- 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 […]
- Doc Soup: Best Reviewed Docs from Rottentomatoes.com
Are you as much of a Rotten Tomatoes junkie as I am? I’ve always enjoyed perusing the site’s compilations of critical reactions to a film. It’s about as indispensable to me as imdb.com, the Internet Movie Database, where you can get information about the producers, cast, release dates and more on a film. Well, last […]
- Doc Soup: Cinematic Poetry
This weekend, the documentary The Unforeseen will begin trickling into theaters. On the surface, it’s about urban sprawl in Austin, Texas. It traces the history of the booming growth of that city, and the tensions that arose between developers and environmentalists trying to protect a natural spring-fed watering hole called Barton Springs. As a piece […]
- Doc Soup: Looking into Oscar's Crystal Ball
The Oscars are taking place this Sunday, so I’ll do my best to break down who has the best shot at winning in the Documentary Feature category. First, let’s just do away with Operation Homecoming and War/Dance. You know it hurts me to say it, after having advocated so strongly for both films, but their […]
- Doc Soup: Top 10 Sexiest Documentaries
And now for something completely inappropriate… I know many will think ill of me for degrading/simplifying the non-fiction filmmaking genre with the following list. But I can’t help myself. I recently got to wondering: why shouldn’t we have fun with the genre we love so much? Isn’t a new way to look at/debate documentaries a […]
- Doc Soup: Do Docs Hurt the Worker Bees to Get at the Queen?
I’ve got collateral damage on my mind. And I’m not thinking about what’s happening in Iraq what’s bothering me is the potential path of hurt that documentary films themselves might leave behind in their wake. Believe me, I know that documentaries do the world good. Through their social activism, political advocacy and plain ol’ […]
- Doc Soup: Looking Forward to the Oscars
Now that Sundance is over, I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on the Oscar nominees for Best Documentary: No End In Sight Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs Operation Homecoming: Writing The Wartime Experience Richard E. Robbins Sicko Michael Moore and Meghan O’Hara Taxi To The Dark Side Alex Gibney and Eva Orner War/Dance […]
- Doc Soup: The Sundance Cycle
My dancing days are done! I’m back home from Sundance, and well-satiated by a great dose of documentaries. It’s been a pretty remarkable festival for docs. Despite some pre-festival chatter that docs might get a cold reception, the films at Sundance showed a real diversity of subject matter and accomplishments in craft and ranged […]
- Doc Soup: More From Sundance, and the Cinema Eye Honors
I’m writing this post while waiting on line for Morgan Spurlock‘s latest doc, the much anticipated Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden? (Sample chatter from other people waiting in the queue: “I love Morgan.” “Me too, but I was still thinking of going to eat at McDonald’s before this.”) Things have been busy […]
- Doc Soup: 'American Teen' at Sundance
The first screening I attend at Sundance is a real happening. Saturday afternoon’s premiere of American Teen is filmmaker Nanette Burstein‘s return to Sundance after six years. (Burstein had previously produced The Kid Stays in the Picture, about Paramount producer Robert Evans, which was at Sundance in 2002.) For American Teen, Burstein spent a year […]