Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

ReelPolitik

America's Dubious War on Drugs: Pot Busts and Eugene Jarecki's Sundance Winner "The House I Live In"

  • By Anthony Kaufman
  • |
  • February 3, 2012 12:53 PM
  • |
  • 0 Comments
Yesterday, news broke that New York City police had arrested more than 50,000 people on low-level marijuana charges last year despite being told dubious tactics--such as "stop-and-frisks"--should not be used. According to reports, marijuana-possession arrests account for about 1 in every 7 cases in the city's courts, and not surprisingly, the vast majority of those stopped are black or Hispanic (about 87% vs. only 10% white, despite the fact that "young whites use marijuana at higher rates than young blacks and Latinos,” according to sociologist Dr. Harry Levine. If you saw Eugene Jarecki's new documentary "The House I Live In," which continues to be a talking point for me with family and friends, this latest data continues to prove several of the film's theses:

New Doc "Windfall" Takes Sails out of Wind Power

  • By Anthony Kaufman
  • |
  • February 2, 2012 2:33 PM
  • |
  • 0 Comments
If you're like me, you probably thought wind turbines offered one of the best possible solutions for our global energy crisis. Turns out they're not the green panacea we've all been waiting for. In the tradition of past important social-issue docs ("Food, Inc," etc), “Windfall," which opens theatrically in New York on Friday, could make an important difference in how we think about sustainability issues.

How Overrated is "Beasts of the Southern Wild"?

  • By Anthony Kaufman
  • |
  • January 31, 2012 10:49 AM
  • |
  • 10 Comments
One of the best films to play at Sundance in two decades? I don't think so. Admittedly, I'm no Manohla Dargis, who made such a pronounced vote of confidence for the rough-and-tumble fantastical indie feature, "Beasts of the Southern Wild," which was a triple threat at this year's Sundance, winning the Grand Jury Prize, a Fox Searchlight deal, and was ranked the number one film of the fest by many critics. Consider this the beginning of the backlash.

Sundance 2012: The Great, the Good, and the Blah

  • By Anthony Kaufman
  • |
  • January 26, 2012 12:14 PM
  • |
  • 4 Comments
"Searching for Sugar Man"

Strong Sundance Docs Raise Specter of Racism in U.S. and Abroad

  • By Anthony Kaufman
  • |
  • January 23, 2012 4:04 PM
  • |
  • 0 Comments
I haven't yet seen "Slavery by Another Name," a new documentary that's premiering in Sundance this week, but the title evokes a theme I've seen running through a number of docs at this year's festival: the prevalence of racism in the histories of America and other countries. While economic-themed docs drew headlines prior to the festival, strong nonfiction films such as "Searching for Sugar Man," "Under African Skies," "The House I Live In" and "The Law In These Parts" suggest darker, and more disturbing undercurrents about discrimination in societies--as well as, in some cases, the power to counteract it.

Fiercely Independent: "Simon Killer," "Beasts," "Keep the Lights On" at Sundance

  • By Anthony Kaufman
  • |
  • January 21, 2012 11:38 AM
  • |
  • 1 Comment
Not long ago on this blog I called for the celebration of non-corporate films in non-corporate theaters. Well, at Sundance, I've been pleasantly surprised by the committed and audacious indie filmmaking on display: it's defiantly non-corporate, indeed. (And I'd like to thank the Sundance organizers for limiting the sponsorship trailers before the screenings.) The three competition films I've seen so far, "Simon Killer," "Beasts of the Southern Wild" and "Keep the Lights On" all show a surprising lack of interest in commercial viability. If Sundance has become synonymous with Harvey Weinstein-like bidding wars, here are three films that take much highter ground, aiming more for art than commerce.

This Year's Foreign Oscar Snubs: "Separation" In; "Bala" Out

  • By Anthony Kaufman
  • |
  • January 18, 2012 1:38 PM
  • |
  • 1 Comment
Oh, why do I even still bother? Predictably disappointing, but still somewhat grating, the Academy Awards have announced their short-list for the Best Foreign Language Film of the year, and the resulting 9 films aren't going to surprise anyone--except for the few noteworthy omissions that should rankle critics.

Does Digital Spell the End of the Art House?

  • By Anthony Kaufman
  • |
  • January 18, 2012 1:13 PM
  • |
  • 1 Comment
I did not attend Art House Convergence, the annual event in Park City, Utah that precedes Sundance and gathers together the leading lights of community theaters and small art house venues around the country. But it seems as if a post I wrote last week, Indie Theaters Left in the Dark by 3D Boom, set up one of the central issues facing the exhibitors as they discussed their futures. Twitter feeds offer a glimpse of the hopes and fears of indie theater managers--and it doesn't look good. As producer Mark Wynns writes, "Storm coming: Arthouses having to take their small profit margin to capitalize digital cinema projectors/servers. Will they survive?"

Will Sundance 2012 Be Any Good? 4 Films to Watch

  • By Anthony Kaufman
  • |
  • January 17, 2012 11:54 AM
  • |
  • 0 Comments
As I've written before, I'm not crazy about Sundance as an experience, but I do like a number of the films that play there. Last year, my favorites included "Perfect Sense," "The Future," "Martha Mary Marcy Marlene," "Project Nim" and "Terri." What will be great this year? I've been inspecting the lineup closely over the last few days, planning my schedule and talking to a few people, and while I'm going in with low expectations -- it's always best to be pleasantly surprised than disappointed -- here are 4 films that I have high hopes for at this year's snowy morass. And anyone will tell you 4-5 terrific films at Sundance is about the best you can hope for.

The Mathematics of Sundance, or Size Doesn't Matter; Inverse Proportionality in Park City

  • By Anthony Kaufman
  • |
  • January 12, 2012 6:17 PM
  • |
  • 0 Comments
With the Sundance Film Festival right around the corner, I thought it would be appropriate to re-publish a little post I wrote some time ago in the waning days of the 2008 fest. Originally published at the now defunct FilmCatcher.com, the post, titled "The Mathematics of Sundance; or, Size Doesn't Matter: Inverse Proportionality in Park City, Utah" seems just as timely on the eve of this year's event.

Follow ReelPolitik

Latest Tweets

Follow us

Most "Liked"

  • Eight Years Later, "Iraq in Fragments" ...
  • Dinesh D'Souza's "America" Set to Spark, ...
  • Back to Afghanistan: "The Kill Team" ...

Recent Comments