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Entries in Michael Moore (7)

Tuesday
Oct252016

Doc Corner: Michael Moore Goes to 'Trumpland'

Michael Moore in Trumpland is a misnomer of a title. For despite the comically scored pro-Trump vox pop interviews that open the film, and despite the smattering of apparent Trump supporters through the audience, Michael Moore’s has found himself the most liberal of audiences one could hope. “Around here, I ain’t heard nobody for Clinton” says one unidentified woman, but if that were the case then the crowd Moore has amassed are easily swayed because by the end of this brief 70-minute mix of stand-up, pre-filmed comedy sketches, call and response, and personal recollections in monologue, the entire crowd is cheering and whooping for Hillary.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
May172016

Doc Corner: Revisiting 'Fahrenheit 9/11' and It's Cannes Influence

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 is underway right now, but also the release of my book Cannes Film Festival: 70 Years out now through Wilkinson Publishing, we're looking at only the second 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!

Just earlier this year I said of Michael Moore’s most recent film, Where to Invade Next?, that it was “utterly disgraceful” and that it was bound to “truly be one of the year’s worst movies.” That film was on my mind as I sat down to rewatch the director’s 2004 Palme d’Or winning documentary, Fahrenheit 9/11. Would the impact of that initial viewing of Fahrenheit 9/11 remain all these years later now that my eyes and mind are much wider? It’s a little bit of yes and a little bit of no. ...more 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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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 ...

Monday
Oct052015

NYFF: Michael Moore's Where to Invade Next

Manuel here reporting from the New York Film Festival, where Michael Moore’s latest documentary had its first American screening after a bow at TIFF last month.

Moore’s Where to Invade Next is born out of the same sense of anger and despair that characterizes his earlier docs, but as he noted himself in yesterday’s press conference, he found a way to funnel that anger in a more productive way. Indeed, while the opening images (which juxtapose anti-terrorism presidential sound-bites with horrific national images from Ferguson and Sandy Hook) feel driven by an unwavering anger at the current state of US affairs, what follows is a rather optimistic portrait of the potential for change, presented, of course, with the irreverent wit that Moore epitomizes.

Tasked with “invading” countries by himself, Moore visits various European countries in hopes of, as he says, being able to “pick the flowers, not the weeds”: finding, that is, the best ideas about public policy that are thriving in other countries in hopes to steal them, bring them back to America, and watch them be implemented. The entire premise was a way, Moore explained, to make a documentary about the United States without shooting a single frame in the United States. Every hot button issue you can think of, from police brutality to women’s reproductive health, from the industrial prison complex to school lunches, from labor regulations to women’s equality, is tackled head on from the outside in. He travels to Italy to learn about their paid vacation policy (8 weeks!). He travels to Norway to visit their maximum security prison (where inmates carry the keys to their cells which come equipped with TVs, and who can use the state of the art recording studio or the expansive library at their leisure). He travels to Tunisia (an Islamic state, let’s remember) to visit their women’s health centers where abortions have been legal since the 1970s and learn how riots by women toppled a conservative government that hoped to repeal those female rights and protections. And so on, and so forth, talking to school cafeteria chefs, factory workers, multinational CEOs, and policemen, from Portugal, Iceland, France, Germany and Norway.

“I am American. I live in a great country, built on genocide and grown on the backs of slaves.” - Moore, candidly summing up what he sees so few jingoistic Americans acknowledging.

Each “idea” he hopes to take back after his invasion is at its core, both impossibly simple and also similarly absurd: five months paid maternity leave? sex-ed that isn’t based on abstinence? school lunches that value health over pizza and fries? teachers who value their students’ happiness over standardized tests? a prison where guards carry no guns and inmates have access to kitchen knives? a policy that decriminalizes drug possession? But the ultimate message is utopian in its simplicity: every one of these “flowers” he picked began with small gestures that, like the hammers and chisels that led to the physical dismantling of the Berlin Wall (which Moore witnessed first-hand in 1989 and which alongside the Mandela election helped cement his idea that things can change seemingly overnight), can make all the difference. They also continually hint at words and values that seldom find themselves in American political rhetoric: happiness, curiosity, community, human dignity. That the film ends in a powerful call for women’s equality, suggesting in no uncertain terms that having women in power is a necessary part of political and cultural progress, is perhaps the film’s most surprising element. (Do stay through the end of the credits to find Moore riffing beautifully off of Marvel’s most emulated trademark: the post-credits sequence).

How you feel about the film and its message will no doubt depend on your own political affiliations. Even as the audience at my screening clapped rapturously as the credits rolled, suggesting perhaps Moore was merely preaching to a converted choir that could wave away the tricky logistics that would make these ideas hard to implement wholesale in these shores, I could pick out snippets of dialogue that suggested this choir was a tad more cynical than Moore anticipated: “I mean, it’s so reductive, really.” “Well, but none of that will work here.” “I wish it were that easy!” Where to Invade Next is, in that, classic Moore: a conversation starter that will be greeted with equal number of wolf-whistles as exasperated sighs.

Check out the teaser for it below:

 

Where to Invade Next played Saturday October 3rd at the NYFF, and while concrete release date plans or distribution are up in the air, Moore’ doc is bound to open wide sometime soon.