In Theatres: CAN WE TAKE A JOKE?

CANWETAKEAJOKE-KEYComing to theatres this Friday, July 29: CAN WE TAKE A JOKE?

Ted Balaker’s look at the impact of outrage culture on comedy had its world premiere at DOC NYC last year. Screenings followed at Anthem, RiverRun, and Sarasota, among other events.

I previously wrote about the film for DOC NYC’s program, saying:
In the age of social media, outrage has become commonplace. While individuals have always found something to be offended by, their ability to organize a groundswell of opposition to – and public censure of – their offender has never been more powerful. Balaker’s timely film offers a thought-provoking and wry exploration of outrage culture through the lens of stand-up comedy, with notables like Gilbert Gottfried, Lisa Lampanelli, and Adam Carolla detailing its stifling impact on everyone’s free speech and the exchange of ideas.

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In Theatres: HIERONYMUS BOSCH: TOUCHED BY THE DEVIL

jheronimus_bosch_-_touched_by_the_devil_12012085_st_2_s-highComing to NYC’s Film Forum tomorrow, Wednesday, July 27: HIERONYMUS BOSCH: TOUCHED BY THE DEVIL

Pieter van Huystee’s behind-the-scenes look at the preparations for a major art exhibition debuted at IDFA last Fall. Other fests have included Sydney, Moscow, DOK.fest Munich, Festival dei Popoli, and Docs Against Gravity.

In the lead up to 2016, the 500th anniversary of the death of Dutch medieval master Hieronymus Bosch, famously known for his macabre allegorical triptych, The Garden of Earthly Delights, the Noordbrabants Museum in Den Bosch plans for a special exhibition celebrating their native son. Van Huystee follows the institution’s art historians as they track down his two dozen surviving works in Madrid and Venice to attempt to negotiate their inclusion, study their potential secrets using modern technology that looks behind the surface of the paintings, and, vitally, try to ascertain whether certain pieces were, in fact, painted by Bosch rather than by one of his students or followers. Like other recent documentaries focused on the inner workings of museums, such as THE GREAT MUSEUM and THE NEW RIJKSMUSEUM, the director offers an intriguing look into the competing forces – and curatorial egos – at play in mounting such exhibitions, as well as the persistent questions of authenticity and attribution that haunt curators. At the same time, working with the distinctive, playful, and disturbing imagery of Bosch affords the film some additional color, as curators revel in the artist’s phantasmagorias, full of lovingly painted demons, owls, and other denizens of the night.

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On DVD: THE ARMOR OF LIGHT

armoroflightComing to DVD today, Tuesday, July 26: THE ARMOR OF LIGHT

Abigail Disney’s look at pro-life gun advocates debited at Tribeca last year. It went on to Traverse City, AFI Docs, Hamptons, Galway, Montclair, Milwaukee, St Louis, Heartland, Oxford, and SF Jewish fests.

I previously wrote about the doc here.

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On VOD: HELP US FIND SUNIL TRIPATHI

2015-Help_Us_Find_Sunil_Tripathi_1Coming to VOD today, Tuesday, July 26: HELP US FIND SUNTIL TRIPATHI

Neal Broffman’s look at the consequences of social media groupthink premiered at Atlanta last year. Screenings followed at Hot Docs, New Orleans, DMZ Docs, Brooklyn, Boston Asian American, St Louis, Denver, and Oxford, among other events. FilmBuff now releases the film on VOD platforms.

I previously wrote about the doc here.

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Traverse City 2016: Documentary Overview

Traverse-City-Film-Festival-2016Michael Moore’s Traverse City Film Festival opens tomorrow, Tuesday, July 26, and runs through Sunday, July 31. The 12th edition of the event has generated headlines for championing the visibility of women filmmakers by including only female-helmed or co-helmed works in its competition sections, and cheekily naming a male-directed out-of-competition sidebar “Men Make Movies – The Struggle Continues.” In total, more than a hundred new and recent features will screen at the event, with about half representing documentaries. The well-curated event curates much of its lineup from larger festivals like Sundance, Toronto, SXSW, and Tribeca, but also includes a few world premieres or lesser-know titles, such as the films noted below:

generation_startup_NEWThe US documentary competition includes the debut of Kamala Lopez’s EQUAL MEANS EQUAL, which looks at the current state of gender inequality, while the international competition features the North American premiere of Yacine Brahem, Dario Cerruti, and Laurent Negre’s hybrid CONFUSION, about the extradition of a Guantanamo prisoner to Switzerland. Appearing in the Premieres section are the first screenings of Cynthia Wade and Cheryl Miller Houser’s GENERATION STARTUP (pictured), a look at several young entrepreneurs trying to make a go of it in Detroit; Jesse Nesser’s WALK WITH ME: THE TRIALS OF DAMON J KEITH, about a 94-year-old janitor-turned-federal judge; and Bob Apisa’s MEN OF SPARTA, on Michigan State University’s pioneering integrated 1960s football team. The fest’s Avant Garde section includes Alexandra Cuesta’s TERRITORIO, an immersive exploration of the filmmaker’s Ecuador. Finally, the event wraps with closing night film CONCERTO: A BEETHOVEN JOURNEY, Phil Grabsky’s chronicle of an acclaimed pianist’s three-year international quest to master several of the German composer’s concertos.

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On DVD: HARMONTOWN

harmontown_592x299Coming to DVD tomorrow, Tuesday, July 26: HARMONTOWN

Neil Berkeley’s look at the celebrated COMMUNITY showrunner made its debut at SXSW in 2014. It went on to screen at Los Angeles, deadCENTER, Hot Docs, and Napa Valley, among other events.

I previously wrote about the doc here.

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On DVD: THE RUSSIAN WOODPECKER

russian woodpeckerComing to DVD next Tuesday, July 26: THE RUSSIAN WOODPECKER

Chad Gracia’s investigation into the truth behind Chernobyl had its world premiere at Sundance last year, where it won the World Cinema Documentary Grand Jury Prize. Screenings followed at Nantucket, BAMcinemaFest, AFI Docs, Milwaukee, Zurich, and Sydney, among others.

I profiled the doc before Sundance here.

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