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Short Starts: Watch Martin Luther King, Jr., in "The March"

  • By Christopher Campbell
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  • January 16, 2012 10:56 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, in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day rather than a new release, we present a 1964 USIA documentary starring the civil rights leader.

The Doc Option: Instead of "Beauty and the Beast 3D" Watch "Waking Sleeping Beauty"

  • By Christopher Campbell
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  • January 13, 2012 11:03 AM
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  • 0 Comments
The main attraction in theaters this weekend is the 3D re-release of Disney's "Beauty and the Beast." If you're hoping to introduce a new generation to the animated classic, by all means bring your kids. But if you're just a grown up wishing to revisit a childhood favorite, and you can't get off the cinematic nostalgia train running full speed these days, don't fall for it. Instead, I have another Doc Option for you.

Sundance and Slamdance 2012: Documentary Preview

  • By Christopher Campbell
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  • January 12, 2012 2:26 PM
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  • 1 Comment
As I look back on my “Sundance Documentaries People Will Be Talking About” column from last January, I realize this is my equivalent to other bloggers’ annual “Most Anticipated Movies of [the Coming Year]” list. Partly because to preview the docs playing at Sundance is usually to preview the docs we’ll be seeing in theaters in the next twelve months, as well as to spot some of what will contend for the Oscar in the following year. And partly because in retrospect I similarly had high hopes for films that didn’t really meet expectations.

10 Great Films Set in New Mexico - For the State's Centennial

  • By Christopher Campbell
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  • January 7, 2012 5:57 PM
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  • 2 Comments
Happy belated birthday to New Mexico, the Land of Enchantment, which celebrated its 100th anniversary as a state this week. One century ago, on January 6, 1912, the New Mexico Territory was admitted to the union by Congress. And throughout its existence the state has been a major part of cinema and TV history. Actually, films have been shot there since the 19th century, as you'll see below, and Selig Polyscope Company had an early studio in Las Vegas, NM, through the 1910s, mainly for producing Westerns starring Tom Mix. In 1912 alone, Mack Sennett, D.W. Griffith and Thomas Ince shot shorts there. And in the 21st century the state's link to filmmaking has increased tremendously.

"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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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.

The Doc Option: Instead of "The Iron Lady" Watch "Tracking Down Maggie"

  • By Christopher Campbell
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  • December 30, 2011 12:24 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Is there any reason to see "The Iron Lady" than to watch Meryl Streep knock another one out of the park? Was there any reason to watch the Bulls in the late '80s other than to see Michael Jordan? I don't know. I haven't seen the new Margaret Thatcher biopic, and I don't know anything about basketball. I do know docs, though, and so I have another Doc Option for you.

Review and Interview: Wim Wenders' Exceptional 3D Doc "PINA"

  • By Christopher Campbell
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  • December 23, 2011 2:35 PM
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One of the best films of 2011 finally hits theaters in the U.S. today. Wim Wenders' "PINA" is a marvelous, magnificent, necessary and pioneering 3D documentary. I reviewed the film back in October during the New York Film Festival. Here's an excerpt.

The Doc Option: Instead of "War Horse" Watch "The Battle of the Somme"

  • By Christopher Campbell
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  • December 23, 2011 9:41 AM
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  • 2 Comments
Two Doc Option columns in the same week? Hey, if Steven Spielberg can release two movies back to back, it's only fair that I get to provide alternatives for both. So yeah, here's another Doc Option for you:

The Doc Option: Instead of "The Adventures of Tintin" Watch "Tintin and I"

  • By Christopher Campbell
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  • December 21, 2011 12:23 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Two of the most anticipated movies of the holiday season open in theaters today. But if you're thinking of choosing "The Adventures of Tintin," don't. I have a new Doc Option for you instead.

On DVD: Underrated Horror Comedies "Saint Nick" and "Burke and Hare," Plus Under-Seen Western "Blackthorn"

  • By Christopher Campbell
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  • December 20, 2011 1:21 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Looking for something to rent this week? Here's what we had to say about the films out on DVD/Blu-ray today. Titles include "Saint Nick," "Burke and Hare" and "Blackthorn." Also: Docs on DVD highlights and new VOD release "Moneyball."

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