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Film Feature: The 10 Best Overlooked Films of 2011

28 December 2011 1:22 PM, PST | HollywoodChicago.com | See recent HollywoodChicago.com news »

Chicago – Some films never get a fair shot with audiences. They open in a handful of art house theaters scattered throughout the country before inconspicuously landing on DVD. Passionate movie lovers are left with the task of championing these unjustly obscure titles and helping them to acquire the audience they deserve.

Before I reveal my picks for the top ten Best Overlooked Films of 2011, here are the ten runners-up:

Autoerotic

Autoerotic

While Steve McQueen’s magnificent art film, “Shame,” plunges into the dark depths of sexual addiction, Joe Swanberg and Adam Wingard’s “Autoerotic” takes a decidedly more playful approach to similar material. Though Swanberg has made a series of uncommonly intimate films about the sex lives of twentysomething Chicagoans, he’s never attempted a film as overtly comic as this one, and Wingard proves to be an ideal collaborator. “Autoerotic” is easily Swanberg’s most accessible film to date, »

- adam@hollywoodchicago.com (Adam Fendelman)

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The best documentaries of 2011

25 December 2011 2:35 PM, PST | blogs.suntimes.com/ebert | See recent Roger Ebert's Blog news »

Why not fold documentaries into my list of the "Best Films of 2011?" After all, a movie is a movie, right? Yes, and some years I've thrown them all into the same mixture. But all of these year-end Best lists serve one useful purpose: They tell you about good movies you may not have seen or heard about. The more films on my list that aren't on yours, the better job I've done.

That's particularly true were you to depend on the "short list" released by the Academy's Documentary Branch of 15 films they deem eligible for nomination. The branch has been through turmoil in the past and its procedures were "reformed" at one point. But this year it has made a particularly scandalous sin of

omission. It doesn't include "The Interrupters" (currently scoring 99% on the Tomatometer), which has received better reviews and been on more critic's Best lists than any other. »

- Roger Ebert

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[Now Streaming] Your ‘Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,’ ‘Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol’ & ‘We Bought a Zoo’ Alternatives

22 December 2011 6:00 AM, PST | The Film Stage | See recent The Film Stage news »

Each week within this column we strive to pair the latest in theatrical releases to worthwhile titles currently streaming on Netflix Instant Watch. This week we offer alternatives to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, and We Bought a Zoo.

With the holidays hitting this weekend, a family friendly zoo tale does box office battle with a dizzying espionage thriller and the feel bad movie of Christmas. If you want to spend your holiday revels, relishing inspiring true tales, action-packed adventures, and deeply dark tales of revenge, we got you covered with the best of movies now available online through Netflix.

When seeking the elusive truth behind a missing girl’s disappearance, a dedicated journalist (Daniel Craig) crosses paths with an edgy but enchanting young hacker. Rooney Mara stars as Lisbeth Salander, the controversial It girl of Stieg Larsson’s Millenium trilogy. David Fincher directs.

Like your thrillers extra dark? »

- jpraup@gmail.com (thefilmstage.com)

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Tribeca Top 10: Billy Goldberg

18 December 2011 3:35 AM, PST | TribecaFilm.com | See recent Tribeca Film news »

A 2011 Top Ten list from one of Tribeca Film Festival's Programmers, including a horse whisperer, a love story (or two), and a reminder of why we love movies in the first place. Billy Goldberg Associate Programmer, Tribeca Film Festival Honorable Mention: The Artist, We Need to Talk About Kevin, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, The Kid with a Bike, Margin Call 10. Declaration of War (Valerie Donzelli) Don't let the lame trailer fool you. This is a genuinely original film from an exciting and innovative filmmaker. Look out for the film when it's released in January. 9. The Descendants (Alexander Payne) On my list of favorite films of the year, this lands at number 9. On my list of the most overrated films of the year, this lands at number 1. 8. Bridesmaids (Paul Feig) God bless you, Kristen Wiig. And God bless you too, Melissa McCarthy. 7. Buck (Cindy Meehl) So much more »

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"Senna" Among the 2012 Cinema Eye Nominees

11 December 2011 12:16 PM, PST | Manny the Movie Guy | See recent Manny the Movie Guy news »

The Cinema Eye Honors revealed the nominees for the 5th Annual Awards honoring Non-Fiction Filmmaking. Winners will be announced on January 11. Here's the list of the 2012 Cinema Eye Honors:

Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Feature Filmmaking:

"The Arbor," Directed by Clio Barnard, Produced by Tracy O.Riordan

"Senna," Directed by Asif Kapadia; Produced by James Gay-Rees, Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner

"Project Nim," Directed by James Marsh, Produced by Simon Chinn

"Position Among the Stars," Directed by Leonard Retel Helmrich, Produced by Hetty Naaijkens-Retel Helmrich

"Nostalgia for the Light," Directed by Patricio Guzmán, Produced by Renate Sachse

"The Interrupters," Directed by Steve James, Produced by Alex Kotlowitz and Steve James

Outstanding Achievement in Direction:

Clio Barnard for "The Arbor"

Leonard Retel Helmrich for "Position Among the Stars"

Patricio Guzmán for "Nostalgia for the Light"

Steve James for "The Interrupters"

Danfung Dennis for "Hell and Back Again"

Outstanding Achievement in Production:

Erik Nelson »

- Manny

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Documentary Catch Up: 'Undefeated,' 'Page One,' 'Buck,' 'Corman's World,' 'If a Tree Falls' and 'We Were Here'

6 December 2011 10:20 AM, PST | Rope of Silicon | See recent Rope Of Silicon news »

I wrote about Project Nim last time (read that here) and since then I have watched six more documentaries, trying to close the gap on the number of documentaries I missed out on seeing over the course of 2011. As a result, I have now seen five of the 15 documentaries shortlisted by the Academy for Oscar consideration and unfortunately I don't have access to the other ten, though I still have the much talked about Senna and Werner Herzog's Into the Abyss yet to watch. Beyond all that, however, I have six documentaries to briefly discuss today so let's no waste anymore time... Undefeated Undefeated is hands-down, without a doubt fantastic. Yet, at the moment, two things piss me off about it. The Weinstein Co. hasn't done anything to promote it. There isn't a clip; there isn't a trailer; and the poster I used to the left is some rush »

- Brad Brevet

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Beginners and The Tree of Life tie for Best Feature at the Gotham Independent Film Awards 2011

29 November 2011 2:29 PM, PST | Flickeringmyth | See recent Flickeringmyth news »

Awards season got underway on Monday night as the stars gathered in New York City for the 21st Annual Gotham Awards, with Mike Mills' comedy drama Beginners sharing the top honour - Best Feature - with Terrence Malick's Palme d'Or winner The Tree of Life, after fending off competition from The Descendants, Meek's Cutoff and Take Shelter. The award for Best Breakthrough Actor / Actress went to rising English actress Felicity Jones for Like Crazy, while Dee Rees was named Best Breakthrough Director for her debut feature Pariah.

Along with Best Feature, Beginners took home a second award as the likes of Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer Ewan McGregor and Mélanie Laurent were honoured with Best Ensemble Performance, while special tribute awards were also given to Charlize Theron, Gary Oldman, David Cronenberg and Tom Rothman, CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment. Take a look at the full list of winners (and nominees) right here. »

- flickeringmyth

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AIDS, War, the Environment, the West Memphis Three: Oscar 2012 Documentary Semi-Finalists

19 November 2011 8:48 PM, PST | Alt Film Guide | See recent Alt Film Guide news »

The West Memphis Three: Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky's Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory AIDS, American football, horses, the environment, war, the American Injustice System, Harry Belafonte. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced the 15 semi-finalists for the 2012 Best Documentary Feature Academy Award. Included on the list are James Marsh's Project Nim, a nominee for the British Independent Film Awards; Wim Wenders' Pina, Germany's submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar; and Cindy Meehl's Buck, about the man who inspired the book The Horse Whisperer and the ensuing Robert Redford movie. Now, before anyone freaks out because of the inclusion of Undefeated: rest assured that this is Dan Lindsay and T. J. Martin's documentary about underprivileged football players — Lindsay and Martin's effort has nothing to do with the Sarah Palin movie The Undefeated, a shoo-in Razzie nominee. Lorenz Knauer's Jane's Journey, »

- Andre Soares

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Academy Picks 15 Documentary Oscar Finalists

18 November 2011 3:04 PM, PST | Filmmaker Magazine - Blog | See recent Filmmaker Magazine news »

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Documentary Branch Screening Committee has announced the 15 film shortlist for the Best Documentary Oscar. The selections were culled from a list of 124 eligible titles.

Some Filmmaker favorites, including films by 25 New Face Directors Danfung Dennis (Hell and Back Again) and Marshall Curry (If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front) are in the mix, as are Wim Wender’s Pina, Suki Hawley and Michael Galinsky’s Battle for Brooklyn, and Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky’s Paradise Lost 3. I was sad to see more experimental docs like Bombay Beach and The Arbor left off the list and surprised by the omissions of The Interruptors and Senna.

The 15 films are listed below in alphabetical order by title, with their production company in parentheses and links to our coverage

Battle for Brooklyn (Rumer Inc.)

Bill Cunningham New York (First Thought Films »

- Scott Macaulay

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15 Documentaries Advance for the 84th Annual Academy Awards

18 November 2011 2:49 PM, PST | Collider.com | See recent Collider.com news »

Now that the Oscars officially have a host and a producer, we can get down to focusing on the films that will compete for the awards. Out of a pool of 124 qualified documentary pictures vying for contention, 15 have advanced through the voting process. This list will be further whittled down by the Documentary Branch Screening Committee to a selection of five nominees. Some of the 15 films include:  Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory, about the continuing legal battles of the West Memphis Three (3); Project Nim, a study of Nim, the chimpanzee who was raised as a human child to allow researchers to discern the differences between men and beasts; and Buck, the story of Buck Brannaman, the real life Horse Whisperer. Notably absent from the list: the extremely well-received Formula-1 racing doc Senna. Hit the jump to see the rest. Here are the 15 documentaries selected by the screening committee to advance: Battle for Brooklyn (Rumer Inc. »

- Dave Trumbore

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84th Annual Academy Awards Best Documentary Race Down to 15 Finalists

18 November 2011 1:43 PM, PST | MovieWeb | See recent MovieWeb news »

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today announced that 15 films in the Documentary Feature category will advance in the voting process for the 84th Academy Awards. One hundred twenty-four pictures had originally qualified in the category.

The 15 films are listed below in alphabetical order by title, with their production company:

Battle for Brooklyn (Rumer Inc.)

Bill Cunningham New York (First Thought Films)

Buck (Cedar Creek Productions)

Hell and Back Again (Roast Beef Productions Limited)

If A Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front (Marshall Curry Productions, LLC)

Jane's Journey (Neos Film GmbH & Co. Kg)

Long Way Home: The Loving Story (Augusta Films)

Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory (@radical.media)

Pina (Neue Road Movies GmbH)

Project Nim (Red Box Films)

Semper Fi: Always Faithful (Tied to the Tracks Films, Inc.)

Sing Your Song (S2BN Belafonte Productions, LLC)

Undefeated (Spitfire Pictures)

Under Fire: Journalists in Combat (Juf Pictures, »

- MovieWeb

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Sundance Institute’s cultural dialogue initiative to travel to India

11 November 2011 2:39 AM, PST | DearCinema.com | See recent DearCinema.com news »

Sundance Institute announced the renewal of its program-Film Forward: Advancing Cultural Dialogue initiative which was introduced last year. The program with travel to India apart from China, Morocco, Columbia and France this year.

Film Forward connects contemporary U.S. and international films and filmmakers with diverse global audiences and features documentary and narrative films.

The films selected for the second year of the Film Forward program are: Another Earth, by Mike CahillBeginners, by Mike MillsBran Nue Dae, by Rachel PerkinsBuck, by Cindy Meehl;Grbavica, by Jasmila ZbanicThe Green Wave, by Ali Samadi AhadiOn The Ice, by Andrew Okpeaha MacLeanSenna, by Asif KapadiaSomewhere Between, by Linda Goldstein Knowlton; and Unfinished Spaces, by Benjamin Murray and Alysa Nahmias.

Film Forward filmmakers will travel with the initiative to present their work and participate in master classes, discussion panels, Q&As and other engagements with audiences.

“Film »

- NewsDesk

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“Buck” – A Hammer To Nail Review

9 November 2011 9:19 AM, PST | Filmmaker Magazine - Blog | See recent Filmmaker Magazine news »

On its simplest level Cindy Meehl’s documentary Buck tells the story of the cowboy Buck Brannaman, a horseman who travels the United States conducting clinics for “horses with people problems.” First-time director Cindy Meehl met Buck at one of his clinics, and wanted to share his wisdom with a wider circle than the ardent fans he’s built among “horse people.”

A wise cowboy, eh? It doesn’t help that the film opens with iconographic Western shots: a cattle herd, a yellow sun, and galloping cowboys, all underlined by David Robbins’ thrumming score. I admit I was a bit skeptical. The census shows that Americans are increasingly clustering in cities: our new frontier is dense, urban, and ethnic, more closely mirroring my own experience. I did used to ride horses, but I was nine, and in suburban New Jersey those lessons are confined to a dingy ring. I rode »

- Susanna Locascio

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Oliver Platt & Edie Falco Named Co-hosts Of Gotham Awards And Audience Award Nominees Announced

9 November 2011 9:02 AM, PST | Filmmaker Magazine - Blog | See recent Filmmaker Magazine news »

In a release sent out today, the Ifp has announced that actors Oliver Platt and Edie Falco will serve as co-hosts for this year’s Gotham Independent Film Awards, which take place this year on Nov. 28 at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City.

This is the second straight year two actors known for their work in indie films will be hosting the event. Last year Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson did the honors.

Also announced today are the five finalists for this year’s Gotham Independent Film Audience Award. Comprising 29 audience award winners from the top 50 Us and Canadian film festivals, the top vote-getters from the online voting that took place Oct. 18 – Nov. 2 are:

Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey

Dir. Constance Marks

Buck

Dir. Cindy Meehl

The First Grader

Dir. Justin Chadwick

Girlfriend

Dir. Justin Lerner

Wild Horse, Wild Ride

Dirs. Alex Dawson & Greg Gricus

Voting is now open at gotham. »

- Jason Guerrasio

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Oliver Platt and Edie Falco to host 2011 Gotham Independent Film Awards

9 November 2011 4:15 AM, PST | Upcoming-Movies.com | See recent Upcoming-Movies.com news »

Gotham Awards find hosts in Edie Falco, Oliver Platt The actors who co-star in Gods Behaving Badly, are tapped to host, reports Variety. Also, Audience Award winners have been announced and include Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey directed by Philip Shan, Buck directed by Cindy Meehl, Greg Gricus and Alex Dawson's Wild Horse, Wild Ride, The First Grader from Justin Chadwick and Justin Lerner's Girlfriend. These were pulled from 29 films which won audience awards around the U.S. Falco of The Sopranos, is currently in the critically-acclaimed series Nurse Jackie. Film-wise, she played in Eric Mendelsohn's drama 3 Backyards with Embeth Davidtz and Alias Koteas. »

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Oliver Platt and Edie Falco to host 2011 Gotham Independent Film Awards

9 November 2011 4:15 AM, PST | Upcoming-Movies.com | See recent Upcoming-Movies.com news »

Gotham Awards find hosts in Edie Falco, Oliver Platt The actors who co-star in Gods Behaving Badly, are tapped to host, reports Variety. Also, Audience Award winners have been announced and include Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey directed by Philip Shan, Buck directed by Cindy Meehl, Greg Gricus and Alex Dawson's Wild Horse, Wild Ride, The First Grader from Justin Chadwick and Justin Lerner's Girlfriend. These were pulled from 29 films which won audience awards around the U.S. Falco of The Sopranos, is currently in the critically-acclaimed series Nurse Jackie. Film-wise, she played in Eric Mendelsohn's drama 3 Backyards with Embeth Davidtz and Alias Koteas. »

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Oliver Platt and Edie Falco to host 2011 Gotham Independent Film Awards

9 November 2011 4:15 AM, PST | Upcoming-Movies.com | See recent Upcoming-Movies.com news »

Gotham Awards find hosts in Edie Falco, Oliver Platt The actors who co-star in Gods Behaving Badly, are tapped to host, reports Variety. Also, Audience Award winners have been announced and include Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey directed by Philip Shan, Buck directed by Cindy Meehl, Greg Gricus and Alex Dawson's Wild Horse, Wild Ride, The First Grader from Justin Chadwick and Justin Lerner's Girlfriend. These were pulled from 29 films which won audience awards around the U.S. Falco of The Sopranos, is currently in the critically-acclaimed series Nurse Jackie. Film-wise, she played in Eric Mendelsohn's drama 3 Backyards with Embeth Davidtz and Alias Koteas. »

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Gotham Awards: Audience Award Nominations

7 November 2011 11:20 PM, PST | Alt Film Guide | See recent Alt Film Guide news »

Oliver Litondo, The First Grader The five nominees for the Gothams' Festival Genius Audience Award have been announced. They are: Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey, Buck, Girlfriend, The First Grader, and Wild Horse, Wild Ride. Narrated by Whoopi Goldberg, Constance Marks' documentary Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey traces the life and career of Kevin Clash, the puppeteer behind Sesame Street's Elmo. Cindy Meehl's Buck is a documentary about Buck Brannaman, the man who inspired the book The Horse Whisperer and the ensuing Robert Redford-directed movie. Justin Lerner's Girlfriend revolves around a young man with Down's Syndrome who financially assists his object of desire, a woman stuck in an abusive relationship. Set in Kenya, Justin Chadwick's The First Grader tells the story of an eighty-something ethnic Mau Mau (Oliver Litondo) eager to learn to read and write. Alex Dawson and Greg Gricus' documentary Wild Horse, »

- Anna Robinson

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Christian-Muslim Relationships, Ayrton Senna, Justin Bieber: 2012 Cinema Eye Honors Nominations

26 October 2011 6:45 PM, PDT | Alt Film Guide | See recent Alt Film Guide news »

Patricio Guzmán's Nostalgia for the Light From the the remains of political prisoners buried in Chile's Atacama desert to Muslim-Christian relationships within a (very large) family in Indonesia: Clio Barnard’s The Arbor, Steve James’ The Interrupters, Patricio Guzmán’s Nostalgia for the Light, Leonard Retel Helmrich’s Position Among the Stars, James Marsh’s Project Nim and Asif Kapadia’s Senna are all in the running for Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Feature Filmmaking at the 2012 Cinema Eye Honors for Nonfiction Filmmaking. It's the first time that six films are competing for the top Cinema Eye award. Seven documentaries received four nominations each, the highest number this year: Tristan Patterson’s Dragonslayer, Danfung DennisHell and Back Again, The Arbor, The Interrupters, Nostalgia for the Light, Position Among the Stars and Senna. In all, 33 films from 12 countries are vying for Cinema Eye awards in 11 categories. The five nominees for »

- Andre Soares

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Exclusive: Buck Deleted Scene

23 October 2011 10:42 PM, PDT | MovieWeb | See recent MovieWeb news »

We have an exclusive clip from the new documentary Buck, which is currently available on DVD and the Sundance Now video on demand format. Click on the video player below for a deleted scene featuring a woman's inspiring story about the documentary's subject, horse whisperer Buck Brannaman.

Click to watch Exclusive: Betty's Story About Abusive Man at Clinic!

clickHere to watch Buck on the Sundance Now VOD format.

"Your horse is a mirror to your soul, and sometimes you may not like what you see. Sometimes, you will." So says Buck Brannaman, a true American cowboy and sage on horseback who travels the country for nine grueling months a year helping horses with people problems.

Buck, a richly textured and visually stunning film, follows Brannaman from his abusive childhood to his phenomenally successful approach to horses. A real-life "horse-whisperer", he eschews the violence of his upbringing and teaches people to »

- MovieWeb

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