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Entries in documentaries (241)

Wednesday
Jan182017

Final Predictions: Animation, Documentary, and Sound Categories

Another day another dizzying array of last minute nerves over this confusing Oscar race. We've already talked Picture, Director, Actor, and the Screenplay categories right here. Now several more categories...

Animated Feature
A couple of months ago The Red Turtle looked like the sure thing "art" entry in the this category but it doesn't appear to have gathered much momentum and I worry it may be omitted. Working the opposite trajectory is Kubo and the Two Strings (more and more popular... could it even give Zootopia a run for the win?) and My Life as a Courgette which could pick up nominations in both animated feature and foreign language feature, something that has never happened before.  

Documentary Feature
The only question that seems relevant at this point is "can anything beat O.J.: Made in America?"...

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Tuesday
Jan172017

Doc Corner: The Timely Reminder of 'Antarctica: Ice and Sky'

Director Luc Jacquet ventures into the past to show us our future in Antarctica: Ice and Sky, one of the best enviro-docs that I have seen in recent times. A film about climate change that revels in the captivating splendour of its natural subject as much as it does science and the ravages of humanity. It’s an appropriate film to watch right on the outset of what could very well be four of the most environmentally disastrous years on record. A timely reminder that even in the depths of the Cold War, the USA, France and Russia worked together for the greater good of the planet.

Like he did with Oscar-winning March of the Penguins, Jacquet shows a distinct knack for taking the potentially dry blueprint of a nature documentary and manipulate it into something more broadly cinematic. With the particularly impressive work of editor of Stéphane Mazalaigue, Jacquet has taken the 16mm archival footage of French glaciologist Claude Lorius’s expeditions to Antarctica and turned them into a compelling, thrilling story of scientific breakthroughs.

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Tuesday
Jan102017

Doc Corner: Debbie and Carrie's Bright Lights

“Take your broken heart, make it into art.” That was Meryl Streep at last weekend’s Golden Globe Awards ending her lifetime achievement speech with a quote by her friend Carrie Fisher. Despite working as a suitable mantra for much of Fisher’s autobiographical work, a broken heart lingers over Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, not just because the pair passed away in quick succession leaving behind generations of fans whose lives were forever changed by this most unique mother and daughter team.

No, there is also the very real breaking heart of Fisher who saw her mother’s health deteriorating and decided she needed to document her mother while she still had the chance. How was she or any of us to know the tragic circumstances that would befall the two of them and surround Alexis Bloom and Fisher Stevens’ documentary.

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Tuesday
Jan032017

Doc Corner: 'I Am Not Your Negro' is a Towering Achievement

In Doc Corner, Glenn Dunks looks at current, future and past documentaries of note...

With new year resolutions no doubt already a distant memory (it's been three days!), it’s probably time to remember that it is really hard for people to change. And I don't just mean quitting smoking. We can try all we want, but even those of us who consider ourselves ‘progressive’ probably can’t say with any real confidence that we're not set in our ways; the same person deep inside that we were a decade ago. And even if that isn’t the case, as hard as it is to change just ourselves, just think how much harder it is to change the larger mass. And with a new President about to be inaugurated on the back of violent, blatant racism, it is sadly even more pertinent to remember this.

Now, these are not necessarily ideas that are at the forefront of Raoul Peck’s superb I Am Not Your Negro, but as it was with 13th, 10 Bullets, 3 ½ Minutes, O.J.: Made in America and many other documentaries about race, it is a recurring theme that bubbles to the surface as if by default. The more we think things are changing, the more they sadly stay the same. A film about race in the 1950s and 1960s is, sadly and inevitably, a film about race in the modern age for we are doomed to repeat the sins of the past no matter what we do...

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Monday
Jan022017

Fisher & Reynolds HBO Doc Arrives This Week!

Chris here, still mourning the loss of our beloved Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds. In the midst of all the sad news of their passing was the reminder of their upcoming HBO documentary Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, which had kicked around the 2016 festival circuit. Well, HBO isn't waiting until the originally scheduled March debut date to let us say our final goodbyes to the two legends! The doc will now debut this Saturday, January 7 at 8PM.

The film will give us an up-close look at mother and daughter and likely make us feel every last emotion we have. Sadness aside, what a rare treat to celebrate both stars and their lasting bond.

Friday
Dec302016

A Year with #52FilmsByWomen

Year in Review. Every afternoon, a new wrap-up. Today Glenn on his year with #52FilmsByWomen

The hashtag ‘52FilmsByWomen’ was started by Women in Film as a means of getting people to consciously watch at least one film a week directed by a woman. It seems like a simple mission considering the number of films many of us watch for both work and pleasure, but I have no doubt that of the 10,000+ people who pledged to do it, many didn’t reach the goal. That’s all right, though, because I saw enough for two.

No, really. In 2016, I watched 105 titles including feature films, shorts, and documentaries. They cover classics, new releases, hidden gems, animations, comedy, horror, and from all over the world. Here are...

TEN OBSERVATIONS FROM MY YEAR OF #52FILMSBYWOMEN

Subverting Toxic Masculinity
We don’t just want more women making films for their fine-tuned insights into the lives of women – Kelly Reichardt’s Certain Women and Anna Rose Holmer’s The Fits being perhaps the most obvious examples among this year’s releases that I saw – but also for their unique takes on men and masculinity.

Look no further for Athina Rachel Tsangari’s Chevalier for a film that couldn’t have been made by a man, but which has so much to say in this year of “toxic masculinity”. What a shame it didn't catch fire with arthouse audiences and award voters. I wasn't too taken by Tsangari's Attenberg, but I responded to Chevalier more than any of Yorgos Lanthimos' works so far, so make of that what you will.

I’ll Go Anywhere with Andrea Arnold
From the surveilled streets of Scotland in Red Road, the council estates of Essex in Fish Tank, the moors of Wuthering Heights, and now, apparently, the American Midwest...

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Tuesday
Dec272016

Doc Corner: George Michael on Show in 'Foreign Skies'

Nathaniel already looked at his favourite George Michael songs in tribute to the man's passing at age 53, and today a 1985 tour documentary featuring the finest male vocalist of his generation.

Three decades ago when China figuratively opened their doors to western culture, the first to arrive were… Big Bird and Wham! Two fey, energetic, hyper-coloured performers who sought a mutual exchange through music and film. The yellow Sesame Street character had Big Bird in China, while George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley got Wham! In China: Foreign Skies.

It’s a peculiar film, and not an especially good one. Half Chinese travelogue for the western audiences fascinated by the newly open China with their bustling food markets, seas of grey fashion, and their Great Wall; half concert film focusing, rightly, on the energetic and handsome George Michael sashaying around on stage like nobody had ever seen before.

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