What a treasure we have in Errol Morris. This year he already gave us Tabloid, a tremendously entertaining documentary that presents a wild, lurid story and uses it to sift for, if not factual truth, at least the perception of truth from a specific perspective. Truth and perspective have been two of the driving forces for Morris’ entire career as a documentarian, with both explored in detail through essays the filmmaker writes on a semi-regular basis for the New York Times.

The latest film from Morris is a six-minute short made for the New York Times. The Umbrella Man is a short interview with Josiah Thompson, a Kierkegaard scholar who also wrote Six Seconds in Dallas, the key book that argues for a three-gunman explanation for the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

But this isn’t some conspiracy theory story. Quite the opposite, in fact. It is, as Thompson says, a cautionary tale, about the dangers of looking for evil where it might not exist. Read More »

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Paul Rudd to Star in Next Errol Morris Film

Back in April of 2009 acclaimed documentarian Errol Morris announced his intent to make his second non-doc feature. The film was being written by Stranger Than Fiction scripter Zach Helm, based on two sources:  Robert F. Nelson’s memoir We Froze the First Man and a This American Life segment called ‘You’re Cold As Ice,’ which jointly follow the story of Robert Nelson, a TV repairman who developed his own cryogenic preservation technology in the mid-’60s.

We haven’t heard much about the film in some time, but it isn’t dead. (Resist the puns. Resist the puns.) Now, while promoting his recent documentary Tabloid, Errol Morris has revealed that Paul Rudd will play Bob Nelson. Read More »

This is one of the best trailers I’ve seen so far this year. The Errol Morris documentary Tabloid chronicles a very strange subject: Joyce McKinney, who became a tabloid fixture in the UK in 1977 when accused of kidnapping and raping a Mormon missionary named Kirk Anderson. It was called ‘The Case of the Manacled Mormon,’ and now famed documentarian Errol Morris explores the story in his own polished style.

Tabloid appeared at Telluride and TIFF last year and SXSW this year, and Sundance Selects will release it in July. The trailer gives out an incredible amount of information in a very entertaining and, yes, tabloid manner. Check it out after the break. Read More »

2010 Toronto Film Festival Documentaries Announced

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A couple weeks ago, the Toronto International Film Festival announced their line-up of Galas and Special Presentations (aka the major films premiering at the festival). The list of films included Robert Redford‘s The Conspirator; George Hickenlooper‘s Casino Jack, The Bang Bang Club, starring Ryan Phillippe, Barney’s Version, starring Paul Giamatti, Darren Aronofsky‘s Black Swan, Ben Affleck‘s The Town, Alejandro Gonzalez Innarittu‘s Biutiful, Sylvain Chomet‘s The Illusionist, Kim Jee-woon‘s I Saw the Devil and Michael Winterbottom‘s The Trip.

Today the festival announced their documentary selections, which include Errol MorrisTabloid, Thom Zimny‘s Bruce Springsteen doc The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town, Kim Longinotto‘s Pink Saris, and Werner Herzog‘s 3-D cave drawing documentary Cave of Forgotten Dreams. Hit the jump to see the full TIFF documentary line-up.

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If you follow Errol Morris on Twitter, you’ll know that he’s been finishing up a new film called Tabloid. For the most part, we haven’t known much about what the film covers, as he’s been quite oblique in referencing the project. But the simple fact of Morris making a new movie is exciting enough. The man hasn’t made a bad documentary (OK, his dramatic feature The Dark Wind isn’t so hot) and many of his films hold well-earned spots on best-of lists for the year of their release.

Now we know a bit more about Tabloid, and if the pieces are coming together as appears to be the case, then it might be one to please audiences who take more to the quirky, focused portraits Morris sometimes creates. Read More »

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Some of the most entertaining moments in the movie business come about when one overbearing personality gets a chance not just to be a total dick to another, but to be relatively justified in doing so. Harvey Weinstein is a master of these moments. When thinking about talking crap about the responsibilities of Mr. Weinstein, you should be prepared for a scathing response.

In 1988, Errol Morris got a taste of Weinstein’s ability to dress down filmmakers in his employ when Morris complained about Miramax’s efforts to promote his film The Thin Blue Line. The movie’s place in history is well-known by now (as the subject of the film, convicted killer Randall Adams, was exonerated after its release) but at the time Morris thought Harvey needed to do more to sell the film. As it turns out, Harvey thought exactly the same thing about Morris, as a letter sent to the director demonstrates.

How’d you like to receive a missive that begins with the following? “Heard your NPR interview and you were boring. You couldn’t have dragged me to see THE THIN BLUE LINE if my life depended on it.” Check out the full letter after the break. It is glorious, even if you’re a devoted Morris fan.[via Gordon and the Whale] Read More »

chuck klosterman interview

Any pop culture writer today worth a scan online has a unique opinion on Chuck Klosterman. The renown American author and journalist made a name for himself in the aughts with witty, hyper-informed contributions as a former senior writer and columnist at SPIN. In 2003, he released a bestselling book of essays about “low culture” under the title, Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs, that dissected, exploded, and—in the case of Saved By the Bell—meta-ized topics ranging from internet porn to why there’s only “one important question a culturally significant film can still ask: What is reality?” To readers with an eye on the future, Klosterman signaled not only the arrival of an adored critic amongst hipsters, TV junkies, and geeks; he was the aware embodiment of the modern intellectual turned as voracious consumer of entertainment. And ever since many a beer has been consumed by writers arguing over or coveting this appointment.

Post-Cocoa Puffs, Klosterman’s bibliography has grown to include several works of non-fiction as well as last year’s Downtown Owl, a well-received debut novel benefiting from word-of-mouth, not unlike how Puffs did (but with Tweets on top). His latest book, Eating the Dinosaur, is a characteristic essay collection that can be burned through in a night but also raises several troubling philosophical questions. In the first part of Klosterman’s interview with /Film, he elaborates on the role feted director Errol Morris played in a few of Dinosaur’s themes. We also discuss his opinion of movie junkets, the accelerated culture of movie blogs, and the film most comparable to Guns N’ RosesChinese Democracy. For the second round of the interview, click here.

Hunter Stephenson: Hi Chuck. So, are you in California to speak about the book?

Chuck Klosterman: I’m doing The Jim Rome Show on ESPN, and it’s in Huntington Beach, California. And I gotta say, it’s creepy as fuck out here man.

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Errol Morris To Make Second Non-Documentary Film

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Update: I have been quickly corrected. This is not Errol’s first non documentary film. He directed a mystery film called The Dark Wind in 1991.

One of the best documentarians in the history of cinema has announced that he will be making his first second fictional feature film, kinda. Errol Morris, who won an Academy Award for Fog of War in 2003, has signed on to direct the Untitled Cryonics Project for Mandate Pictures. The film isn’t entirely fictional. Based on Robert F Nelson‘s memoir “We Froze the First Man” and a story which aired on NPR’s This American Life titled “You’re as Cold as Ice,” Stranger Than Fiction screenwriter Zach Helm was brought on board to pen the adaptation.

The dark comedy, set in the 1960′s, tells the true story of a television repairman who who joined a group of enthusiasts who believed they could cheat death with a new technology called cryonics. But as Variety puts it, “freezing dead people so scientists could reanimate them in the future turned out to be harder than Nelson thought.” You can listen to the story which ran on NPR on thisAmericanLife.org. I’m very interested to see how Morris does with a non-documentary narrative feature.

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