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Review: Documentary '12 O'Clock Boys' Is A Beautifully Shot Look At Baltimore's Dirt Bike Riders

  • By Kimber Myers
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  • January 31, 2014 2:19 PM
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  • 2 Comments
12 O'Clock Boys
This first film from Lotfy Nathan benefits from a pair of engaging subjects: teenage Pug and the city of Baltimore. In “12 O’Clock Boys,” Nathan captured Pug’s life for three years, following him as he moved from childhood to adolescence across several rough Baltimore neighborhoods.

Watch: Trailer For Acclaimed, Oscar Contending Documentary 'Tim's Vermeer'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • December 30, 2013 2:22 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Tim's Vermeer
Try as we might to cover every corner of the film world in a given year, some movies, even as acclaimed as "Tim's Vermeer," for whatever reason manage to escape our grasp but you can bet this is one we'll be catching up with in 2014.

Short Doc 'Mr. Christmas' Will Light Up Your Holiday Spirit

'Tis the season for holiday movies, and to start it off right, check out something new with the short documentary "Mr. Christmas," by director and screenwriter Nick Palmer. After making the festival circuit last year, with appearances at Silver Docs, Hot Docs, L.A. Film Festival, and winning awards at Palm Springs Shorts Fest and Aspen Shorts Fest, the film is now available to watch on Vimeo (it's currently the Staff Pick). Read More »

Review: ‘Narco Cultura’ Is A Disturbing Look At The Mexican War On Drugs & The Idolatry Within

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • November 21, 2013 7:29 PM
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  • 2 Comments
Narco Cultura
Since 2006, when the War on Drugs was officially declared in Mexico—a joint operation by Federal Police and the Mexican military known as Operation Michoacan—approximately 60,000 known murders have been recorded. At the epicenter of the major narcotics trafficking and drug cartels that ravage Mexico is the city of Juarez. Its murder rate has absolutely skyrocketed—4,500 people have been killed since 2006 making it the homicide capital of the world, and just across the border is El Paso, Texas, named one of the safest cities in the United States. This juxtaposition is staggering, and marks the impetus for the film.

Review: Michel Gondry’s Noam Chomsky Documentary ‘Is The Man Who Is Tall Happy?’

  • By Charlie Schmidlin
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  • November 20, 2013 5:16 PM
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  • 3 Comments
Is The Man Who Is Tall Happy?
Twice in 2010, director Michel Gondry met with Noam Chomsky for a series of conversations about the philosopher, linguist, and author’s childhood in Philadelphia and his theory of generative grammar. The film that resulted, “Is The Man Who Is Tall Happy?,” gives no reason beyond curiosity for this collaboration, but it is all we need — how else should any worthy project be assembled? “If you’re willing to be puzzled, you’re able to learn,” Chomsky says at one point. To his credit (and without affectation), Gondry doesn’t cloak the fact that he is often perplexed by his subject. Because of his confusion though, we are able to learn quite a lot.

Review: 'The Square' An In-Depth Look At The People Behind Egypt's Revolution

  • By Diana Drumm
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  • November 8, 2013 6:05 PM
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  • 2 Comments
Jehane Noujaim, The Square
Revolution is a word bandied about often, arguably too often. In times of disconnect and discontent, people look for answers, relying on the strength of their ideals to carry them past status quo fear-mongering through to actual change. Two weeks ago, Russell Brand raised a vague call to revolutionary arms while promoting his guest-editing gig for The New Statesman’s revolution-themed issue. Both the TV spot and that issue received derision for Brand's uncertain, though grandiose, terms. Similarly, this week marks the second anniversary of the Occupy movement, which has become a pratfall of an uprising (as seen on The Onion). The danger in both (and many more examples, due to the atavism of higher idealism, which you can check out at your local library) is that we have become desensitized to the word revolution: its immediacy, its call to act, the need of it as a check to the balance of "democracy."

NYFF Review: Documentary 'American Promise' A Flawed, Yet Fascinating Look At Coming Of Age

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • October 5, 2013 3:29 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Raising a child seems to be both an act of love and faith. You provide the absolute best you can for them, and then hope and trust that you've put them on a path that will lead to the kind of rich and fulfilling life you want them to have. But even in a situation where seemingly nothing is left to chance, and only the finest opportunities are afforded, so much is decided by chance and fate. And the expectations that parents place in their children, and the dreams that children envision for themselves, can often diverge. Watching your child grow, is a continual act of acceptance and renewal of love of who that child has become. And all of this is observed in Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson's "American Promise," in which the filmmakers take a page from "Hoop Dreams," turning the camera on their own son Idris and his best friend Seun, and tracking their education and lives from grade school through graduation.

Review: 'GMO OMG' Is A Personal Journey Into The Food Industry

  • By Kimber Myers
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  • September 13, 2013 8:02 AM
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  • 4 Comments
GMO OMG
There are moments in “GMO OMG” that feel a little bit like “Jaws” and “Psycho.” What those films did for the beach and the shower, this documentary from Jeremy Seifert could do for the grocery store for those who are easily persuaded. We left the movie stressing out over what we could eat for dinner that wouldn’t leave us riddled with tumors in 10 years. The film posits that even Whole Foods isn’t safe from the plague of the titular evil, with the documentary calling out the supermarket giant for stocking processed foods with GMOs.

Exclusive: Poster & First Clip From Basketball Phenom Doc 'Linsanity'

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • September 9, 2013 3:11 PM
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  • 1 Comment
'Linsanity
Documentaries at film festivals have a reputation being depressing, dour affairs that tackle big social or environmental issues that more or less want you to crawl inside a dark cave and die. But not so! Sometimes they can be positively uplifting affairs, like "Linsanity," which played at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year and details the rise of NBA sensation Jeremy Lin. We have an exclusive clip from the doc (which features a little kid version of Lin that will make you go awwww), as well as the film's poster. It proves that film festival docs don't have to be grim. In fact, they can be as light and bouncy as a basketball and yet still make the same kind of impact.

Exclusive: Photos & Trailer For Eco-Preservation Doc & TIFF Entry 'Midway'

  • By Diana Drumm
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  • September 6, 2013 11:50 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Midway
With the Toronto International Film Festival kicking off yesterday, the reviews have started to roll in (though only the tip of the proverbial iceberg) along with more and more buzz. While we're gathering more news from our people on the ground up in Toronto, we got our hands on exclusive photos and trailer from TIFF Doc "Midway." Directed by photo-based artist Chris Jordan and "March of the Penguins" editor Sabine Emiliani (both making they're directorial debuts), "Midway" follows the albatrosses of Midway Atoll Island (a U.S. territory roughly midway between the U.S. and Asia) and their sometimes terrible fate.

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