Michael Moore plays at being a regular Joe, but he has developed an image and reputation as one of the loudest voices on the American political left. His career began with Roger and Me in 1989, but his Oscar-winning 2002 film Bowling for Columbine cemented his position as a liberal provocateur. The three major documentaries that followed, Fahrenheit 9/11, Sicko, and Capitalism: A Love Story further developed his identity as a filmmaker, but also made him as controversial on the left as he is on more conservative political sectors.
In Capitalism, that last 2009 doc, Moore said that he would not make another film until others took the stage to fight against the issues that he has tackled in documentaries. The Occupy Wall St. protests and subsequent ‘Occupy’ movement across the US and other countries seem to be exactly that force he was hoping for. And so Michael Moore, the director, now says he’s on his way back. Read More »
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Briefly: In one of the many pieces that ran last night about the lawsuit Michael Moore is bringing against the Weinsteins over the profits for Fahrenheit 9/11, there was a minor nugget of info. Deadline says that the Weinsteins were just discussing the filmmaker’s next film right up until when the lawsuit was filed. He reportedly “wants to direct a fictional feature film.” If that’s the case, then this would only be the second time since the sad passing of John Candy that anyone felt tempted to reference Mr. Moore’s first fictional film, Canadian Bacon. That was the 1995 comedy where Alan Alda, as the President of the US, tries to start a war with Canada to raise his popularity index.
And, yeah, there is no shortage of jokes to be made about whether or not some of the director’s documentaries were fictionalized, but let’s keep it clean. Do you want to see a non-documentary from the director?
Ask Roger Smith, George W. Bush, Charlton Heston and the heath care industry. If there’s one person you don’t want to screw over, it’s Michael Moore. Whether you agree with his politics or not, Moore is well-known for being extremely vocal and diligent. So when he audited his $200 million, 2004 hit film Fahrenheit 9/11 and found “substantial irregularities in the accounting,” he went to the men responsible: Bob and Harvey Weinstein. After several months discussing the matter, Moore filed a lawsuit against the Weinsteins in Los Angeles County Court Monday for “breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and constructive fraud claims.” He claims the Weinsteins used “Hollywood accounting tricks” and “financial deception” to cheat the him out of almost $3 million. Read more after the break. Read More »
While almost every other person in America talks about WikiLeaks on a daily basis, /Film has mostly remained out of the conversation. However, it seems even the film industry isn’t immune from Julian Assange’s controversial website. David pointed out one such article about how American TV and movies shown in Saudi Arabia are apparently helping to prevent jihad and we saw that Batman isn’t a fan.
A few new pieces of film related news have now been revealed too. First is a document that makes it seem like Cuba banned Michael Moore‘s film Sicko and another reveals that Steven Spielberg and all of his films were the target of an Arab boycott. Hit the jump to read about each WikiLeak. Read More »
Earlier today, Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Michael Moore sent an e-mail out to his mailing list (a list I belong to) listing his top 20 films of 2009. In the e-mail, Moore hails the best movie he saw in 2009, a film which wasn’t nominated, and wasn’t even shown in the United States — a film titled Troubled Water. Moore writes:
“I’m confident that, if you had had a chance to see it, you would likely agree with me that this is a brilliant film, a rare gem. …. When the film was over, I sat there amazed and wondering, “Why can’t I see movies like this all the time?” What is wrong with filmmaking, with Hollywood? Why are most films just the same old tired assembly line stuff — sequels, remakes, old TV shows turned into movies, predictable plots and storylines… “If you’ve seen the trailer, you’ve seen the movie.” But “Troubled Water” was not like that — and therefore its distribution to the theaters of America was, in essence, doomed.”
Moore went on to criticize those who praise the Best Picture/Director winner The Hurt Locker for being unbiased or taking no political sides:
…like that’s an admirable thing! I wonder if there were critics during the Civil War that hailed plays or books for being “balanced” about slavery, or if there were those who praised films during World War II for “not taking sides?” I keep reading that the reason Iraq War films haven’t done well at the box office is because they’ve been partisan (meaning anti-war). The truth is “The Hurt Locker” is very political. It says the war is stupid and senseless and insane. It makes us consider why we have an army where people actually volunteer to do this. That’s why the right wing has attacked the movie. They’re not stupid — they know what Kathryn Bigelow is up to. No one leaves this movie thinking, “Whoopee! Let’s keep these wars going another 7 years!”
You can read Moore’s full e-mail, which includes a defense of James Cameron’s Avatar and his personal list of the top 20 films of 2009, after the jump.
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James Cameron‘s Avatar has been unleashed upon this world. We’ve run reviews from half of the /Film staff: David Chen, Brendon Connelly, Russ Fischer, and Hunter Stephenson. You might have even added your own mini-review. But you might be wondering, with all the talk of game-changing advances in the tech side of filmmaking, what do the writers and directors in Hollywood think of Avatar? Here is a round-up of quotes:
Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer: “Went to a special screening of Avatar last night where James Cameron did a Q&A after the film. I can’t tell you how much I loved the movie, or how clearly Cameron cemented himself as the world’s greatest living filmmaker. This is an incredible movie. I recommend seeing it in IMAX. So next level. So awesome. Avatar is a game changer. James Cameron wins.”
Back to the Future, Indiana Jones and Bourne series Producer Frank Marshall: “Wow!!! AVATAR is audacious and awe inspiring. It’s truly extraordinary and I would really need a blog to talk about it…”
Donnie Darko/The Box director Richard Kelly: “AVATAR was amazing. Lived up to all the hype – now must see in IMAX…”
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Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: I celebrate all levels of trailers and hopefully this column will satisfactorily give you a baseline of what beta wave I’m operating on, because what better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? Some of the best authors will tell you that writing a short story is a lot harder than writing a long one, that you have to weigh every sentence. What better medium to see how this theory plays itself out beyond that than with movie trailers?
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Cool Posts From Around the Web:
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences unveiled their list of 15 films that will vie for the Best Documentary Academy Award Nomination. And while the list includes well-known titles such as Food, Inc. and The Cove, it is more surprising to look at some of the high profile docs that have not been included on the list, such as: Michael Moore‘s Capitalism: A Love Story and James Toback‘s Mike Tyson biodoc Tyson. The Academy obviously doesn’t like Rock music, as both Anvil! The Story of Anvil and Davis Guggenheim’s It Might Get Loud were also slighted from the short list
The full listing of the 15 documentaries up for consideration can be found after the jump. And because you haven’t seen most of the selections, I’ve also included the trailers for all of the films for your viewing pleasure.
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