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Thelma & Louise - A Tag Team Revisit

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Entries in documentaries (189)

Saturday
Jan092016

Watching the Documentary Finalists: Part 3 - Confrontations

Glenn here looking at each of the 15 Academy’s documentary finalists from which five will be nominated for the Oscar.

We're at the final of three parts looking at the 15 finalists for the Academy's best documentary category. In the first part we examined people, in the second part we looked at world politics, and now confrontations. It's something that can come in a myriad of forms. Confrontations can be between enemies on TV sets around the nation or in the towns and jungles of Indonesia. Whether it’s the confrontation of death, or the confrontation of major religious corporation, these films encompass big themes that have a longstanding tradition in cinema but each go about it some wildly different ways.

All that after the jump

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Friday
Jan082016

Watching the Documentary Finalists Part 2 - The Political Edge

Glenn here looking at each of the 15 Academy’s documentary finalists from which five will be nominated for the Oscar.

In the first part of this three-part series, we looked at social activists, rape survivors and famous artists in documentaries that took us from Pakistan to America to Britain to Africa. This selection of films is even more globe-trotting as we look at a group of documentaries that show us the conflict across several continents and the personal traumas that come with it. They include some of the best and worst films of the year.

WHERE TO INVADE NEXT
Director:
Michael Moore (one nomination, one win)
Synopsis:
In typically irreverent fashion, Michael Moore visits foreign nations in an effort to learn how they deal with social problems differently to the United States.
Festivals:
Toronto (premiere), New York, Chicago, Hamptons
Awards:
Chicago International Film Festival (Audience Choice Award), Hamptons International Film Festival (Audience Award)
Nominations:
BFCA, Austin Film Critics, Chicago Film Critics, Houston Film Critics, Phoenix Film Critics, Satellite Awards
Box-Office:
Qualifying run; theatrical release in February, 2016.
Review: Manuel was more forgiving
, but I thought it was utterly disgraceful!

More about Invade plus we go to Ukraine, Mexico, Africa and the streets of Florida after the jump.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jan062016

Watching the Documentary Finalists: Part 1 - Other People's Lives

Glenn here looking at each of the 15 films on the Academy’s documentary finalists which, five of which will be shortlisted for nominations on January 14th

The documentary finalist list announced last month does us a small bit of good.  While it was sad to see such excellent feats of non-fiction filmmaking as The Pearl Button, In Jackson Heights, Sherpa and Stray Dog (to name just a few) removed from contention, reducing the astronomically long submission list of 124 down to a more manageable 15 titles does help us out dramatically in being able to not only get a grasp on the category for 2015, but also to give us a sample of what the Academy’s doc branch thought of the documentaries of any given year beyond the five eventual nominees. This year’s finalist list has its regular faces, but wasn't entirely devoid of surprises and many of the year’s best films found a spot despite some egregious choices thrown in. Each of the three posts in this series are divided into vague groups – (Pt 1) movies dedicated to other peoples’ lives, (Pt 2) movies about the world on the political edge, and (Pt 3) movies about confrontations.

Activists, actors and musicians after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Dec302015

HBO’s LGBT History: The Out List (2013)

Manuel is working his way through all the LGBT-themed HBO productions.

Last week we looked at Steven Soderbergh’s Behind the Candelabra, a horror movie of sorts which we all agreed is not as good as the sum of its talented parts. This week we look at Timothy Greenfield-Sanders’s The Out List (Watch Online), a documentary that’s easier to admire than to enjoy.

I actually hesitate in calling it a “documentary” since it’s just a collection of on-camera interviews seemingly strung together one next to the other. Thus, we spend a couple of minutes with Neil Patrick Harris as he discusses his struggles as an out actor. We then hear about Janet Mock’s decision to take up trans rights activism in earnest. We move onto Dustin Lance Black’s experience of growing up in a religious family… and so on and so forth. Each interview is its own mini-doc; the result would, presumably, be a quilted canvas of the contemporary LGBT movement. [More...]

 

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Sunday
Dec202015

Year in Review: The 15 Biggest Box Office Hits of '15

There's not much of a story this weekend beyond Star Wars: The Force Awakens which broke all available records without even breaking a sweat this weekend with a $238 million opening. And that's even before the lucrative Christmas week. Jurassic World currently tops the 2015 box office globally with $1.6 billion in revenues with Furious 7 tailing it with $1.5. Surely The Force Awakens has its eyes on even greater prizes though. Like James Cameron's top two records Titanic's 2.1 billion and Avatar's (2009) 2.7 billion worldwide gross.

The Force Awakens is a good movie so the audience wins. Or do we? Let's talk about the Dark Side of the box office as we look at the biggest hits of the year in five separate categories after the jump... 

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Tuesday
Dec012015

15 Oscar Documentary Finalists... A Tight Race

Could Marlon Brando return to the Oscars posthumously? The documentary Listen to Me Marlon made the finals for the Best Documentary Oscar even though documentaries about Hollywood stars and movies aren't typically so favorited. Note that Ingrid Bergman's documentary --also famously "in her own words" -- and the enjoyable Tab Hunter: Confidential and the Sundance sensation The Wolfpack about living through the movies weren't as lucky and did not make the finals. 

The 15 Finalists

Snubbed Again
Frederick Wiseman can't catch a break with the Academy though he's a legend and his latest In Jackson Heights met with the typical rapturous response among critics.

New Prediction Chart
I didn't have to adjust it too much. Why? Well I'm...

Psychic!
Of the 15 I Predicted for the Finalist, 9 of them made it so I did pretty well (of the films I predicted for nominations 4 of them are still standing). Bye Sherpa! Glenn is even better than me at Documentary predictions. Check out this prediction he tweeted back in October and all the films are still in the running:

 

 

Noteable High Profile Omissions
Though these films made a name for themselves at the box office or with honors from various organizations none of them made it to the finals:  The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, Dark Horse, Deli Man, Dior and I, Iris, Janis: Little Girl Blue, Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, Meet the Patels, Only the Dead See the End of War, Stray Dog, Sunshine Superman, The Russian Woodpecker, and The Wolfpack

 

Friday
Nov272015

Amy, Marlon, Janis and Kurt's Documentaries Raise Ethical Questions

Glenn here. As the world of documentary filmmaking grows and grows, biography docs are among the most popular and easiest to sell. This pre-sold name-brand familiarity makes them more desirable to financiers, producers, directors, distributors, exhibitors, festivals, and ultimately audiences. It’s hardly surprising that of the Academy’s 124-strong long-list (to be narrowed to 15 any day now) at least 20 cover the life of a famous person in the public eye. And if you want to stretch the parameters to include institutions such as National Lampoon, Saturday Night Live, Tower Records, The Black Panthers, The Bolshoi Theatre etc, the number balloons. They are also among the highest profile submissions, too, with names like Nina Simone, Evel Kenievel and Chris Farley simply standing out more than geo-politics, homophobia in the Middle East, or Cambodian rock and roll.

This sub-category of documentary were once considered more frivolous and less serious, but have recently begun to win Oscar attention with titles such as Exit through the Gift Shop, Man on Wire, and even Wim Wenders’ Pina and Salt of the Earth. As a result, ethical questions about this kind of documentary filmmaking are rising up. I know it doesn't sound sexy, but bear with me for Amy Winehouse, Marlon Brando, and other luminaries after the jump....

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