Archive for the ‘Documentary’ Category

Dogtown and Z-Boys

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

In the mid-70s, surfers from Venice-Santa Monica who hung out at the Zephyr Surf Shop would skateboard when the surf was quiet. Over the course of a few heady years, riding on polyurethane wheels and copying the surfing moves of Larry Bertleman, the Z-Boys invent and polish their style on a hilly street near the shop, on the asphalt slopes ringing school playgrounds, and then in swimming pools empty during California’s drought. The Z-Boys astound upright skateboarders at the 1975 championship in Del Mar. Within a year, the team splinters as some players join better financed pro teams. The film ends with profiles of the stars, Jay Adams, Stacy Peralta, and Tony Alva.

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The Butch Factor

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

From the Castro culture of the 1970s to today s Bears and gym rats, this fascinating investigation of gay men and sexuality blows the lid off old stereotypes and showcases a battalion of interviewees including muscle men, rodeo riders, rugby players and cops. The men speak candidly on topics from homophobia to metrosexuality to embracing effeminacy as they reveal what it means to be a gay man in America today.

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Sympathy for the Devil

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

In the 60′s, having as the background the rehearsal and recording of “Sympathy for the Devil” in the classic album “Beggar’s Banquet” by the revolutionary bad boy Rolling Stones – Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, Bill Wyman and Brian Jones – plus Marianne Faithful, Godard discloses other contemporary revolutionary and ideological movements – the Black Power through the Black Panthers, the feminism, the communism, the fascism – entwined with the reading of a cheap pulp political novel divided in the chapters: “The Stones Rolling; “Outside Black Novel”; “Sight and Sound”; “All About Eve”; “The Heart of Occident”; “Inside Black Syntax”; and, “Under the Stones the Beach”.

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Dreams with Sharp Teeth

Saturday, February 27th, 2010

A documentary on speculative fiction writer and essayist Harlan Ellison.

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Classic Albums: Bob Marley & the Wailers – Catch a Fire

Friday, February 26th, 2010

In the late ’60s, the notion that reggae would become more than just a novelty act would have been laughed at. To break into the mainstream, the movement needed a powerful voice of prophetic proportions. This voice emerged from the collective work of three pioneering friends from Jamaica, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, and Robert Nesta Marley, who sought to bring about an ideological revolution through deeply meditative, hypnotic, and spiritual music. Catch a Fire was the Wailers’ and reggae’s introduction to the world and turned Bob Marley into a mega-icon of enormous proportions. It was the first album to remain true to the traditions of reggae music while having enough elements that were accessible to popular culture.

This documentary, Bob Marley and the Wailers: Catch a Fire, returns to Dynamic Studios in Kingston, Jamaica, shedding light on the development of the album, the thought process of Bob, Peter, and Bunny, and the importance of the music on a song-by-song basis. The story of Catch a Fire is presented through interviews with the band members, studio musicians, and former head of Island Records Chris Blackwell. Throughout are raw studio rehearsal footage, BBC TV footage, and home movies that include performances of “Concrete Jungle,” “Slave Driver,” “Stir It Up,” and “Stop That Train.” The documentary wraps up with rare black-and-white footage of the Wailers’ tour in Edmonton, London, in 1973 with an electrifying performance of the Burnin’ song “Get Up, Stand Up.”

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Feet of Flames

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

This release captures a 1998 concert from Irish dancer Michael Flatley, the man who broke from the troupe Riverdance to have his own solo career. Hinting that it may be his last live performance, Flatley is cheered on by an enthusiastic London crowd.

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Capitalism: A Love Story

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

On the 20-year anniversary of his groundbreaking masterpiece Roger & Me, Michael Moore’s Capitalism: A Love Story comes home to the issue he’s been examining throughout his career: the disastrous impact of corporate dominance on the everyday lives of Americans (and by default, the rest of the world). But this time the culprit is much bigger than General Motors, and the crime scene far wider than Flint, Michigan. From Middle America, to the halls of power in Washington, to the global financial epicenter in Manhattan, Michael Moore will once again take film goers into uncharted territory. With both humor and outrage, Michael Moore’s Capitalism: A Love Story explores a taboo question: What is the price that America pays for its love of capitalism? Years ago, that love seemed so innocent. Today, however, the American dream is looking more like a nightmare as families pay the price with their jobs, their homes and their savings. Moore takes us into the homes of ordinary people whose lives have been turned upside down; and he goes looking for explanations in Washington, DC and elsewhere. What he finds are the all-too-familiar symptoms of a love affair gone astray: lies, abuse, betrayal…and 14,000 jobs being lost every day. Capitalism: A Love Story is both a culmination of Moore’s previous works and a look into what a more hopeful future could look like. It is Michael Moore’s ultimate quest to answer the question he’s posed throughout his illustrious filmmaking career: Who are we and why do we behave the way that we do?

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The September Issue

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

The September 2007 issue of Vogue magazine weighed nearly five pounds, and was the single largest issue of a magazine ever published. With unprecedented access, this film tells the story of legendary Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour and her larger-than-life team of editors creating the issue and ruling the world of fashion.

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Act of God

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

Documentarian Jennifer Baichwal helmed this reflective documentary that ponders the spiritual, emotional, and metaphysical ramifications of being struck by a lightning bolt. According to the National Weather Service, the odds of this incident befalling any given person are about one in 700,000, which makes many a survivor question why he or she fell prey to this unusual calamity; some infer a cosmic reason, some reject that possibility, but most fall somewhere in between as they feebly attempt to come to terms with it. In the film, Baichwal speaks with a number of well-known victims, including the novelist and screenwriter Paul Auster (The Music of Chance), the improv-driven prog rock guitarist Fred Frith, and others, and evaluates how the interviewees’ lives forked off in new directions after a massive discharge of electricity descended from the sky and landed on them.

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By the People: The Election of Barack Obama

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

Millions saw history made as Barack Obama took the podium on election night. But few witnessed his unguarded moments in the hours and days before he greeted the nation … until now. Meet the man who would be president and the dedicated campaign workers who helped get him there in this unprecedented documentary trailing their history-making odyssey to the White House. Witness never before seen footage of Obama behind the scenes, as well as interviews and candid moments with family, senior campaign staff, volunteers, reporters, supporters and even opponents.

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