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January 21, 2014 | By Greg Braxton
Legendary boxer Muhammad Ali is having a TV renaissance. HBO last year premiered "Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight," a docudrama centered on the legal battle in 1967 that erupted when the heavyweight champion and newly converted Muslim refused to be drafted into the Vietnam War and was stripped of his title. That film, directed by Stephen Frears, focused primarlily on the U.S. Supreme Court taking up the case. Ali is seen in a few film clips but is largely absent from the film. But the athlete is front and center in "The Trials of Muhammad Ail," a documentary that will premiere April 14 on PBS' "Independent Lens.
January 19, 2014 | By John Horn
PARK CITY, Utah -- Mitt Romney may have a home in Park City, but he's not the kind of person you'd expect to attend a movie at the Sundance Film Festival, whose programming leans liberal, particularly among the documentaries. But the former presidential candidate dropped in to the first Sundance screening of “Mitt,” an unusually candid and largely flattering look at Romney shot over the course of his two presidential campaigns. Filmmaker Greg Whitely was given entree to Romney and his family, yet shut out from the campaign strategy meetings that are the staple of movies, books and articles about the political process.
January 18, 2014 | By Steve Appleford
Inside a small TV studio in Los Angeles, Ondi Timoner is absorbed again in the making of documentaries. She's on the phone discussing editing options for one project, then planning for the fundraising event of another. Standing nearby is director Patrick Creadon, her guest this afternoon on "B.Y.O.D. " (for "Bring Your Own Documentary"), Timoner's weekly online chat show for They have much to talk about. Timoner, 41, twice won the Grand Jury Prize for documentary feature at Sundance: for her explosive 2004 rock doc "Dig!"
January 18, 2014 | By Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
Documentary filmmaker Lucy Walker envisioned "The Lion's Mouth Opens," which screens as part of the documentary shorts program at the Sundance Film Festival, as "an espresso shot to the heart. " It is most certainly that. Fifteen minutes of shifting, searing emotions as its subject, actress-writer-director Marianna Palka, deals with the prospect she might have the gene for Huntington's disease, the neurodegenerative disorder that cruelly felled her father, taking, as the Scottish-born actress' mum recounts, both his body and his mind in torturous ways.
January 16, 2014 | By Marc Olsen, Los Angeles Times
The five films nominated for the best documentary Oscar provide a compact overview of differing approaches to subject matter and storytelling The nominees include "The Act of Killing," "Cutie And The Boxer," "Dirty Wars," "The Square," and "20 Feet From Stardom. " "The Act of Killing" is a stylistically bold film from director Joshua Oppenheimer which told the story of genocide in Indonesia by re-enacting mass crimes as dramatic scenes. Oscars 2014: Complete list of nominees "I've been astonished by the readiness and even the hunger by audiences to embrace something new," said Oppenheimer.
January 16, 2014 | By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
The Sundance Film Festival, which opens Thursday, does not have an annual motto, but if it did the one this year might be "We Hear You. " Understanding that its frigid Park City, Utah, location makes standing in the festival's endless lines something only Sgt. Preston of the Yukon might enjoy, Sundance has come up with an electronic system this year that, at least in theory, "allows you to sign up for a wait list number from virtually anywhere....
January 16, 2014 | By Laura King and Amro Hassan
CAIRO -- An acclaimed documentary tracing the dramatic arc of Egypt's uprising against Hosni Mubarak and the tumultuous events that followed received an Oscar nomination on Thursday -- but most Egyptians haven't had the chance to see it. “The Square,” Egyptian American director Jehane Noujaim's depiction of the 2011 revolution and its aftermath, has yet to have a public showing in this country, although some Egyptians have watched it on DVD...
January 13, 2014 | By Susan King
The Directors Guild of America announced its nominations Monday morning for outstanding directorial achievement in documentaries: Zachary Heinzerling for "Cutie and the Boxer"; Jehane Noujaim for "The Square"; Joshua Oppenheimer for "The Act of Killing"; Sarah Polley for "Stories We Tell"; and Lucy Walker for "The Crash Reel. " The only previous DGA nominee in this category is Noujaim, who shared the documentary directing award with Chris Hegedus for "" (2001) and also was nominated for "Control Room" (2004)
January 9, 2014 | By Gina McIntyre
Jon Favreau's restaurant comedy “Chef,” Rob Thomas' crowd-funded “Veronica Mars” movie and a documentary about zombies in film and popular culture will premiere at the 21st edition of the South by Southwest Film Conference and Festival in Austin, Texas, organizers announced Thursday. The festival, which runs March 7-15, also will host an event with prominent physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, who will discuss his new Fox series “Cosmos,” as well as an hourlong conversation with surrealist filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky.
January 9, 2014 | By Sheri Linden
Breaking up is hard to do - especially in the U.S., where the family courts can exacerbate the emotional ordeal by throwing highway robbery and gross miscarriage of justice into the bargain. That's the argument driving "Divorce Corp.," an advocacy documentary that presents its case with less thoroughness than clarity. If first-timer Joe Sorge's filmmaking has a boilerplate feel and an unfortunate reliance on reenactments, beneath the infomercial surface is a cry for reform fueled by keen observations about contemporary American capitalism.
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