The Playlist

Tribeca Review: Feats Of Superhuman Strength, Filmmaking Of Uncommon Heart In 'Bending Steel'

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • April 22, 2013 5:04 PM
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You're not likely to see a more inspiring documentary this year than "Bending Steel," the story of one Chris Schoeck, an unassuming New York gentleman with one secret passion. Schoeck is a curious character, an admitted introvert with a slight stutter whom you can tell had to be coaxed to be on camera. When he travels the subway system, bundled up for the cold weather or clad in a workout t-shirt, he's just another fellow on the train, with his casual Irish boyishness on a face that doesn't seem to smile easily. And then you see in his warehouse, standing over thick metal beams, and his gentle hands seize a steel beam. Suddenly, a bit of exertion, and it bends. He isn't Chris Schoeck. He's Chris "Wonder" Schoek.

Tribeca Review: Silence On The Front Lines Of War, In 'The Kill Team'

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • April 21, 2013 10:03 AM
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The Kill Team
There's a stomach-turning sadness at the heart of "The Kill Team," Dan Krauss' austere documentary about a soldier trapped in the cycle of violence perpetrated by a group of soldiers indicted on charges of violence against innocents in 2010. While the media was more than ready to discuss a culture of violence, utilizing "Kill Team" as a fashionable headline-filler, Krauss' film places the spotlight on Pvt. Adam Winfield. Like the upcoming "We Steal Secrets: The Story Of WikiLeaks," which places a strong focus on walking security breach Bradley Manning as a square peg, "The Kill Team" paints a portrait of Winfield as an overly earnest young fellow far out of his league when paired with soldiers that, when armed, simply became Boys With Guns.

Watch: Massive & Detailed 7-Hour Documentary On The Original 'Star Wars' Trilogy

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • April 8, 2013 10:25 AM
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So, you think you know every single thing there is to know about the original "Star Wars" trilogy? Well, certainly, given how well documented those movies have been in the decades since they changed the sci-fi landscape, we're not surprised by your confidence. But we're pretty sure you'll find something new to discover in this massive, seven-hour documentary trilogy covering "Star Wars," "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Return Of The Jedi."

Review: ‘American Winter’ A Devastating Portrait Of The Erosion Of The Middle Class

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • March 18, 2013 6:54 PM
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With the nation’s economy continually on a knife’s edge, the past few years has seen the political discourse take a marked shift. Conservative politicians have started to lure voters with an image that they will tighten the wasteful spending in Washington, but for the most part, that has meant targeting social services. Indeed, healthcare, social security and other measures that are seen as bloated programs that will sink the country into financial ruin if they aren’t severely overhauled. And all of this is being done in the name of supposedly preserving the middle class, but as the documentary “American Winter” argues, the entire approach is not only wrong headed, it’s only making things worse for the people these policies are supposed to protect.

Watch: Alex Cox's 1999 Documentary 'Kurosawa: The Last Emperor' With Francis Ford Coppola, Paul Verhoeven & More

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • March 18, 2013 11:25 AM
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When you're one of the greatest filmmakers of all time, your life is likely to be thoroughly documented by others, and that's certainly the case for Akira Kurosawa. The director behind "Seven Samurai," "Rashomon," "Ran" and many, many more seminal works has been boxed, written about, discussed at and more, all at length, but his work is so rich and influential, there is always more to discover. And for those looking for a bit of a film class to start of their week, you can perhaps spend your lunch hour on this.

Exclusive: Poster & Select City Release Dates For 'The Source Family'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • March 5, 2013 10:02 AM
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Contemporary music has its fare share of massive group ensembles, whether it's the extended Wu-Tang family, the robe-wearing The Polyphonic Spree, the numerous branches of the Elephant 6 Collective, or the various members of the Broken Social Scene club. But we'd wager few could touch the sprawl of The Source Family.

Watch: 1 Hour Documentary On Belle & Sebastian's 'If You're Feeling Sinister' Plus Trailer For Silkworm Doc 'Couldn't You Wait?'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • February 21, 2013 3:39 PM
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  • 1 Comment
If you came-of-age in the '90s, you might be feeling a huge wave of nostalgia these days. It seems every act from decade, no matter how small or marginal, is reuniting for tours, reissuing albums and are generally taking one last run at fame. And two more bands from the decade are ready to work your mixtape heart with a couple of documentaries.

Berlin Review: 'Interior. Leather Bar' Is A Surprisingly Successful James Franco Experiment On Male Sexuality & Filmic Process

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • February 12, 2013 3:43 PM
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So let's clear up a few misconceptions about this film -- and of course there are misconceptions, it's a James Franco project. In fact it's the third title to boast his involvement at this Berlin Film Festival (after "Lovelace" and "Maladies"), but here he is pulling double duty as co-director with Travis Matthews, and performer, as himself (kinda). Firstly, "Interior. Leather Bar" is not a recreation/reimagining of the "censored," never-shown 40 minutes from William Friedkin's "Cruising," nor even footage inspired by that missing footage. Instead it's a semi-scripted, hour-long documentary about the production of that reimagined footage, in which much less of the actual recreated footage appears than the stories around its making, the concept behind it and the utterly self-conscious, self-referential approach. Hope you're still with us?

Review: 'Delta Boys' Is A Bold, Gripping Documentary About The Oil Battles Of Nigeria

  • By Christopher Schobert
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  • January 15, 2013 5:57 PM
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  • 2 Comments
Andrew Berends’ gripping new documentary “Delta Boys” does something undeniably important: it puts human voices and faces behind the terms and datelines we run into almost every week in newspapers, on websites, and on cable new channel crawls. Words like “militant” and “rebels,” and places like Nigeria and the Niger Delta sadly mean little to most Westerners. It’s all happening, literally, in another part of the globe, a world far beyond our everyday existence. Berends, the award-winning filmmaker behind the acclaimed Iraq docs “The Blood of My Brother” and “When Adnan Comes Home” knows this. He understands our lack of knowledge, along with our naïveté. So his “Delta Boys” is, above all else, a teaching tool.

Review: 'Beware Of Mr. Baker' Is A Rollicking, Dangerous & Ultimately Transcendent Ride With Cream Drummer Ginger Baker

  • By Katie Walsh
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  • November 28, 2012 6:03 PM
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This year’s SXSW had a few strong themes running throughout its selections. In the documentary category, this was seen in the numerous films about '70s rock icons such as “Paul Williams: Still Alive,” “Marley,” the preview of “Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me,” and heck, even “Bad Brains: A Band in DC” fits into this category. But the Documentary Feature winning film, “Beware of Mr. Baker,” about Cream drummer Ginger Baker, certainly earned its award, as it blows those other (quite remarkable) films out of the water, starting with one vicious rap to the nose.

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