Category Archives: Releases

In Theatres: I AM CHRIS FARLEY

farleyComing the theatres today, Friday, July 31: I AM CHRIS FARLEY

Brent Hodge and Derik Murray’s tribute to the late comedian makes its debut this weekend in limited theatrical engagements around the country prior to its broadcast debut on Spike next month.

Farley, best known for his time as a SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE cast member before breaking into films with TOMMY BOY, died of a drug overdose at the age of 33. Hodge and Murray’s film chooses to focus more positively on the trajectory of the comedian’s life and career than on his sad death – a choice that often sits awkwardly with the emotional tenor of the interviews they elicit from friends and family. Hewing closely to biopic conventions, the film trots out family members in the form of Farley’s siblings to sketch out his idyllic, loving Wisconsin upbringing and his natural showmanship, while college friends and Second City castmates trace the early development of his talents as he discovered performing, particularly through improv, which paved the way for his SNL breakthrough, and which are showcased here through intriguing albeit crude video recordings. The requisite focus on his memorable SNL characters takes up the bulk of the film, accompanied by an impressive roster of talking heads, including the typically reclusive Adam Sandler and Lorne Michaels – a testament to the enduring impact Farley had on his collaborators nearly two decades after his death. At the same time, the filmmakers’ never seem to give enough breathing room to process the seemingly still-raw grief expressed by Farley’s friends over his sad death, instead taking pains to shift the mood back to one of celebration, a tactic that ends up feeling forced, making this look back at a self-sabotaged career feel a bit too superficial and rose-colored than well-rounded.

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In Theatres: BEST OF ENEMIES

best of enemiesComing to theatres today, Friday, July 31: BEST OF ENEMIES

Morgan Neville and Robert Gordon’s revisitation of a notorious battle of the minds debuted at Sundance this year. It has traveled extensively since, screening at Nantucket, BAMcinemaFest, AFI Docs, Outfest, San Francisco, SXSW, Hot Docs, Full Frame, Srasota, Miami, and IFF Boston, among others.

I profiled the doc before Sundance here.

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In Theatres: LISTEN TO ME MARLON

listen to me marlonComing to theatres today, Wednesday, July 29: LISTEN TO ME MARLON

Stevan Riley’s stunning posthumously constructed autobiography of the screen legend made its bow at Sundance this year. It went on to screen at Nantucket, San Francisco, New Directors/New Films, Hot Docs, AFI Docs, Sydney, Seattle, Provincetown, and Ashland, among others.

I profiled the doc before Sundance here.

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On DVD: REVENGE OF THE MEKONS

Revenge-of-the-Mekons-Key-Image-Photo-by-Frank-Swider-580x300Coming to DVD today, Tuesday, July 28: REVENGE OF THE MEKONS

Joe Angio’s exploration of the enduring band had its world premiere at DOC NYC in 2013. Its fest circuit also included Cucalorus, Leeds, Milwaukee, DOXA, Sarasota, and In-Edit Barcelona, among others.

I previously wrote about the doc here.

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On Cable: MATT SHEPARD IS A FRIEND OF MINE

matt shepardComing to Logo as part of their Logo Documentary Films series tonight, Monday, July 27: MATT SHEPARD IS A FRIEND OF MINE

Michele Josue’s personal reflection on her fallen friend debuted at Mill Valley in 2013. Screenings followed at DOC NYC, IDFA, Cleveland, CNEX Taipei Doc, St Louis, Miami LGBT, Toronto’s Inside Out, and Russia’s Side by Side LGBT fests, among others.

I previously wrote about the doc here.

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On TV: TEA TIME

tea timeComing to PBS’s POV tonight, Monday, July 27: TEA TIME

Maite Alberdi’s loving look at a group of longtime friends debuted at SANFIC last year. It went on to screen at IDFA, True/False, Miami, Ambulante, BAFICI, Doc Aviv, Seattle, Sydney, and Sheffield, among others.

Since they graduated from high school, a close group of Chilean women have hosted a small tea party once a month – for the past sixty years. One of these women is Maria Theresa, Alberdi’s grandmother, and the film’s primary guide to the proceedings. These lively meetings have sustained them through radical changes to their nation and to more personal changes to their lives, from marriages and divorces, to births and deaths, with seemingly the only constant being the enduring friendship and love between this tight circle. Shot over the course of several years which saw their own measure of change, as the friends have to confront sickness and aging among their own group, Alberdi’s film offers the viewer a place at the table to listen in to the gossip, recognize each woman’s quirks, and to be charmed by them all while witnessing the elaborate pastry spreads they’ve painstakingly organized.

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In Theatres & On VOD: A GAY GIRL IN DAMASCUS: THE AMINA PROFILE

amina profileComing to theatres and to VOD today, Friday, July 24: A GAY GIRL IN DAMASCUS: THE AMINA PROFILE

Sophie Deraspe’s look at the true story behind a controversial Syrian blog debuted at Sundance earlier this year. It has gone on to screen at Hot Docs, Biografilm, Dallas, IFF Boston, and at LGBT fests in San Francisco, Toronto, London, and Miami, among others. Sundance Selects now brings the films to theatres in limited release, while the SundanceNow Doc Club makes it available on VOD.

I previously wrote about the doc before Sundance here.

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