11 items from 2015
Whereas marine activist Louie Psihoyos’ “The Cove” took an environmental crisis — specifically, the slaughter and sale of dolphins off the coast of Japan — and turned it into a white-knuckle suspense thriller, his even higher-stakes follow-up, “Racing Extinction,” feels disappointingly conventional by comparison, like something junior-high kids might watch on a slow day in science class. Though extremely well produced and loaded with even more covert save-the-world stunts, the film doesn’t engage in quite the same way, perhaps because Psihoyos’ squad has been so good about getting the word out along the way. Still, he’s right to recognize that a documentary will have a wider reach than his National Geographic and other old-media contributions do, bound to be amplified when Discovery Channel puts its muscle behind a worldwide broadcast premiere later this year.
Whether you believe the Earth has been around for 4.5 billion years, or just 6,000; whether you consider »
- Peter Debruge
“The Cove” director widens his gaze beyond dolphin hunting to examine global threats to endangered species. In his telling, factors contributing to mass extinction range from poaching to carbon emissions.
The film had its world premiere at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, and Discovery plans to premiere the picture in the 220 international markets in which it operates. There will be a theatrical run in the United States and in 9 other markets, in addition to a video-on-demand release.
- Brent Lang
Peter Debruge: Here we are, approaching the end of the Sundance Film Festival, and let me just say, having spent the last year attending festivals abroad, I miss American independent cinema, far too little of which lands overseas distribution. Sundance is the place where we can all stock up on all those squirrely, hard-to-categorize movies that come out between the blockbusters and cookie-cutter releases the rest of the year, and this year’s bounty leaves me optimistic — and for more reasons than just sheer entertainment value.
This is the most diverse Sundance lineup I can remember, featuring new films from black, Asian and Lgbt filmmakers set in their respective communities (“Dope,” “Seoul Searching” and “I Am Michael”), and while hardly a minority — except in Hollywood — a wealth of films directed by women, including the terrific, sexually liberated coming-of-age movie “The Diary of a Teenage Girl.”
But more interesting than that »
- Peter Debruge, Scott Foundas and Justin Chang
The Cove director Louie Psihoyos returns to Sundance in 2015 with a new call to action. Racing Extinction is a more wide-ranging documentary than its predecessor, albeit one that is just as sharply produced, and no less stirring. Psihoyos says his intention was to go a lot bigger, and the film follows through by offering […]
- Russ Fischer
After exposing the despicable world of illegal dolphin hunting and meat sales in Japan, the director of The Cove is broadening the scope a bit to shine a light on something even more threatening and on a much larger scale. Louie Psihoyos is back at Sundance with his documentary Racing Extinction, a film focusing on mankind’s role in precipitating mass extinction, potentially resulting in the loss of half of the world’s species. This seems to be much more than just tree-hugging, hippie stuff as some like to say, and you can see for yourself in the first trailer. This looks like a documentary to pay attention to very closely. Watch! Here's the trailer for Louie Psihoyos' Racing Extinction from The Oceanic Preservation Society: Racing Extinction is directed by Louie Psihoyos (of the Oscar-winning The Cove) and sees the filmmaker assembling a team of artists and activists intent »
- Ethan Anderton
There is mass extinction going on in the world and someone wants to do something about it — and also document the fight.
The first trailer for Racing Extinction dropped on Thursday. The film, which is set to premiere at Sundance, looks at humanity’s role in mass extinction, revealing how close we are to losing thousands of species. The documentary is directed by Louie Psihoyos, who also directed The Cove.
According to the synopsis, Psihoyos joins forces with activists, scientists, nature photographers, and cutting-edge inventors to draw attention to the dangers we face. While covert operations reveal the horrific black-market trade in endangered aquatic species, the film’s broader lens uncovers the even more disastrous consequences of human activity, chiefly the release of ocean-killing methane and carbon from energy consumption.
The film looks to carry a giant scope and dives deep (and sometimes illegally) into this underground world and should »
- Zach Dennis
As the Sundance Film Festival kicks off, even those of us stuck at home miles away from Park City are getting a first look at some of this year’s highlights. One of those is Racing Extinction, the new documentary from Louie Psihoyos (The Cove). Racing Extinction looks at humanity’s role in mass extinction, revealing how […]
- Angie Han
In his Meet the 2015 Sundance Filmmakers profile, "Racing Extinction" director Louie Psihoyos described his film as, "Like 'The Avengers' - but real." In the same vein as his previous Sundance film, "The Cove," (which won the 2009 U.S. Documentary Audience Award) "Racing Extinction" is an eco-thriller that examines mankind's role in mass extinction. The Sundance Film Festival's official synopsis reads: "Believing that images can stimulate empathy and in turn change behavior, Psihoyos joins forces with activists, scientists, nature photographers, and cutting-edge inventors to draw attention to the dangers we face. While covert operations reveal the horrific black-market trade in endangered aquatic species, the film's broader lens uncovers the even more disastrous consequences of human activity, chiefly the release of ocean-killing methane and carbon from energy consumption." Those empathetic images are shown in the film's poster, which »
- Casey Cipriani
There’s a reason Lars Von Trier decided to premiere his sexually explicit “Nymphomaniac” at the Sundance Film Festival last year. The mountainside gathering has a history of attracting edgy and boundary-pushing fare.
The Danish auteur won’t be showing anything explosive in Park City this time, but the 2015 edition of Sundance promises to have plenty of controversial documentaries and feature films about everything from sexual abuse to Scientology that are certain to spark debate.
Here’s a look at some of the most controversial projects looking to heat up the snowbound festival.
Director: Kyle Patrick Alvarez
Why It Pushes Buttons: Based on the true story about a Stanford University psychological survey that had students create a mock prison setting to look at the root causes of abuse, the film will bring to mind recent clashes with authority ranging from »
- Brent Lang
Louie Psihoyos is a former National Geographic photographer turned filmmaker who also runs a small non-profit called The Oceanic Preservation Society. Their motto used to be, "We're not trying to save the whole planet - just 70% of it," a reference that 70% of Earth's surface is ocean. Now, Psihoyos says, "We realize that our activities on land are destroying the oceans, C02 is acidifying the oceans, pollution, overconsumption et.c, so we're bringing our fight topside for the next film." What it's about: It's an eco-thriller in the same vein as our first film, "The Cove." For people still too scared to see "The Cove" - It's like "The Avengers" - but real. What it's really about: A bunch of crazy friends and dreamers who really are trying to save the world by using their special skills - It Is like "The Avengers," but real. Biggest challenge: It's a big epic undertaking, »
- Casey Cipriani
Angelina Jolie’s WWII drama “Unbroken” opened near the top of the U.S. box office, earning $47.3 million from its Christmas Day bow through its first weekend. In Japan, however, the pic is not scheduled for theaters, for reasons that Toho-Towa, which releases the movies of “Unbroken’s” U.S. distributor, Universal, declines to detail although it says it is still working on getting a release for the film. “We decide to distribute films on a case by case basis,” a spokesman says.
Clearer is the vitriolic response to the film from the Japanese right, including the many so-called “Net uyoku” (Net rightists), who may not belong to any organized group, but make their opinions known on 2channel and other popular Internet message boards and blog sites.
The film, which stars Jack O’Connell as WWII bombardier Louis Zamperini, features scenes of the captured hero being tortured by a sadistic »
- Mark Schilling
11 items from 2015
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