Tag Archives | film

Is Joaquin Phoenix Still Here?

Casey Affleck’s new film about Joaquin Phoenix is causing quite a stir, with no one being quite sure if it’s all a joke, or if he’s truly gone off the rails. Trailer and then report from Reuters below:

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Whether a hoax or not, a new documentary about Joaquin Phoenix and his transition from acclaimed, brooding actor to bearded, shambolic hip-hop wannabe has captivated viewers at the Venice film festival…

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Mainstream Film Rentals Coming Soon To Google/YouTube

hollywoodGoogle, YouTube, Hulu, Netflix … it’s only a matter of time till Blockbuster files for bankruptcy. In case we didn’t already have enough access to instant movie viewing, Google is looking for a new deal with Hollywood studios. From Wired:

Google is reportedly in talks with the major movie studios to launch full-length video rentals on YouTube by year’s end.

YouTube has already experimented with film rentals, offering selections from the Sundance Festival earlier this year when it would not rule out the addition of Hollywood movies. And the site was reportedly in talks with the same studios around this time last year, so this does not come as much of a surprise, the Financial Times’ “scoop” notwithstanding.

However, YouTube’s movie rental program currently focuses on independent filmmakers and music artists. The addition of mainstream, pay-per-view feature films to YouTube would represent a significant development, regardless of how long these reported talks have been ongoing (at least a year).

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How the U.S. Took on Dr. Strangelove and Tried to Make Americans Love the Bomb

From the Guardian:

Nuclear Armageddon has always had its funny side. But the US military wasn’t laughing in the early 1960s as Americans, freshly shaken by the Cuban missile crisis, lapped up Stanley Kubrick’s classic satire, Dr Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.

The film – which portrays a psychotic air force general who sets in chain the nuclear obliteration of the Soviet Union – was one of a spate of popular novels and films about accidental atomic war which had the US air force worried that some viewers might believe it all possible.

So in an attempt to persuade Americans that there was no chance of some rogue general or crosswired computer unleashing an atomic war, Strategic Air Command (SAC) went into the film business itself.

The result, a 17-minute propaganda film called SAC Command Post, was never shown to the public and was all but forgotten until it was unearthed at the national archive by William Burr, a researcher from George Washington University.

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Why Do Rappers Hold Their Guns Sideways?

From Slate:

As police chased Raymond “Ready” Martinez through Times Square on Thursday, the street hustler and aspiring rapper fired two shots, holding the gun sideways “like a character out of a rap video.” According to the New York Post, Martinez’s side grip caused the gun to jam, enabling police to shoot and kill the suspect. What’s the point of holding a gun sideways?To look Hollywood, of course. Journalists and gun experts point to the 1993 Hughes brothers film Menace II Society, which depicts the side grip in its opening scene, as the movie that popularized the style. Although the directors claim to have witnessed a side grip robbery in Detroit in 1987, there are few reports of street gangs using the technique until after the movie came out. The Hughes brothers didn’t invent the grip, though. In 1961′s One-Eyed Jacks, Marlon Brando used it, as did Eli Wallach in 1966′s The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly.

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Muslim Punk Rock: A Mashup of Piety and Politics

When I went to Austin for the 2009 South By Southwest film festival I spent a lot of time with the director of a film we had just acquired for distribution, Rip! A Remix Manifesto. The director, Brett Gaylor, is part of a Canadian production company called Eyesteel Films and they had rented a funky little house a little way out of town. It became the place to hang after the last screening of the night, and I got to talking to another director in the Eyesteel stable, Omar Majeed, who was making a documentary about Muslim punk rock. I knew a little bit about it from the Soft Skull Press book The Taqwacores, published by my friend Richard Nash.

Fast forward several months and Omar’s film is now starting to screen at festivals and arthouse cinemas. Check out the official site for screening info, and here’s the trailer:

Meanwhile, the film is attracting some serious media attention…

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Think Outside The Box Office

We don’t often review books on the Disinformation site, partly because we’re publishers ourselves and it might seem as though we have a competitive conflict of interest, but probably more because all our reading time is taken up with submissions, editing, and so forth.

I have to make an exception for a book that arrived in the mail this morning: Jon Reiss’ Think Outside The Box Office: The Ultimate Guide to Film Distribution and Marketing for the Digital Era. It’s no secret that indie film has gone through an amazing period of growth for any number of reasons, not least access to cheap but high quality cameras and computers/editing systems. The way we watch indie film has changed drastically too, from art house cinemas to DVDs that arrive in the mail or from a kiosk in a supermarket, on demand via your cable or satellite TV provider, or online via iTunes, Netflix, Amazon.com or, gasp, Bit Torrent.

When Disinformation entered the home video market in 2003 it was perfect timing (accidental, proving the old maxim, better to be lucky than smart) and we rode the wave of documentary films selling in big numbers on DVD. Now that the retail DVD market is dying we’re finding new ways to bring our films to their intended niche audiences, and that’s exactly what Jon’s book is all about. What worked yesterday is failing today and won’t work at all tomorrow.

The only hesitation I have in recommending this book to every single independent filmmaker today is that armed with the information in this book, a filmmaker is potentially equipped to bypass distributors like Disinformation completely! But, in the spirit of ‘information should be free,’ go to Reiss’ book site

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15 Docs On Oscar Shortlist

Why is it that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences always makes such boring choices for its Oscar nominations? The procedure is a little different for documentary films, where they first come up with a ‘shortlist.’ Needless to say, as a distributor of documentaries Disinformation would have suggested some other films, such as Robert Greenwald’s timely and compelling Rethink Afghanistan and two personal favorites of mine, Anvil: The Story of Anvil and We Live In Public. Please place your alternative lists in the comments section below. Here’s the story from Variety:

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has announced the 15 docus shortlisted for the documentary feature Oscar. The Academy said 89 films had originally qualified for the selection.

Several titles that have already had successful theatrical runs were on the list, including “The Cove,” directed by Louie Psihoyos; “Food, Inc.,” directed by Robert Kenner; “Valentino: The Last Emperor,” directed by Matt Tyrnauer; and “Every Little Step,” directed by James D.

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Is This The End Of The Line For The Impartial Documentary?

It’s amazing that at least six years into the golden era of advocacy documentary filmmaking, a major newspaper with a thriving arts and culture section should feel the need to ask this question, but apparently there are some journalists and filmmakers who think any documentary film that does not try to be ‘objective’ somehow fails to deserve to even be categorized as ‘documentary.’

As the distributor of over fifty documentary films (can you believe that?!? Disinformation has been busy since our first DVD release in 2004…), here at The Disinformation Company we feel that the advocacy films we release are disseminating information and opinion to counter the mainstream and establishment views on the issues at hand (usually our filmmakers are reacting against a government or corporate whitewash). The advent of cheap video cameras and editing software has made it possible for some very bad docs to be made (believe me, we see a lot of them), but they’re still documentaries.… Read the rest

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Matrix Producer Plans Muhammad Biopic

In what sounds like a recipe for trouble, The Guardian reports on a new movie about Muslim prophet Muhammad:

Producer Barrie Osborne cast Keanu Reeves as the messiah in The Matrix and helped defeat the dark lord Sauron in his record-breaking Lord of the Rings trilogy. Now the Oscar-winning American film-maker is set to embark on his most perilous quest to date: making a big-screen biopic of the prophet Muhammad.

Budgeted at around $150m (£91.5m), the film will chart Muhammad’s life and examine his teachings. Osborne told Reuters that he envisages it as “an international epic production aimed at bridging cultures. The film will educate people about the true meaning of Islam”.

Osborne’s production will reportedly feature English-speaking Muslim actors. It is backed by the Qatar-based production company Alnoor Holdings, who have installed the Muslim scholar Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi to oversee all aspects of the shoot. In accordance with Islamic law, the prophet will not actually be depicted on screen.

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Top 5 Halloween Movies

From Nick P at Black Sun Gazette

While you’re all going to be out drinking until you piss yourselves tomorrow I’m going to be working hard for the money picking up plastic glasses and trying to keep dumb fucks from driving home shitfaced. Still, when you find yourself in the witching hour on All Hallow’s Eve, lights off, candles lit, sweetheart dressed up like a sexy barista, you’re going to want some phantasmagoria to get her jumping into your arms every few seconds. Here are some recommendations for gore, schlock, schlocky gore, and gory schlock to waste your time and kill brain cells to on what is everyone’s favorite holiday.

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