February 12, 2013
Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln" has been acclaimed not just by critics but by historians as well for its acute and realistic portrayal of the 16th president as he maneuvered to pass the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery in the United States. But the filmmakers got at least one detail wrong: They depicted two Connecticut delegates to the House of Representatives voting against the amendment when, in fact, all four of Connecticut's House members voted for it in 1865. Now, one of the state's current representatives, Joe Courtney, a Democrat, has written to Spielberg asking if the movie could be corrected before it's released on DVD. In a statement, screenwriter Tony Kushner admitted that he deliberately strayed from fact when he put "nay" votes in the mouths of the two Connecticut congressmen - but only to emphasize the dramatic closeness of the vote.
June 22, 2012 |
It could be argued that the most pivotal chapter ofJean-Luc Godard's shape-shifting career - as well as one of the most neglected - is the period of video-based experimentation of the mid-'70s. Emerging from a militant post-'68 phase, during which he formed the Dziga Vertov Group, in an effort to "make films politically," Godard developed a complex method of merging and pulling apart images, sounds and text - a dense, sometimes dazzling analytic approach that defines a significant portion of his work to this day. New to DVD from Olive Films, "Ici et Ailleurs" (1976)
October 4, 2012 |
"Detropia" comes at you with the economically ravaged Motor City of Detroit clinging to its perch like a canary in a coal mine, gasping for breath. The new documentary from acclaimed filmmakers Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady examines the detritus of a major American city that has been imploding for years. It is a striking and moving study of "what was" versus "what it has become" as the filmmakers try to get at the whys. That the title suggests something other than utopia is made clear from the first frame.
October 3, 2010 |
In adapting the economics bestseller "Freakonomics" into a documentary film, and in marketing it, producer Chad Troutwine hardly took a by-the-book approach. First, he brought together something of a dream team of contemporary documentary filmmakers, from the serious and high-minded to the entertainingly comedic, to tackle various chapters or ideas from the text by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. Then, to sell the movie, he and distributor Magnolia Pictures decided to release it first as a digital download and via video-on-demand before taking it to theaters.
September 16, 2009 |
Driving through the desert night, Mohammed Khalif skids left and pulls up at an apartment with walls the color of pink grapefruit. Young men sit on a couch, reveling in the intricacy of Stanley Kubrick and chiding the sentimentality of Steven Spielberg. A debate ensues over genius. The usual suspects are trotted out: Italian neo-realism, the French New Wave. A Spielberg defender blurts: "You wouldn't even be here if it weren't for Spielberg. Look what he's done." A brief pause.
February 13, 2011 |
The largely peaceful revolution that ended Hosni Mubarak's regime in Egypt also has the potential to reshape the repressive cultural climate in the country and perhaps elsewhere in the Arab world, according to filmmakers, musicians and other cultural figures who have been watching and participating in the uprising in Cairo. Even as events unfolded in Tahrir Square and across the capital, many artists began filming documentaries and composing music along lines that previously would have been forbidden by the government.
September 23, 2010 |
French filmmaker Gaspar NoÃ© makes the kind of movies that require warnings. His brutal 2002 revenge drama, "IrrÃ©versible," arrived in theaters in England and Canada with a written alert about the possible side effects of a strobe-like sequence: "Some people may experience loss of consciousness or epileptic seizures when exposed to certain light effects or flashes of light. " The writer-director's 1998 debut feature, "I Stand Alone" — about a sociopathic butcher with incest and murder on the brain — carries an even less subtle warning.
May 22, 2013 |
CANNES, France - A few months ago, Jeremy Saulnier had risen early for a flight to Cleveland when he saw a message in his inbox. It was in French. The 36-year-old New Yorker was traveling to the Buckeye State to shoot corporate videos, which the director had been doing to pay the bills since his filmmaking career fizzled six years before with the disappointing performance of his first movie, a genre comedy called "Murder Party. " The email that morning was from programmers at the Cannes Film Festival.
July 14, 2010 |
In one of Hollywood's most gripping legal thrillers, Chevron Corp. is trying to obtain 600 hours of outtakes from a documentary film focused on oil industry environmental practices in Ecuador, sparking a court battle that has attracted the attention of 1st Amendment lawyers, top filmmakers, show business unions and a corporation that says it was defamed in another nonfiction film. For 17 years, the San Ramon, Calif.-based energy giant has fought a class-action lawsuit in Ecuador that could cost it up to $27 billion in damages and cleanup costs.
May 22, 2012 |
Video-on-demand services usually come into play toward the end of a film's life span — either to follow a theatrical run or to take a movie straight to video. For the website Prescreen, however, VOD is the launching pad. Prescreen, which debuted in September, offers users a curated selection of independent films, most available for 60 days and many exclusive to the site. A single film is spotlighted in a daily email, and most rentals cost $2 to $8 for a 48-hour viewing window.