I wrote two blog posts on Hollywood icon Mae West to accompany the PBS American Mastersdocumentary on her life (I work on the show). Click below to read them, and if you’re a PBS Passport member, watch the film here.
A few of this year’s Oscar-nominated documentary short films are available free online (full versions below), while others are accessible on Netflix and HBO. Here’s how to watch all five.
IMDbdescription: Edith and Eddie, ages 96 and 95, are America’s oldest interracial newlyweds. Their love story is disrupted by a family feud that threatens to tear the couple apart. Director: Laura Checkoway Runtime: 29 min.
Two months ago, I encouraged several people to watch this year’s crop of Oscar-nominated documentary shorts. My only instruction: have tissues handy. Hard-hitting themes ranged from Syria, to end-of-life decisions in an ICU, to Syria, to the Holocaust, to Syria.
So months before the White House fired its missiles in the direction of the Middle Eastern country this week, the Academy was providing us privileged folk sitting in soft recliners with varied perspectives on the crisis that’s happening halfway around the world—where instead of privilege there are regular shellings, and instead of soft recliners there are scared children. The nominated documentaries, “The White Helmets” (the eventual winner), “Watani: My Homeland,” and “4.1 Miles” each offer a completely different take on Syria’s civil war, and each gives us reason to care. This is essential viewing. Below I give a brief synopsis for each film, including the full version of “4.1 Miles.”
As the 53rd New York Film Festival wrapped with Closing Night selection Miles Ahead, a bio-drama on “social music” (don’t call it jazz) legend Miles Davis, starring and helmed by Don Cheadle in his directorial debut, it’s time to look back on some of the Festival’s best offerings.
BRIDGE OF SPIES
In Steven Spielberg’s Cold War-era drama, Tom Hanks plays a Brooklyn insurance lawyer who must broker a sensitive prisoner exchange with the USSR. Once again, Spielberg proves he’s at the top of his craft. Hanks turns in a solid performance, but it’s supporting player Mark Rylance who steals his scenes as a Soviet spy with his too-cool-it’s-unnerving performance.
The 23rd edition of the Hamptons International Film Festival launched its five-day run last Thursday with Opening Night selection Truth, the true newsroom drama starring Cate Blanchett and Robert Redford. With a healthy selection of world premieres and Oscar hopefuls (including nine foreign language submissions), the festival is primed to bring some of the world’s best cinema to Long Island. Here’s a small sampling of what’s on the slate.
When I heard that a lost Hitchcock film was found, I knew I had to learn more, even if it were a doc, perhaps unlike anything he had previously made. As a huge Hitch fan, I’m looking forward to learning more about the film that researchers only recently uncovered.
Synopsis (courtesy of IMDb):
Researchers discover film footage from World War II that turns out to be a lost documentary shot by Alfred Hitchcock and Sidney Bernstein in 1945 about German concentration camps.
Director: André Singer Screenwriter: Lynette Singer Cast: Helena Bonham Carter (narrator), Alfred Hitchcock, Sidney Bernstein Distributor: HBO Documentary Films Runtime: 75 min.
This morning, the nominations for the 87th Academy Awards were announced. View all nominees here.
If you’re like me, you watch as many of the nominated films as possible before the ceremony (on February 22 this year). Got some catching up to do? Watch 11 of the nominated films, currently on Netflix.
Who would have thought the year’s greatest thriller would be a documentary? In the days following Citizenfour’s world premiere at the New York Film Festival last Friday, various news and entertainment outlets have been lauding filmmaker Laura Poitras’s achievement, and rightfully so. Of all the films this reviewer screened at the 52nd New York Film Festival, none has left an impact quite as deep as Citizenfour.
Summer may not officially begin until June 21, but “summer movies” have already begun to make waves at the box office. And while filmgoers succumb to the traditional summer movie fare—including superheroes and sequels, Transformers and talking apes—the indie box office is primed to serve up something different with a bit more depth. This summer, we challenge you to venture beyond the shallow side of the pool and dive into the deep end. Here’s our annual Top 10 list of what you will find there.