There’s a sense among some liberal-minded thinkers than Steve Bannon and the alt-right should never be given any kind of platform. The theory holds that starving them of any media oxygen will serve to relegate them back to the fringe status they once occupied. A similar idea, though with significant complications, drove the public outcry that toppled Bannon as the headliner of The New Yorker Festival.
Documentarian Errol Morris, no stranger to confronting powerfully bellicose men, calls BS on this theory in his latest documentary, American Dharma. He recognizes the danger in ignoring or downplaying figures like Bannon, knowing that the disdain only feeds their theory of victimization and increases their power. Like he did with Donald Rumsfeld in The Unknown Known, Morris engages his subject in a dialogue about their controversial work and beliefs. As the saying goes, give a man enough rope, and he’ll hang himself.
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With Wormwood, documentary filmmaker Errol Morris creates his boldest, most thought provoking film yet. A delirious, haunting blend of talking-head documentary and narrative reenactment; a true crime saga that doubles as a government conspiracy polemic. A saga wrought with mystery, grief, scandal, and puzzlement. There’s never really been anything quite like this.
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Sooner or later, Netflix gets everyone. Renowned documentary filmmaker Errol Morris is bringing his unmatched talents to the streaming platform with Wormwood, a genre-blending mix of documentary and narrative drama. Wormwood examines the can’t-believe-it’s-true story of one man’s search to discover what caused his father’s death. Was it suicide, or did a more nefarious conspiracy involving the CIA play a part? The Wormwood trailer teases the shocking saga ahead of its release this month.
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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: What better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? This week we bug out in the forest, decide to leave our lives and never come back, find ourselves in the obituaries, get our picture taken by Errol Morris, and try to be a better parent. Read More »
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: What better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? This week we see what Clown from Slipknot does with his time off when he’s not in a jumpsuit, travel overseas for a sci-fi mystery, get schooled on what our drone program is up to, sell some weed with our older brother, and see what happens when YouTube decides to become sentient to make a movie with its in-house talent. Read More »
Briefly: In Holland, Michigan, the new non-doc from documentarian Errol Morris, Bryan Cranston will once again be very, very bad. We’ve seen the actor’s descent into pure human horror in Breaking Bad, and here he’ll play he’ll play another suburban dad who has big secrets.
Andrew Sodroski wrote the thriller in which a woman (Naomi Watts) believes her husband is cheating, and starts her own affair with another man (Edgar Ramirez). And while it turns out that the husband does have something to hide, it isn’t infidelity, unless you’re talking infidelity to a general moral code. The info comes from Ask Me Anything session conducted with The Act of Killing team of Joshua Oppenheimer, Werner Herzog, and Morris on Reddit, via The Wrap.
We probably shouldn’t have anticipated that Donald Rumsfeld would open up to documentarian Errol Morris in the same way that former defense secretary Robert McNamara did for the film The Fog of War. But that doesn’t make the Morris conversations with Rumsfeld — presented in the new film The Unknown Known — any less fascinating. While reviews out of festivals talked about how little Rumsfeld deviates from prior statements about intelligence and the latter Bush administration, significant aspects of his personality and mindset are still revealed in the interviews.
Check out a full-length trailer for the doc, below. Read More »
Almost exactly fifty years ago as I write this, President John F. Kennedy was shot in Dealey Plaza in Dallas, TX, and we’re still talking about aspects of the shooting decades later. Was there a single shooter, or multiple assassins? Was the killing the action of a loner, or the product of a conspiracy involving the CIA, the Mob, and foreign powers?
Errol Morris has looked into the JFK assassination before, in works like the short The Umbrella Man. For that short he talked to Josiah “Tink” Thompson, a professor-turned-private investigator. He’s also a proponent of a three-gunmen theory, as put forth in the book Six Seconds In Dallas, which takes a scientific and evidence-based approach to the theory that multiple shooters acted on that day in Texas.
Now Morris presents more material with Tink, in a short called November 22, 1963, which looks at the various photographic evidence captured that day by ordinary citizens. The Zapruder film is, of course, the spine that connects many other pieces of evidence, but here the two men lay out a path of photographic evidence, and discuss how it effects our understanding of what happened that afternoon. Read More »
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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: What better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? This week we bang our heads to some Icelandic death metal, get Donald Rumsfeld in the 1:1 cross-hairs, go down the road of an unwanted pregnancy, and try to find answers about a dead body.
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Briefly: Errol Morris is best known as a director of documentaries (The Thin Blue Line, The Fog of War, Mr. Death), though his efforts range from commercials to television, newspaper essays, and books. He’s even released one dramatic feature, The Dark Wind, and has been working on another, Freezing People Is Easy.
Now Morris has lined up yet another non-doc feature, a thriller called Holland, Michigan. The “suburban thriller laced with black humor” was scripted by Andrew Sodroski, who hails from Boston and attended Harvard. This is his first script sale, but given that Morris has also long made his home in the Boston area, there could be prior working history between the two that hasn’t been reported. We don’t have many more details on the film, but those can wait. (And that description could so easily apply to Morris’ last film, the doc Tabloid.) Any new feature from Morris, documentary or not, is automatically of interest. [Deadline]
After the break, as a bonus, watch Errol Morris and Wener Herzog talk about the doc The Act of Killing, for which they act as exec producers. Read More »