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Documentary Films

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Review: Neil Young Trunk Show

If a Neil Young neophyte can find himself rocking in a cinema seat to the spirited, soulful music performed in this second of a rumored triptych of Demme-directed, Young-starring concert documentaries, long-time fans are bound to break their armrests.
Traveling down no "No Hidden Path"
By BRETT MICHEL  |  March 19, 2010
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Camera obscura

An acquired taste in French cinema, Philippe Grandrieux is an abstractionist who does narrative features, a post-punk artiste as comfortable making Marilyn Manson music videos as he is war-zone documentaries. But his three major features — which the Ha
Philippe Grandrieux's loaded minimalism
By MICHAEL ATKINSON  |  February 19, 2010
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Karen Schmeer: 1970-2010

Karen Schmeer, the brilliant local film editor whose work on Errol Morris's documentary The Fog of War helped win it the Best Documentary Oscar in 2004, died January 29 in a tragic accident, struck by a getaway car as she was crossing a street in Manha
In Memoriam
By PETER KEOUGH  |  February 01, 2010
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Review: Waiting For Armageddon

Much scarier than 2012 is this documentary about the death grip that fundamentalist religious groups have on American politics.
Here are all the crazies
By PETER KEOUGH  |  January 29, 2010
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Documentary Man

If you think the polemic salvos Michael Moore churns out define the modern documentary, you've either succumbed to Moore's manipulative shenanigans or are unfamiliar with the works of Frederick Wiseman. No disrespect to the Roger & Me director, he
An interview with Frederick Wiseman
By TOM MEEK  |  December 11, 2009
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Taking gay rights to Obama

You might have seen Chase Whiteside and Erick Stoll, seniors at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, around town in the days leading up to November 3.
All Politics Is Local
By DEIRDRE FULTON  |  November 20, 2009


Sound words

I appreciate the positive review Jeffrey Gantz gave to Bad Boy Made Good , the documentary film I produced, which was shown this week at the MFA.
Letters to the Boston editor, November 13, 2009
By BOSTON PHOENIX LETTERS  |  November 13, 2009
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Prodding the free market

Yes Man Mike Bonanno on the most fun aspect of co-directing the new documentary, The Yes Men Fix the World: “climbing into an abandoned flooded quarry in a business suit with 30 pounds of rocks in the pockets to combat buoyancy for the underwater scenes.
 The Yes Men’s irreverent crisis of conscience
By CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  October 23, 2009
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Review: Good Hair

According to Chris Rock, this documentary directed by Jeff Stilson was born when his young daughter asked him: “Daddy, how come I don’t have good hair?”
Chris Rock will make your head itch to know more
By SHAULA CLARK  |  October 23, 2009
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Interview: Ken Burns

After watching The National Parks: America's Best Idea , it would be easy to conclude that it all could have been said a lot faster. Ken Burns disagrees — but he's not just being defensive.
On his latest PBS documentary, The National Parks
By CLIF GARBODEN  |  September 25, 2009
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Take the fifth

Among the issues you'll see tackled at the Camden International Film Festival this year are poverty, overfishing, peak oil, and the plight (and/or) ambition of children who grow up too quickly.
The Camden International Film Festival hits a half-decade, with momentum building
By CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  September 25, 2009


Reeling

If the Rhode Island International Film Festival were a monster movie, it would be something like The Blob That Engulfed Delaware . Like its dozen predecessors, the 13th annual event will be taking over the state.
Get ready for RIIFF's 13th Filmapalooza
By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  July 31, 2009
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Review: Soul Power

Concert flicks are quite different from deliberately political documentaries. In the latter, the perception that filmmakers are too intimate with their subjects can reek of propaganda.
Leftover footage from When We Were Kings yields a doc that's anything but trash
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  July 17, 2009
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Pixel revolt

Anders Østergaard's Burma VJ: Reporting From a Closed Country is paced and edited with the keen, polished urgency of a thriller — there are frantic, confused phone conversations, along with gloomy music and a healthy amount of ominous foreshadowing —
Burma VJ's heroic dissident journalists
By CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  June 19, 2009
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Greetings and salutations

Aging and patriotism in The Way We Get By
Aging and patriotism in The Way We Get By
By CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  June 12, 2009
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Gay deceivers

The California State Supreme Court just upheld Proposition 8, denying gay people the right to marriage. This should disabuse the complacent of the illusion that the religious right has relinquished its death grip on America. So, too, should Kirby Dick's
Outrage isn't outrageous enough
By PETER KEOUGH  |  June 05, 2009


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Best in show

Tom Hall, the new artistic director of the Newport International Film Festival (June 3-7), had the usual hard time culling more than 600 submissions — some invited but most over the transom — down to 90 films — 17 narrative features (plus five Hollywoo
Making the picks at the Newport Film Festival
By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  May 29, 2009

Hope city

Filmmaker looks at life Under the Bridge
Under the Bridge
By DAVID SCHARFENBERG  |  May 22, 2009

Alive and well

The seventh annual Independent Film Festival of Boston
The seventh annual Independent Film Festival of Boston
By  |  April 17, 2009
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Review: Invisible Girlfriend

Does this documentary from David Redmon and Ashley Sabin exploit its subject? You'll be tempted to say yes.
Surreal
By BRETT MICHEL  |  April 17, 2009
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Review: Shooting Beauty

Sometimes just being a gifted artist doesn't mean you're the right person to tell the story.
Compassionate, and without pity
By TOM MEEK  |  April 17, 2009


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Review: Trinidad

In contrast to its eloquent subjects, director P.J. Raval's documentary about Trinidad, Colorado — the "Sex Change Capital of the World" — seems uncertain about its aspirations.
Vacillates between revelation and reality-show shtick
By ALICIA POTTER  |  April 17, 2009
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Review: For the Love of Movies

Like Trekkies and other documentaries that examine what makes particular nerd legions tick, For the Love of Movies beams viewers to a planet that outsiders only think they know about.
Why do some people get to watch movies for a living?
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  April 17, 2009
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Review: Virtual JFK: Vietnam If Kennedy Had Lived

There's not much "virtual" in Kosi Masutani's thoughtful if artless documentary about the JFK administration — which is to its credit.
What would JFK do?
By PETER KEOUGH  |  April 10, 2009

Truth, not falsity

Here are some of the documentaries you can expect to see in Maine this year.
Keep your eyes peeled for these docos
By CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  March 04, 2009
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Review: In a Dream

If you find yourself groaning through the first five minutes of Jeremiah Zagar's Academy Award-shortlisted feature documentary about his artist father Isaiah, you might just be its target audience.
Personal collapse in impressive structure
By CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  February 11, 2009


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Miller and Bettencourt document TB epidemic

You wouldn't think G. Wayne Miller would have time left to blink, considering the work he delivers
Reel Life
By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  February 04, 2009
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Review: Dance on Camera at Lincoln Center

Gotham was awash in dance during early January as the annual Dance on Camera Festival coincided with the conference of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (better known as APAP, the national bookers' convention).
Tidal wave
By MARCIA B. SIEGEL  |  January 20, 2009
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Luckey in Amsterdam

Simply, there’s no more prestigious place for a documentary to debut than IDFA, rightly regarded as the very best documentary festival in the world.
Paralyzing hopelessness at the International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam
By GERALD PERRY  |  December 05, 2008
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Harvard Beats Yale 29-29

Kevin Rafferty's 40th-anniversary documentary about the fabled Game of 1968 — when both teams were unbeaten and Harvard, after being completely outplayed by the 16th-ranked Elis, scored 16 points in the final 42 seconds to "win" — has no designs on bein
Scores in nearly every department
By JEFFREY GANTZ  |  November 19, 2008