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Thompson on Hollywood

Review: Sensational True-Crime Doc 'The Cheshire Murders' Asks All the Right Questions

“The Cheshire Murders,” airing on HBO July 22, is, in part, a blow-by-blow account of the unspeakable 2007 Connecticut home invasion that left a mother and her two daughters dead, and made Dr. William Petit his state’s leading advocate for the death penalty (which was abolished there nonetheless).
  • By John Anderson
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  • July 1, 2013 11:54 AM
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Gay Conversion Survivors Speak Out in 'God and Gays' Doc Aired Day After Supreme Court Ruling (TRAILER)

An emotional screening last night on the Sony lot in Los Angeles of Lisa Ling’s documentary “God and Gays” brought added impact to this week’s Supreme Court decision in favor of same-sex marriage.
  • By Amy Dawes
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  • June 28, 2013 12:41 PM
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Spike Lee Shoots Stage Show 'Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth' for HBO

Spike Lee has been shooting docs as well as features for some time, so it's no surprise that the filmmaker should take his latest joint, stage show "Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth," to HBO Films, where he made his acclaimed doc series "When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts" in 2006. Lee will shoot his and Tyson’s hit one-man Broadway stage show in July for debut on the network later in the year.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 26, 2013 6:20 AM
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LGBT Activists Challenge the Status Quo in Documentaries 'The New Black' and 'Call Me Kuchu'

To the outside observer, political movements can become reduced to a series of rarely-challenged expressions of conventional wisdom. But two new documentaries "The New Black" and "Call Me Kuchu," which are landing on the scene contemporaneously, present a compelling challenge to assumptions about LGBT rights.
  • By Jacob Combs
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  • June 25, 2013 1:06 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Buzzy Indie Documentaries 'Blackfish,' 'Code Black' and 'The New Black' -- Which Is Which? (TRAILERS)

Yes, it's true. We keep getting confused by three similar-sounding documentaries in the indiesphere right now: "Code Black," "The New Black" and "Blackfish." They each deal with vital but very different subjects (the LA County Hospital emergency room, assumptions about homophobia in the African-American community, and killer whales, respectively). Herewith, our mini-guide to each film, plus all three trailers.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • June 19, 2013 3:10 PM
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AFI Docs Announces Policy Engagement Program; Documentary Filmmakers Meet with Policy Makers to Maximize Impact

AFI Docs presented by Audi (formerly Silverdocs) has announced their inaugural Policy Engagement Program, where filmmakers making social-issues documentaries connect with policy makers to maximize their impact on the issues their films cover. The program will take place in Washington D.C. on June 20; panelists and full schedule below.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • June 18, 2013 2:12 PM
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Muckraking Journalist Filmmaker Laura Poitras: Ahead of Surveillance Scandal, Making War on Terror Doc with Assange (VIDEO)

Mark Boal, move over. Documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras is aggressively reporting the National Security Agency surveillance scandal in the international press at the same time that she is filming material for her documentary on the subject, which also includes the participation of WikiLeaks' Julian Assange.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 11, 2013 1:07 AM
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Review: 'Evocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie' Charts the Rise and Fall of One of TV's Most Controversial Figures

When he was a teenager in Edison, N.J., Daniel Miller’s friends used to pile into cars and go to tapings of the incendiary “Morton Downey Jr. Show,” reporting back on developments “to our utter glee.” Miller never went himself, but he was a regular viewer of the seminal trash-TV talk show host and now he and friends Seth Kramer and Jeremy Newberger have directed “Evocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie,” which charts the stratospheric rise and precipitous fall of one of television’s most controversial, and possibly influential, figures.
  • By John Anderson
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  • June 7, 2013 1:07 PM
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Review: 'Free China': A Struggle For the Future of China's Soul

Michael Perlman's new documentary "Free China: The Courage to Believe" which opens Friday in New York City for a week-long run, is a brave, upsetting, unabashedly political film that examines the dissonances between China's remarkable economic rise and its appalling human rights record. But for Perlman and the rest of the team behind "Free China," the film is not only about highlighting China's humanitarian offenses--it's about rallying the West to push for the dissemination of free information to the Communist state.
  • By Jacob Combs
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  • June 7, 2013 6:06 AM
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WATCH: Short BBC Documentary on the Coen Brothers

With the Coen brothers' "Inside Llewyn Davis" recently charming the crowds at Cannes and winning the Grand Prize of the Jury, take a gander at this 40-minute BBC documentary on the filmmaking duo, made in 2000 during the production of "O Brother, Where Art Thou?"
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • June 5, 2013 2:53 PM
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  • 0 Comments

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