The Playlist

Review: 'Urbanized' An Educational & Enjoyable Look At City Design

  • By Christopher Bell
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  • October 28, 2011 2:58 AM
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  • 1 Comment
For those unacquainted with documentarian Gary Hustwit, his small body of work may seem like bland pills that are hard to swallow. To date he has made a movie about a font ("Helvetica"), our relationship with manufactured objects ("Objectified"), and now urban design ("Urbanized"). These aren't the most enticing subjects -- they all have a vague stench of "homework" or "PBS" -- but no one is more aware of these pre-judgements better than the filmmaker, who has managed to confound expectations and instead compose films that are enjoyable and, at times, very fascinating. He continues in this mode with "Urbanized," the final entry in his "design trilogy."

Michael Moore & 'The Dark Knight Rises' Inspired By The Occupy Wall Street Protests

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • October 18, 2011 5:25 AM
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  • 3 Comments
Despite (some of) the mainstream media coverage of the Occupy Wall Street protests painting the participants as a bunch of unemployed, left wing socialists who hate America, for anyone who has actually been down to Zuccotti Park (or to the various places where demonstrations have been taking place worldwide), they know that it's a remarkably wide ranging group of people. From teenagers to the elderly, with parents bringing their young children to see free speech in action, it's pretty inspiring stuff to witness first hand and it seems Hollywood is taking notice, albeit in some completely different ways.

LFF '11 Review: 'Dreams Of A Life' Is An Authentically Moving Portrait Of A Forgotten Life

  • By Sam Price
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  • October 17, 2011 6:01 AM
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  • 2 Comments
Joyce Carol Vincent died in her flat in 2003. An unmarried forty year-old woman living alone in a less-than-luxurious one bedroom London bedsit, and surrounded by unopened Christmas presents, it would be three years before her remains (now simply decomposed to that of a skeleton), would ever be found -- and only then able to be identified by dental records.

NYFF: Joe Berlinger & Bruce Sinofsky Talk Ethics, Media & Witch-Hunts In The West Memphis Three Docs

  • By The Playlist
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  • October 10, 2011 2:59 AM
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  • 3 Comments
Documentary Filmmakers Of The 'Paradise Lost' Movies Talk The Challenges Of Making Films About Wrongly Convicted MenIt’s not easy to distill the story of the West Memphis Three and the three “Paradise Lost” documentaries (though reading our review of “Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory” might provide some pretty good context).

NYFF '11 Review: 'Tahrir' Is A Must-See Account Of The Egyptian Uprising

  • By Christopher Bell
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  • October 2, 2011 3:50 AM
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  • 2 Comments
The "Arab Spring" -- a term frequently used to describe the various countries in the Middle East rising against their much-maligned leaders -- rages on in full force. Though the wave of revolution is powerful, the media tends to be very selective in its coverage, focusing on one country before quickly moving onto another. You can't blame someone if they just assumed Egypt was just dandy now given the lack of coverage, as Libya's the new paramour.

Review: 'Sarah Palin: You Betcha!' Is A Surprisingly Toothless Bore

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • September 29, 2011 6:02 AM
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  • 7 Comments
Nick Broomfield is a British documentarian with a reputation for being boldly unafraid to ruffle people’s feathers. In films like “Biggie & Tupac” and, most notoriously, “Kurt and Courtney,” he seemed unconcerned with the status quo (or possibly lawsuits), making inflammatory claims and taking part in gleeful provocation, a welcome change of pace from the overtly mannered realm of current documentary filmmaking. Which makes “Sarah Palin: You Betcha!,” his new film about America’s one-time potential Vice President and former Governor of Alaska, so odd – it’s boring, toothless, and genial. Anyone (like me) smacking their gums in anticipation of the pointed evisceration Palin would receive from the guy who not-so-subtly suggested Courtney Love engineered Kurt Cobain’s death is going to be sorely disappointed.

Behind The Scenes: So 'Exit Through The Gift Shop' Started Out As A Lawsuit Against Mr. Brainwash?

  • By Benjamin Wright
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  • September 8, 2011 6:31 AM
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  • 0 Comments
So, the accepted wisdom is that street artist Banksy delivered a fantastic documentary last year entitled "Exit Through the Gift Shop," that had everybody talking about it as soon as it first debuted at Sundance. But the story didn't end there: even after garnering an Academy Award nomination and heaps of critical praise, a debate raged on for months as to whether the film was "real" or a hoax, partly because the story was too good to be true and partly because many assume anything that the prankster-ish Bansky does is disingenuous.

'Who Is Harry Nilsson' Director John Scheinfeld To Helm Elvis Presley Biopic 'Fame & Fortune'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 6, 2011 7:38 AM
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  • 6 Comments
Even though it has been decades since Elvis Presley first made us feel all shook up, the rock 'n roll icon is still a looming and influential figure whose legend, along with the gritty details of his off-stage life, has become as well known as the timeless music he created. And while there have been a couple notable TV takes on his life -- 1979 film directed by John Carpenter and starring Kurt Russell and a 2005 movie with Jonathan Rhys Meyers -- there has has never been a big screen account of Presley's story. But all that is about change.

Random: Steve Coogan, Stephen Dorff & Rapper K'naan Team For Nick Broomfield's 'The Catastrophist'

  • By Simon Dang
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  • September 1, 2011 1:53 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Even within the realm of random collaborations and teamings, this one still veers off to the higher end of the scale.

'Paradise Lost' Director Joe Berlinger Prepping Paul Simon 'Graceland' Doc For Sundance Premiere

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • August 24, 2011 3:13 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Peter Jackson & Fran Walsh Funding Hunt For Actual Killers; HBO Wouldn't Mind A 'Paradise Lost 4'For more than fifteen years, director Joe Berlinger (along with Bruce Sinofsky) has been tracking the tragic story of the West Memphis Three in his "Paradise Lost" documentaries, and late last week bittersweet justice was served: Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelle were freed under under a plea deal that will still leave with them the stain of a guilty verdict (all orchestrated so they can't sue for wrongful prosecution) even though they had nothing to do with the horrific child murders. And we'll have more on that in a moment, but for now, Berlinger has a much more lighthearted project on the way that should excite music fans.

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