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    Shirkers (2018)

    Sandi Tan's bittersweet Shirkers is a most extraordinary movie-story, telling the story of three friends in Singapore, Sandi, Jasmine, and Sophie, who decide to make a movie when they're barely out of their teens. They receive "help," from a film teacher called Georges, and the film is completed, but then Georges disappears with all the film and materials, leaving the three young women to contend with their strange loss. Tan's writing and directing is wonderfully assured — she worked as a film critic and published a novel in the years since — and the footage from the unfinished "Shirkers" is boldly colorful and frequently striking. She manages to dig a little under the surface of friendships here, exposing flaws as well as virtues. This is a totally captivating, and surprisingly moving film. read more...
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      Shirkers (2018)

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      • With: Sandi Tan, Sophia Siddique Harvey, Philip Cheah, Ben Harrison, Grace Dane Mazur, Jasmine Kin Kia Ng, Stephen Tyler
      • Written by: Sandi Tan
      • Directed by: Sandi Tan
      • MPAA Rating: NR
      • Running Time: 96 minutes
      • Release Date: 10/25/2018
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      They'll Love Me When I'm Dead (2018)

      To accompany Netflix's release of Orson Welles' completed The Other Side of the Wind, Morgan Neville directed the documentary They'll Love Me When I'm Dead to explain the complex behind-the-scenes of this monumental film, and the final years of Welles' life. Neville was faced with the problem of how to make a film that might compliment Welles' visual genius, and he comes up with several solutions that work. He interviews his key players from strange angles, in black-and-white, and cuts together their sound bites in ways that are fascinatingly conflicting. Alan Cumming is here as host and narrator, and he also appears in black-and-white, at editing bays and in other arty shots full of reflections and other playful concepts. The documentary itself is full of information, such as the casting and cutting of Rich Little in the Brooks Otterlake role that Peter Bogdanovich eventually took over, or the fact that Welles himself served as a stand-in for the Jake Hannaford role until John Huston was hired to embody it. Thankfully, Neville is ultimately not concerned with celebrating Welles' genius, but in trying to understand the human being behind it. He winds up with a surprisingly touching film, and one that makes you want to go back and look at The Other Side of the Wind some more. read more...
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      They'll Love Me When I'm Dead (2018)

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      • With: Peter Bogdanovich, Steve Ecclesine, Henry Jaglom, Peter Jason, Oja Kodar, Rich Little, Frank Marshall, Joseph McBride, Beatrice Welles, Alan Cumming
      • Written by: n/a
      • Directed by: Morgan Neville
      • MPAA Rating: NR
      • Running Time: 98 minutes
      • Release Date: 11/01/2018
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      Crown Heights (2017)

      If anyone is on the verge of becoming a breakout star, it's Lakeith Stanfield, and his role in Crown Heights — opening Friday in Bay Area theaters — could put him over the top. read more...
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        Crown Heights (2017)

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        • With: Lakeith Stanfield, Nnamdi Asomugha, Natalie Paul, Amari Cheatom, Skylan Brooks, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Nestor Carbonell, Zach Grenier, Bill Camp
        • Written by: Matt Ruskin
        • Directed by: Matt Ruskin
        • MPAA Rating: R for language, some sexuality/nudity and violence
        • Running Time: 94 minutes
        • Release Date: 08/31/2017
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        What Happened, Miss Simone? (2015)

        It's interesting to note that, among all the controversy over all the white nominees of the 2016 Oscars, here's a film -- nominated for Best Documentary -- about an African-American singer, and a politically active one at that. In What Happened, Miss Simone?, director Liz Garbus tells the story of Nina Simone, interpreting her as a troubled genius. She started her career at age 4 studying classical piano. But while playing in nightclubs to try to pay the rent, she was told she needed to sing, and out came that unforgettable voice. The movie details her rise to fame with hits like "I Loves You Porgy" and her marriage to former cop Andrew Stroud (good manager, bad husband). She began performing political songs ("Mississippi Goddam") during the Civil Rights Era, unable to conceal her rage and pain. Later, she was treated for what might have been bipolar disorder. Garbus interviews Simon's daughter, niece, and surviving bandmates, and includes tons of great footage of Simone in concert, attempting to explain her particular brand of musical genius, and largely succeeding. The title comes from Maya Angelou, a question that is never answered. read more...
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        What Happened, Miss Simone? (2015)

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        • With: Lisa Simone Kelly, Roger Nupie, Al Shackman, George Wein, Stanley Crouch, Dick Gregory, Ilyasah Shabazz, Ambassador Shabazz, Gerrit De Bruin
        • Written by: n/a
        • Directed by: Liz Garbus
        • MPAA Rating: NR
        • Running Time: 101 minutes
        • Release Date: 06/23/2015
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        Let There Be Light (1946)

        Olive Films has released an essential Blu-ray, collecting all four of John Huston's wartime documentaries on one disc. These are: the relatively innocuous recruiting film Winning Your Wings (1942), featuring James Stewart; The Oscar-nominated Report from the Aleutians (1943), featuring (staged) battle footage, as well as footage of a bombing; San Pietro (1945), about a battle in a small village in Italy; and the powerful Let There Be Light (1946). That last one was an early example of how emotional stress in wartime can be just as incapacitating as physical injuries, but the military banned it, and it went unseen for decades. read more...
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        Let There Be Light (1946)

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        • With: Walter Huston, John Huston, James Stewart
        • Written by: John Huston
        • Directed by: John Huston
        • MPAA Rating: NR
        • Running Time: 281 minutes
        • Release Date: 02/03/2016
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