Category Archives: Film

On DVD: FOR GRACE

Coming to DVD tomorrow, Tuesday, March 28:
FOR GRACE

Directors:
Kevin Pang and Mark Helenowski

Premiere:
SXSW 2015

Select Festivals:
DOC NYC, Nashville, Hot Docs, Bentonville, Documentary Edge, Seattle, SF Doc Fest, Melbourne, Chicago, Tallgrass

About:
A portrait of a chef as he embarks on the opening of his new restaurant.

I previously wrote about the doc here.

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On TV: ROCK AND A HARD PLACE

Coming to HBO next Monday, March 27:
ROCK AND A HARD PLACE

Directors:
Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill

Premiere:
HBO (March 2017)

About:
A Florida prison program provides a last chance for young perpetrators to avoid extensive sentences.

The Miami-Dade County Corrections & Rehabilitation Boot Camp Program puts young inmates through their paces over 16 arduous weeks in the hopes that the experience will help them turn their lives around before they become part of the revolving door of the prison system. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who executive produced the project, knows this world well, having had run-ins with the law as a youth. Appearing in the film, he encourages the young men to take advantage of the program, no matter how difficult the drill instructors push them, knowing that on the other end is the possibility of a new start. Alpert and O’Neill follow several subjects through the rigorous boot camp, designed to break them down through psychological and physical tests, encourage them to break bad habits, learn discipline, and prepare them for life on the outside so that they don’t once again return to lives of crime. While subjects aren’t individuated particularly well, the overall setting is very effectively conveyed, offering viewers an often intense and affecting experience.

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On TV: ENTER THE FAUN

enter_the_faun-harvey-wang_no_idComing to the World Channel’s America ReFramed next Tuesday, March 28:
ENTER THE FAUN

Directors:
Tamar Rogoff and Daisy Wright

Premiere:
Sarasota 2015

Select Festivals:
Film Columbia, Margaret Mead, Dance on Camera, Salem, ReelAbilities

About:
A collaboration between a choreographer and a performer with cerebral palsy yields unexpected results.

I previously wrote about the doc here.

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On TV: OVARIAN PSYCOS

Coming to PBS’s Independent Lens next Monday, March 27:
OVARIAN PSYCOS

Directors:
Joanna Sokolowski and Kate Trumbull-LaValle

Premiere:
SXSW 2016

Select Festivals:
Hot Docs, New Orleans, Seattle, London, Human Rights Watch, Denver, Frameline, Outfest, Milan, Citizen Jane, Ambulante

About:
A profile of several young Latinas who find empowerment as members of an East Los Angeles bicycling group.

Seeking a sense of community and a safe space for women of color within the white male-dominated, privileged bicycling culture of Los Angeles, the Ovarian Psycos were formed. Eschewing the criminal intimations of the term “gang” for the preferred “brigade,” the Ovas defiantly reclaim the streets for their own, organizing rides like Clitoral Mass, while fighting back against sexism, racism, classism, gender violence, and cultural taboos – though the film doesn’t always provide a clear sense of the extent of the group’s reach. Sokolowski and Trumbull-LaValle instead focus on a small handful of riders, including founder Xela de la X, longtime member Andi Xoch, and newcomer Evie, demonstrating how their personal stories reflect larger, political issues, such as the challenges posed by the pull of family, motherhood, and traditionally so-called “feminine” pursuits vs their activist interests. While suggesting the Psycos are the latest in a lineage that stretches back from the riot grrls of the 1990s and the Chicano and feminist movements of the ’60s and ’70s, the film doesn’t go quite far enough in exploring these ties, resulting in a somewhat insular, if still intriguing, treatment.

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Cinéma du Reél 2017 Overview

The 39th edition of Cinéma du Réel, the documentary festival of Paris, begins tomorrow, Friday, March 24 and runs through Sunday, April 2. The event will showcase approximately 50 new and recent documentary features, along with shorts, panels, and retrospectives. Feature highlights follow: Continue reading

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In Theatres & On VOD: AMERICAN ANARCHIST

Coming to theatres and to VOD this Friday, March 24:
AMERICAN ANARCHIST

Director:
Charlie Siskel

Premiere:
Venice 2016

Select Festivals:
DOC NYC, Hamptons, Chicago, Vienna, Stockholm, Thessaloniki Doc, Vilnius, Cleveland

About:
The author of a notorious book is forced to reckon with its destructive impact.

In 1970, William Powell, a 19-year-old disaffected anti-establishment activist, compiled recipes for explosives culled from US Army manuals found in the New York Public Library, and combined them with a radical manifesto calling for the overthrow of the government. The result: The Anarchist Cookbook. Finding a publisher all-too-happy to capitalize on the social unrest of the period, Powell’s screed generated outrage and has stayed in print over the decades, selling over 2 million copies worldwide. As Siskel all-too-frequently is ready to remind the now 65-year-old Powell, it also has been linked to a long list of heinous crimes, from Columbine and Aurora to abortion clinic bombings and Oklahoma City. Tracking down the author, who long ago denounced his tome as misguided and who has spent the intervening decade as an educator focused on special needs students, the director challenges him to face the deadly consequences of his infamous work, which, despite any efforts to contain its dangerous reach, seems destined to live on in perpetuity in the age of the Internet.

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In Theatres: I CALLED HIM MORGAN

i called him morganComing to theatres this Friday, March 24:
I CALLED HIM MORGAN

Director:
Kasper Collin

Premiere:
Venice 2016

Select Festivals:
Toronto, Telluride, New York, London, Vancouver, Mumbai, Philadelphia, In-Edit, Stockholm, Palm Springs, Thessaloniki Doc, Tempo Doc, CPH:DOX

About:
The story of the ultimately ill-fated relationship between jazz musician Lee Morgan and his common-law wife Helen.

I previously wrote about the doc here.

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