Results tagged “Documentary”

AFI FEST 2019 Announces World Cinema and Documentary Sections

World Cinema Section includes five international feature film Oscar submissions and a total of 16 titles from 19 countries.
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Press release: The American Film Institute (AFI) announced today the films that will play in the World Cinema section and the inaugural Documentary section of AFI FEST 2019 presented by Audi. The World Cinema section showcases the most anticipated and celebrated international films of the year and features 16 titles representing 19 countries. The section includes five official International Feature Film Oscarsubmissions screening at this year’s festival: Sweden's AND THEN WE DANCED (DIR Levan Akin), Canada's ANTIGONE (DIR Sophie Deraspe), Poland's CORPUS CHRISTI (BOŻE CIAŁO) (DIR Jan Komasa), Italy's THE TRAITOR (DIR Marco Bellocchio), and Romania's THE WHISTLERS (DIR Cornlieu

Fantastic Fungi Movie Review: Mushrooms Are (Finally) Cool

Louie Schwartzberg's "Fantastic Fungi" is a fascinating, story-driven documentary that makes you believe in the power of these mighty organisms.
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Fungi aren't something stapled to the front of people’s minds. They aren't something we think about on a daily basis. We don’t even know how to pronounce the word. They're an afterthought, as are mushrooms. For most people, they’re an add-on. They’re good with other things, parts of a whole, not standalone products. Louie Schwartzberg has different ideas, though. Fantastic Fungi, which is narrated by the critically beloved Brie Larson and who I’m sure will bring in an audience by being connected to this film, is a documentary that wastes little time in telling you the importance of fungi and

Memory: The Origins of Alien Movie Review: From Whence a Legend Came

How Crohn's disease became a chestburster.
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I've seen many making-of and behind-the-scenes featurettes for movies before, especially ones with elaborate special effects. I've seen documentaries about the visionaries behind creature design. What's rare is a film that has such a breadth and wealth of inspiration that merely looking at everything it drew from and had injected into it to become an iconic, genre-defining powerhouse warrants an hour and a half discussion with experts just to get a handle on all of it. Insert Memory: The Origins of Alien, directed and written by Alexandre O. Philippe, which dives deep into all of the decades of influence that

TV Review: Country Music: Episode Eight 'Don't Get Above Your Raisin'' (1984 - 1996)

Unfortunately, all good things come to an end, and so we get the final chapter in Ken Burns's outstanding documentary.
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Ken Burns's latest examination of the fabric of the United States sees him focus on another musical genre, Country Music, in an 8-episode, 16-hour documentary airing on and streaming through PBS. The story is narrated by Peter Coyote and supplemented by a wealth of interviews ranging from country artists, giants in the business like Dolly Parton and Kris Kristofferson to lesser-known artists keeping the spirit alive like Ketch Secor from Old Crow Medicine Show and Rhiannon Giddens; from those who lived through it like session musicians and radio DJ Ralph Emery to the children and grandchildren of beloved musicians. Much

QT8: The First Eight, Exploring the Career of Quentin Tarantino, Is Coming to Movie Theaters Nationwide on October 21

New documentary features interviews about the legacy of Tarantino with stars including Samuel L. Jackson, Jamie Foxx, and Kurt Russell.
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Press release: Fathom Events is bringing a new documentary film chronicling the thrilling journey of Quentin Tarantino’s first eight movies to theaters nationwide for just one night on October 21. QT8: The First Eight, directed by Tara Wood (21 Years: Richard Linklater), gives its audience an inside look at the legendary filmmaker’s body of work through interviews with former cast members, film industry experts. Tickets for QT8: The First Eight can be purchased at www.FathomEvents.com and participating theater box offices. Fathom Events presents QT8: The First Eight in more than 800 select movie theaters on Monday, October 21 at 7:00pm

Los Tigres del Norte at Folsom Prison Movie Review: A Collective Concert of Shared Heritage

The norteño supergroup pays homage to Johnny Cash and to Latinos everywhere through heartfelt time spent at this California prison.
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Though norteño music will be new to many who stumble across Netflix’s new documentary, Los Tigres del Norte at Folsom Prison, it has been a staple of Mexican culture for decades. Los Tigres del Norte, a family band that has popularized an entire genre of regional music by releasing over 50 albums, have been family picnic regulars of Mexican-American households since the early 1970s. The San Jose natives travel to Folsom Prison, a California institution that is famous for visitors, not inmates. Los Tigres, or “little tigers” as they were known by immigration officials, are beloved for singing songs, rather

TV Review: Country Music: Episodes Three and Four

An intriguing concept presented is that in addition to talent, chance encounters can be just as important to an artist's career.
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Ken Burns's latest examination of the fabric of the United States sees him focus on another musical genre, Country Music, in an 8-episode, 16-hour documentary airing on and streaming through PBS. The story is narrated by Peter Coyote and supplemented by a wealth of interviews ranging from country artists, giants in the business like Dolly Parton and Kris Kristofferson to lesser-known artists keeping the spirit alive like Ketch Secor from Old Crow Medicine Show and Rhiannon Giddens; from those who lived through it like session musicians and radio DJ Ralph Emery to the children and grandchildren of beloved musicians. Much

The Beatles: Made on Merseyside DVD Review: Offers Little New Information

New or casual Beatles fans may find the documentary to be interesting only if they are largely unfamiliar with the group's history.
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In 1964, Americans viewed the Beatles as seemingly coming out of nowhere, rapidly scoring hits and inciting Beatlemania. In reality, the group painstakingly learned their craft, toiling in Liverpool and Hamburg clubs until finally signing with the EMI label in 1962. The documentary The Beatles Made on Merseyside attempts to trace this early period, following them from teen years through 1962. Now available on DVD, the film may appeal to casual Beatles fans, but hardcore enthusiasts will find little new information. Wisely dispensing with narration, The Beatles Made on Merseyside relies on interviews with Beatles insiders and archival footage. Beatles

TV Review: Country Music: Episodes One and Two

Harlan Howard declared, “Country music is three chords and the truth.”
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Ken Burns's latest examination of the fabric of the United States sees him focus on another musical genre, Country Music, in an 8-episode, 16-hour documentary that airs on and streams through PBS, beginning tonight. The story is narrated by Peter Coyote and supplemented by a wealth of interviews ranging from country artists, giants in the business like Dolly Parton and Kris Kristofferson to lesser-known artists keeping the spirit alive like Ketch Secor from Old Crow Medicine Show and Rhiannon Giddens; from those who lived through it like session musicians and radio DJ Ralph Emery to the children and grandchildren of

Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am Movie Review: A Quiet Passion for Life, for Knowledge, and for Words

The documentary examines the Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning author's life through interviews and archival footage.
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The Pieces I Am, Timothy Greenfield-Sander’s straightforward documentary about the late Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Toni Morrison, consists (mostly) of Morrison talking directly to the camera as she discusses her work and her life. Other interviewees include Angela Davis, Oprah Winfrey, Fran Lebowitz, screenwriter Russell Banks, and poet Sonia Sanchez. The documentary also shows clips from interviews Morrison did with Charlie Rose, Bill Moyers, and oters. There’s footage of the author receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012, and other archival clips. Morrison passed away at the age of 88 in early August, leaving behind a body of

What We Left Behind: Looking Back at Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Blu-ray Review

DS9 fans should be pleased with this love letter.
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What We Left Behind, a riff on the title of the series finale "What You Leave Behind," finds Deep Space Nine showrunner Ira Steven Behr hosting this look back at the fourth Star Trek TV series, the “middle child” of the franchise in terms of respect. And that opinion doesn't just come from some Trek fans whose angry reactions are read by cast members, but seemingly the executives at CBS Television Studios as well considering it took thousands of folks listed in the end credits to help finance the project through Indiegogo. Over about two hours, cast, crew members, and

Pavarotti Movie Review: A Fine Look at the Opera Legend

Ron Howard's new documentary on Luciano Pavarotti is informative, but also has viewers begging for more.
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Luciano Pavarotti was one of the best opera singers to have lived, and his memory will live on forever in the music he sang. But, like all other beloved figures, there’s more to him than what is seen in the public atmosphere. If you’re expecting Ron Howard to simply give viewers a glimpse into the life of the late tenor and how he rose to fame, Pavarotti will not disappoint. It’s insightful and is especially a good starting point for those unfamiliar with Pavarotti’s music. But for those who are lifelong fans - or even those who are simply aware

'Pavarotti' Premiere Screening Event Comes to Movie Theaters Nationwide on June 4

New documentary celebrates life and work of opera legend Luciano Pavarotti through powerful music, intimate interviews, and never-before-seen footage.
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Press release: Fathom Events will bring beloved entertainer Luciano Pavarotti’s story to movie theaters across the country on June 4 with a screening event designed to bring the life and performances of one of the great operatic voices to the masses. This exclusive screening will give audiences the first chance to experience the new documentary film “Pavarotti.” From his earliest beginnings to the very last days of his life, the Ron Howard-directed film follows the renowned singer over the course of his prolific career, revealing previously unknown details about the legendary tenor; and harnessing the incredible sounds and music from

Becoming Evil: Serial Killers DVD Review: This Academic Series Has a Lot of Challenges

Interesting subject matter wrapped into a not-so-interesting series.
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I love true crime. I listen to true-crime podcasts. I will watch true-crime television shows. And I absolutely love documentaries about true crime. So of course, I was excited when I was offered the chance to review a 6-1/2 hour investigative documentary series on serial killers. While Becoming Evil:Serial Killers covers a lot different serial killers, some more notorious than others, this academic series has a lot of challenges. From the beginning, Becoming Evil feels dated as if the series was over a decade or so old. However, this is a new series released this week. And while it is

Never-Ending Man: Hayao Miyazaki Blu-ray Review: Return of the King, or Don Quixote?

The legendary anime director emerges from retirement once again, with a documentary crew in tow exploring whether he's still the master or just chasing an old man's folly.
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Workaholic anime legend Hayao Miyazaki has “retired” so many times after completing difficult films that each announcement is met with a great deal of public bemusement. However, after the completion of his last feature film in 2013, The Wind Rises, and the virtual shuttering of his Studio Ghibli production offices, it appeared like his retirement might have a better-than-average chance of success. This documentary opens in that fallow period after his latest retirement, as he whiles away his days puttering around his house and bemoaning his increasing age. It’s an odd choice of timeframe for a documentary, until Miyazaki suddenly

Julia Reichert, 50 Years in Film, Touring Retrospective Includes Academy Award-nominated Docs and Shorts

Starts May 30, 2019 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, tours nationally through 2020.
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Press release: A three-time Academy Award nominee, Ohio-based filmmaker Julia Reichert has dedicated her career to capturing stories that explore class, gender, and race in America. In honor of nearly five decades in filmmaking, a touring retrospective, organized by the Wexner Center for the Arts, will celebrate one of the most distinguished bodies of work in American independent film and one of our most accomplished documentarians. The series will showcase all of Reichert’s feature documentaries, beginning with Growing Up Female (made with Jim Klein in 1971), considered the first feature documentary of the modern women’s movement—and a recent addition to

The Toys That Made Us: Season 1 & 2 DVD Review: An Informative, Entertaining TV Series

Am glad to see Netflix is making these shows available beyond their streaming service because, like a toy, these stories deserve to be shared.
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The Toys That Made Us is a Netflix documentary series that looks at the histories of famous toy lines. The seasons are short, running only four episodes each. The first covers Star Wars, Barbie, He-Man, and G.I. Joe, which all debuted on the streaming service on December 22, 2017. The second covers Star Trek, Transformers, LEGO, and Hello Kitty, which all debuted on May 25, 2018. The episodes tell compelling stories about those involved in the toy's creation and the cultural impact they had. The “Star Wars” episode opens with a historical re-enactment, which had me concerned we were going

At the Drive-In DVD Review: A Compelling David vs. Goliath Story

The manager of rural Pennsylvania a drive-in and a few young film fanatics struggle to keep the theater in business by showing 35mm prints of retro films.
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Director Alexander Monelli originally intended the documentary At the Drive In to focus on the near-extinct drive-in movie theatre industry in the U.S. After meeting the crew at Mahoning Drive-In in Lehighton, Pennsylvania, he discovered that the Mahoning’s story offered enough material for a film on its own. We meet Jeff Mattox, the drive-in’s manager and projectionist, who has worked in the theatre-exhibition industry for most of his life, during the fim's first scene, as he opens up the concession stand/projection room. He still runs 35mm prints on a behemoth, analog projector, since he can’t afford the industry-mandated $50,000 digital

Pandas Movie Review: Simply Adorable

A gorgeous documentary that makes you want to spend your whole day with panda bears.
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One of the things about animal/nature documentaries is that a lot of them aim to be overly cutesy in their narration and stylistic approach as a way to keep the attention of the young ones. Disney’s Born in China did that quite a bit in 2017, and, while it was cute and gorgeous in its imagery, the narration came across as pandering to only a certain demographic and not being informational enough for everyone else. IMAX’s Pandas kind of does that, but it’s not as cloying and off-putting. In the 40 minutes we get to witness the pandas in action,

The World Before Your Feet DVD Review: One Very Must-see Documentary

A fascinating and utterly charming documentary about the true beauty of New York City.
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There are 8,000 miles in New York City; miles that we all know, or have seen in movies and TV. But, what do we really know, especially about the unknown miles that remain usually ignored in this greatest of cities. That's what Matt Green discovers in Jeremy Workman's endearing 2018 documentary, The World Before Your Feet, which not only shows how beautiful New York City really is, but also how our curiosity can sometimes lead us to big and interesting adventures. This doc depicts Matt Green, an enigmatic modern-day Thoreau who goes on a five-borough journey from the many barbershops
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