In Theatres: MR X: A VISION OF LEOS CARAX

mr leos caraxComing to theatres tomorrow, Friday, August 15: MR X: A VISION OF LEOS CARAX

Tessa Louise-Salomé’s profile of the distinctive French auteur debuted at Sundance this year. It went on to screen at Rotterdam, JeonJu, Stockholm, New Orleans French Film Festival, Sydney Underground, and Moscow, among others.

I profiled the doc before Sundance here.

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Sarajevo 2014: Documentary Overview

sarajevo-film-festival-2014This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Sarajevo Film Festival, an event born in the strife of the Bosnian War while the city was still under siege. Since then, the fest has grown to be recognized as the most important film event in its region. Beginning tomorrow, Friday, August 15 and running through Saturday, August 23, the festival will screen over 200 total films, with nearly 40 feature docs represented. Among the latter are the following: Continue reading

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On VOD: THE DOG

thedog_00Coming to VOD this Friday, August 15: THE DOG

Allison Berg and Frank Keraudren’s look at a larger than life personality debuted at Toronto last year. Its fest circuit has included the New York Film Festival, Berlin, SXSW, Thessaloniki, Palm Springs, San Francisco, Cleveland, and Montclair, among others.

I included the doc in my Toronto coverage here.

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In Theatres: A WILL FOR THE WOODS

A-Will-for-the-Woods-Key-Image-Photo-by-Jeremy-Kaplan-280x140Coming to theatres this Friday, August 15: A WILL FOR THE WOODS

Amy Browne, Jeremy Kaplan, Tony Hale, and Brian Wilson’s look at the intersection of environmentalism and the funeral industry made its debut at Full Frame last year. It went on to screen at DOC NYC, New Orleans, AFI Docs, Sidewalk, DocuWest, Camden, Princeton Environmental, Big Sky, Cleveland, Sebastopol Doc, Atlanta, and San Francisco Green, among others.

I previously included the film in my AFI Docs coverage here.

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On VOD: WE COULD BE KING

la-et-mn-we-could-be-king-review-20140425Coming to VOD today, Tuesday, August 12: WE COULD BE KING

Judd Ehrlich’s portrait of a struggling high school football team premiered at Tribeca this Spring. It went on to be broadcast on ESPN and now comes to VOD via Tribeca Film.

Faced with a budget deficit in the hundreds of millions, the Philadelphia school district is forced to shut down two dozen schools, among them Germantown. Students from the nearly hundred-year-old high school find themselves in the precarious situation of joining their forty-year nemesis, Martin Luther King High. Despite a lack of any funding for school athletics, MLK’s administrators recognize the role of athletics as one of the few paths toward higher education for the African American student body, and continue their football program, merging the two rivals into a single team, run by volunteer coach Ed, who himself was laid off from his Germantown teaching job. Over the course of the tumultuous season chronicled in Ehrlich’s intimately observed film, the King Cougars must learn to set aside old grudges in order to score their first win in over two years – in the process serving as a symbol of the unity the merged school desperately needs. In charting the unexpected developments on and off the field, Ehrlich wisely concentrates on three main characters – in addition to the coach, players Dontae and Sal, both in danger of jeopardizing their opportunity for self-advancement – the former struggling with bad grades and a worse attitude, and the latter facing criminal charges for apparently being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

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In Theatres & On VOD: DINOSAUR 13

dinosaur 13Coming to theatres and to VOD this Friday, August 15: DINOSAUR 13

Todd Miller’s chronicle of a paleontological discovery made its debut at Sundance at the beginning of the year. It’s gone on to screen at Traverse City, Sydney, Melbourne, and its local setting of the Black Hills. In addition to theatrical engagements, it will be available on VOD platforms, including iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube, Playstation, XBOX, and Vudu.

My pre-Sundance profile of the doc may be found here.

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On VOD: LOVE HOTEL

lovehotel31-770x433Coming to VOD tomorrow, Tuesday, August 12: LOVE HOTEL

Philip Cox and Hikaru Toda’s inside look at a discreet Japanese cultural mainstay premiered at Hot Docs this Spring. The doc has gone on to screen at Melbourne, NY Asian American, and Biografilm. FilmBuff now releases the film on various VOD platforms.

The tradition of short-term stay hotels or teahouses that facilitate sexual encounters has a long history in Japan. As Cox and Toda’s intimate film demonstrates, however, a recent conservative turn in the government threatens to make them a thing of the past. Against this backdrop, the film focuses on a single establishment, Osaka’s Angelo Love Hotel. As its staff contends with the “entertainment police” and their increasingly restrictive regulations, the hotel hosts several patrons, including a middle-aged couple trying to jumpstart their lovelife, a pair of closeted gay lawyers seeking privacy, a lonely older man, and a dominatrix servicing unsatisfied married men. Liberated by their surroundings, these and other customers demonstrate surprising candor, making an argument for the value of such establishments in a society that tends to downplay individual desires.

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