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88 posts categorized "DOCUMENTARIES"

Sep 25 2016
Brookner: The Movie — A Review Of UNCLE HOWARD Comments (0)

For some odd reason, the PR for the film asked for no screengrabs from the film to be used. I've never had that request in 20+ years of reviewing films, but that's why the post is no longer very illustrated. Usually, creative screengrabs and even GIFs decorate Internet reviews of films, both supplied and created. I personally don't think screengrabs make people less likely to see this film; quite the opposite. But there you have it.—Ed.

Uncle Howard, Aaron Brookner's poetic, intimate documentary about his search for his late uncle's life's work, is coming to the New York Film Festival (Sunday, October 9, 5:30 p.m., Bruno Walter Auditorium; Monday, October 10, 9 p.m., Francesca Beale Theater) ahead of a November 18 release.

The film makes poignant use of home movies, old newspaper clippings and Aaron's interviews with various artists who worked with his uncle, who died of AIDS before the release of his first major movie, the star-studded curiosity Bloodhounds of Broadway, in 1989.

Unspecified-2(Image via Obscured Pictures)

Most effectively, he repurposes pieces of his uncle's Burroughs: The Movie (1983) and its attendant outtakes as well as behind-the-scenes footage from Bloodhounds (several lovely Madonna passages) and Robert Wilson and the Civil Wars (1987) to help convey a sense of his uncle's determined brilliance and to impart that contagious feeling of excitement when things thought lost are found intact.

All the more interesting that it is found intact in Williams S. Burroughs's legendary bunker.

Howard Brookner's family is given as much screen time as his lover, the writer Brad Gooch, whose handsomeness and youth are intact decades after Brookner's was relegated to existing only on film, and this allows the film to be more personal than a simple reassessment of a budding filmmaker's prowess might have been.

Check out Brad Gooch's memoir here!

Unspecified-1Director Aaron Brookner with Brad Gooch, Howard Brookner's partner (Image via Obscured Pictures)

There is regret in Uncle Howard, but also hope, and encouragement, and love. Howard Brookner at one point mourns the loss of his elderly grandfather in a video diary, noting that the death would've been far sadder had it involved a young person. And yet when he was about to die, he had words of wisdom that inform his nephew's touching portrait: However short or long, live your life doing what you want.

 
Sep 01 2016
Jose & Slam Assert Their Legacy—And Madonna's—At TRUTH OR DARE Screening In NYC Comments (0)

IMG_9210**Jose & Slam make a Madonna sandwich. (All images by Matthew Rettenmund)

Last night capped off a week of Madonna-themed festivities. Who knew Madonna's movies would enjoy such a resurgence?

Okay, it was only for a week, only at Metrograph in NYC and some of her movies are still crappy, but it was truly fun seeing some of her better work on the big screen (Dick Tracy) and especially deciding some of her lesser work isn't really that bad after all (Who's That Girl). A technical snafu (Chinese peony powder on the reel?) led to Body of Evidence being canceled in spite of a lot of tickets being sold, and I then missed Dangerous Game, not wanting to hang out. But both have been rescheduled.

Best of all was the Truth or Dare run—or should I say is, since it has been extended for another week at Metrograph, through September 7. Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 4.04.56 PM

I saw Truth or Dare at MoMA (with Madonna in attendance and Joe Berger moderating an Alek Keshishian/Vincent Paterson/Jose Gutierez/Salim “Slam” Gauwloos Q&A), at Metrograph (with Chelsea Handler moderating an Alek Keshishian Q&A) and—last night—saw it a third time, again at Metrograph, with Dance Films Association's Galen Bremer moderating a Q&A with Gutierez and Gauwloos.

IMG_9190*Bremer with the featured guests last night: Slam & Jose!

Seeing the film over and over has beaten it into my head, and allowed me to note details I never would have seen without the repetition. (Jack Larson is is seen around the time Madonna gags over Kevin Costner?!) Best of all the Q&As have allowed some of the creatives to speak eloquently about what is probably Madonna's most important film. (Desperately Seeking Susan remains my fave.)

IMG_9205*Winner of the best T-shirt of the night ...

Jose and Slam were wonderfully warm in their chat after the film, with Slam making sure Jose got credit for some of the choreography in “Like a Virgin” and “Vogue” on Blond Ambition and each o them responding candidly to a question about millennials who don't think Madonna did anything. (Don't miss that one!)

They also plugged the outstanding doc they're in that's been a film-fest fave, Strike a Pose; seek that out whenever and wherever you can.

Keep reading for all of the Q&A with Jose and Slam, minus only about 30 seconds of one of Jose's answers in the middle ...

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Aug 28 2016
Chelsea Handler Finally Cuts Madonna Some Slack, Lola Reacts To Mom's On-Screen B.J. Demo Comments (0)

IMG_9161***(All images by Matthew Rettenmund)

Friday the 26th was the long-awaited 25th-anniversary screening of a pristine, restored print of Truth or Dare at Metrograph in NYC, featuring commentary by director Alek Keshishian (who also co-wrote W.E. with Madonna 20 years after they first met) and moderated by noted Madonna-basher Chelsea Handler.

IMG_9169*** copyBlack-and-white ... and would Madonna get read all over?!

I hardly knew what to expect, considering the week's other Truth or Dare screening—at MoMA on Wednesday—had attracted Madonna herself.

[If you live in NYC and haven't been to Metrograph, do go. It's a lovely, chic theater that offers eclectic movies, including classics, midnight movies, cult hits, first-run arthouse fare and, well, Space Jam. (Look who's snarking—I'm paying $15 to watch Body of Evidence there next week!)]

IMG_9155***Team Quantico

Before Truth or Dare started, my friend Raj noticed in the lobby two of the female stars of Quantico (Yasmine Al Massri IMG_9248***and Johanna Braddy) with their dates, so I was able to get some quick pics of them. Braddy was turning 4 years old when Truth or Dare was released, BTW.

The guy who came out to intro the movie had the hipster vibe down pat, shrugging his way through a few lines about how the movie was part of a series of Madonna's masterpieces, then telling us the place has a restaurant upstairs if we ... whatever. It was actually very funny, and not the typical anal-retentive speech given at fledgling moviehouses about upcoming events.

Watching the movie for the second time in 48 hours was odd because ... it totally didn't bore me. I found new things to focus on, and even spotted the late Jack Larson in/near the infamous Kevin Costner scene.

IMG_9174***

IMG_9184***

IMG_9176***My T-shirt went over big.

As the movie wore on, though, I was nervous because I'd been hoping to get some shots of Chelsea and Alek before or after. Luckily, one of my companions, Anthony (who designed my book) was monitoring Facebook and noted that fellow fanboy Michael Da Rocha had posted a pic with Chelsea from outside. That was my cue to hit the lobby, where I found Chelsea and Alek holding court at the bar with a gaggle of familiar fan faces.

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Aug 25 2016
There's Nothing To Say Off-Camera: Madonna Shocks Fans With Surprise Appearance At TRUTH OR DARE Screening Comments (0)

IMG_8942*Host with the most, Joe Berger (All images by Matthew Rettenmund except for Instagram embed)

Joe Berger has been working his heart out to get Madonna's glory years on film properly acknowledged, first with an invite-only MoMA screening of the 1991 gem Madonna: Truth or Dare (at the time the most successful documentary ever), then with a special evening devoted to choreographer-director Vincent Paterson, then with a Madonna film series at Metrograph that embraces the best (Dangerous Game) and worst (Body of Evidence) she had to offer.

IMG_8976*Madonna posed by these Warholian images in the lobby

IMG_8935*Famous, front-row fans!

IMG_8938*Jose & Slam! Forgot to dare them to kiss...

So think of it as Kabbalistic karma that tonight, at his Truth or Dare event, Madonna herself shocked the entire room by showing up totally unannounced (her publicists knew, the MoMA curator knew—that was it) to sit in the middle of the audience and watch every frame of the film.

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Aug 18 2016
More On That Incredibly Detailed Madonna Documentary: EMMY AND THE BREAKFAST CLUB Comments (0)

If you're a Madonna fan, you may have caught wind of Emmy and the Breakfast Club, the new documentary from Guy Guido, who already brought us the thoroughly charmingly short Physical Attraction.

According to Guido, the new doc will make use of intimate notes and original recordings that Madonna made in bed with her then lover Dan Gilroy. Yes, that means there are never-before-heard songs that we're about to hear.

The film will include on-camera interviews with a host of the original players in the early story of Madonna, as well as what are shaping up to be uncannily orchestrated re-enactments—just check out how closely Guido & Co. have approximated this original PR shot of the Breakfast Club (below, top) with the film's actors (below, bottom):

14017989_10155114680737067_339569306_n

14030661_10155114676817067_541325969_n(Both images via Guy Guido, original copyright Dan Gilroy)

For a peek behind the scenes, Guido also sent me this shot of his filming of the shot:

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Aug 08 2016
Madonna's Fans Open Their Hearts Comments (0)

Screen Shot 2016-08-07 at 8.54.24 PM(Video still via Mad for Madonna)

A new documentary on Madonna's fans is on the way. Trailer after the jump ...

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Jun 25 2016
Bill Cunningham, NEW YORK TIMES Fashion Street-Shooter, Dies @ 87 Comments (0)

6a00d8341c2ca253ef014e602458a6970cBill Cunningham: March 13, 1929-June 25, 2016

Bill Cunningham, long a fixture in New York, where he would dash (and bicycle) around to take photos of real people in real fashion for the paper, has died at 87 from the effects of a stroke he suffered earlier this week

I was so proud to meet and get a picture with the out shooter (who did not take a picture of my outfit) a few years ago.

From that write-up:

I was most excited to meet and chat briefly with Bill Cunningham, the octogenarian fashion shooter for The New York Times. A new documentary on him (Bill Cunningham New York) is getting lots of good press, something he seemed a bit shy about when I mentioned it. “I haven't seen it,” he told me, “but I understand the filmmakers deserve a lot of praise.” He remembered my name when thanking me. It was fascinating to watch him work the line; so many of the queens had no idea who he was and seemed bemused when he would hand them a pad to write down their names. (This old-school method is fail-safe, though, if you want to avoid being Miss Identified.)

If you never saw Bill Cunningham New York (2010), do yourself a favor and see it.

 
May 28 2016
6-PACK — Unholy Mess + Mark Salling Indicted + HOT-Guy Roundup + COMING TO AMERICA Again + Eggplant Money Shot + Ultimate Video That Highlights Trump's Racist Bloodlust! Comments (0)

Holy-HellWill Allen (Movie still via WRA Productions)

*widget boy cultureReview of Holy Hell, a doc shot by a former gay porn actor who had a bit part in Rosemary's Baby (1968) who spent 20+ years in the Buddhafield cult.

*widget boy cultureMark Salling has been indicted on charges of receiving and possessing child pornography.

*widget boy cultureHEAT INDEX: Furry guys galore. Nude sunbathing on Fire Island: Status report. Lewis Hamilton shirtless on the beach. Ricky Martin's new BF nude. (Work Unfriendly) 

*widget boy cultureMI teens recreate scene from terrible movie Coming to America (1988) for their prom. Pretty damn cute, actually.

*widget boy cultureThai man decides to pleasure himself in the booty with an eggplant while on a public bus. Someone helpfully recorded and posted it.

*widget boy culturePerfect visuals to go along with Trump's bloodthirsty comments about how his protesters, mostly POC, should be treated: 

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