The best non-fiction film I saw last year — and maybe the best film I saw, period — was The Shining documentary Room 237. Directed by Rodney Ascher, the movie showcases the theories of five unseen Shining obsessives about what Stanley Kubrick really intended with his 1980 Stephen King adaptation. The end result is at least twice as entertaining — and at least five times funnier — than that synopsis might indicate. (My colleague Owen Gleiberman did a much better job of summing up the movie when, in the course of writing about his favorite movies of 2012, he described it as “a veritable Kubrickian Da Vinci Code that’s really about the power that conspiracy theory now holds over our thinking.”)
Tag: Documentary (71-80 of 184)
SXSW: Check out the shlock-tastic poster for home video documentary 'Rewind This!' -- EXCLUSIVE IMAGE
Former New York City mayor Ed Koch, who is portrayed as a villain in this year’s Oscar-nominated AIDS documentary How to Survive a Plague, may have had a change of heart regarding HIV/AIDS before his death Friday morning, according to Survive a Plague’s director David France.
During his three terms as mayor, from 1978-1988, Koch was among many high-profile lawmakers, including President Reagan, who did little to nothing to stop the disease’s spread, France says. “He was one of the most vehement obstacles to any sort of rational response to the mushrooming [AIDS] epidemic.” READ FULL STORY
“If you think you know the story of AIDS—and everybody thinks they know the story of AIDS—this movie will be a surprise.” That’s what David France, director of the documentary How to Survive a Plague, tells audiences before they see his film. And that’s what he’s telling as many Academy members as possible between now and February 24, when he’ll find out if How to Survive a Plague wins the Oscar for best documentary.
“It’s taken us a while after last year’s premiere [at Sundance] to get the word out that this isn’t the story you think it is,” France says. “It’s really like a medical thriller—and true on top of that.”
How to Survive a Plague tells the story of activists who—through their work with AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) and, later, the Treatment Action Group—saved millions of lives. They shut down New York City, stormed the FDA, and even tented former U.S. Senator Jesse Helms’ home with a gigantic condom. By doing so, they drew much-needed attention to the plight of people with AIDS and shattered standard practices around clinical drug trials—leading to the creation life-saving protease inhibitors.
“No drug has had such an impact on any virus — any virus,” France says.
READ FULL STORY
Check out the new poster for serial killer documentary 'The Jeffrey Dahmer Files' -- EXCLUSIVE IMAGE
More than two decades after he was sentenced to 957 years in jail for murdering 17 people, Jeffrey Dahmer remains, thankfully, America’s most notorious serial killer. Now, a new documentary from director Chris James Thompson called The Jeffrey Dahmer Files details the crimes of the so-called “Milwaukee Cannibal” using archive footage and interviews with, amongst others, one of the lead detectives on the Dahmer case and the killer’s next door neighbor. (Thompson has committed to donating any profits from the film to The Milwaukee Community Service Corps, a non-profit vocational training organization.)
Fruitvale became the first Sundance film to win the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award for U.S. Dramatic film since Precious in 2009. First-time director Ryan Coogler was inspired to write the film after 22-year-old Oscar Grant was shot in the back and killed by Oakland transit police on New Year’s Day morning 2009. Fruitvale tells the story of Grant’s last 24 hours alive, as he attempts to become a better father, a better boyfriend, and a better son and friend. “It’s about human beings and how we treat each other,” said Coogler, “how we treat people that we love and how we treat people that we don’t know.”
“For anyone out there who thinks for one second that movies don’t matter and can’t make a difference in the world,” juror Tom Rothman said as he announced the winner. “Please welcome — this will not be the last time you guys walk to a podium — Fruitvale.”
Other big winners included Lake Bell, who won a screenwriting award for In a World…, and the documentary Blood Brother, which also doubled with the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award for U.S. Documentary
Click below for the festival’s official list of winners: READ FULL STORY
'Beware of Mr. Baker': Watch Eric Clapton reminisce about Cream in rock doc outtake -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO
You’ve got to love a documentary that begins with the film’s subject trying to break the director’s nose. Well, okay, maybe you don’t — but those who think they might enjoy such a thing would be well-advised to check out Jay Bulger’s terrific movie about ex-Cream drummer and all-round madman Ginger Baker, the appropriately titled Beware of Mr. Baker which distributor SnagFilms is platforming out to cinemas across the country from this Friday.
HBO Documentary Films acquired the television right to Pussy Riot — A Punk Prayer on Sunday, two days after the documentary premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Co-directors Mike Lerner and Maxim Pozdorovkin chronicled the controversial imprisonment of three female members of the Russian punk musical group, who were arrested and charged with religious hatred after they performed a 40-second “punk prayer” inside Moscow’s biggest cathedral to protest the election of president Vladimir Putin in 2011.
Their conviction became a cause celebre for the international media, and the film incorporates unparalleled access and exclusive footage of the events and women behind the protest stunt. In a statement, Lerner and Pozdorovkin said they “are thrilled to be working with HBO on bringing this important story to the world.”
There exists today a whole generation of young women who weren’t born when Anita Hill, a young African-American law professor, sat facing a phalanx of 14 white, middle-aged-to-oldie U.S. senator.s and testified in a Senate Judiciary Hearing scheduled over Columbus Day weekend in 1991. Composed and patient, she described to her interrogators – as well as to all of America, riveted in front of the TV – the sexual harassment she had received in the past from then-Supreme Court justice nominee Clarence Thomas. For that new generation of young women, as well as for all who remember the stunning event and recognize the important changes her bravery brought about in the awareness of workplace gender equality, the documentary ANITA makes for rapt viewing.
In the twenty years since those hearings, presided over by then-Delaware Senator Joe Biden, Anita Hill has become, apparently to her own surprise, a feminist heroine, in demand as an inspirational speaker. Filmmaker Freida Mock spends a lot of time with today’s Ms. Hill, interviewing her as well as trailing after her as she gives speeches and receives awards. That part’s okay, if all over the place. The archival footage, on the other hand, is powerful, and stirring, and more than a little shocking, too: Here is one woman, stepping into a mess of political, racial, and sexual power plays, and not only retaining her dignity but also, it turns out, leading a revolution that the men who were grilling her couldn’t begin to understand had begun.
Nice detail: Ms. Hill brings the now-famous blue dress she wore to her grilling out of the closet. Other nice detail: It’s thrilling to watch ANITA at Sundance on a weekend that happens to fall before the confluence of Martin Luther King, Jr., Day and the inauguration of re-elected President Barack Obama.
Twenty Feet From Stardom, director Morgan Neville’s documentary about the backup vocalists who have toiled in the shadows of rock and soul’s greatest artists, was acquired by RADiUS-TWC after an opening-night premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. Neville, who has been nominated for three Grammy Awards for his music films, including one on Johnny Cash, directed his lens on a group of female singers who’d attempted their own solo careers but settled for providing the supporting vocals for iconic artists like Bruce Springsteen, Mick Jagger, and Stevie Wonder. READ FULL STORY
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