- Doc Soup: Sundance Announces 2009 Doc Entries
The documentary entries at the upcoming Sundance Film Festival were announced recently, and it’s quite an impressive list. There are so many great-sounding docs: I am happy to see the return of Joe Berlinger, the director of Brother’s Keeper, with Crude, a doc about an environmental lawsuit battle being waged in Ecuador. There’s also The […]
- Doc Soup: Organic 'Milk'
I love it when fictional feature filmmakers are heavily inspired by documentaries especially such prominent ones as Gus Van Sant. His film Milk, starring Sean Penn as Harvey Milk, the gay activist-turned politician who was killed in 1978, is a fantastic bit of fictional filmmaking with a heavy dose of nonfiction influences. First, there […]
- Doc Soup: From Indie Doc to Studio Behemoth
Have you seen Four Christmases yet? It’s the big holiday comedy that’s plastered on every billboard and on a constant trailer loop you probably feel like you have already seen the entire movie even if you haven’t. (And hated it.) Why do I ask? Because the director is no other than Seth Gordon, the […]
- Doc Soup: 2008 Oscar Predictions
So, as you heard here and probably elsewhere, the 15-film short list to be considered for the Oscar nomination for best documentary was announced last week. All I can do here now is throw out a big GULP; boy, was I wrong. In September, I cranked out my prognostications about what would be on the […]
- Doc Soup: Music of 'The Betrayal'
You’ve heard me talk about it before, but, finally, Ellen Kuras‘ The Betrayal is making it to the public this Friday, at the IFC Film Center so forgive me if I have little more to say. The movie, 23 years in the making, is about a Laotian immigrant family’s experience in America; after its opening […]
- Doc Soup: Fear of Flying
This week, a pretty interesting documentary series called Flying: Confessions of a Free Woman is hitting your local DVD store or your Netflix queue (November 11, to be exact). It’s appropriately titled, because it really is a 21st century Fear of Flying. The subject is the filmmaker Jennifer Fox, a 40-something woman who provides […]
- Doc Soup: What Can We Learn About an Election From Docs?
Independent journalist Tom Roston checks in and writes about the world of documentaries in his column, Doc Soup. Well, it’s election week and certainly in my lifetime, it’s never felt like more was stake. I know a lot of people are already getting ready to celebrate an Obama victory, but I’m not. Nothing, in my […]
- Doc Soup: Where Are the Docs on the Economy?
With our global economy tanking and everyone peering gloomily forward to a multi-year recession that has us asking, “How could we let this happen?” I figure it’s time to give credit where credit (pun intended) is due in the doc world. Who grabbed that Wall Street bull (ok, no more puns from here on) by […]
- Doc Soup: 'Dear Zachary'
This past Friday, I got one of the many emails I get about upcoming movies and the like. I tend to throw them in the slush pile and try to comb through them when I can. This time, the message wasn’t even about the movie itself, but about the premiere of the trailer for an […]
- Doc Soup: The Audacity of Hope
Maybe it’s the Obama campaign, but the activist in me is coming out and I’ve got something I’m fired up about. I have to admit, it’s not entirely a selfless cause. It’s something that could have great political impact, but, just as important, it’s something that could make us all laugh. And I think we […]
- Doc Soup: Religulous
What a jerk! That’s all I could think for the first 15 or so minutes of Religulous, the doc that teams up director Larry Charles (Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan) and comedian Bill Maher, the host of HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher. The two funnymen have their […]
- Doc Soup: Is It Time to Adjust Our Definition of Documentary “Characters”?
Writing about documentaries ain’t what it used to be. Not that I would know I’m just talking with my tongue in my cheek about the supposedly sepia-tinted times before docs were (relatively) big business. I recently wrote a piece for Spin magazine about the great doc, Anvil! The Story of Anvil, which is getting […]
- Doc Soup: Looking Ahead to the Oscars
With the Oscar deadline for submissions now long passed by (September 2; in order to be eligible, a film had to show for one week in Los Angeles and Manhattan), I figured it’s time to stick my head out the window and check who’s in the running for an Academy Award for this year. I […]
- Doc Soup: Docs at the Toronto Film Festival
The Toronto International Film Festival just wrapped up over the weekend, so I have culled together some of the highlights from the documentary slate. There was a noticeable absence of celebrated Doc Star directors, other than An Inconvenient Truth‘s Davis Guggenheim, who continues to show his range with It Might Get Loud, an homage to […]
- Doc Soup: Crossing Over to the Lighter Side
Shame on you, Jessica Yu, documentary director of such serious and elegant and moving and… important documentaries such as Breathing Lessons, about a writer slowly living and dying in an iron long, In the Realms of the Unreal (POV 2005), about twisted shut-in outsider artist Henry Darger, and Protagonist, linking the lives of four men […]
- Doc Soup: A Late-Summer Search for Docs
Like much of the media world, I’ve decided to check myself out for these latter weeks of August (so much so that I missed my Doc Soup deadline my apologies to my POV minders!), heading out of New York City to the restful mountains of Vermont. As I always do when I come up […]
- Run For — Not From — “The Hills”!
In honor of this week’s premiere of season four of MTV’s “The Hills,” I’d like to ruminate a bit on the end of the world. Not really, but you’ll get what I mean. The show, in case you’re over 25 and/or don’t subscribe to a magazine other than The Nation, is a reality (I use […]
- The 10 Most Lugubrious Documentaries of All Time
Because my previous doc list — the ten sexiest documentaries — garnered a good amount of interest (and a healthy dose of nastiness), I’ll return to the well for another top ten. Of course, I was tempted to call this my 10 Funniest Documentaries of All Time. But that just struck me as slightly inaccurate. […]