February 15, 2016 |
Buddy Ryan was a jerk, and the 1985 Chicago Bears, at least on the defensive side of the ball, were a reflection of their brash coordinator. That's what I'd always believed. So a recent ESPN documentary on both was a surprise. Touching, funny, engrossing, and most of all revealing of the characters hidden behind the caricatures, The '85 Bears was an example of how a talented filmmaker can transform a subject of limited interest into a work of art. It was, like most of ESPN's "30 for 30" films, so good you could almost forgive the network for having made SportsCenter nearly unwatchable.
November 4, 2011
OPENING LAST night and continuing through Tuesday is the fourth annual Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival, sponsored by HBO and Comcast and screening at various locations around the city. The festival comprises 10 features and 18 shorts for all audiences, from romantic comedy to documentary. Today's Asian American filmmakers target broader audiences by exploring more universal themes while retaining an Asian American flavor in their work. "Enforcing the Silence," for example, explores themes of discrimination as it focuses on the unsolved murder of San Francisco Vietnamese activist Lam Duong in July 1981 by anticommunist extremists.
August 9, 2012
Robert Hughes, 74, the eloquent, combative art critic and historian who lived with operatic flair and wrote with a sense of authority that owed more to Zola or Ruskin than to his own century, died Monday at Calvary Hospital in the Bronx. He died after a long illness, said his wife, Doris Downes. With a Hemingwayesque build and the distinctively rounded vowels of his native Australia, Mr. Hughes became as familiar a presence on TV as in print, over three decades for Time magazine, where he was chief art critic and often a traditionalist scourge in an era when art movements fractured into unrecognizability.
October 7, 2012
End of Watch Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña are best friends and patrol car partners, cruising the mean streets of South Central L.A. in David (Training Day) Ayer's visceral, violent cop thriller. R Looper A slam-bang blast of a time-travel thriller, with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis as a guy named Joe - yes, they're the same guy, separated by 30 years in the dystopian future and brought together when Young Joe, a hit man, gets a job to kill Old Joe. Emily Blunt co-stars, as the mother of a kid with weird powers.
December 18, 2011
Bert Schneider, 78, a producer of Easy Rider and other films that helped define the social unrest of the late 1960s and early '70s, died Monday in Los Angeles. Mr. Schneider was a major behind-the-scenes force in the movement to make Hollywood more responsive to a youthful audience. Hearts and Minds (1974), which he produced with Peter Davis, was a documentary that focused on opposition to the Vietnam War. It won the Academy Award as best documentary in 1975.
February 22, 2013
By Steve Hallock This year's menu of Oscar-nominated short documentaries offers not only compelling viewing but also hope for those who despair over the decline of a robust, independent press that serves as investigative watchdog over government, business, and society. Not only are some newspapers going out of business, but those remaining - other than a few major city dailies - are eliminating investigative reporting teams and closing foreign and national bureaus. Broadcast television, meanwhile, long ago saw its special reports and foreign bureaus wither as the networks and the cable brethren exponentially increased sports and entertainment fare.
January 30, 2012 |
WHEN ALL of Comcast's legal and financial minds got together to discuss a purchase of NBC, do you think any of them raised the hypothetical question: "Do we have a corporate position on donkey semen?" That was the question du jour for the media conglomerate after "Fear Factor" shot an episode this past summer in which contestants were challenged to drink a glass of donkey semen (and one of urine, you know, as a cocktail) and some of them did - because one's thirst for cash knows no limits.
January 23, 2013 |
PITTSBURGH - FrackNation is a new documentary that attacks opponents of fracking for oil and gas, but it also raises a bigger question: Is it possible to criticize environmentalists without being a tool for big industry? Fracking - or hydraulic fracturing - is a method of stimulating oil and gas from deep underground that has led to a historic boom in U.S. production while also stoking controversy over its possible impact on the environment and human health. FrackNation , an independent documentary produced by Los Angeles-based filmmakers Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney, addresses the issue from an unusual perspective.
October 4, 2013 |
PHILADELPHIA Trade unions have taken their dispute with developers Michael and Matthew Pestronk to a new level, producing a sleek documentary that accuses the brothers of safety and health violations at their signature project, the unfinished Goldtex building. The 20-minute documentary, unveiled Wednesday at a campaign-style event at the headquarters of electricians union Local 98, includes videos, photos, and interviews with two unidentified "undercover workers" at the job site, just north of Chinatown.
March 9, 2015 |
The filmmakers ask Richard Norcross to pull over at the house where he was shot five times - the house where his younger brother and another law enforcement officer were gunned down 20 years ago. "It's a very eerie feeling," says Norcross, who was a Haddon Heights police detective when Leslie Nelson's bloody rampage made national headlines. Glancing at the innocuous two-story dwelling on Sylvan Drive where his life changed forever on April 20, 1995, Norcross adds, "There are no good memories here.