The Grab Bag (Aug. 5, 2014)

OFCS members don’t just write film reviews. Here are several articles you might find interesting.

Best of Lists

Jordan M. Smith’s Best Docs of 2014 So Far

Jordan M. Smith @ IONCINEMA.com

  • Excerpt: To make it a bit easier, I’ve pieced together a lean little list of docu must sees that mix theatrical releases with top festival picks soon to hit VOD and still managed to cut a host of noteworthy titles like the Sundance prize-winner Rich Hill, as well as biggies like Life Itself, Visitors, Captivated: The Trials of Pamela Smart, Joy of Man’s Desiring, Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger, Elena, and Alive Inside. So far this year, I’ve seen more than sixty new docs, not including many that were graced with theatrical runs after their festival debuts last year (So, gems like Jodorowsky’s Dune and 12 O’Clock Boys which made last year’s list have been excluded here). Before we look ahead toward the major fall festivals in Venice, Toronto, Copenhagen, IDFA and the like, let’s rejoice in the documentary goodness that already lies before us.

Interviews

“Purple Rain” 30th Anniversary: Director Albert Magnoli Remembers His Rock Movie Classic

Bob Cashill @ Biography.com

  • Excerpt: An interview with Purple Rain’s director

2014 Hot Docs Interview: Jessica Oreck (The Vanquishing of the Witch Baba Yaga)

Jordan M. Smith @ IONCINEMA.com

2014 Hot Docs Interview: Robert Greene & Brandy Burrre (Actress)

Jordan M. Smith @ IONCINEMA.com

2014 Sundance Interview: Andrew Rossi (Ivory Tower)

Jordan M. Smith @ IONCINEMA.com

2014 Sundance Interview: Jesse Moss (The Overnighters)

Jordan M. Smith @ IONCINEMA.com

2014 Sundance Interview: Maxim Pozdorovkin & Tony Gerber (The Notorious Mr. Bout)

Jordan M. Smith @ IONCINEMA.com

AJ Schnack & Nathan Truesdall

Jordan M. Smith @ IONCINEMA.com

Interview: Guardians of the Galaxy’s Dave Bautista

Billy Donnelly @ This Is Infamous

Petra Costa (Elena)

Jordan M. Smith @ IONCINEMA.com

Festivals: General Coverage

Ottawa International Animation Festival Announces Line-up

Pat Mullen @ Cinemablographer

  • Excerpt: Programme announcement for OIAF 2014.

TIFF Announces Docs, Masters, Midnight Madness, and Vanguard Films

Pat Mullen @ Cinemablographer

  • Excerpt: More programming news for the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival.

Festivals: Individual Reviews

Camera

James Marsh @ Twitch

  • Excerpt: The debut feature from James Leong showcases the director’s strong visual sensibility, but with an unimaginative and wasteful screenplay, Camera fails to capitalise on its intriguing premise.

Clouds of Sils Maria

Michael Pattison @ Grolsch Film Works

Giuseppe Makes a Movie

Michael Pattison @ Grolsch Film Works

Jauja

Michael Pattison @ Grolsch Film Works

Leviathan

Michael Pattison @ Filmuforia

Winter Sleep

Michael Pattison @ Grolsch Film Works

Yasmine

James Marsh @ Twitch

  • Excerpt: An earnest and heartfelt coming-of-age story hailing from the tiny South-East Asian sovereign state of Brunei, Siti Kamaluddin’s debut feature has attracted widespread attention thanks to its spirited use of en vogue martial art silat. While Yasmine trades the visceral intensity of Gareth Evans’ The Raid for teen angst and family tensions, there is still plenty of interest in this female-centric tournament drama.

Zombie Fight Club

James Marsh @ Twitch

  • Excerpt: Joe Chien’s follow-up to the bafflingly tasteless and salacious Zombie 108 delivers a generous second helping of the same Z-grade trash and splatter. Andy On and Jessica C are the attractive, if helpless, leads who – eventually – find themselves in an apocalyptic underground arena of the undead after escaping an overrun apartment block. But as was the problem last time round, Chien reduces character and narrative to a procession of boobs, blood and depravity that suggests he long ago fell foul of the zombie hordes himself.

Awards Coverage

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Jul. 25-28, 2014

Wesley Lovell @ Cinema Sight

  • Excerpt: Looking at the Oscar chances for “Hercules”, “Magic in the Moonlight” and “A Most Wanted Man”

Shortcutz Xpress Viseu 2014: os vencedores

Paulo Peralta @ CinEuphoria [Portuguese]

  • Excerpt: Winners of the Shortcutz Xpress Viseu film festival (short films)

Television

The Americans: Comrades

Rick Aragon @ Rick’s Cafe Texan

  • Excerpt: Leave it to Comrades, the second season debut story, to give us one of the most thrilling, shocking, tense, and tragic hours I have seen so far on this series.

The Americans: Covert War

Rick Aragon @ Rick’s Cafe Texan

The Americans: Season One Overview

Rick Aragon @ Rick’s Cafe Texan

  • Excerpt: The Americans is about spies. It’s about family. It’s about how work and family conflict. It’s also one of the best shows on television, one that simply needs to be watched.

The Americans: The Colonel

Rick Aragon @ Rick’s Cafe Texan

  • Excerpt: As we close out The Americans Season One with The Colonel, we have stories tied up, some great final hurrahs, and an emotional and heartfelt reunion.

The Americans: The Oath

Rick Aragon @ Rick’s Cafe Texan

Franklin and Bash: Pilot

Rick Aragon @ Rick’s Cafe Texan

  • Excerpt: The Pilot in retrospect has its good points and not-good points. It’s interesting to see how now, as much as I detest Franklin & Bash to where I don’t think I want to see it anymore (except perhaps as a train wreck), the show (like the leads) didn’t take itself seriously.

Sharknado 2: The Second One

Billy Donnelly @ This Is Infamous

Sherlock: The Empty Hearse

Rick Aragon @ Rick’s Cafe Texan

  • Excerpt: What is both amusing and sad is that Sherlock in general and The Empty Hearse in particular goes out of its way to mock the very fanbase that worships this Holmes adaptation and its fixation with Sherlock and Sherlock.

Essays

“The Best I Can Offer Is Distraction”: Woody Allen, ‘Magic in the Moonlight,’ and the Elephant in the Room

Jason Bailey @ Flavorwire

  • Excerpt: If the allegations against Woody Allen are false, then one can understand his reluctance to discuss them further. But the reality is that they are out there, and that the publicity around them — for good or ill — has affected how at least some of the movie-going public sees Allen, how they see his work, and whether they will continue to support it.

5 Questions I Have After Watching the FIFTY SHADES OF GREY Trailer

Candice Frederick @ Reel Talk

Destroy All Monsters: All The World Is Waiting For You, Wonder Woman

Matt Brown @ Twitch

Doctor Who: Thoughts on a Female or Non-White Doctor

Rick Aragon @ Gallifrey Exile

  • Excerpt: I support casting a non-white actor in the role of The Doctor. I oppose casting a woman in the role. Here is why.

Hollywood’s LGBT Representation Numbers Are Depressing — But GLAAD Is Wrong About How to Fix Them

Jason Bailey @ Flavorwire

  • Excerpt: You don’t need an abacus to do the math on this stuff: it is an industry where the vast majority of decision makers are straight white men, so the bulk of the films they produce are made by straight white men, about straight white men.

On Like Father, Like Son and the Difficult Task of Remaining Cautiously Optimistic about American Remakes

Candice Frederick @ Reel Talk

Should the Cable ACE Awards Be Restored?

Rick Aragon @ Rick’s Cafe Texan

  • Excerpt: It may be time to have TWO Emmy Award presentations: one for Network Programming, one for Non-Network Programming.

Will ‘Snowpiercer’s’ VOD Success Change the Film Industry?

Jason Bailey @ Flavorwire

  • Excerpt: There’s no question that, for the foreseeable future, the budget-busting tentpole blockbusters that are mainstream Hollywood’s bread and butter will dominate the multiplex. But if films like Snowpiercer, with genuine crossover appeal, can continue to make home viewing a viable platform, then the teenagers can keep the multiplex that basically exists to serve them — and the rest of us can stay at home, where it’s still possible to see new films that treat cinema as an art.

Reviews of Short Films

Dorothy

Paulo Peralta @ CinEuphoria [Portuguese]

  • Excerpt: Australian Short Film Review

Pawnshop

Paulo Peralta @ CinEuphoria [Portuguese]

  • Excerpt: Canadian Short Film Review

Pena Fria

Paulo Peralta @ CinEuphoria [Portuguese]

  • Excerpt: Portuguese Short Film Review

Random Stop

Paulo Peralta @ CinEuphoria [Portuguese]

  • Excerpt: US Short Film Review

Other Articles

The Morning After: Jul. 28, 2014

Wesley Lovell @ Cinema Sight

  • Excerpt: Short review of “Lucy”

A Most Wanted Man

Cole Smithey @ ColeSmithey.com

  • Excerpt: [VIDEO ESSAY] Anton Corbjin’s unconventional post-9/11 spy thriller (based on a 2008 John le Carré novel) remains an engaging experience despite numerous aspects that weigh it down.

On Jeff Ears: Some Thoughts

Rick Aragon @ Rick’s Cafe Texan

  • Excerpt: Personally, far from thinking less of Jeff Francoeur, On Jeff Ears makes me love him more.

Summer at the Box Office – Films Left Out in the Cold

Daniel Kelly @ Danland

Summer at the Box-Office – The Hot List

Daniel Kelly @ Danland

The TCM Top 20 – Special Summer Under the Stars Edition

Kristen Lopez @ Journeys in Classic Film

Why 4D Is Not the Wave of the Future

Mike McGranaghan @ The Aisle Seat

  • Excerpt: With 4D, I was, for every second, aware that I was in a theater and that things were happening there. Despite claims of 4D being “immersive,” it was the exact opposite of that term.

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