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Entries in documentaries (211)

Tuesday
May102016

Doc Corner: 60 Years Since The Silent World's Historic Palme d'Or

Glenn here. Each Tuesday we bring you reviews and features on documentaries from theatres, festivals, and on demand. In celebration of not just the Cannes Film Festival, which launches this week, but also the release of my book Cannes Film Festival: 70 Years out now through Wilkinson Publishing, we're looking at the first documentary to win the Palme d'Or. The book is a glossy trip through history, looking at the festival's beginnings, the films, the moviestars, the fashions and the controversies. You better believe I convinced my editors on a double-page Nicole Kidman spread!

Despite the belief that documentaries are as rare among the Cannes line-up as rain in the desert, the Cannes selectors of old were particularly fond of them. Especially so through the 1950s and 1960s. That just happens to be where we find the first documentary winner of the Palme d’or, The Silent World, or Le monde du Silence.

The documentary is a collaboration between explorer Jacques Cousteau and a pre-fame Louis Malle, who was just 23 years old at the time and was only two years away from delivering the noir masterpiece (so says me) Elevator to the Gallows. In The Silent World, Cousteau and Malle are able to capture images of natural wonder that 60 years later continue to thrill and take the breath away and sing with poignancy while putting our place among nature into perspective. More after the jump...

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Monday
May092016

Interview: The Filmmakers, and Stars of 'Strike a Pose' Talk Madonna, Dance Moves and Movie Stars 

We're celebrating the 25th anniversary of "Truth or Dare" this week. Here's Jose having a brilliantly fun chat with its dancers who have an unofficial sequel, if you will, making the festival rounds...

Clockwise from top: Carlton, Madonna, Luis, Gabriel (RIP), Jose, Kevin, Oliver, and Salim (aka "Slam")

Jose here. I was four years old when Madonna went on her Blonde Ambition Tour, but I distinctly remember being hypnotized by the woman with the pointy bra on TV that was making the Pope very upset. Fast forward a couple of decades and not only am I a huge Madonna fan, but I’ve made more sense of that specific era in her career thanks to the revolutionary documentary Madonna: Truth or Dare. So I was thrilled when I found out Dutch filmmakers Ester Gould and Reijer Zwaan had made Strike a Pose, a documentary about the male dancers that were so prominently featured in the tour and the film. For Madonna fans, the names of Carlton Wilborn, Kevin Stea, Oliver S Crumes III, Salim "Slam" Gauwloos, Jose Gutierez Xtravaganza, Luis Xtravaganza Camacho and the late Gabriel Trupin (1969-1996), are akin to those of Christ’s disciples. Not only for the devotion that comes with fandom, but also because we have each developed our own mythologies about who these men were (they choreographed the “Vogue” video!)

Read the conversation after the jump...

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Tuesday
May032016

Doc Corner: Documentaries at the Box Office in 2016

Glenn here. Each Tuesday we bring you reviews and features on documentaries from theatres, festivals, and on demand. This week we look at the medium's flatlining box office is a sign of 2016's roster of documentaries.

Looking at Nathaniel’s listing of the highest grossing documentaries list of the year so far and I was – to put it mildly – a bit bummed out. Not surprised, of course.

Certainly, the comfort of one’s home is a perfectly fine place to view many of these films, and a necessary advancement given the general downturn in boutique and arthouse cinema-going. But as a lover of movies, going to the movies, and writing about movies, it is frustrating and a worry that no documentaries other than Michael Moore’s disappointing Where to Invade Next and the Christian-themed Patterns of Evidence have made any sort of impact at the box office (and even then, Moore’s film is a dramatic slide from even his most recent film Capitalism: A Love Story at $14m) in four months of the new year.

The reason the doc box office figures particularly worried me was because the first quarter of the year is peak opportunity to take advantage of a quiet marketplace...

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Thursday
Apr282016

I Cannot Tell a Link

Guardian Glenn on 10 best Australian documentaries ever including Canes Toads (in 3D) a film I saw at Sundance years ago that freaked me right out
The Tracking Board Martin Scorsese might make a George Washington biopic. Hmmm, how does Leonardo DiCaprio look in a white powder wig?
Oscars.org Los Angelenos readers take note. Alan Menken and Angela Lansbury will be taking part in a 25th anniversary screening of Beauty & The Beast on May 9th. You can buy tickets at the link. 
MNPP Jason attends a special Aliens screening and Q&A with Sigourney Weaver (who is still looking incredible) 
Awards Daily thinks Passengers (the sci-fi film starring Chris Pratt & Jennifer Lawrence) could be one of our Best Picture nominees

The Playlist new images from The Neon Demon. Can't wait to see this 
New Yorker Richard Brody provocatively argues that film critics and publications need to move beyond "theatrical release" or "festival" when considering what makes a movie worth writing about
Variety more Cannes news. While we've already discussed the main jury, they've announced the sidebars. All three will be presided over by women (!): Actress Marthe Keller for Un Certain Regard; Director Naomi Kawase for Short Films; Director Catherine Corsini for Camera D'Or
Coming Soon has a new Kubo and the Two Strings trailer if you're interested (my general personal rule of thumb now is to stop after the first teaser or trailer so nothing is spoiled). Laika makes such great movies I don't even need a trailer. I'm always in.
/Film The Jungle Book has a how-they-did-it visual fx reel going around
i09 the X-Men finally get to wear costumes that are a smidgeon like their comic book origins at some point in X-Men Apocalypse (hopefully not just at the end)
Interview talks to programmer Thomas Beard about the current Film Society program 'Queer Cinema Before Stonewall '
FSLC ...and there's a few more days of that program left if you're in NYC

Provocative Thought O' The Day
Uproxx "Are more famous people really dying in 2016 or does it just seem that way?" which delves quite a lot into the 1980s as relevant cultural force

Off Cinema
Drama Desk Awards The nominations are in. Hamilton was eligible last year (since Off Broadway productions factor into these awards) which is why it's not up for anything. The revival of She Loves Me (with two of musical comedy's greatest stars: Laura Benanti & Jane Krakowski) leads all productions with 9 nominations. American Psycho wracked up the most nods for a new musical (well, it's tied with Steve Martin & Edie Brickelle's Bright Star) EXCEPT the big one: Best Musical. Weird, right. That's gotta sting even if the high nomination count isn't any sort of axe to the head for the show. Famous TV & Film actors nominated this year for their stage work include: Jessica Lange, Michael Shannon, Michael C Hall, and Frank Langella. Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o, who has been much-buzzed for her performance in Eclipsed, was not nominated this morning. Hmmm.

Today's Watch
Chase Whale interviews Key & Peele about their kitten heist movie Keanu. Fun bit.

Tuesday
Apr262016

Doc Corner: Anita Hill, O.J. Simpson and Timothy Conigrave highlight doc and narrative divide

Glenn here. Each Tuesday we bring you reviews and features on documentaries from theatres, festivals, and on demand. This week we're looking at three documentaries and their narrative counterparts.

In the recently aired Confirmation (reviewed right here) about Anita Hill, director Rick Famuyiwa keeps the action to a very strict window of time surrounding the appointment of Judge Clarence Thomas to the US Supreme Court. What could have been a chance to explore the greater issues around Hill’s controversial moment in the spotlight ultimately becomes little more than a re-enactment that even so much as shrugging at committing to a belief that Thomas did or did not do what he was claimed to have done. The film only truly entertains when it goes backstage and peeks behind the Washington curtain of handshaking and decision dealing and by allowing us non Shondaland disciples the chance to watch Kerry Washington at work. The poster suggests "it only takes one voice to change history", but beyond title card lip service at film's end, they never explore this claim.

This isn’t an unfamiliar place for a film about Anita Hill since Freida Lee Mock’s documentary, Anita (2013), also suffered from a similarly narrow focus. Disappointing, really, since Hill and her story are fascinating and still so very relevant today as they were in 1991. [More...]

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Monday
Apr252016

Reporting From The Edge of Oblivion

Team Experience still reporting from the just-wrapped Tribeca Film Festival. Here's Jason on 'Special Correspondents' and the doc 'Obit.'

Do you ever watch a scene and just feel terrible for the actor being forced to deliver the dialogue they're being forced to deliver? There's a scene in Special Correspondents - a triviality that played Tribeca just before debuting on Netflix later this week, starring Ricky Gervais (who wrote and directed) and Eric Bana as a pair of journalists faking their war reports from the comfort of a Queens attic - that had me feeling just awful for one of its actors. 

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