April 11, 2013 |
Movie directors can come across as all sorts of personalities - arrogant, collegial, mercurial, dictatorial. Filmmaker Henry-Alex Rubin arrived on the set of "Disconnect" , his first narrative feature, striking an unusual pose: clueless. "I have no idea how to direct a movie," said Rubin, 39, a prize-winning commercial director who made (with Dana Adam Shapiro) the Oscar-nominated 2005 documentary "Murderball," which chronicled the grueling sport of wheelchair rugby. "I know how to make commercials and direct documentaries.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 7, 2013 |
When Les Blank arrived in the lush, untamed Amazon in 1981 to make a documentary about Werner Herzog's film, "Fitzcarraldo," he knew the German's reputation as a daredevil director. Herzog had chosen the remote jungle locale, plagued by tribal skirmishes and the perils of nature, for authenticity. On the first day of shooting, seeking a dramatic shot, Herzog sent a 300-ton steamboat careening into a rocky riverbank. Caught unaware, Blank went flying across the boat deck, camera in tow. "I realized … if I could get back alive and sane, I would have an interesting film, no matter what happened," Blank said last year.
April 6, 2013 |
Mariel Hemingway, makeup-free and in sweats, is gorgeous. That bone structure, her cheetah-like build and flowing hair have been familiar for decades. What's disarming is her forthright approach to a rough family history and her determination to live the happy and healthy life that eluded so many of her relatives. She knows a lot, she says, about what it takes to live a happy life - no matter your cheekbones or pedigree. Perhaps it's because she's seen enough unhappiness to last many lifetimes: for starters, the suicides of her supermodel sister and her legendary grandfather, as well as five other relatives.
April 5, 2013 |
Documentarian Shola Lynch first encountered controversial political activist and professor Angela Davis over 20 years ago while still a student at the University of Texas in Austin. Davis delivered a speech that "was all about justice and race, fighting the good fight," recalled Lynch, now 44, on the phone from her home in New York. "In college, that is what we were all about. That was the time we were trying to figure it out. What did equality mean? What does it mean to be black?
April 4, 2013 |
"Babe's and Ricky's Inn," Ramin Niami's new documentary on the legendary L.A. blues club, is a bit like the music that founder Mama Laura gathered up in her big, open-hearted embrace - an improvisational riff filled with weeping guitars, wailing harmonicas, pounding keyboards and sweat-soaked players rather than rigorous storytelling. If you don't want to get up and move at some point during this film, go see a doctor. Music in "Babe's and Ricky's" is righteous and raucous and easy to come by, but the story of Mama Laura is more elusive.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 2, 2013 |
Mari Edelman called upstairs to the caretaker, asking if her husband was awake and in good enough shape to handle a visitor. As we ascended the stairs of their Westwood home, Mari explained that her husband's cruel condition - an advancing neurological disease - has left him sharp mentally but withered physically, and barely able to speak. Edmund D. Edelman, who put in 29 years as an elected official in Los Angeles, first as a City Councilman and then as a member of the county Board of Supervisors, lay on his back against a window, a blanket draped over him. He squeezed out an acknowledgment, barely audible, and I sat down to talk to him, with Mari doing her best to interpret his responses.
April 1, 2013 |
Century City-based Cinedigm unveiled on Monday a seven-week screening series that will include seven documentaries shown at theaters across the country, including several in the Los Angeles area. The Docurama series begins April 22 and will include the documentaries “G-Dog,” “Viva Los Antipados,” “The World Before Her,” “The Fruit Hunters,” “Charge,” “Ping Pong” and “London: The Modern Babylon.” The films will...
April 1, 2013 |
David Sutherland is the director of three remarkable documentary films - I should say at least three, having seen only the last three - notable for their length and their depth: "The Farmer's Wife," from 1998, a 61/2-hour look at a farm family in crisis; the six-hour "Country Boys," from 2005, about two teenagers in Appalachia; and now "Kind Hearted Woman," set in North Dakota, Minnesota and southern Canada, which follows a Native American woman and...
March 22, 2013 |
CAIRO - The battle between censors and filmmakers over "Jews of Egypt" ended this week when authorities granted permission for the documentary to be shown despite fears it may agitate Egypt's anti-Israeli hatred amid months of political unrest and nationwide protests. The film by director Amir Ramses raised a dilemma over security versus artistic freedom at a time when the rise of conservative Islamist voices has sharpened religious and cultural differences. The documentary explores the life of Egypt's Jewish community before the second Arab-Israeli war in 1956.
March 21, 2013 |
The J.D. Salinger documentary that has fascinated the literary and media worlds will now have its day before an audience. Shane Salerno's “Salinger,” about the reclusive “Catcher in the Rye” author who died in 2010, will be released in theaters on Sept. 6, The Weinstein Co. said Thursday. That positions it for a run at late-summer film festivals that mark the beginning of awards season as well as during the season that follows. Salerno, most recently a writer and executive producer on Oliver Stone's drug-trade thriller “Savages,” has also turned the material into a book, while the movie will also air as part of PBS' venerated “American Masters" series.