ReelPolitik

Can an Indie Movie Rental Store Survive? Counting Down for Video Free Brooklyn

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • July 19, 2012 9:16 AM
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  • 4 Comments
With just over a week left in its Indiegogo fundraising campaign, indie movie rental store Video Free Brooklyn -- a relic of a bygone era, attempting to find new relevance in the digital age -- is struggling to meet its $50,000 goal. But with nearly $8,700 raised so far, critic-programmer-proprietor Aaron Hills says he'll have enough to keep the place from collapsing. (Indiegogo participants retain funds raised even if they don't reach their goal.)

The Perils of the 1%: From the Dark Knight to the Queen of Versailles

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • July 18, 2012 9:38 AM
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  • 2 Comments
In this week's Docutopia column over at the SundanceNow website, I look at the strange confluence of similar themes existing in this week's new releases, Lauren Greenfield’s indie documentary "The Queen of Versailles" and Christopher Nolan’s blockbuster "The Dark Knight Rises," both of which offer accounts of how these dire times of financial insecurity and class conflict have put the rich and the powerful in a precarious state.

The Mixed Politics of "The Dark Knight": Anti-Occupy Critique or Attack on the 1%?

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • July 16, 2012 9:33 AM
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  • 2 Comments
The reviews are in, and just as I suspected, the politics of "The Dark Knight Rises" are all over the map, with Christopher Nolan's morally ambiguous, maverick perspective bringing a mixed bag of ideologies that are difficult to parse. On one end of the spectrum, the Dark Knight is a caper crusader out to restore the order of the markets, the existing hegemonies of the capitalist world and a harsh critique of the anarchist collectives that drove the spirit of the Occupy Movement; on the other, it is a direct attack on the privileged, corrupt and ineffectual 1%.

Anti-Obama Doc Opens Big; But Get Ready for Precipitous Drop

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • July 15, 2012 9:01 PM
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  • 4 Comments
Just like the Republican candidates who surged and fell in the Republican primary race, a new righwing agit-prop doc aimed at President Obama called "2016: Obama's America" brought in big audiences at a single Texas movie theater over the weekend, but it will surely drop in subsequent weeks.

Will Gerardo Naranjo's New Political Thriller "A Man Must Die" Focus on Manuel Noriega?

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • July 13, 2012 2:14 PM
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  • 2 Comments
Gerado Naranjo is one of the most exciting new filmmakers on the international scene, combining a vibrant mix of heady cinematic influences with pop aesthetics and provocative politics. When I profiled Naranjo for Variety's 10 Directors to Watch issue, in the wake of the success of his last feature "Miss Bala," he spoke about a new adaptation, which according to reports, sounds like it's moving forward with Focus Features as "A Man Must Die."

Penetrating Israeli Doc "The Law in These Parts" Plans to Rattle U.S. Israelis This Fall

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • July 12, 2012 1:18 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Ra’anan Alexandrowicz’s astonishing multiple-award-winning documentary, “The Law In These Parts,” recipient of the Sundance Film Festival World Cinema Grand Jury Prize, will open in New York on November 14, 2012, followed by a national release via Cinema Guild, according to a press release. I've written before about this smart, provocative, and penetrating study of Israel's legal system in the Occupied Territories, and I'm glad to see it's getting a wider U.S. release.

Will Aronofsky's "Noah" Inflame Religious Right and Court Environmentalists?

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • July 12, 2012 9:35 AM
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  • 4 Comments
For those fan-boys diligently following the every move of "Pi" maven Darren Aronofsky, the latest developments on his next film "Noah" -- a retelling of the Biblical story of the man and his ship, starring Russell Crowe -- may be old-ish news. But the web-chatter surrounding the project climbed again yesterday with a sneak peek at the production's Ark--and an Aronofsky Tweet referencing Genesis 6:14. It all compells me to finally put some thoughts down about a project that I've been curious about ever since it was announced, not only because it's from Aronofsky, but because it's likely to be a lighting rod in our country's culture wars.

"Battle of Algiers" Revived on 50 Year Anni of Algerian Independence

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • July 10, 2012 10:07 AM
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  • 0 Comments
If you haven't seen Gilles Pontocorvo's 1966 classic "The Battle of Algiers"--or it's been a while since you've seen it--I can't think of a better film that resonates with America's 21st Century state of perpetual war. See it in its final days at New York's Film Forum this week. I recently called the movie one of the top three politically effective films ever made.

This is What Patriotism Looks Like: 5 Docs for Independence Day

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • July 5, 2012 9:20 AM
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  • 2 Comments
For a special 4th of July Docutopia column, I've written a list of 5 films that serve as a reminder of America’s values, and the values it’s betrayed. For those who think I'm being unpatriotic, you could toss off that familiar argument: the very existence of these films and their continued dissemination in our culture is a testament to our enduring and persistent democratic ideals. And I'm fine with that. You can read the full post at the link, or here's a preview below.

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