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Review: 'The Other Dream Team' A Riveting, Inspiring Tale Of Sports History & Politics

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 27, 2012 9:57 AM
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  • 1 Comment
With NHL players and NFL referees currently locked out, for people who aren't sports fans to begin with, it's hard to sympathize with players making hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars, in billion dollar industries. For the most part, in our day-to-day lives, sports doesn't mingle with politics or history, except every four years when nations come together to compete on the global stage. And while the Olympics do indeed anchor the key moments of Marius A. Markevicius' winning documentary "The Other Dream Team," the film wisely constructs a decades-spanning and wholly riveting narrative that chronicles how one basketball team became the hope of an entire country.

Review: 'Head Games' A Rich, Eye-Opening & In Depth Look At The Concussion Crisis In Sports

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 21, 2012 9:04 AM
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It takes just under twenty minutes in Steve James' riveting documentary "Head Games" until we see a brain getting sliced open. And while that's the lone visually queasy moment in the movie, the startling facts and figures presented in the film may still make your stomach churn. Given that the movie the comes from the man behind excellent films like "Hoop Dreams" and "The Interrupters," it's no surprise that his latest effort is another comprehensive and focused piece of filmmaking. But everything else about the movie is a true eye-opener, with James zeroing in on one of the most important topics that faces the future of sports and atheletes at all levels, that the industry, players and spectators continue to ignore.

Review: 'I'm Carolyn Parker' Tells The Story Of Post-Katrina New Orleans Through The Eyes Of One Resilient Woman

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 20, 2012 3:00 PM
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  • 1 Comment
It has been seven years since Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, and the impact is still being felt both locally and nationally. The event is still a touchstone for conversations about race, class and government, one that usually pits the haves against the have nots. But in truth, the story of how New Orleans and its residents continue to live and rebuild is something much more layered and complex, with the past playing a prominent role in how to shape the future. And for director Jonathan Demme, he found a way to delve into the many sides of post-Katrina life by telling it through the eyes of Carolyn Parker. Joining her from months after the floods and tracking her life for years afterward, "I'm Carolyn Parker" is an insightful and at times moving eye on the ground of the day-to-day struggles that are still common for many in the city.

Review: 'Three Stars' An Interesting Look At What It Takes To Run A Michelin-Starred Restaurant

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 19, 2012 7:04 PM
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The perception of food and how we interact with it in our daily lives is at an interesting crossroads in the media. For the most part, the message of the moment is about keeping things organic and simple, using the best ingredients on hand, sourced locally if at all possible. On the other end of the spectrum, reality TV pushes a mixed message of preparing high end, highly crafted food, but as fast as possible. From the top shelf "Top Chef" to the lowly "Hell's Kitchen," they both have the same goal of spotlighting refined eating and, eventually, positioning participants on a path to earn a coveted Michelin star, should their career take them on a path to work on that level. And Lutz Hachmeister's documentary, "Three Stars," explores what it takes to earn those coveted honors, and even more, what's required to keep it.

Review: Emotional & Inspiring 'How To Survive A Plague' Is One Of The Best Documentaries Of The Year

  • By Katie Walsh
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  • September 19, 2012 6:27 PM
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It can seem like ancient history to the millenial generation, but many remember the all-too-harrowing realities of the AIDS crisis and the subsequent social movement that arose out of the desperation and fear of imminent death faced by young, vibrant individuals with a fierce will to live. This movement has been inscribed in history by the new documentary “How to Survive a Plague,” from first-time filmmaker David France, an award-winning journalist who covered the crisis from a fly on the wall standpoint from the beginning. The film is skillfully crafted from hours of archival footage shot on the front lines -- on the streets at protests, at ACT UP (AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power) meetings, in the halls of international health conferences, on the lawn of the White House -- and from eyewitness accounts of key members of the movement.

Interview: Rachel Grady & Heidi Ewing Talk Detroit And Their Film 'Detropia'

  • By Christopher Bell
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  • September 7, 2012 4:40 PM
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Once a bustling city and your one-stop shop for American automobile manufacturing, Detroit is now a shadow of its former, glorious self. It's broke, the former lucrative auto industry employ very few, and the neighborhoods are generally lined with empty, abandoned houses. Lifelong inhabitants retain hope and fight for the place they call home, but it seems like the area is facing a steady, unyielding decline.

Watch: Engaging, Inspiring Trailer For AIDS Documentary 'How To Survive A Plague'

  • By Christopher Bell
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  • August 15, 2012 10:37 AM
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  • 1 Comment
While certainly a considerable threat to this day, it's easy to forget how massively destructive the country's AIDS epidemic was in the 1980s -- and how little politicians and health administrations did to curb it. Refusing to let go without a fight, a collective of Greenwich Village activists formed "ACT UP" (AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power) and took to the streets, forcing the conversation to be had. The group's effort yielded a fantastic number of developments in the battle against the disease, including quickly pushing essential medication into pharamacies.

Review: 'Gerhard Richter Painting' An Uneven Portrait Of Process & Fame

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • July 28, 2012 4:38 PM
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  • 1 Comment
If one were to compare Corinna Belz's "Gerhard Richter Painting" to music documentaries, it would fall somewhere between Sam Jones' "I Am Trying To Break Your Heart" and Grant Gee's "Meeting People Is Easy." Eschewing the standard biographical framework, the film instead offers up a slice-of-life look at the 79-year-old artist that largely forgoes any context (for better or worse) as it dips into the banality of various show openings (like the Radiohead doc) and the fascinating method he uses to create his work (like the Wilco film). But unlike those aforementioned movies, if you don't know anything about the life and career of Gerhard Richter, your appreciation of what's captured will vary.

Review: 'Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry' Charts The Rise Of A Multimedia Artist

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • July 26, 2012 6:58 PM
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If you were not familiar with the multimedia artist Ai Weiwei, the title of the new documentary “Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry” would almost seem like a countercultural taunt, perhaps with a hip-hop undercurrent. The reference is apt in regards to his art, which is at turns edgy agitprop and charmingly cheeky, much like the boundary stretching of early rap music. And with his moony eyes and mischievous grin, Ai Weiwei would not be out-of-place next to the politically-charged likes of the young Run DMC, or even Afrika Bambaataa.

'The Imposter' Director Bart Layton Talks The Stranger Than Fiction Story & Its Subjective Nature

  • By Christopher Bell
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  • July 13, 2012 11:59 AM
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The Barclay family suffered a devastating blow in 1994 when 13-year-old Nicholas disappeared without a trace. However, 1997 brought a sign of hope -- the young boy had been found in Spain. Seemingly damaged due to sexual abuse by his captors, he was ready to come home. The only problem? It wasn't Nicholas at all -- Frenchman Frédéric Bourdin adopted his identity, fooling authorities and the Barclay clan themselves into thinking that he was the real deal. As you might imagine, it wasn't long before someone started to doubt this ruse (detective Charlie Parker, oddly enough, noticed the ears of Bourdin and Nicholas didn't match up), but the exposed identity only makes the situation uglier, ferreting some nasty theories concerning the whereabouts of the real Nicholas Barclay.

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