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Amir Bar-Lev on His Latest Documentary, "Re:Generation Music Project"

  • By Christopher Campbell
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  • February 16, 2012 10:42 AM
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After directing the very significant and highly successful feature documentaries "My Kid Could Paint That" and "The Tillman Story," as well as serving as a co-producer on the Oscar-nominated "Trouble the Water," the very talented Amir Bar-Lev found himself being recruited for and hired on to helm an interesting new doc called "Re:Generation Music Project," which I highly recommend to anyone who enjoys music of any kind.

The Only Live-Action Remake of "Lady and the Tramp" We'll Ever Need

  • By Christopher Campbell
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  • February 15, 2012 1:46 PM
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  • 2 Comments
While Disney's animated classics continue to get live action remakes, whether of the studio's own doing or via some other production company digging into the same fairytale source materials, it's nice to see that "Lady and the Tramp" will probably be left alone. At least in feature form, that is. Instead of announcing another movie in the vein of either 1996's "101 Dalmations" or "Maleficent," the upcoming reworking of "Sleeping Beauty," Disney has gone ahead and shown us what at least one iconic scene from "Lady and the Tramp" looks like redone in live action form. The following video was produced by the studio itself as both a Valentine's Day treat and part of its promotion of the new DVD and Blu-ray releases of the 1955 film. Enjoy:  

Short Starts: Watch the Hayao Miyazaki-Scripted "Panda! Go Panda!" and "On Your Mark"

  • By Christopher Campbell
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  • February 13, 2012 1:55 PM
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  • 1 Comment
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 three shorts from the mind of Japanese animation master Hayao Miyazaki, who co-wrote "The Secret World of Arietti," which opens Friday.

Review and Ranking of the 2012 Oscar-Nominated Live Action Shorts

  • By Christopher Campbell
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  • February 9, 2012 4:59 PM
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I wasn’t too thrilled with last year’s Oscar nominees in the live action short category. It was my first time seeing and reviewing all the films, though, and I wasn’t aware that it was such an off year. The 2012 nominees, on the other hand, are all excellent. Whether this is evidence of a typical year for short film or an inverse fluke of this being an especially on year I can not say. But I’m happy to genuinely recommend the annual theatrical release of this category’s contenders, a program that hits cinemas nationwide this Friday.

"If a Tree Falls" Director Marshall Curry on His Second Oscar Nomination, What He Looks for in a Subject and What Keeps Hollywood Interested in Remaking Docs

  • By Christopher Campbell
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  • February 8, 2012 1:53 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Since his debut in 2005 with "Street Fight," documentary filmmaker Marshall Curry has remained one of the most acclaimed nonfiction directors working today. That first film, about the 2002 Newark mayoral race, went on to receive many major festival awards before snagging nominations for an Oscar, an Emmy and a Writers Guild award. His next doc, "Racing Dreams," about young NASCAR hopefuls, won the Best Documentary honor when it premiered at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival. It also quickly attracted the attention of DreamWorks, which announced plans for a dramatic feature adaptation. 

Review and Ranking of the 2012 Oscar-Nominated Animated Shorts

  • By Christopher Campbell
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  • February 7, 2012 3:42 PM
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  • 2 Comments
Curious which Oscar-nominated animated short film will win the Academy Award on February 26? Well, I'm no prognosticator and I honestly don't really care which little-known filmmaker takes home the golden statue. But I am happy the Oscars exist and have the animated short category because it means that moviegoers have at least one chance a year to see at least five (supposedly) exceptional animated shorts in the theater. There's usually at least one in the bunch I'm not that in love with, but even 4 out of 5 makes for a great program, especially when the best films are really something special. And maybe you, like the Academy, will enjoy them all.

Short Starts: Watch Two Tim Burton-ish Films by "Journey 2" Director Brad Peyton

  • By Christopher Campbell
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  • February 6, 2012 12:16 PM
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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 two early films by director Brad Peyton, whose latest feature is the sequel "Journey 2: The Mysterious Island."

The Doc Option: Instead of "Big Miracle" See "The Whale"

  • By Christopher Campbell
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  • February 3, 2012 12:40 PM
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I can understand the appeal of "Big Miracle," the cheesy looking new movie about a whale trapped in Arctic ice. I was once a preteen kid obsessed with marine life and I definitely would have gone to see it. Now I'm a thirtysomething kid obsessed with documentary so I have other films to see. If you're with me on wanting a more grown-up alternative, I've got another Doc Option for you:

Short Starts: Watch "Ghost Closet '07" - Written by "Chronicle" Screenwriter Max Landis

  • By Christopher Campbell
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  • January 30, 2012 10:48 AM
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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 an earlier film by screenwriter Max Landis, who wrote "Chronicle."

Sundance 2012: Reviews of "The Other Dream Team," "The Law in These Parts" and "Love Free or Die"

  • By Christopher Campbell
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  • January 27, 2012 5:30 PM
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As a documentary fan and critic who discovered so many great nonfiction films at Sundance last year, including some of 2011’s very best, it’s been extremely painful not being in Park City this week. To make things easier I could have tried to ignore the festival, stayed off Twitter, not read reviews, definitely not researched and talked about films ahead of time let alone written about the resulting most anticipated docs in my last Doc Talk column. Hearing enormously positive buzz on "The Imposter," "Searching for Sugar Man," "Detropia," "The Queen of Versailles," "The Ambassador," "West of Memphis and others is driving me absolutely bonkers.

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