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We spout opinion, comment on the current zeitgeist and overanalyze pop culture and mainstream movies. Whether in the form of lists, survey questions or straight editorials, we hope to make thinking deeply about film a fun and stimulating activity for all.

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Sundance 2012: Reviews of "The Other Dream Team," "The Law in These Parts" and "Love Free or Die"

  • By Christopher Campbell
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  • January 27, 2012 5:30 PM
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As a documentary fan and critic who discovered so many great nonfiction films at Sundance last year, including some of 2011’s very best, it’s been extremely painful not being in Park City this week. To make things easier I could have tried to ignore the festival, stayed off Twitter, not read reviews, definitely not researched and talked about films ahead of time let alone written about the resulting most anticipated docs in my last Doc Talk column. Hearing enormously positive buzz on "The Imposter," "Searching for Sugar Man," "Detropia," "The Queen of Versailles," "The Ambassador," "West of Memphis and others is driving me absolutely bonkers.

Slamdance 2012: Alexandra Berger Talks “Danland,” Finding a Narrative in Verite Style and Being a Woman Documenting the Porn Industry

  • By Christopher Campbell
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  • January 26, 2012 4:13 PM
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One of the highlights at this year’s Slamdance Film Festival is the documentary "Danland," which follows the romantic pursuits of a well-known producer and star of amateur pornography. The film begins with this man, ‘Porno’ Dan Leal, on his wedding day, but we can’t really see who the bride is. Then we go back a few years and watch his relationships grow and die, some resurrected, others gone for good. It’s truly a movie for equal enjoyment among couples. There’s the porn stuff for the guys and the romance for the girls. And for just general doc lovers it’s an entertaining look into a strange and complicated world. 

Sundance 2012: Managing Cynicism - This Year’s Great Crop of Sundance Online Shorts

  • By Daniel Walber
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  • January 26, 2012 11:15 AM
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Maybe I’m a bit cynical. That’s not true. I’m excessively cynical. I could claim it comes naturally once you’ve seen too many movies, but that doesn’t seem like a good enough excuse. And the 2012 Sundance Film Festival’s online shorts are a perfectly illustrative example of why any exhausted approach to new movies is a bad idea.

Sundance 2012: Top Online Shorts "Long Distance Information" and "The Debutante Hunters"

  • By Daniel Walber
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  • January 25, 2012 7:23 PM
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  • 1 Comment
All of the nine shorts Yahoo and the Sundance Film Festival have put on the web are pretty good. It’s an impressive crop, and I’d say more consistent than a lot of the stuff festivals have put online in the last year. Yet in any batch of films a few rise to the top. I’ve rounded up the other seven, and the oddly consistent problem they have. Here are my two favorites and some gushing about why I think they’re absolutely worth your time.

Sundance 2012: "Teddy Bear" is a Sweet Drama With a Lovably Large Breakout Performance

  • By Christopher Campbell
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  • January 23, 2012 3:28 PM
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The main conceit of Mads Matthiesen’s “Teddy Bear” (aka "10 Timer til Paradis") which was previously established in his 2007 short film “Dennis,” is that its protagonist is a bulging bodybuilder who ironically isn’t macho at all. The idea that this guy, Dennis, is introverted, awkward with women and for all we know a 40-year-old virgin is expanded upon in the feature, and though it’s a simple idea with little extra going on the film never overextends its welcome.

Slamdance 2012: Doc Competition Offers Sex, Rebirth and Anonymous

  • By Christopher Campbell
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  • January 20, 2012 9:41 AM
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One thing I began to notice last year is that many documentaries are a bit too long. I think some of this has to do with the desire to be sold as a “true” feature length film, although in this day when VOD, online streams and TV formatting overshadow theatrical for nonfiction distribution and viewership, I don’t know why going 90 minutes and above seems favorable to filmmakers when the content just isn’t there. One of the best docs of last year, according to many doc critics and fans (including myself) is Jarred Alterman’s "Convento," which comes in at a mere 50 minutes. We need more of this.

Slamdance 2012: "Getting Up: The TEMPT ONE Story" is an Inspiring Documentary About Our Collaborative Future

  • By Christopher Campbell
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  • January 19, 2012 11:16 AM
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  • 1 Comment
In Bob Bryan’s low-budget 1995 documentary “Graffiti Verite,” L.A. street artist Tony Quan, aka ‘TEMPT,’ talks about how artists in his community feed off each other like jazz musicians. “Graffiti is very communal...very interactive,” he says. A clip of this interview is also now featured in the new film “Getting Up: The TEMPT ONE Story,” and it provides a great jumping off point with which to consider the overall point of this inspiring documentary.

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