Usually, when The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announces their short list of documentaries eligible for the Best Documentary Oscar, a dark cloud comes over my day. Pretty regularly, some of my favorite films haven’t been eligible for a nomination. Shut Up and Sing, The September Issue and Dear Zachary all come to mind as heartbreaking snubs.

For 2010 the list is a little better, with films such as Exit Through The Gift Shop and Restrepo making the cut but, as usual, there are some notable snubs. Catfish isn’t on the list, nor are Babies, Oceans, Best Worst Movie, Freakinomics or Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, just to name a few. Is your favorite 2010 documentary eligible to be nominated an Oscar? Check out the list after the jump. Read More »

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/Filmcast Ep. 103 – Splice

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Splice PosterIn this week’s /Filmcast, David Chen, Devindra Hardawar, and Adam Quigley discuss the pleasures of Get Him To the Greek, praise the filmmaking of Exit Through the Gift Shop, and try to figure out whether or not The Usual Suspects holds up on repeat viewings. /Film editor-in-chief Peter Sciretta and /Film writer Russ Fischer join us for this episode.

You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993. Join us next week on Sunday night at Slashfilm’s live page as we review The A-Team.

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robinhood_posterIn this week’s /Filmcast, David Chen, Devindra Hardawar, and Adam Quigley ring in their 100th episode by discussing piracy, movie adaptations of plotless games and toys, and the plot/casting of Rian Johnson’s upcoming film, Looper. Rian Johnson joins us for this episode, with his unique banjo stylings and photoshop skills. Rian’s episode of Breaking Bad airs this Sunday on AMC at 10 PM EST.

You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993. Join us next week on Monday night at 9 PM EST / 6 PM PST at Slashfilm’s live page as we review MacGruber.

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Exit Through The Gift Shop

The most entertaining film released to date in 2010 isn’t a tentpole, a potential blockbuster, a 3D epic or a high-concept fantasy. It is Exit Through the Gift Shop, a documentary that may be at least partially fiction. I hope it is partially fiction, but which part doesn’t really matter. Purportedly orchestrated by Banksy, the most famous and elusive of street artists, the film skirts the edge of pretension as it peers into the midnight world of artists who tag, stencil and poster public spaces. But the film is orchestrated as what?

The subject is art, but the tipping points are personality and desire. At the center of it all is a schlumpy man, a retailer turned filmmaker turned artist who may actually be too perfect a subject to be true. He is a lens through which we can clearly see so much about what art can be to individuals, and what it becomes when someone slaps on a price tag, and whether is all bullshit from moment one, anyway.

(Note: The facts of the film discussed below are well-known in some circles, but if you’re coming to this story completely cold — which is the best way to do it — consider this review as containing mild spoilers.) Read More »

How To Train Your Dragon

The weekend box office estimates are in, and we have some good news and some bad news:

  • The bad news: Word of mouth did not help Lionsgate’s Kick-Ass, the comic book adaptation dropped an estimated 52% in its second weekend at theaters. In fact, it will place #5 on the Box office results listing this weekend with only $9.5 million in 3,065 theaters.
  • The good news: The word of mouth buzz on How To Train Your Dragon continues to draw more and more people to the theater. In its fifth weekend of release, the film took over the #1 spot with an estimated $15 million, overtaking new releases like The Back-Up Plan ($12.25 million), The Losers ($.6 million) and Disney’s Oceans ($6 million).

In limited releases, one of my favorite films of the year thus far, Exit Through The Gift Shop, packed $13,545 per screen, for a total of $149,000 — not bad for a movie playing in only 11 theaters. To give you a comparison, Kick-Ass made $3,100 per screen this week — but yes, A LOT more screens.

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Exit Through The Gift Shop

My favorite movie from the 2010 Sundance Film Festival was a documentary titled Exit Through The Gift Shop. While the project was being touted as a feature film by street artist Banksy, the film actually has no credited director. The film starts out as a documentary by a video camera-obsessed Frenchman named Thierry Guetta — With a love for street art, and connections into the scene, Thierry sets out to capture the most elusive street artists Banksy.

Of course, the film becomes something much different, and far more elaborate. I don’t want to give any more away, and I recommend that you don’t look for more information about the project — this is the type of film that is much better if you go into it without knowing anything about it).

The sad fact is that for many everyday cinema-goers, feature-length documentaries are a hard sell. People are willing to watch documentaries on tv or dvd, but few will pay the full ticket price to see a doc on the big screen. This is why they have released the first five minutes of Exit Through The Gift Shop online. If you think you might be interested, watch it. If you don’t think this is something you should see on the big screen, watch it. I can’t recommend this movie any more highly. And if you don’t want to just take my word for it, the film is currently 100% on Rotten Tomatoes with 19 rated reviews filed thus far. See it as soon as you can.

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Exit Through The Gift Shop

One of the closest things to a sensation at Sundance this year was Exit Through the Gift Shop, the film that is a documentary both by and about the reclusive and anonymous British graffiti artist Banksy. Now the film is getting an interesting release strategy that will have it in three cinemas on April 19 and expanding to more thereafter. Read More »

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edgeofdarknessposterIn this week’s episode of the /Filmcast, David Chen, Devindra Hardawar, and Adam Quigley discuss the art of the new Wall Street teaser, reflect on the business of indie cinema, and offer some of their favorite films and disappointments from Sundance 2010. Special guest Steve Weintraub (AKA Frosty) from Collider joins us this evening.

You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993. Join us next week on Monday night at 9 PM EST / 6 PM PST at Slashfilm’s live page as we review From Paris with Love.

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