- Doc Soup: Docs as Art or Activism?
On Tuesday night, you’re going to get to see a very compelling doc called The Last Conquistador, about sculptor John Houser‘s building of the largest bronze equestrian statue in El Paso. The good people at POV gave me a DVD screener of the film, so I got to see it and I have a lot […]
- Doc Soup: Tipping a Hat to 'Full Battle Rattle' and Other War Docs
Ack! Not another doc about Iraq! Ah yes, this Wednesday we are being treated to Full Battle Rattle, another film related to that unfortunate war we’re waging, and I’m quite sure we doc fans are soon going to be treated to more newspaper stories declaring the film DOA at the BO, relegating its fate along […]
- Doc Soup: Following Up on the Buzz
OK, call this a follow-up or time to eat crow or what you want, but I wanted to write a bit about a post I filed three weeks ago, in which I decried the buzzing blogosphere around the near-carcass that is ThinkFilm. Perhaps I overstate now, but I only do so because my estimable colleague […]
- Doc Soup: What Docs Would You Like to See?
Am I wrong, or have most of us read something in the newspaper, or come up with an inspiration, and thought to ourselves, “Wow, that would make a great documentary!” In honor of the POV series that starts this week an incredibly diverse slate that covers everything from a performance artist in Belarus (Belarusian […]
- Doc Soup: Docs at Home
Last week, I did something I’d never done before. I sat on my couch and watched a documentary on television. Big whoop, you say? Well, as a POV blogger and a guy who’s always going on about how special and wonderful theatrical docs and doc film festivals are, I thought it was about time I […]
- Doc Soup: Looking Beyond the Buzzing Blogosphere
Have you been following the buzz over the last couple of weeks in the blogosphere about the state of ThinkFilm, one of the more recent doc champions (behind Spellbound, Murderball and Taxi to the Dark Side)? Like a three-martini buzz, it can be intoxicating, making it difficult to make sense of what’s what. There have […]
- Doc Soup: On Docs, Distribution and the Cinematic Experience
Last week, two docs from 2007, What Would Jesus Buy? and Darfur Now were released on DVD. They both disappointed at the box office. I think I know why. I don’t like to knock a doc when it’s down, but when I noticed that they were both hitting DVD shelves, I thought there’s something worth […]
- Doc Soup: Waltz with Bashir
In addition to the exciting tidbit that Michael Moore‘s next film will be a follow-up to Fahrenheit 9/11, the most enticing news from the Cannes Film Festival, which just concluded, is about an Israeli documentary called Waltz with Bashir. It’s a fully animated film by a former Israeli soldier, Ari Folman, who’s trying to reckon […]
- Doc Soup: 'Expelled', Take Two
I’ll put some of my cards on the table regarding Expelled, the conservative documentary that slams Darwinism and pushes for the Intelligent Design theory of how we all got to be such an evolved, intelligent (please note sarcasm) species. I wrote about it briefly last week, and have appreciated the ensuing dialogue. Now, it looks […]
- Doc Soup: What Did You Think of 'Expelled'?
Finally caught up with Expelled, the documentary that makes the argument for Intelligent Design, that was released on April 18. The movie stars columnist-humorist Ben Stein, who interviews scientists and other folks in his inquiry to understand if Intelligent Design is a valid intellectual theory and whether those who believe in it have been persecuted. […]
- Doc Soup: 'Standard Operating Procedure'
Why can’t they just leave Errol Morris alone? I know I’m coming a little late to the conversation, but the guy makes the most sensitive, humanizing films that try to bridge our understanding of human frailty, oddity, evil and injustice. One of his films even got a guy off of death row. And he has […]
- Doc Soup: Disney's New Docs
I am giddy with joy. Last week, Disney announced that following the box office success of March of the Penguins (a bit of a delayed reaction, no?), it is launching a new film production unit called Disneynature to produce and distribute documentary films. I grew up watching Mutual of Omaha‘s nature show and then the […]
- Doc Soup: Test Screenings for Docs?
Last week, at the premiere for Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden? director Morgan Spurlock asked everyone who had worked on the film to stand up. I’d say a good 20% of the audience rose from their seats. “Wow, that is a lot of people. We should have had a test screening with […]
- Doc Soup: Directors Who Doc
There’s something that irks me when I see these giant full-page ads in The New York Times like the recent ones that have been promoting the Rolling Stones, Martin Scorsese, and the recent rock doc, Shine a Light. When big-time feature directors make docs, the amount of attention they get is just a little bit […]
- Doc Soup: April Docs
The hot theatrical doc season begins! The month of April sees two much-anticipated documentaries being released, Errol Morris‘ Standard Operating Procedure (on April 25) and Morgan Spurlock‘s Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden? (on April 18). Although both of these are from A-list filmmakers, these two documentaries have a lot stacked against them […]
- Doc Soup: IMAX & Docs on the Big, Big Screen
Last week, Regal Cinemas announced that the chain will double the number of IMAX theaters that it runs nationwide, adding another 31 large-format screens by 2010. That will bring the total of IMAX screens in Regal theaters to 52. The IMAX format is mostly known for its sometimes cheesy fare, space and oceanic adventures, and […]
- Doc Soup: Telling the Truth in Film and in Print
One of my favorite bands in the 1980s, Depeche Mode, used to sing: “get the balance right.” I might be the first person to quote David Gahan in defense of the mission of the nonfiction writer (what a way to hack at my own credibility), but that’s the state I’m in. I have always tried […]
- Doc Soup: What Not to Watch?
As promised last week, I bring you the worst documentaries of all time! It’s really hard to imagine such a list could be cobbled together, but after I perused the top-rated documentaries based on the movie review website Rotten Tomatoes, I was curious to see what would show up at the bottom. So, here’s the […]