8 items from 2013
The story of activist group Act Up and its struggle with authority in the early years of Aids makes for a compelling and often moving documentary
"Plague!" howls screenwriter/playwright Larry Kramer like some Old Testament prophet in one of the many arresting moments from this urgent, heartbreaking, and ultimately empowering account of how Aids activists took control of their own destiny in the late 1980s when the Us government and health services failed to do so. Kramer is addressing an increasingly heated Act Up (Aids Coalition to Unleash Power) meeting, silencing those who have fallen into factional bickering with a voice which conjures up rage, anger and defiance.
Kramer's outburst is extraordinary, captured in grainy footage along with 700 hours of archive material (TV interviews, news broadcasts, reportage), through which director David France sifts to put us right there in the middle of the emerging struggle. What's even more remarkable »
- Mark Kermode
The ground rules were set early on in the Ifp Film Week panel "Neorealist Features & Hybrid Documentaries." There was to be no talk about "business." We were here to talk about art -- the art of cinema and how to transcend categorization. Moderated by David Wilson, co-conspirator, True/False Film Fest, the discussion involved ways in which filmmakers can defy categorization with films that are not quite documentary and not quite traditional narrative features. "I've submitted my film to various festivals and I've won awards in the documentary category, the narrative category and the experimental category," said Lynne Sachs, director, "Your Day is My Night." The audience laughed at the notion of a film that is able to straddle all of those categories, but the filmmakers on the panel nodded because they understood the situation all too well. As Tim Sutton, director of "Pavilion" put it, "I'm not a documentary filmmaker. »
- Paula Bernstein
In the same way that television wasn’t ready for a mini-series called “Holocaust” until the 1970s, it’s taken three decades for filmmakers to tackle the devastating early years of the HIV/AIDS epidemic with any kind of historical perspective. On the heels of the acclaimed and powerful documentaries “We Were Here” and the Oscar-nominated “How to Survive a Plague,” we now get the docudrama “Dallas Buyers Club,” about one of many grassroots efforts to get non-fda-approved drugs and supplements to terminally ill patients. It’s been 20 years since “Philadelphia,” the last movie to feature a handsome, beloved movie star as a. »
- Alonso Duralde
A critical digest of the week’s latest U.S. theatrical releases. Where applicable, links to longer reviews have been provided.
Having been left for dead in more ways than one after the critical and commercial failure of 2004’s “The Chronicles of Riddick,” Vin Diesel’s futuristic fugitive Richard B. Riddick gets his lean, mean, R-rated mojo back for “Riddick,” an improbable but very enjoyable sequel that recaptures much of the stripped-down intensity of Diesel and director David Twohy’s franchise starter “Pitch Black” (while treating “Chronicles” like the dream season of “Dallas”). Once again pitting Diesel’s eponymous anti-hero against human and alien adversaries on a rugged desert planet, this exuberantly gory chase pic won’t orbit the same box office galaxy as the star’s “Fast & Furious” series, but will have no trouble recouping its reported $38 million budget (one-third the cost of “Chronicles”).
— Scott Foundas »
- Variety Staff
Telluride, Colo. -- Partiers jammed the Telluride Gallery of Fine Art Friday evening for a reception hosted by The Hollywood Reporter and UCLA's School of Theater, Film and Television. Poking his head above the crowd was the very tall Penn Jillette, producer of the documentary Tim's Vermeer, directed by his on-stage partner and fellow magician Teller. "We were here over 20 years ago with Arthur Penn who directed Penn & Teller Get Killed," Jillette told THR. "It's what we were working for from the very beginning, going to Telluride. But it's a bigger deal now." Photos: Telluride Film Festival: The Films Circulating among the crowd were Ralph Fiennes,
- Tim Appelo
An heir is born! Kate Middleton gave birth to a son this afternoon in London. The proud parents welcomed their new prince at 4:24 p.m. local time and announced the news four hours later via an official press release. We were here to break down everything we know about the big event, take a look at the baby's upcoming first year, and hear statements from the palace itself. Click to watch today's very special Popsugar Live!! »
- Becca Frucht
The eligibility of documentaries for awardage from both that lusted after winged woman (Emmy) and the coveted naked man (Oscar) is a labyrinthine maze from which we would never exit were we to foolishly enter. In fact, someone needs to make a documentary about That to sort it all out. Documentaries leave strange crumbs all over both the big and small screens on their long walking journey through often complicated and extremely protacted "releases".
I bring this up because a portion of the Emmy nominations were announced today (like The Grammys there are hundreds of categories) in the non-fiction fields of news and documentary. I was surprised, for example, to see Semper Fi: Always Faithful, The Loving Story and We Were Here as nominees. You may recall they were all Oscar finalists (though not nominees) back in 2011 and now they're up for 2013 Emmys! Actual nominees from that Oscar year show up too, »
- NATHANIEL R
Do You Think You Can Tell?: Darcy-Smith’s Debut Promising, if Ultimately Contrived
Establishing an effective and potentially chilling set-up during its first few frames, Kieran Darcy-Smith’s Wish You Were Here evocatively recalls the Pink Floyd tune with which it shares a name for what promises to be a poetically charged mystery. Too bad that a stodgy and predictable finale will leave you cold, and potentially mars the film’s initial charms. Co-written with actress and star of the film, Felicity Price, Darcy-Smith builds an effective scenario to feverish foreboding, releasing its tension in a twinned lashing of shocking violence. But once the fury subsides and all has been revealed, it ends with the thud of a nicely packaged cliché.
- Nicholas Bell
8 items from 2013
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