, they include Laurent Bécue-Renard's "Of Men and War," Steve James's "Life Itself," Hilla Medalia's "The Go-Go Boys: The Inside Story of Cannon Films," Gabe Polsky's "Red Army," Ossama Mohammed's "Silvered Water, Syria Self-Portrait," and Stéphanie Valloatto's "Cartoonists - Foot Soldiers Of Democracy." And while filmmakers experimenting with docu-fiction hybrids like Jia Zhang-ke ("24 City"), Ulrich Seidl ("Import/Export"), Pedro Costa ("Colossal Youth") and Lisandro Alonso (appearing this year in Certain Regard with "Jauja") continue to crash Cannes' vaunted barriers, the number isn't »
- Anthony Kaufman
Continuing the weekly series I’m doing here on the site, we’re talking the top 25 Oscar winners in just about all of the Academy Award categories out there for us to discuss. Aside from the short form categories and likely something much harder to rank like Best Sound Editing or Best Sound Mixing as I’ve mentioned in the weeks prior, I’ll be hitting them all over the coming weeks, including of course the big eight categories, a few of which have already received this treatment. I’m also potentially going to do one that doesn’t really exist (a fictitious/wishful thinking Best Ensemble category), but that’s just an idea I currently am toying with. We’ll see about that one, but for now, we’ll stick to reality. Today I’ll be going ahead and knocking off another one of the in between categories (though technically a technical category, »
- Joey Magidson
Chicago – The story of a Chicago-based woman – who died in 2009 at age 83 – has become the subject of a remarkable new documentary. “Finding Vivian Maier” is a film about revelation, and was created by co-directors John Maloof and Charlie Siskel, with the support of Executive Producer and comedian Jeff Garlin.
The tale of Vivian Maier seems impossible. It began after her death with an auction of her storage locker, which contained negatives of her street photographer’s life – from the 1950s through the ‘90s. One of the directors of the film, John Maloof, stumbled onto her treasure by purchasing a box of these negatives. He then became her archivist, cataloging her photos, films, audio recordings and even material possessions, to reveal an artist of unique magnitude. “Finding Vivian Maier” is Maloof’s story, Vivian’s journey and the story of an artist’s life that easily could have been lost with her demise. »
- email@example.com (Adam Fendelman)
Given that President Obama delivered his State of the Union address last night which highlights places where America is doing well and where it could use some improvement, it seemed fitting that we’d look at the movies that attempt to do the same. There’s a rich history of documentaries taking on the issues of the times and often find themselves nominated for the Best Documentary Oscar. This year’s version of that film is Dirty Wars.
The film, based off the book Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield, the movie investigates the United States military and government cover-up of the deaths of five civilians killed by Us soldiers from the Joint Special Operations Command and the U.S. assassination of an American citizen named Anwar al-Awlaki. Mixing in testimonies from a variety of parties, this movie managed to nab a surprise »
- Terence Johnson
When Turner Classic Movies (TCM) kicks off 31 Days of Oscar®, the network’s annual celebration of the Academy Awards® in February, it will be embarking on one of the most ambitious and comprehensive editions of the month-long festival yet.
Each night’s primetime lineup from Feb. 1 through March 3 will be devoted to showcasing all the movies nominated in a particular category in a given year. Meanwhile, daytime programming will focus on specific categories, with winners and nominees from multiple years.
TCM’s 31 Days of Oscar is one of several events celebrating the network’s 20th year as a leading authority in classic film. Making the 2014 edition of 31 Days of Oscar even more spectacular will be the world premiere of And the Oscar® Goes To…, a brand-new documentary tracing the history of the Academy Awards, slated to premiere Saturday, Feb. 1, at 8 p.m. (Et/Pt). CNN Films will encore the documentary onThursday, »
- Michelle McCue
Shortlist for nominations courts controversy with entries on death squads, homophobia in Uganda and Tahrir Square
Glinting gems, red carpet couture and conspicuous grooming are all hallmarks of Oscar night that can be relied on to brighten up March. This year, however, the Academy Awards will offer more than just glamour. Hollywood is heading to the centre of global political debate.
The films now vying for a prize in the 2014 documentary category are the most politically sensitive yet to be considered for attention at the annual Los Angeles ceremony. They include excoriating cinematic treatments of Indonesian death squads, evangelical homophobia in Uganda, the uprising in Tahrir Square and an attack on the incarceration of orca whales in marine parks.
But ahead of the pack in the controversy stakes so far is Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer, the film that tells the story of the trial and imprisonment of two members »
- Vanessa Thorpe
9 items from 2014
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