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Joshua Reviews Elvira Lind’s Bobbi Jene [Theatrical Review]

22 September 2017 11:00 AM, PDT

Artist biographies come a dime a dozen. Be it the historical documentary looking at the life and career of an iconic cultural figure or a “talking head” picture that sees that very figure speaking bluntly about the life they have led, the form may very but the central thesis is relatively the same. However, every so often a documentary comes along that either shatters the formal expectations set for this subgenre of documentary or is so entrancing narratively that the formal cliches can be overlooked. And then there are the films that do both.

That’s the thin window where Bobbi Jene falls.

Director Elvira Lind introduces us to American dancer Bobbi Jene Smith, as she embarks on what ostensibly amounts to a complete change of life. A beloved member of the legendary Batsheva Dance Company, Bobbi Jene Smith uproots her life, leaving Tel Aviv, Israel to move back to »

- Joshua Brunsting

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Joshua Reviews Peter Nicks’ The Force [Theatrical Review]

22 September 2017 10:00 AM, PDT

Since its inception, the award given to the best documentary director at the annual Sundance Film Festival has seen a who’s who of documentary auteurs. Be it Errol Morris for a film like A Brief History Of Time or Morgan Spurlock for Supersize Me, the award, in all of its various iterations, has helped spark the careers of some true non-fiction film making titans.

After The Force, director Peter Nicks is absolutely one of them. Previously known for the underrated The Waiting Room, Nicks is back with The Force, and it’s a stark change in pace for the filmmaker.

Inspired in many ways by the films of Fredrick Wiseman, Nicks’ latest film is classical cinema verite. The film introduces us to the Oakland Police Department, which at the start of 2014, was in the middle of ever increasing controversy. Itself a the A1 example of the modern state of policing, »

- Joshua Brunsting

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Joshua Reviews Murray Lerner’s Festival [Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review]

22 September 2017 9:00 AM, PDT

The music documentary comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes. For fans of live experiences, you have your Woodstock, and for those who like a bit more of a behind the scenes vibe, you have something like the recently-released May It Last: A Portrait of the Avett Brothers. There are films that subvert those two modese, like the impossibly powerful White Stripes: Under Great White Northern Lights, and some that go the historical route such as Ken BurnsJazz. However, there is not another music documentary quite like Festival.

Shot by director Murray Lerner at the annual Newport Folk Festival from 1963-1966, Festival tells not only the story of folk music at its historic peak, but even more so the politics of the movement that brought it to the fore. Driven by performances ranging from Joan Baez to Howlin’ Wolf, Festival is an iconic, gorgeously composed meditation on America »

- Joshua Brunsting

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Scott Reviews Kelly Reichardt’s Certain Woman [Criterion Blu-ray Review]

21 September 2017 5:41 PM, PDT

Kelly Reichardt’s triptych film Certain Women is adapted from three short stories by Maile Meloy, and retains the feeling the form is so effective at evoking. Spare on plot, they isolate moments from people’s lives. Some of are overtly dramatic (an early standoff with a rifle perhaps suggests more exterior conflict than the rest of the film will yield), but most of are fairly mundane. But they leave one feeling as though some untapped perspective or desire has been revealed, and we’re not yet fully prepared how to take stock of it.

As there are three stories to account for, I don’t want this review to turn into a complete synopsis; and as the first and third sections have generated the most discussion over the past year and a half, the second story, led by Michelle Williams. When I first saw the film at Sundance 2016, the »

- Scott Nye

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Criterion Reflections – Episode 2 – Winter 1969 Part 2

20 September 2017 5:00 AM, PDT

Criterion Reflections is David Blakeslee’s ongoing project to watch all of the films included in the Criterion Collection in chronological order of their original release. Each episode features panel conversations and 1:1 interviews offering insights on movies that premiered in a particular season of a year in the past, which were destined to eventually bear the Criterion imprint. In this episode, David is joined by Martin Kessler, Jordan Essoe, Doug McCambridge, Jason Beamish and Trevor Berrett to discuss six titles from the Winter of 1969: Jaromil Jires’s The Joke, Juraj Herz’s The Cremator, Wim Winders’s Silver City Revisited, Fellini: A Director’s Notebook, Luis Bunuel’s The Milky Way and Pierre Etaix’s Le Grand Amour.

Episode Time Markers: Introduction: 0:00:00 – 0:09:47 The Joke: 0:09:48 – 0:36:30 Silver City Revisited: 0:36:31 – 0:54:30 The Cremator: 0:54:31 – 1:17: »

- David Blakeslee

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Criterion Now – Episode 33 – December 2017 Announcements, Abbas Kiarostami, Film Festival News

18 September 2017 2:50 PM, PDT

Max and Trevor join Aaron to dig into the December releases and run through a busy period of news. We pay a little more attention to Abbas Kiarostami, Film Festivals, and Max provides some tidbits from his recent experience at Tiff.

Episode Links Safdie Brothers – Closet Video Abbas Kiarostami Final Film Sells to North America Telluride – Ed Lachman Interview New Restoration of Come and See Wins Venice Celine and Julie Go Boating Blu Ray Harry Dean Stanton Dies at 91 Episode Credits Aaron West: Twitter | Website | Letterboxd Max Covill: Twitter | Podcast | Film School Rejects Trevor Barrett: Twitter| Website Criterion Now: Facebook Group Criterion Cast: Facebook | Twitter

Music for the show is from Fatboy Roberts’ Geek Remixed project. »

- Aaron West

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