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Entries in The Case Against 8 (3)

Wednesday
Feb 03 2016

HBO's LGBT History: The Case Against 8 (2014)

Manuelis working his way through all the LGBT-themed HBO productions.

Last weekwe talked about the thrilling and necessary anger fueling Larry Kramer'sThe Normal Heart,something not even Ryan Murphy's at times clumsy direction could quell.From that we turn to what might be the limpest most inessential HBO LGBT film I have encountered in this entire series (sorry,The Out List,you had a good run): Ben Cotner and Ryan White'sThe Case Against 8.

There's a fascinating,informative,and entertaining doc to be made about the circuitous road to overturning California's same-sex marriage ban,but Cotner and White's film isn't it...

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Tuesday
Dec 02 2014

Ebert,Snowden and Wim Wenders on High-Profile Documentary Shortlist

The Academy has announced the 15-wide documentary shortlist and apart from one title,it's is averyhigh-profile group of names.At least they are if you follow the world of documentary.I had discussed with a friend recently that last year's field may go down as the greatest in the category's history,but depending on how the branch votes this year they may just surpass it.I have already seen nine of the 15 and can vouch for almost all of them.Let's take a look.

  • Art and Craft
  • The Case Against 8(review)
  • Citizen Koch
  • Citizenfour(podcast|Glenn's review)
  • Finding Vivian Maier
  • The Internet's Own Boy
  • Jodorowsky's Dune
  • Keep On Keepin' On
  • The Kill Team
  • Last Days in Vietnam(review)
  • Life Itself
  • The Overnighters
  • The Salt of the Earth
  • Tales of the Grim Sleeper(NYFF review|AFI review)
  • Virunga

There are some big names in here.Apart from the likes of Edward Snowden Roger Ebert,Alejandro Jodorowsky and Clark Terry who are the subjects of the shortlist's most recognisable titles,there's also Wim Wenders (co-directed withJuliano Ribeiro Salgado) who is contending for his third documentary Oscar citation (afterBeuna Vista Social ClubandPina) and first win withThe Salt of the Earth,while Nick Broomfield is angling for his first ever nomination withTales of the Grim Sleeperdespite a big career.It appears the new documentary rules are finally working in his favor!Carl Deal and Tia Lesson are back withCitizen KochafterTrouble the Waterwas a nominee in 2008.While,most famously,Steve James,the director ofLife Itself,is no stranger to Oscar controversies (but we'll talk about that in a couple of days!)

Since we all enjoy a spot of prognasticating,I'd be looking most heavily atCitizenfour,Keep on Keepin' On,Last Days in Vietnam(theylovedocs about Vietnam!)Life Itself,The Overnighters,although it would be sweet to see Broomfield finally nominated for an Oscar,especially since his pair of Aileen Wournos docs so heavily influenced another Oscar-winner:Monster.Finding Vivian Maier,the blockbuster of the field (untilCitizenfourovertakes it this week) shouldn't be discounted either.I'd assumeVirungaa threat for a nomination but betweenProject NimandBlackfish,animal documentaries appear to be out of favor at the moment.

Left out of the field?Well,considering there were134 semi-finalists,that's a long list!However,some of the more high-profile titles that didn't make the shortlist cut includeThe Dog,20,000 Days on Earth,Rich Hill,Happy Valley,Particle Fever,National Gallery,Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me,Antarctica: A Year on Ice,Manakamana,Nas: Time is Illmatic,Finding FelaandWhitey: United States of America vs James J Bulger.Just quietly,I know it was popular and was assumed a shortlist placing,but I'm kind of gladRed Armyisn't on here.I wouldn't be surprised if a few of those -The Dog,Manakamanaand the Nick Cave-centric20,000 Days on Earthespecially - popped up on critic organisation lists though.As far as Oscar goes,however,they're sadly done.

Do you follow the documentary category now that bigger films and bigger names are finding themselves on the list?What are you doc hunches?

Friday
Jun 27 2014

Pride on Pride: LGBT Documentaries Shine Light on the Courts and Theater

The month of June is a good time to be gay.With an entire month devoted to LGBT pride,the community is at its most visible in media and whether it's Laverne Cox appearing on the cover ofTime Magazineand inciting a much-needed conversation about trans issues,orBroadway Baresraising money for AIDS research on the back of,well,Broadway's bare,broad shoulders,there's a lot to be proud of.Cinema itself hasn't quite caught up,for despite a much larger number of LGBT films reaching the marketplace in some form (theatrical,VOD,home entertainment) they never seem to take full advantage of the surge of interest in gay topics that pride month,coupled with New York City's Pride March,provide.

This time of the year is also a great moment to look back at the many advances made in the rights movement for LGBT community.Narrative filmmakers Ryan Murphy and Chris Mason Johnson have this year looked at the onset of the AIDS crisis inThe Normal HeartandTest(which Nathaniel wasfar more forgiving tothan I was whenI reviewed it here last here),but one of the year's most high profile documentaries zips forward in time to what is arguably the biggest moment in the gay rights movement in decades.Ben Cotner and Ryan White won the audience choice and jury prizes at this year's Sundance forThe Case Against 8,and it's easy to see how audiences could get swept up in its matter of fact telling of the court case that brought about an end to the ban on same-sex marriages in California and the subsequent domino effect it put into motion.

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