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Love Affair (1994) - as "A Year With Kate" nears its conclusion

A YEAR WITH KATE... 2 episodes left

 "A really beautiful look into the careers of one of my favorite actors, but it's made me consider the careers of so many different actors and how the great ones adapt to eras while still staying true to themselves. This is a special, lovely series. I both cannot wait for and am so sad for the end next week.-John T

 

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Entries in documentaries (113)

Friday
Jun272014

Pride on Pride: LGBT Documentaries Shine Light on the Courts and Theater

The month of June is a good time to be gay. With an entire month devoted to LGBT pride, the community is at its most visible in media and whether it’s Laverne Cox appearing on the cover of Time Magazine and inciting a much-needed conversation about trans issues, or Broadway Bares raising money for AIDS research on the back of, well, Broadway’s bare, broad shoulders, there’s a lot to be proud of. Cinema itself hasn’t quite caught up, for despite a much larger number of LGBT films reaching the marketplace in some form (theatrical, VOD, home entertainment) they never seem to take full advantage of the surge of interest in gay topics that pride month, coupled with New York City’s Pride March, provide.

This time of the year is also a great moment to look back at the many advances made in the rights movement for LGBT community. Narrative filmmakers Ryan Murphy and Chris Mason Johnson have this year looked at the onset of the AIDS crisis in The Normal Heart and Test (which Nathaniel was far more forgiving to than I was when I reviewed it here last here), but one of the year’s most high profile documentaries zips forward in time to what is arguably the biggest moment in the gay rights movement in decades. Ben Cotner and Ryan White won the audience choice and jury prizes at this year’s Sundance for The Case Against 8, and it’s easy to see how audiences could get swept up in its matter of fact telling of the court case that brought about an end to the ban on same-sex marriages in California and the subsequent domino effect it put into motion.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jun262014

Linking Time

Coming Soon Denzel Washington does the mandatory back to camera pose required of all teaser posters now for The Equalizer
Dazed Michel Gondry shares films he can't forget: Modern Times, Groundhog Day, The Phantom of Liberty and more
The Matinee's 'Blind-Spot' series visits the inspirational teacher movie Goodbye Mr Chips (1939)
Empire Tate Taylor will follow Get On Up with In the Event of a Moon Disaster, another period piece. The premise sounds cool but I don't understand how he'll find roles for Viola & Octavia and he's not allowed to work without them. Tis TFE's decree


Pajiba Pajiba turns 10. Happy birthday Pajiba!
Non-Fics on the 10 best documentaries about gay history ever made. Some surprises here. I haven't even heard of a couple of these
Daily Mail good news about Michigan only ever seems to come from Ann Arbor these days: Madonna's daughter Lourdes (aka "Lola") will attend U of M as an MDT major. (MDT programs are a good part of why I object to frequent complaints about the film musical these days. There are many professional actors trained as triple threats. It's just they're rarely asked to use all three skills.)
MNPP who wore it best - zombie boy ripoff edition via Mad Max: Fury Road
The Black Maria revisits the Monroe/Gable/Clift/Wallach classic The Misfits (1961)
Los Angeles Times Academy tightens up campaign rulings in the wake of that Alone (Yet Not Alone) business last season 
Variety 5 themes that might influence Emmy voters - I'm most intrigued by the idea of the last one "Endurance". I've also wondered that.
Vulture funny Jenny Slate (Obvious Child) interview
Awards Daily shortly after that imposing Streep-centric poster The Giver gets its official newly hideous poster utilising all the principles. Hooray?
Playbill interviews Jonathan Groff on his coming out and his subsequent quick rise in TV and film 

Spawn of Meg & Dennis. And you can see both of them so easily in his face!

Castings
VF Hollywood Meg Ryan making her directorial debut. Tom Hanks will cameo but the lead role, a teenager bike messenger, will be played by Jack Quaid (son of Meg & Dennis) whose film debut was in The Hunger Games (2012)
Empire Ben Wheatley's thriller High Rise (based on a JG Ballard) has quite the cast lined up for shooting next month: Elisabeth Moss, Tom Hiddleston, Luke Evans, Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller, and James Purefoy
Coming Soon Ben Kingsley joins Lupita, Idris, and ScarJo in the voice cast of the new Jungle Book, which mixes live action with animation. He'll play Bagheera 
THR Tilda Swinton and Ralph Fiennes join the Coens comedy Hail Caesar, giving us the Budapest Hotel reunion we were hoping for. Also: Channing Tatum!
Variety untitled heist comedy from Napoleon Dynamite's Jared Hess will star Jason Sudeikis and Kristen Wiig
/Film Rooney Mara to produce and possibly star in kidnapping drama A House in the Sky 

Thursday
May222014

How Does 'Fahrenheit' Hold Up?

Taking a trip down memory lane Michael C revisits an atypical Cannes winner...

I knew all this politics crap would be brought up," he said. "We all agreed that Fahrenheit 9/11 was the best movie of the competition."

That was Cannes Jury president Quentin Tarantino talking to the BBC back in 2004 -- 10 years ago this very day -- defending his decision to make Michael Moore’s political hand grenade of a movie Fahrenheit 9/11 the first documentary to win the Palme d’Or since The Silent World in 1956. Fahrenheit went on to become and remains, the highest grossing documentary of all time by a significant margin.

Tarantino continued:

"I just whispered in his ear and said, 'I just want you to know it was not because of the politics that you won this award, you won it because we thought it was the best film that we saw.'"

I would sooner stick my head in a bag of scorpions than reopen the toxic debate over the accuracy of Moore’s film. But now, on the 10th anniversary of Fahrenheit’s big Cannes win, I would like to take issue with the above statements. With the safe distance of time, with all the political consequences long since passed, is it safe to admit the plain truth: Tarantino's statements are transparently false...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
May172014

Cannes Tidbits: Deals, Toons, and Oscar Futures

I haven't organized my thoughts. I'm warning you up front. I am just collecting them like dead leaves and throwing them at you in chunks with links to related articles. I'm doing my meager part to engage with Cannes from my Harlem apartment across the ocean...

COMPETITION & UN CERTAIN REGARD
After that much maligned Monaco kick-off, not uncommon with festival openers, Cannes competition films have been collecting more fans. Well, not Atom Egoyan's Captive (which was booed) but the others. And frankly no film festival ever wins consensus "that was awesome" reviews anyway. It's part of the ritual this 'it's a terrible year for the fest!' hand-wringing.

Diana chimed in earlier today on the African film Timbuktu and Mike Leigh's artist biopic Mr. Turner which we can safely suspect will win plentiful Oscar talk. There's a ceiling for Leigh films with Oscar but the Academy adores him nonetheless. Since his mainstream breakthrough Secrets and Lies (5 nominations / 0 wins) all but 2 of his pictures have won at least a screenplay nomination with Topsy Turvy and Vera Drake (period pieces like Mr Turner) proving most popular. To date Topsy Turvy is the only Mike Leigh picture to win any Oscar statues and Mike Leigh himself, though a 7 time nominee, is still Oscar-less. That's probably good news for Mr. Turner on both the 'overdue' front and the 'it takes a period piece and a genre they love' (in this case the biopic) truth about awards bodies. If you're interested in Mike Leigh's process (and many are since it's so unusual) there's an article in the LA Times where he explains why they still do the same character creation groundwork for months before shooting even though the actors are playing real people rather than fictional ones. I think Mr Turner is also inspiring some interesting reviews (including this one from David Poland who compares it to the Grand Budapest Hotel of all things) 

More Oscar hopefuls, deals, and animated buzz after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Sunday
May112014

Hot Docs '14: The Possibilities Are Endless

[Amir, our Canadian correspondent, is reporting on The Hot Docs Film Festival which wrapped last week. Reviews will continue for the next few days.]

When Scottish singer-songwriter Edwyn Collins suffered a cerebral hemorrhage in 2005, his movement became restricted, his memory was lost and his speech became limited to four phrases that he repeated over and over again: “yes,” “no,” “Grace Maxwell” (the name of his wife) and “the possibilities are endless.” There was little chance of him getting his health back on track, let alone restarting his career, but that last phrase in his small vocabulary proved to be prophetic. With the help of his ever-caring wife and son, Edwyn gradually began to piece his memories back together, took on painting and slowly began to form new sentences again, recalling and even singing his old lyrics...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
May032014

Hot Docs '14: In the Spotlight

[Amir, our Canadian correspondent, is reporting from The Hot Docs Film Festival, the biggest documentary festival in North America currently underway in Toronto.]

 One of the tendencies that festival-goers develop over time is finding connecting threads between films that might otherwise be completely unrelated. This unconscious search for umbrella themes, even if unintended by festival programmers, intensifies when you sit down to write about the films. At first glance, there is little connecting three films about aging Belgian transsexuals, Argentinian civilians on camera, and Turkish-American political pundits. Beneath the surface, though, all deal in some way with a desire for self-expression in the spotlight.

Before the Last Curtain Falls follows a group of gay and transsexual performers who get together in the later years of their lives to put on an avant-garde show called Gardenia. When the film begins in the hauntingly beautiful city of Ghent in Belgium, where the performers hail from, the show has already become a massive international success and it is returning home for one final performance after more than 200 outings. Director Thomas Wallner combines interviews with the cast members with footage of the show to paint a portrait of each of them, drawing on their experiences of sexual identity struggle, social oppression and therapeutic theatre work.

Click to read more ...

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