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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.

Which Documentaries Could Be Remade as Narrative Films?

  • By Christopher Campbell
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  • January 24, 2012 4:02 PM
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  • 4 Comments
It doesn’t happen that often, but sometimes documentaries are adapted, or remade, into narrative films. That’s what we call the fully dramatized versions anyway, ignoring the fact that docs have narratives too. Past examples include Werner Herzog’s "Little Dieter Needs to Fly," which the filmmaker turned into Rescue Dawn, Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato’s "Party Monster," which the duo made into a film of the same name, and I include biographies like Rob Epstein’s "The Times of Harvey Milk" even though it wasn’t directly related to Gus Van Sant’s biopic Milk.

2012 Oscar Nominee Discussions

  • By Spout
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  • January 24, 2012 12:05 PM
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  • 0 Comments
First, obligatorily, we don't care about the Oscars. Second, we really haven't seen or at least haven't written about enough of the Oscar nominees this year. Part of the reason is that a lot of the films of last year weren't that interesting, discussion-wise. Even films that were being talked about elsewhere, like "The Help" and "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" didn't seem worthy of review for us. But we're going to try to be better in this next year. We also notice that we could be a little less negative. Even the one discussion post on "Hugo," one of our favorites of the year is about its one notable flaw. Anyway, in response to the 2012 Academy Award nominees, here are those recognized that we've spouted about: Best Picture

When is It Okay to Get a Refund at the Movies?

  • By Christopher Campbell
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  • January 19, 2012 4:06 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Every once in a while this kind of story pops up for people to laugh or tweet the words "face palm" about: a moviegoer sees a film that wasn't what they expected, and they want their money back. Sometimes, as in the case of a woman who thought "Drive" was going to be like "The Fast and the Furious," they even sue. Many cinema chains have to please their patrons to avoid a bigger fuss (as a former theater manager, I know this very well), while heroic indie art houses get praise for denying refunds when the issue is just that someone was bored with "The Tree of Life."

Is "The Muppets" a True Muppet Movie?

  • By Christopher Campbell
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  • November 28, 2011 12:33 PM
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  • 24 Comments
I finally caught "The Muppets" over the long weekend, and while I did enjoy a lot of it, I was bothered by how little it actually qualifies as a true Muppet movie. How so, if the film does feature Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie the Bear and the rest of the gang (minus Rizzo, sadly)? Well, the Muppets are really just costars, supporting roles in a Jason Segel film rather than the main characters of their own. Some, like the barely present Rolf, seem as much to be celebrities making cameos as do Neil Patrick Harris and Selena Gomez.

One Little Problem with "Hugo" (Spoilers)

  • By Christopher Campbell
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  • November 25, 2011 9:10 AM
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  • 4 Comments
Let me start off by saying that I love Martin Scorsese's "Hugo." It's the perfect blend of "Amelie" and "The Sandlot" and "Cinema Paradiso" and the spirits of Charles Dickens and Jules Verne and of course the works of George Méliès and the rest of film's origins. But there is one little problem I have with the movie, and it's hard to make a fuss about it but when a movie is this wonderful the seemingly minor negative elements taunt you until you get them out in the open. So this discussion is a real necessity for me as a fan of this film and cinema in general. I'm not trying to be a complaining jerk about it. I swear.

Morning Pour: The Best Thanksgiving Movies

  • By Christopher Campbell
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  • November 23, 2011 12:35 PM
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  • 3 Comments
Morning Pour is your daily stop for quick links, news commentary and trend-spotting. Here are your five discussion topics involving Thanksgiving for Wednesday, November 23, 2011:

Morning Pour: The Great "Muppets" Roundup

  • By Christopher Campbell
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  • November 22, 2011 11:07 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Morning Pour is your daily stop for quick links, news commentary and trend-spotting. Here are your discussion topics involving The Muppets for Tuesday, November 22, 2011:

Are the Best Movie Characters of 2011 Animals?

  • By Christopher Campbell
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  • November 21, 2011 2:27 PM
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  • 6 Comments
The other night I caught Mike Mills’ “Beginners,” which will probably (surprisingly) make my top ten fiction film list for this year if I make one. One of the best parts of the film is the Jack Russell terrier, Arthur (played by Cosmo), especially when he’s given subtitled speech. And so I was reminded of some other great dogs I’ve seen in movies lately. Two in particular were the only thing I really loved about their respective films: Uggie, the Asta/Skippy-like pup from “The Artist” and the animated Snowy from “The Adventures of Tintin.”

Morning Pour: Discussing the Best Documentary Oscar Shortlist

  • By Christopher Campbell
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  • November 21, 2011 10:32 AM
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  • 7 Comments
Morning Pour is your daily stop for quick links, news commentary and trend-spotting. Here are your five discussion topics involving the Best Documentary Feature Oscar Shortlist for Monday, November 21, 2011:   

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