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Celebrate Halloween with the Real Haunted Houses of 'The American Scream' and 'Hell House'

  • Movies.com
Doc Talk is a biweekly column devoted to documentary cinema, typically featuring an essay concentrated on a currently relevant topic for discussion followed by critic picks for new theatrical and home video releases. This week’s focus is on two documentaries to watch on Halloween. Halloween may be best associated with the horror film genre, but there is an increasing amount of documentaries suited for viewing on the holiday too. Classic nonfiction works with related subject matter include Benjamin Christensen’s 1922 history of demon and witch superstition Haxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages, and Peter Watkins’s Oscar-winning 1965 nuclear war hypothesis The War Game. More recently, doom-and-gloom films like Lucy Walker’s doc on current nuclear...

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Doc Talk: Sundance to Kick Off Another Great Year for Documentary

  • Moviefone
Filed under: Documentaries, Sundance Film Festival, Columns, Cinematical

Pictured: An image from Steve James 'The Interrupters'

Doc Talk is a bi-weekly column on all things documentary and non-fiction cinema.

Could anyone have guessed this time last year that 2010 would be the best year for documentary ever? Might we have predicted it based on the selections for the Sundance Film Festival, which we knew then to include new non-fiction works by Alex Gibney, Davis Guggenheim, Michael Winterbottom & Mat Whitecross, Leon Gast, Sam Green, Amir Bar-Lev, Stanley Nelson and Rachel Grady & Heidi Ewing? The thing is, it's very possible none of those works would even crack my top ten list for the year in docs.

But the festival did bring us many of my favorites of 2010 (including my #1, 'Last Train Home,' though this had previously premiered elsewhere, as well as 'Restrepo,' 'Enemies of the People,' 'Gasland' and the
See full article at Moviefone »

Doc Talk: Sundance to Kick Off Another Great Year for Documentary

Filed under: Documentaries, Sundance Film Festival, Columns, Cinematical

Pictured: An image from Steve James 'The Interrupters'

Doc Talk is a bi-weekly column on all things documentary and non-fiction cinema.

Could anyone have guessed this time last year that 2010 would be the best year for documentary ever? Might we have predicted it based on the selections for the Sundance Film Festival, which we knew then to include new non-fiction works by Alex Gibney, Davis Guggenheim, Michael Winterbottom & Mat Whitecross, Leon Gast, Sam Green, Amir Bar-Lev, Stanley Nelson and Rachel Grady & Heidi Ewing? The thing is, it's very possible none of those works would even crack my top ten list for the year in docs.

But the festival did bring us many of my favorites of 2010 (including my #1, 'Last Train Home,' though this had previously premiered elsewhere, as well as 'Restrepo,' 'Enemies of the People,' 'Gasland' and the
See full article at Cinematical »

Doc Talk: 'Countdown to Zero' and 'The Age of Stupid'

Doc Talk: 'Countdown to Zero' and 'The Age of Stupid'
I feel like a glutton for punishment, but I also can't just avoid the documentaries that depress me. That would leave me with a very limited amount of films to focus on in this column. And it's not my fault the non-fiction film world is so concentrated on doomsday subject matter lately. Maybe I shouldn't have seen Countdown to Zero in a theater on West 42nd Street, but how was I to know a movie about nuclear bombs would continually show satellite images of New York City in order to show the scope of destruction from such a weapon detonated in Times Square?

Would I have been better off watching a screener of Lucy Walker's acclaimed doc from my apartment, located in a part of Brooklyn just barely outside the blast circumference? No, I'm sure I would still have teared up when I did. Watching a montage of real
See full article at Cinematical »

Doc Talk: 'Crude' and 'A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash'

Doc Talk: 'Crude' and 'A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash'
With the Gulf of Mexico oil spill still in the headlines, I thought it fitting this week to watch some documentaries about that troublesome black liquid known as petroleum. I'm sure that one day we'll get a film or three specifically about Bp's Deepwater Horizon disaster, and I'm also looking forward to the HBO premiere of the relevant, critically acclaimed Sundance-winner GasLand on June 21 (our own Jette enjoyed the film at the Marfa Film Festival), but for now let me share some thoughts on two very different yet similarly titled docs involving oil, Basil Gepke and Ray McCormack's A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash and Joe Berlinger's Crude.

I'll start with the former, which was released earlier (in 2006) and which is by far the weaker of the two. Honestly, I'm not sure how the film garnered so many positive reviews, as well as awards from multiple film festivals
See full article at Cinematical »

Doc Talk: Ondi Timoner's 'Dig!' and 'We Live in Public'

This week I was at a loss for what to write about for Doc Talk. I'm still unsure of what this column should really function as. Should I highlight necessary documentary classics? Should I write about new doc releases, which most of our readers will not have access to at the time of posting? Should it be an examination of documentary as an art form? A journalistic form? A media format in general? Whatever the focus, if any, my main wish is to communicate with readers, which is why the column is called Doc Talk. I want to kickstart discussions of non-fiction films. I'll be happy if it sparks even a few comments each week, so I know Cinematical readers actually give a dang about documentary films.

So in addition to drawing a blank on what films to write about, I figured it would be best to put a vote to it.
See full article at Cinematical »

Doc Talk: 'Art & Copy' and 'Frontline: The Persuaders'

Doc Talk: 'Art & Copy' and 'Frontline: The Persuaders'
Doug Pray's 2009 Sundance entry Art & Copy finally hit DVD and Netflix Instant this week, and I'm always intrigued about the advertising world so I consumed it immediately. But that was extremely underwhelming so I went looking for another documentary on the topic and came upon the 2004 Frontline episode The Persuaders. Does the PBS series count as documentary in the way I approach it here? I don't want to discuss that just now. I will say, though, that this isn't the first time I've been more fulfilled in my cravings by a Frontline episode after watching an unsatisfying doc feature. Following my viewing of Robert Greenwald's Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Living, for example, I checked out the much better Frontline: Is Wal-Mart Good for America?

Art & Copy and The Persuaders aren't quite as similarly focused as the Wal-Mart films. The former concentrates on the creative side of advertising
See full article at Cinematical »

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