Activist trends come and go—time will tell if KONY 2012 can have any lasting impact—but anti-bullying sentiment seems to have stuck around. A whole slew of anti-bullying campaigns have exploded into the cultural eye in the last 15 years, including recent Western guest Dan Savage’s ultra-successful social media campaign, the It Gets Better Project. The power of social media campaigns like Savage’s can’t be denied, but it shouldn’t stop on the Internet. Until recently, anti-bullying seemed to be missing out on some vital mediums—namely documentary film.
Bully, following the daily struggle of five tormented high school students, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2011 to a rainstorm of attention. Since then, the documentary has been featured at Canada’s Hot Docs festival, the LA Film Festival, Italy’s Ischia Film Festival, and will be released to limited screens in the U.S. this Friday.
But Bully is currently facing a kind of bullying of its own. The playground thug? That feared buzz-killer called the MPAA. Continue reading →
I wasn’t quite sure who to like in Carnage, Roman Polanski’s annoying little film about two sets of wealthy Brooklyn parents bickering over their children’s schoolyard fight. Was it the women, demeaned to one-dimensional wrecks? Was it the men, miscast or otherwise reduced to unconvincing buddy-film cliché? Though Christoph Waltz and Kate Winslet offer a few moments each where likeability seems possible (she does some of the best drunk acting in recent memory), there’s no escaping these characters’ grasps in this claustrophobic gimmick of a movie.
By the time Winslet slurs, “Why are we still in this house?” the audience is right there with her. Continue reading →
There’s really nothing more subjective than top ten lists. We break them down and sketch them out and rearrange them like there’s some kind of science to it, while in the end, it’s all just a matter of opinion.
But also, all those other critics are wrong and these are the year’s best movies.
After the jump: Top 10 Best; Honourable Mentions; Most Overrated; and Movies to Look for in 2012. Continue reading →
Melancholia is not for everyone. It is at times painstakingly art-house, unpleasant, and frustrating, but all the while beautiful, mesmerizing, and bewitchingly intense. I imagine that there will be a certain crowd who will turn away from the film – at least question their choice for the evening – within its first five minutes, a montage of the end of the world. This is not the world’s end as we’ve seen it elsewhere in film; no crumbling skyscrapers or rip-roaring crevasses split the movie screen here. No, in Lars von Trier’s vision, the world’s end is a work of art in extreme slow-motion. These opening moments feature some of the film’s most memorable imagery: lightning emits from finger tips, a mother trudges across a golf course clutching her child, and planets collide.
Still, for many, Melancholia’s 130 minutes will feel as though it were all in slow motion. Know what you’re getting into. Continue reading →
While there was some of the usual glass-clinking going on at the Golden Globe Awards last Sunday, the praise was mixed for sophomore host Ricky Gervais. Some applauded his wise-cracks with a hesitant clap while others criticized the comedian for his supposed “bad form,” begging the question: Should comedians hold back when celebs are the target? The negative responses to Gervais were largely based on the warped belief that we should be nice to celebrities. And there’s nothing more offensive than that. Continue reading →
We went with “blunders”, but this list might as well be called “2010’s biggest money-grabs” – more than half the items on this list consist of the favouring of money over art, quantity over quality. But that’s not to downplay the serious mistakes of the other items.
Check out our list of money-grabs and plain old fuck-ups, after the jump:
It’s not often that the best movie of the year is also the movie with the best box office numbers, but 2010 was one of those years. In fact, last year saw some of the most popular and most talked-about films became the best of the entire year. Check out the year’s 10 best movies after the jump. Continue reading →
Forgive me if I don’t totally “get” Dogtooth, Yorgos Lanthimos’ bizarre Greek drama (comedy?) about three teenagers imprisoned by their parents in a house unexposed to the dangers of the outside world. I suppose this is the kind of artsy film that deserves praise for its off-beat, adventurous attitude, but God help me if it doesn’t just seem like Lanthimos had a one-liner idea and put it on film. Dogtooth is bizarre, and that’s pretty much all it’s got to offer. It makes no excuses, and should be commended for that, but it also makes no attempt at explanations, and that’s where Dogtooth falls short. Continue reading →
Indie movies are a great thing. When it comes to the art of film you know there’s no truer testament than the Independent, for everyone involved has cast aside the confines of the mainstream and commercial for the realism of artistic passion. If you’re not in it for the money – and with the dry budget of many indie movies, you can be sure they aren’t – then you’ve got to be in it for the art. But for the indie fan, it sometimes just doesn’t work as well as you wish it would.
Sundance darling Winter’s Bone could be this Oscar season’s indie darling too. With many critics including it in their top 10s of the year, you can except to see Winter’s Bone on the Best Picture list at the end of the month when nominees are announced. But, while the film has a few tense moments and a lot of artsy shots of impoverished-looking things, it’s a big indie disappointment. Continue reading →
For those of us who think that film is important, there is no better case in point than documentaries. Last year two films stood out in the pack of acclaimed docs in their importance. Burma VJ, about journalists smuggling footage of the 2007 uprisings in a corrupt Burma military state, and Oscar-winner The Cove, about the annual dolphin slaughters in a small Japanese coastal town. But if you’ve seen either of these docs you know they don’t just serve to document important events, they are also examples of riveting filmmaking.
2010 was another good year for documentaries. While everyone raved about The Social Network, the so-called “other Facebook movie” was forgotten, but Catfish was unmatched by other docs for suspense. Other docs tackled such diverse topics as marriage equality, graffiti, and flammable tap water. After the jump, see how 4 docs rank by filmic standards and in importance.