The /Filmcast: After Dark – Ep. 13

The /Filmcast: After Dark is a recording of what happens right after The /Filmcast is over, when the kids have gone to bed and the guys feel free to speak whatever is on their minds. In other words, it’s the leftover and disorganized ramblings, mindfarts, and brain diarrhea from The /Filmcast, all in one convenient audio file. In this episode, Dave, Peter, Devindra, and Adam, discuss the possibility of another Superman film with Bryan Singer, find even more things to debate about The Dark Knight, and discuss some geeky tidbits about the making of Back to the Future. Also, Dave laments the thrashing that was “The Yamato Affair.”

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TIFF Movie Review: Captain Mike Across America

Captain Mike Across America

Captain Mike Across America is not as strong as most of Michael Moore’s other documentaries. It’s also not quite as funny. But that’s probably because it’s a very different film than any of Michael’s previous works. In the same way as Dave Chappelle’s Block Party is very different from every other Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine, Be Kind Rewind) film. It doesn’t even feature the signature voice over commentary that we’ve become accustomed to. Instead sentences are superimposed on the black screen. It’s hard to describe because it isn’t really like any type of film you’ve seen before. I liken as Michael Moore’s version of a concert film.

With the democratic party and John Kerry doing everything they could to sabotage the election for themselves, Moore set off on a 60 city tour (mostly colleges), making stops in the 20 battleground states, to help raise voting awareness.

This story is intercut with news footage, and performances from special guest musicians and comedians. This is where the film often goes off track, trying to be something it clearly isn’t. It’s great to show the many special guests who appeared on the tour to support the cause, but to stop the story for a musical number is to sabotage plot and story for the sake of spectacle (and mostly b-rate spectacle at that). Special guests include Eddy Vedder, Steve Earl, REM, Joan Baez, Viggo Mortensen and Rosanne Barr. Some of them are entertaining, most are not. And I could have done without one sequence where Moore is dancing off stage.

The republican party tried to charge Moore with bribery when the filmmaker decided to pass out packs of underwear and ramen noodles to the slackers who didn’t vote in the 2000 elections. The rivalry between the Republican party and Moore is the backbone of this film’s drama. Later on the tour, a republican offers a school $100,000 if they cancel Moore’s appearance. They don’t. Another speech is canceled when republication politicians made a fuss. In Utah, a group of republican students petitioned to impeach the student body president who organized the event. There were lawsuits, and much more.

Instead of the showmanship, I would have preferred to see more into the backstage adventures of Moore’s cross country trip. Moore sees more face time in Captain Mike than all of his previous films combined, but I feel we only get a glimpse or two at the guy I remember from Bowling For Columbine. For most of the film he is on stage, giving comically charged inspirational speeches to thousands of college students from across the US. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, I was just hoping for more of a personal story, and that is lacking in this journey.

Captain Mike Across America is a snapshot of the political climate in America around the time of the now infamous 2004 elections. At first I was worried that the preachy speeches would be irrelevant now that the election was lost, but that is not the case. Mike Across America is Moore’s love letter to the American political system and to the constitution. To the idealistic view that the truth will lead us to a better world. To the idea that people can and will change the world.

I also highly recommend that The Weinstein Co consider re-titling the film to something more marketable. I would suggest: Michael Moore’s Slacker Uprising Tour 2004.

/Film Rating: 7 out of 10

Captain Mike Across America

With the Toronto Film Festival ready to ramp up next week, we’ve just gotten our hands on a ton of new production photos from some of our most anticipated films of Fall 2007. Michael Moore’s documentary about the Slacking UprisingTour of 2004 is set to premiere at the festival, and we have seven photos from the film, Captain Mike Across America (a horrible title, hopefully they change it). From the look of the first batch of photos, this seems like a much different documentary than I was expecting. It seems aimed at the Bush supporters that crashed the 2004 tour. I could be wrong. No word on when this film will hit theaters, but we’ll have a review next week. If you want to read more about it, click here. Check out more photos after the jump.

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Captain Mike Across America

Michael Moore’s new film Captain Mike Across America will premiere at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival. Bad title, I know – I voted for Michael Moore’s Slacker Uprising Tour. “Captain Mike” seems like a really bad marketing idea to me, but what do I know? You can see the first image from the film above. I’m also very excited to catch this film at the festival TIFF documentary programer Thom Powers describes the film below:

Captain Mike Across America takes us back to the 2004 election, when the polling margin between candidates George W. Bush and John Kerry could have tipped either way. Framed like a concert film, it captures Moore’s activities as he set out on a campaign trip almost as rigorous and far-reaching as the candidates’ own. He targeted young people as the demographic that could make the most difference, visiting sixty-two cities in forty-five days, and holding large rallies on college campuses. He dubbed it the Slacker Uprising Tour.

This documentary of his journey is made in the feisty spirit of independent media, budgeted at a tiny fraction of Moore’s recent films. It acts like a time machine, returning us to the weeks prior to the November 2, 2004, election, when campuses across the country were exhilarated by a sense of hope and urgency. Moore masterfully foments this energy, speaking to audiences as large as fifteen thousand. He riles up the crowd with his hilarious improvisation, riffing off the day’s headlines or responding to hecklers. He also brings a star-studded lineup of friends – we see appearances and performances by Roseanne Barr, Eddie Vedder, Viggo Mortensen, Steve Earle and Joan Baez. His political opponents certainly take notice, lobbying schools to ban him from campus, sometimes successfully.

Although the election didn’t go Moore’s way, this film is a cure for the hangover that followed, and a reminder that a new political force emerged on those campuses. Young voters turned out in record numbers in 2004, reversing a trend of decline since 1972 (after the voting age lowered to eighteen). The youth vote increased even more in the following mid-term elections. If you want to understand the future of American politics, Captain Mike Across America is a great place to start.

Toronto Film Festival LogoToday I finally found some time to sit down and sift through the 352 official selections of the 2007 Toronto Film Festival. Many hours later, I present to you 65 must see movies at the Toronto International Film Festival. I did the work so that you don’t have to. So why should you care about these films if you’re not making the trip up to Canada in September?

In 1998, Variety acknowledged that the Toronto International Film Festival “is second only to Cannes in terms of high-profile pics, stars and market activity.” Roger Ebert has also said that “although Cannes is still larger, Toronto is more useful and more important….”

Toronto is essentially a preview of which Independent to mid-sized film releases might be big in the next five months. The festival is considered a launch pad for many studios to begin “Oscar-buzz” for their films.

How do I know that you should see these movies? Well, in most cases I don’t. I have seen some press screenings of a couple of the films listed below (Valley of Elah, My Kid Could Paint That…) and can personally recommend them. But for the most part, I have no idea. I have cobbled this list from an exhaustive day of research. Some of the films I chose because of the director, writer, or cast. Others because of the plot synopsis.

When a review was available, I read it. If a trailer was available, I watched it. I’ve included films that were recommended to me by trusted friends. Some films that I missed but were highly reviewed at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival (Son of Rambow, The Savages).

I must offer this disclaimer: I tend to be attracted to American, British and Japanese cinema to a fault. I do have a handful of picks outside my comfort realm, but if you’re looking for more “Worldly” selections, you might have to look elsewhere.

It should also be noted that some of the films (especially in the Gala and special presentation sections) will hit theaters within the next two months. Some films even hit theaters days within the festival’s conclusion. I put these movies on the list because they are movies of interest. But you, like me, might want to hold off on some of these flicks until they hit your city next month. For me, there are some films that I won’t be able to resist like Across The Universe and No Country for Old Men. I know they come out sooner rather than later, but I need to see them sooner. I’ve noted the release dates of films that are opening in the next two months, just so you have that information.

I’ll be at the festival for nine and a half days, so chances are, I won’t be able to see all of these films. The reality is, I won’t see even half of these films. I’ll be doing some interviews, so I’ve lowered my goal to around 30 movies, which most people would still consider extreme (that’s at least three movies each day of the festival).

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