Director Errol Morris has interviewed serious subjects like Robert S. MacNamara and delved deep into harsh topics like the justice system and the history of time itself. So it can only look like he's run out of ideas with the frothy, utterly ridiculous documentary, Tabloid. And you'd be wrong in that summation because Tabloid takes a crazy story, told by someone who seems to define the world, and opens it up into an examination of gender, the media culture, and the power of religion. At time's hilarious and ridiculous, Tabloid sounds like a fun documentary, but indicates that we haven't
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Errol Morris looks at obsession, sex, and media in Tabloid.
The world's largest Star Wars convention offered stars, cosplay, exclusive merchandise and recreated film sets.
Feel like getting an autograph from Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, or Anthony Daniels? Still want that autograph? The biennial Star Wars Celebration took place over the weekend at the Anaheim Convention Center, an occasionally frustrating experience in extreme fandom. This was the place for fans so hardcore that they camped out overnight for the chance to attend a panel that the rest of the world was able to instantly enjoy via livestream from the comfort of their home/office. Sure, that panel debuted the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer and featured old and new stars live on stage, but
"An unexamined life is not worth living." - Socrates
Robert S. McNamara served from 1961 to 1968 as the Secretary of Defense under Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. Errol Morris' documentary has been put together through interview sessions with McNamara, White House audiotapes, and archival footage. A large portion of this film examines his involvement in regards to both the Cuban Missile Crisis and The Vietnam War, two momentous foreign policy episodes that occurred during his tenure. McNamara’s earliest memory is of Armistice Day 1918 as the end of World War I was celebrated. It was called “the war to end all wars,” yet humans have
A simple man asking simple questions with complex answers that he cannot understand.
What happens when a simple man asks simple questions that require complex answers that he cannot understand? This is what Errol Morris explores in his 1999 documentary Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr. During his childhood, Leuchter’s father worked in the Massachusetts correctional system as a transportation supervisor. Leuchter, Jr. would often go to work with his father and grew up seeing the humanity of the prisoners his father worked with and not just their criminality. He learned illegal skills from them like lock-picking and safe-cracking as well as other things he said helped him
Errol Morris's meditation on human behavior as seen from four men with very strange jobs.
The title might throw a viewer off - 'Out of Control'. A documentary about things being out of control sounds like a warning, or a plea for sanity. Early on when the subjects of the doc were talking, I was waiting for the filmmaker's negative point of view to show itself, for the unspoken question of "what's wrong with them?" But it does not occur, because the goal in this film is not to hector, but to observe. Fast, Cheap & Out of Control profiles (without narration, just interviews and footage) four men in disparate, seemingly unrelated lines of work,
A deep examination of a very complex, but legendary visionary
Everyone knows the story of Stephen Hawking, the iconic physicist, cosmologist, author, and director of research. They also know that he struggles with a rare form of ALS that has afflicted him over many decades, but the coolest thing is that he doesn't let that unfortunate disease keep him doing his life's work. A Brief History of Time is director Errol Morris' quirky, idiosyncratic tribute to Hawking and his controversial ideas. In terms of Morris' other documentaries, including The Thin Blue Line, Gates of Heaven, and The Fog of War, Brief History ranks up there with those great works, while
Errol Morris changes the documentary game in 102 minutes.
Rarely do you watch a film and actually pinpoint where a genre actually changes. You watch Clerks or Pulp Fiction and see where the genre is being moved forward. You can see in Batman and then again in Iron Man where a genre is being reinvigorated. But in 1988, Errol Morris made The Thin Blue Line and the field of documentaries would radically change. I was surprised that it had taken this long for the Criterion Collection to release this important film on Blu-ray. Documentary. The definition for years was simply to "document reality". The popular documentaries were often nature
The characters Errol Morris speaks to in his first two films are living embodiments of the old maxim that truth is stranger than fiction.
“I love the absurd,” says Errol Morris in one of the extras on the new Criterion Collection Blu-ray edition of Gates of Heaven (1978) / Vernon, Florida (1981). These are the first two films from the director of such notable documentaries as The Thin Blue Line (1988), A Brief History of Time (1991), and the Academy Award-winning The Fog of War: Eleven Lesson from the Life of Robert S. McNamara (2003), among others. To call the people he interviews in both of these pictures “absurd” is probably an understatement, but it will do. The characters Morris speaks to are true
T&A focuses their attention of the young, unlikely leader of the group: Glenn.
In which Shawn (@genx13) and Kim (@kimfreakinb) continue to discuss their favorite characters on television. "No one is impressed, man. Walk away." - Glenn Rhee (Steven Yeun) Shawn: I want to continue our talk about our favorite characters with Glenn Rhee from The Walking Dead. He's the most likable post-apocalyptic pizza delivery guy ever. I've loved him ever since his introduction to us as just a voice. Rick is trapped in the tank in Atlanta and over the radio we hear the "Hey you...dumbass." It's appropriate that we first hear him because I see him as our "voice of reason"
The con programs I am most intrigued by are...
Comic-Con International's WonderCon returns to the Anaheim Convention April 3-5, 2015, which has been its home since 2012, to the delight of many in Southern California and to the disappointment of many in Northern California. Fans come to celebrate their pop-culture obsessions, honoring what has come before and learning what new things they can discover. While I am interested in taking part in a number of WonderCon events, the programs I am most intrigued by are listed below. Friday Star Trek: They're Not Really Dead As Long As We Remember Them Friday April 3, 2015 1:00pm - 2:00pmRoom 207 While
Book Review: Quentin Tarantino FAQ: Everything Left to Know About the Original Reservoir Dog by Dale Sherman
Covering Tarantino's body of work and his rai·son d'ê·tre for each film.
Author Dale Sherman’s newest FAQ book, he previously wrote Armageddon Films FAQ and KISS FAQ, was published this month, and it’s a work dense with trivia, factoids, and much more. But does it answer the big question? (At least my big question?) What is Tarantino’s fascination with an out-of-sequence narrative? We will get to that. Sherman’s writing comes off as a bit awkward at times, but mostly it’s fine, although quite familiar, as the book was intended to be a series of blog posts. But the overall voice throughout the work has the feel of someone who is jazzed to
Kim and Shawn take a thoughtful look at the man with the mullet.
In which Kim (@kimfreakinb) and Shawn (@genx13) step back to look at one of their favorite characters. "The smartest man I ever met happened to love my hair. My old boss, T. Brooks Ellis, the director of the Human Genome Project. He said my hair made me look like, and I quote, 'a fun guy,' which I am." - Dr. Eugene Porter Kim: I want to talk about characters, because they are truly what makes or breaks a show. How much do you like the people you're rooting for or hate the ones you want to see die a horrendous
What they talk about when they talk about what they are watching this season.
In which Shawn (@genx13) and Kim (@kimfreakinb) riff on some recent TV thingies... Shawn: It's been far too long since we caught up. So I've got a few thoughts to spray out regarding some of the TV you may or may not have been watching. American Crime (ABC): One episode in and I'm interested. I think it's going to run a fine line for me. I see parts of the show like the parents dealing with the death of their son (two strong actors there - I especially like Timothy Hutton) to play out in ways that we don't always
New fans, lapsed fans, fair-weather fans, broke fans and folks whose kids have been begging them to go to a convention - rejoice! Wizard World has heard your cries!
Spring hasn't exactly sprung, but even though there's still a chill in the air and frost on the tree branches, it's never too early to kick off convention season. This year, pop-culture fans in Chicago were treated to something a little bit different - while Wizard World usually rolls into the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois sometime in August, a smaller Fan Fest was held in the same location on March 7-8. Fans who purchased either VIP or 4-Day tickets for the August show would receive free admission (which I guess is what makes it a fan
"Happy Easter." - The Doctor
When one can travel through all of time and space, sometimes Christmas comes about at the strangest of times. For Doctor Who fans, it's Christmas right now as the BBC releases 2014's Christmas special "Last Christmas" on DVD and Blu-Ray between Valentine's Day and St. Patrick's Day. While the title gets the 1984 song by Wham! instantly stuck in my head for hours to come, "Last Christmas" proves to be a brilliantly written and highly entertaining holiday outing for the Doctor. In fact I think it's my favorite of all the Doctor Who Christmas specials so far. Imagine Alien, The
His work will live long and the audience will prosper from it.
Leonard Nimoy died on February 27 due to complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which he claimed was due to having been a smoker even though he had kicked the habit nearly 30 years. Though he had a long career as an actor playing a variety of parts, he became forever identified the world over as Star Trek's Mr. Spock, the half-human/half-Vulcan First Officer of the Enterprise. He not only played Spock on the initial TV series for three seasons, but would return to it many times over the years from The Animated Series and the theatrical movies, and
Press release: Long Beach Comic Expo is unveiling legendary guests and buzzworthy panels, as well as innovative programs and new partners, in preparation for the 6th annual Long Beach Comic Expo, to be held at the Long Beach Convention Center on February 28 and March 1, 2015. The Expo will play host to more than 140 guests and 50 panels and, for the first time, it will be held in the full exhibit hall. Long Beach Comic Expo is proud to announce bestselling writer Chris Claremont and bestselling artist Ethan Van Sciver as the Long Beach Comic Expo Guests of
Book Review: The Art of the Films: Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes by Sharon Gosling and Adam Newell
An enjoyable for read for those fascinated by how modern movies are made.
This book takes readers behind the scenes of the first two films of the revived Apes franchise, Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and reveals what Dawn director Matt Reeves describes in the Foreward is the "astonishing work" of the crewmembers. Led by Rise's production designer Claude Pare and director of photography Andrew Lesnie and Dawn's production designer James Chinlund and director of photography Michael Seresin, the combined imaginations and talents on each film created realistic locations and believable characters on screen. The latter accomplishment also owes a debt to the
As the 12th Doctor, Peter Capaldi is off to a roaring start in the brilliant new series.
With the Blu-ray release of Doctor Who: The Complete Eighth Series, it is clear that the beloved Doctor is on a historic roll. While there have been highs and lows since the 2005 re-boot of Doctor Who, something very special has been going on in the past couple of years. Part of this has been the excitement over the 50th anniversary, which was in November 2013. But even bigger was the appointment of Steven Moffat as showrunner. With The Sopranos, David Chase turned the story of a New Jersey mafia boss into a parable of turn-of-the-millennium America. With the eighth
This is not your daddy's Star Trek.
On its way to becoming a multimedia franchise, Star Trek first entered the world of comics by way of Gold Key, who sporadically published 61 issues between July 1967 and March 1979 before the license was obtained by Marvel. Earlier this year, IDW reprinted Gold Key's first six issues in a hardcover collection and now the second volume of Star Trek: Gold Key Archives, which collects issues #7-12, is available. Fully re-mastered with new colors, the first two stories are written by Dick Wood (Doctor Solar, Man of the Atom), the rest are by Len Wein (co-creator of DC Comics'
My first ever Con found me checking out cosplayers and listening to James Marsters and William Shatner.
When I learned I’d be going to Wizard World's Tulsa Comic Con this past weekend, I was excited and a little nervous. I’d never been to a Con before, and while I have certain dorky tendencies, I don’t consider myself a full-blown geek. I’ve read a few graphic novels and manga, but I don’t haunt the comic book store. I’ve seen almost all of the superhero movies, but rarely have they been caught in the theatre. I like science fiction movies and stories but not more so than any other genre. And while I play a lot of games, they
Byrne's work is like watching a long-lost episode play before our eyes.
John Byrne and IDW Publishing are presenting the lost missions of the Original Series Enterprise crew in the form of photonovels. That format uses photographs instead of drawings like the Star Trek Fotonovels of the late '70s, which allowed fans to revisit episodes before they could watch them on demand through home video and the Internet. Byrne maniuplates images of characters and backgrounds from the series to set the scene. He then uses word balloons to tell his stories. Volume 1 contains three previously released books and the collection will be available on Oct 21, 2014. Star Trek: Annual 2013
In which we start with blood and end with fire. In between Carol kicks ass.
In which Shawn (@genx13) and Kim (@kimfreakinb) have instant reactions to the best walker show ever. Shawn: Let's get down to this and not go on for 45 pages about this first episode. We've both kept up with the series as it has progressed. We anticipated this episode for months now. I will say that I've typically been underwhelmed with the first episodes of the past few seasons. We start slow and build through the season. This time - hell no. Simply, this might be one of the best episodes since the pilot for action from beginning to end. My
SAMCRO travels to Ireland and gets a baby back, people get kidnapped and rescued and old vendettas are addressed.
In which Shawn (@genx13) and Kim (@kimfreakinb) reminisce about Season Three of Sons of Anarchy. Shawn just started watching the show this Summer and Kim has been watching for years. As the Final Season rides into the heart of their last season, here are some thoughts about the show's episodes from the Fall of 2010. Shawn: Talk about not knowing where to start my comments. I need you to focus me here. We start with Gemma on the run and Abel in Ireland. By the time we get back with baby Abel, Tara has been kidnapped, and Jax has to
Touch it! Touch the Obelisk.
In which Shawn (@genx13) and Kim (@kimfreakinb) have instant reactions to the intense Marvel show and the episode "Heavy Is the Head". Shawn: No miracle comeback for Lucy Lawless. It's a Marvel TV show, so I was hoping that we would start this episode and find out that dead isn't really dead. Instead, it feels like they wasted a really strong female character and gave us another generic bad boy in her place. Lance is our double-crosser of the moment. They appear to be starting a Skye and Lance relationship too. I know that some women can't help themselves around
SAMCRO is forced to deal with LOAN and lots and lots of retaliation. Throw in some rape, porn and more revenge for good measure.
In which Shawn (@genx13) and Kim (@kimfreakinb) reminisce about Season Two of Sons of Anarchy. Shawn just started watching the show this Summer and Kim has been watching for years. As the Final Season revs up, here are some thoughts about the show's sophomore season in the Fall of 2009. Shawn: Well, you didn't lie to me. I got a full dose of guns, porn, overzealous law, and a bit of the ultraviolence. I feel like there's a conscious effort to expand the story right off the bat. We ended on such an emotional note last season that dealing with
T&A come out of the shadows to see what our crew is doing to start Season Two.
In which Shawn (@genx13) and Kim (@kimfreakinb) have instant reactions to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the most fun show on network television. Shawn: Go dark. Stay in the shadows. Find the obelisk. I think I see where this season is going in a nutshell. I really needed a little more of a "Previously on . . . " to get me back up to speed. But that start caught my attention and I kinda want a whole episode of the Howling Commandos in the '40s. Back to modern day and I got the good and the bad of the series all
Doctor Who: Deep Breath DVD Review: You Don't Need to Hold Your Breath to Bring the 12th Doctor Home on DVD or Blu-ray
Peter Capaldi's first outing as the Doctor time-travels onto DVD/Blu-ray.
The new Doctor has arrived...on DVD and Blu-ray! Doctor Who: Deep Breath sees actor Peter Capaldi stepping into the role of The Doctor for his first full-length episode (having made brief appearances in episodes The Day of the Doctor and Time of the Doctor). Wasting little time, the BBC has already produced a DVD and Blu-ray of the episode for those who, like me, can't watch the BBC or BBC America, giving us our first real look at the new 12th Doctor. Having just regenerated, the Doctor finds himself having trouble remembering important information, like the identity of his friends
The Sons of Anarchy are introduced to T & A by way of Season One.
In which Shawn (@genx13) and Kim (@kimfreakinb) reminisce about Season One of Sons of Anarchy. Shawn just started watching the show this Summer and Kim has been watching for years. As we run up to the final season, here are some thoughts about the show's debut season in the Fall of 2008. Shawn: Sons of Anarchy has always been one of those shows that I didn't watch but knew that I'd love. I loved Kurt Sutter's work on The Shield and this show has lots of the touches of that show that made it unique in the police drama genre.
Chad Derdowski returns to Wizard World after a long hiatus... but is there any magic left?
Once upon a time, I couldn’t have imagined missing a Wizard World event in Chicago. Even though I lived in Michigan, and more often than not, found myself taking the affordable, but not exactly enjoyable Mega Bus in order to make the long journey to the Windy City, it was always worth it. Greeted by old friends, aged whiskey, and the promise of scads of sequential art, the idea of missing this grand event was as impossible to imagine as a blockbuster film featuring Rocket Raccoon. But “once upon a time” was a long time ago, in what often feels