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Spout

So Long, and Thanks for All the Films!

  • By Christopher Campbell
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  • February 29, 2012 4:47 PM
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  • 19 Comments
I'm not sure if the headline works, but I always love a good Douglas Adams reference when appropriate, even if changing the word "fish" to "film" makes it just look like a simple, generic goodbye. Anyway, the point is that Spout is shutting down once again, and I'd like to thank SnagFilms, Indiewire and all the readers and filmmakers out there who allowed me to run this blog for the past year and change. I know it hasn't always been the most focused place and I still feel bad about disappointing all those old Spout fans who lost their cinephile-centered social media outlet when the site made the transition over here to IW. But I appreciate the discussions and reads from those of you who rode along or stopped in with us for short visits. I had a lot of fun managing and writing for the blog and I hope you enjoyed it too.

Interview: Don Argott and Demian Fenton on "Last Days Here"

  • By Christopher Campbell
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  • February 29, 2012 3:10 PM
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  • 5 Comments
It’s always a treat when great documentary filmmakers are as prolific as Don Argott and Demian Fenton are. Since their first feature, 2005’s "Rock School," they’ve churned out another four films in only six years. Their highly engaging art world doc, "The Art of the Steal," was one of my top 10 of 2010. And their surprisingly uplifting crack-addicted rocker film, "Last Days Here," was listed among my picks for best docs to look for in 2012. And they’ve already unveiled their next film, the nuclear power expose, "The Atomic States of America."

The Doc Option: Instead of "The Lorax" Watch Dr. Seuss' "Your Job in Germany" and "Our Job in Japan"

  • By Christopher Campbell
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  • February 28, 2012 6:29 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Do you think the new animated feature, "Dr. Seuss' The Lorax" is liberal propaganda? Lou Dobbs does, and I'm so sure it has nothing to do with this latest animated Seuss adaptation being at Universal instead of Fox (like the previous one, "Horton Hears a Who"). Regardless, though, if you'll be avoiding this "tree-hugger" cartoon for political reasons, I have some conservative-minded Doc Options for you:

Short Starts: Watch "Lorax" Director Chris Renaud's Oscar-Nominated "No Time for Nuts"

  • By Christopher Campbell
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  • February 27, 2012 2:27 PM
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  • 6 Comments
Short Starts is a column devoted to kicking off the week with a short film, typically one tied to a new release. Today we look at the directorial debut of Chris Renaud, who co-directed "Dr. Seuss' The Lorax," which opens Friday.

"Act of Valor" is Actually TOO Authentic, Yet Not Real Enough

  • By Christopher Campbell
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  • February 23, 2012 3:26 PM
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  • 8 Comments
After "Act of Valor," we can no longer complain about inaccuracies and inauthentic material in action movies. This relatively fictional and dramatized look at the work of a U.S. Navy SEAL team is unquestionably the most realistic portrayal of the special ops branch in a "narrative" motion picture, and having employed actual active duty SEALs in the lead roles of the main characters, that's obviously the intention of stuntment-turned-filmmakers Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh. But action movies aren't really meant to be realistic, and this one just proves why authenticity isn't necessarily a positive thing when it comes to entertainment. 

Do the Oscars Still Matter - Even for Documentaries?

  • By Christopher Campbell
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  • February 23, 2012 1:19 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Once again, as we near closer to another Academy Awards ceremony, people are asking the same old question: do the Oscars still matter? It’s a silly question by itself, because we must consider whether they’ve ever mattered, and if so to what extent. To address the debate in full would take a lot of thought and a tremendous amount of words. Fortunately for my sanity this column is specific to documentaries -- not that focusing on the Academy’s treatment of nonfiction films is anything but one of the most complicated topics associated with the Oscars.

Review and Interview: Joshua Marston's Very Impressive "The Forgiveness of Blood"

  • By Spout
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  • February 21, 2012 2:24 PM
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  • 4 Comments
One of our favorite films we saw at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival is "The Forgiveness of Blood," the second feature by "Maria Full of Grace" director Joshua Marston. Film critic Daniel Walber, who was impressed with many aspects of the Albanian-language teen drama, reviewed the film from the fest, calling it an honest, universal and surprisingly non-exoticizing work by an outsider filmmaker who respectfully overcomes the language barrier for a nuanced piece of global cinema. Here's some snippets of that review:

Short Starts: Watch "Wanderlust" Director David Wain's 1991 Film "Aisle Six"

  • By Christopher Campbell
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  • February 20, 2012 12:12 PM
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  • 2 Comments
Short Starts is a column devoted to kicking off the week with a short film, typically one tied to a new release. Today we look the first film by David Wain, who directed and co-wrote "Wanderlust," which opens Friday.

The Doc Option: Instead of "Bullhead" Watch "Bigger Stronger Faster"

  • By Christopher Campbell
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  • February 17, 2012 5:05 PM
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  • 4 Comments
Usually I aim this column at a mainstream studio release, but sadly there are no documentaries about antihero motorcyclists with flaming skull heads or tiny people who live under the floorboards or spies involved in love triangles (That I know of anyway. If I've missed them, please let me know, because those sound like great doc topics). Instad this week I have an alternative to the Oscar-nominated foreign film "Bullhead," which opens in limited release today. If you're wondering if you should see this slow and terribly unsatisfying Belgian crime drama, I have a Doc Option for you.

"Undefeated" is a Good But Not Great Underdog Sports Film

  • By Christopher Campbell
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  • February 16, 2012 4:57 PM
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  • 7 Comments
It’s very hard not to like “Undefeated,” the underdog sports film that is currently also considered the underdog among the 2012 Oscar nominees in the feature documentary category. I’m not exactly sure why it’s thought to be a long shot, though, since it is a gorgeously shot, expertly edited and very accessible movie with a familiar narrative and appealing characters. Also it’s got distributor backing from Harvey Weinstein (not that he’s ever bagged an Oscar for a doc before, as far as I can recall). Is it the crowd-pleasing quality that has people thinking it’s not serious enough to win? Or, is it truly a dark horse because it deserves to be, since it’s not anywhere near as significant an achievement in nonfiction filmmaking as the other four contenders?

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