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We spout opinion, comment on the current zeitgeist and overanalyze pop culture and mainstream movies. Whether in the form of lists, survey questions or straight editorials, we hope to make thinking deeply about film a fun and stimulating activity for all.

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Slamdance 2012: "Getting Up: The TEMPT ONE Story" is an Inspiring Documentary About Our Collaborative Future

  • By Christopher Campbell
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  • January 19, 2012 11:16 AM
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  • 1 Comment
In Bob Bryan’s low-budget 1995 documentary “Graffiti Verite,” L.A. street artist Tony Quan, aka ‘TEMPT,’ talks about how artists in his community feed off each other like jazz musicians. “Graffiti is very communal...very interactive,” he says. A clip of this interview is also now featured in the new film “Getting Up: The TEMPT ONE Story,” and it provides a great jumping off point with which to consider the overall point of this inspiring documentary.

"The City Dark" Will Make You Scared of the Light

  • By Christopher Campbell
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  • January 18, 2012 10:23 AM
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  • 0 Comments
This review was originally published during the 2011 SXSW Film Festival on March 13, 2011.

"Crazy Horse" is... A Documentary by Frederick Wiseman (So Why Am I So Ambivalent About It?)

  • By Christopher Campbell
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  • January 17, 2012 7:57 PM
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  • 0 Comments
It may be sacrilege to say this as both a devout Frederick Wiseman fan and a heterosexual male, but “Crazy Horse” doesn’t really do a whole lot for me. This latest documentary from the man behind such nonfiction classics as “Titicut Follies,” “High School” and “Welfare” takes us to the eponymous Paris cabaret, at which nude women perform tacky, cheeky dance routines that seem appropriate for an early ‘90s Playboy video, if only they weren’t so kitschy. With a faux fly-on-the-wall perspective, we look in on the making of the club's new show, Désirs.

"It's About You" is a Nostalgic Documentary Barely About John Mellencamp

  • By Christopher Campbell
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  • January 4, 2012 1:38 PM
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  • 0 Comments
With 2011 going down as a year for nostalgia in cinema, one leftover not to be overlooked is the documentary "It's About You," a fittingly retro film of John Mellencamp during the making of his 2010 album No Better Than This. For that, Mellencamp was nostalgic himself, going old school with mono recordings produced using antique sound equipment and other outmoded methods at various historical settings such as Sun Studios and The First African Baptist Church. In accordance with this vintage concept, photographer Kurt Markus and son Ian shot the film mostly with Super 8 cameras and no additional crew, and the result is what I'd call a sort of "period piece" documentary.

"Khodorkovsky" is an Extraordinary Documentary Thriller That Challenges Your Current Feeling About Capitalists

  • By Christopher Campbell
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  • November 29, 2011 7:45 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Is this really a good time for a documentary that sides with a jailed billionaire? Cyril Tuschi’s extraordinary “Khodorkovsky” is not even the first nonfiction film I’ve seen this season that sympathizes with the rich. But it is a very different sort of doc than “Unraveled,” which infuriatingly (yet still captivatingly) allows the corrupt American lawyer Marc Drier to tell his story and claim victimhood (read my review from DOC NYC). Tuschi’s film is about a once-wealthy protagonist, the former head of Russia's Yukos Oil Company, who seems more legitimately a victim, one who might even be able to win over a few Occupy protesters. Maybe.

"Becoming Santa" is a Wonderful Start to the Holiday Season -- Even for Cynics, Grinches and Scrooges

  • By Christopher Campbell
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  • November 15, 2011 5:45 PM
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  • 2 Comments
With a title like “Becoming Santa,” Jeff Myers and Jack Sanderson’s crowd-pleasing new film sounds like a Hollywood comedy about a regular guy who takes on the role of Santa Claus.  And that’s almost what it is, minus the Hollywood part, but don’t confuse this for a Tim Allen vehicle. Instead it’s a wonderful documentary about the Christmas mascot and what it takes to represent him to kids -- sorry, I mean children -- all over the world.

"Fake It So Real" Observes the Truth and False Fronts of Pro Wrestling and Macho Men

  • By Christopher Campbell
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  • July 25, 2011 4:47 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Robert Greene's new vérité wrestling film, "Fake It So Real," kind of has a catchphrase, which is fascinating because I can't recall the last documentary I saw that has one. Unfortunately, this phrase is possibly alienating to homosexuals. It's complicated because the offense stems from the world being observed, and to an extent it's probably intended as a kind of innocent self-satire to begin with, but it still rubbed me the wrong way. Not the film, which is simply a window through which we witness the unsurprisingly homophobic indie pro wrestling scene in North Carolina, at least not at first. While watching it, though, I tweeted that I was doing so, and later I was re-tweeted by someone who added a double shot of this apparent 'memorable quote' from the doc: "Solar is gay!"

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