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Posts Tagged ‘Freakonomics’

Friday September 17th, 2010


  • Deadline New York: Mike Fleming confirms Lionsgate’s second big purchase out of the Toronto International Film Festival following their earlier deal for Robert Redford’s “The Conspirator“: John Cameron Mitchell’s “Rabbit Hole,” for which the studio intends to mount best picture and best actress (Nicole Kidman) campaigns.
  • New York Times: Michael Cieply hears Casey Affleck‘s confession that his new doc “I’m Still Here,” which chronicles the shocking mental and physical devolution of his brother-in-law/Oscar nominee Joaquin Phoenix (and was panned at both Venice and Toronto), was nothing more than performance art.
  • In Contention: Kris Tapley returns from a screening of the controversial doc “Catfish,” which Universal picked up out of Sundance earlier this year and is releasing in theaters today, and argues that it is “just as defining of where we are as a society” as “The Social Network.”
  • 24 Frames: Steven Zeitchik thinks that Clint Eastwood‘s “Hereafter” may finally put a stop to his recent cold-streak at the Oscars (“Changeling,” “Gran Torino,” and “Invictus” all failed to live up to expectations), ignoring the fact that the film has already been widely pummeled by critics.
  • Thompson on Hollywood: Anne Thompson learns that the North American rights for Pedro Almodovar‘s “The Skin That I Inhabit,” which will star star Antonio Banderas and Elena Anaya and be released in November 2011, have been acquired by Sony Pictures classics, marking the 10th collaboration between the director and the studio.
  • Hollywood-Elsewhere: Jeff Wells posts the recently-released one-sheet for Edward Zwick’s “Love and Other Drugs” and says it “conveys comfort, ease, self-satisfaction [but] certainly doesn’t indicate heavy-osity. It seems to be saying, “All that ‘this movie is really exceptional’ and ‘[Anne] Hathaway kills as a Parkinson’s sufferer’ stuff you were reading about earlier this year? Maybe or maybe not.”
  • The Hollywood Reporter: Etan Viessing describes the Toronto International Film Festival’s “traditional role as a festival launching pad for foreign-language films,” and explains why it is particularly appreciated by foreign filmmakers this year.
  • The Wrap: Daniel Frankel shares the specifics of the rather unique pricing model that Magnolia and the Green Film Company announced will be in effect for their upcoming documentary “Freakonomics.”
  • The Playlist: Kevin Jagernauth says that IFC Films has made a decision to “play with fire” (read: Harvey Weinstein) by picking up the worldwide rights to Barry Avrich’s documentary “Unauthorized: The Harvey Weinstein Project.”
  • PopWatch: Annie Barrett questions all the fuss surrounding Gabby Sidibe’s Elle cover photo, which some suspect was touched up to lighten her skin color.
  • The Bay Citizen: Scott James reports on Oscar winner/feminist icon (thanks to “Thelma & Louise”) Geena Davis’s crusade against gender bias in entertainment and the media, noting that a study by the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media has found that “there were three male characters for every one female” in G-rated movies from the past 15 years.
  • Twitter: Perez Hilton, “The Queen of Mean,” gives a Twitter-shoutout to Melena Ryzik, “The Carpetbagger.” There’s got to be a story — literally and figuratively — behind that.

Photo: A scene from the controversial new doc “Catfish.” Credit: Universal.

Sunday August 29th, 2010


Since I first started covering the annual awards seasons a decade ago, one of the most striking trends I have observed has been a marked uptick in the quantity and quality of documentary features. Each November, the Academy’s documentary branch selects 15 for a shortlist from which they ultimately pick five nominees. This year, I don’t know how they’re going to do it — Fall hasn’t even arrived yet and there are already way more than 15 worthy candidates. Frankly, I don’t think it would be going out on a huge limb to declare 2010 the strongest — or, at the very least, the deepest — year yet in the history of documentary filmmaking.

Here’s a bit of commentary on each of the docs that are registering strongest on my radar at the moment…

Now in Theaters

  • “The Tillman Story” (The Weinstein Company, 8/20, trailer) — Amir Bar-Lev (“My Kid Could Paint That”) tells the true story of the man who gave up a multi-million dollar NFL contract to join the U.S. Army; who was killed in Iraq in 2004; whose “heroic” death the Bush Administration tried to use to increase public support for the war; but whose family — most of whom granted interviews for the film — ultimately discovered that the true manner in which he had been killed had been buried as part of a cover-up that led directly to the highest reaches of the military and government.
  • “A Film Unfinished” (Oscilloscope, 8/18, trailer) — The object of recents raves in Entertainment Weekly and the New York Times, Yael Hersonski‘s doc deconstructs “Das Ghetto,” a Nazi propaganda film of Jewish life in the Warsaw Ghetto that was shot in 1942, and which for 40 years was considered to be unmanipulated footage until another reel was discovered and exposes it as anything but that. The most powerful part of this multi-faceted effort to set the record straight: testimony from five Holocaust survivors who lived in the ghetto, as well as one of the cameramen who filmed it.

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