July 15, 2015 |
The camera sees what the eyes cannot. Consider The Impressionists and the Man Who Made Them , Phil Grabsky's documentary complementing the Philadelphia Museum of Art exhibition Discovering the Impressionists: Paul Durand-Ruel and the New Painting . To appreciate the art Durand-Ruel championed, the film biography encourages audiences to see through the keen eyes of the premier dealer of avant-garde painting, the inventor of the modern gallery....
July 10, 2015 |
CONTRARY to Amy Winehouse's own self-created myth, when they tried to make her go to rehab, she actually said yes, yes, yes. Her most adamant "no" came when they tried to force her onstage to honor contracts she was in no condition to fulfill. And who, exactly, is "they"? The engrossing new documentary "Amy" invites you to draw your own conclusions, but the movie's access to candid material makes devastating judgments about her inner circle, including her father, who enabled the documentary and has since angrily disowned it. Winehouse, we learn, grew up talented and troubled in working-class London - she left home as a young teen to escape what a friend described as "trouble at home.
July 8, 2015 |
Don't look for light cinematic fare for the opening Tuesday of the Philadelphia gay film festival qFLIX. Its second annual iteration, which runs through Sunday, will lead with a moody romantic drama, Beautiful Something , set here and shot by local director Joseph Graham. And the weighty stuff continues, with documentaries whose titles speak to global LGBT struggles, among them A Sinner in Mecca andthe savage, Ugandan-made Outed: The Painful Reality . One film being buzzed about in Philadelphia's gay community, however, has a comic streak as wide as the United States: Be Who You Are , a deceptively simple, charming, buoyant documentary to premiere at 7 p.m. Thursday at Prince Music Theater.
June 12, 2015 |
THERE IS a fascinating documentary to be made about "Saturday Night Live," the comedic institution that celebrated its 40th anniversary this season. But Bao Nguyen's "Live from New York!" acts more like a primer for newbies unfamiliar with the show's history, giving no real insight into Lorne Michaels' long-running creation. Nguyen, making his full-length documentary debut as a director, relies on cast members and regular guests of old to do the narration (the riotously funny Leslie Jones is one of the rare members of the current cast to get a chance to speak)
May 18, 2015
COMING THIS WEEK By Steven Rea Tomorrowland Disney has been keeping a tight lid on news about its big-budget sci-fi feature, which takes its name from the theme parks and looks to be taking George Clooney on a wild ride across space and time. The good news: Brad Bird of The Incredibles, Ratatouille , and Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol directs. PG Lambert & Stamp The Beatles had Brian Epstein, the Stones had Andrew Loog Oldham, and the Who. . .? The Who had a couple of guys with no experience, no connections, but who somehow managed to talk themselves into representing Daltrey, Moon, Townshend, and Entwistle.
May 18, 2015 |
IF YOU PUT aside what you think you know about Allen Iverson, the documentary "Iverson" is a fascinating look into the soul of one of the most beloved, yet controversial, sports figures to perform in Philadelphia. Produced and directed by Zatella Beatty, "Iverson" debuts tonight at 9 o'clock on Showtime. The documentary, which premiered at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival, tells of the circumstances that turned a kid who could have been swallowed up by life in the projects into a man who became an unlikely international cultural icon through his basketball skills and stubborn anti-establishment personality.
May 17, 2015 |
There is a fascinating story buried in Iverson , a biographical documentary of the 76ers great. Director Zatella Beatty does her best to tease it out of her subject. But her greenness at the helm shows, as she relies heavily on a cloying score, obvious imagery, and a simplistic structure. The film, which premiered at last year's Tribeca Film Festival, starts with Allen Iverson's hardscrabble youth in the projects of Newport News, Va., hitting on his controversial 1993 arrest after a bowling alley brawl (which leads to a cameo by current NBC10 reporter Monique Braxton)
May 17, 2015 |
A work of bizarro genius, The Incredibly Dangerous Astonishing Lucrative and Potentially True Adventures of Barry Seal , at FringeArts only through Saturday, is not to be missed. Thaddeus Phillips gives us a brilliant, hilarious theater installation/conspiracy theory/telenovela/true-life drama about the titular drug smuggler and CIA informant. If you look up Barry Seal, you'll discover that not only was he a real person, but also that there are conflicting theories about his death.
April 27, 2015
AUSTIN, Texas - When Brett Morgen was working through the drawings, journals, home videos, and sound collages that Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain left behind after taking his life in 1994, the filmmaker found a note to Cobain's then-girlfriend Tracey Marander, written in the late 1980s. "I'm going to work now," Cobain wrote. "When I'm gone please go through all my things and figure me out. " That was Morgen's task in 2007, when Cobain's widow, Courtney Love, approached him about making a film.