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As the even-keeled, hyper-disciplined Duffy describes a troubled upbringing that involves the murder-suicide of his parents, viewers glimpse the moments that shaped the recently divorced father of two young girls. Throughout, Duffy holds himself with a quiet dignity and, yes, grace that resonates on the elegant plates he crafts. And, of course, the food looks nothing short of exquisite. Death row inmate Nick Yarris sits in a dark room, like in a black box theater, and recounts his story. Is he really on death row? Is he guilty or not? But still the film feels thoughtful and relatively well-balanced: The media is its true target, and the filmmakers nail the insidious ways that its sensationalism and greed can derail justice and irrevocably ruin lives.

The criticism immediately made Ai a persona non grata in the eyes of the Chinese state but, to the free world, he was an exciting and shockingly frank artist from a place in sore need of one. Her portrait of the artist as a witty sociopolitical critic chronicles the challenges of finding justice and transparency in a repressive state. Through interviews with Ai, his relatives and art-world colleagues and curators, we get as fully rounded a picture as possible of an artist who—by virtue of his personality and his political realities—maintains a wry, restrained poise.

In her aims to paint a picture of a courageous artist, a revolutionary worshipped by his admirers and Twitter followers, Klayman risks turning her documentary into a publicity machine for its subject. Still, Ai Weiwei is too commanding and fascinating a figure to ignore, and Never Sorry is an excellent showcase for why he matters to the world.

As was the case with Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World , and Cave of Forgotten Dreams before it, and Grizzly Man before that, Into the Inferno works as moving, majestic, mind-boggling primer on a director who always has one more movie left in him. With characters like blackballed Yankees pitcher Jim Bouton, the first woman general manager in baseball age 24 and the first Asian-American at 22 , the inventor of Big League Chew, batboy Todd Field Oscar-nominated screenwriter for In the Bedroom , and a ball dog , the antics of the team were as entertaining as the game itself—and yet the their run from was one of the best in the minor leagues.

We loved whomping fuzzy-cheeked college-bonus babies owned by the Dodgers and Phillies. He also makes grotesque cardboard sculptures of motorcycles. Noriko emerges as the heart of the movie, as she recalls her life while writing a graphic novel about her rocky marriage.

Even his traumas are fairly mundane: estrangement from his ex-wives and kids, curdled hippie idealism, a hand accident that ended his artistic dreams. Even later, a macroscopic view of the whole stage, set against some retro computer graphics, pans slightly down to reveal a piano, and next to that emerges a much larger Timberlake, perspectives skewed but steered with aplomb and purpose. Just like every single minute of this wonderful film.

Directors Lyric R.

The SECRET to HAPPINESS

Cabral and David Felix Sutcliffe want to expose the ethically slippery activities in which the U. As a Virginian, and especially as a white Virginian from a rural family, you have to reckon with this knowledge if you want to achieve anything close to an honest view of yourself and where you come from. The Civil War takes that feeling and casts it across the entire nation. It is a deftly woven and defiant look at how clauses within those amendments specifically the lauded 13th and the language of our political system both veil and reveal a profound and devastating truth about America: Slavery was never abolished here, DuVernay and the participants in the film argue.

It was simply amended, and it continues to be amended in , with the constant evolution of the criminal justice system. Chasing Trane Year: Director: John Scheinfeld Those old and new to John Coltrane will find something to appreciate in this vivid, albeit effusive, tribute to the jazz legend. Filmmaker John Scheinfeld dips in and out of the music—too much so, it turns out, and with too little insight into the specifics of his gifts. Still, the overarching salvation Trane found in music resonates with such joy.

Martin Luther King Jr. Cornel West describes Coltrane as a thermostat, not a thermometer, of the times, an instrument personified that adapted rather than just measured. In its best moments, Chasing Trane succeeds in that as well. With the exception of his fascinating crime doc Tabloid , his output over has predominantly been a sober postmortem on our overseas failures: The Fog of War , Standard Operating Procedure and The Unknown Known.


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Bush from to , puts a face to hawkish policies. Previously, Rumsfeld served in the Nixon and Ford administrations, bearing witness to the conclusion of the Vietnam War; when wars went wrong for America over the last 50 years, Rumsfeld was been there. No film in years has produced such a shockingly vivid reminder of what the Bush years felt like: utter confidence, vague contempt, a fiendish skill for playing the PR game in such a way that the administration was guaranteed to come out on top.

That he is somehow able to waddle his way into the most exclusive and sometimes terrifying situations is nearly incomprehensible, until one realizes that, to some extent, all his weirdness probably makes him seem so non-threatening that the folks who spill deeply incriminating confessions probably never figure his footage will ever see the light of day.

Yet, the access the man gets … when it comes to documentary film, do the ends justify the means? Because: the last 10 minutes of the film alone are worth the journey, in which an interview with Suge Knight whom the film pretty clearly portrays as the orchestrator of both murders reveals unnerving opinions on socioeconomic and racial realities.

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Documentarian Kasper Collin—who previously made My Name Is Albert Ayler , also about a jazz musician—looks at the difficult, abbreviated life of trumpeter Lee Morgan, who was shot dead in the winter of in New York. Throughout the film, you feel the slow, grim pull of inevitable tragedy set against a lush visual palette.

And then there are the interview subjects and the milieu. Collin understands that his film is about people, not art, but his deft storytelling—and the endless sadness that comes from his tale—flexes its own nimbleness and beauty. For those not experiencing that reality on a daily basis, it can very easily become an abstraction. Several years after the factory closed, a Chinese company called Fuyao moved in, hiring back many of the employees of the old plant and offering hope to an economically depressed community.

The American workers would help build windshields for cars and, ideally, along the way discover that Chinese and American employees can live together in harmony. Early on, we can surmise that things may not work out: The Chinese bosses note derisively to their cohorts that the Americans have fat fingers, while the American workers feel alienated by motivational slogans put on the walls in fractured English.

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American Factory is a portrait of how two cultures clash—not violently or maliciously or even intentionally. Nonetheless, divisions start to form, and overriding financial interests take precedence over individuals, resulting in employment shakeups for both workforces. Even their conclusions are measured, if also dispiriting.

In 20 Feet from Stardom , music documentarian Morgan Neville introduces talented women like Darlene Love, Merry Clayton and Lisa Fischer, who, for one reason or another, lived mostly out of the spotlight. The shooter never faced trial—it was ruled self-defense—and in the ensuing decades Ford and his family have wrestled with the injustice. Fire at Sea Year: DIrector: Gianfranco Rosi Fire at Sea is an imagistic grasp at a few months on the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa, miles south of Sicily and the first glimpse of land for hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing Africa and the Middle East.

With no voiceover and little context, Italian director Gianfranco Rosi juxtaposes the lives of men, women and children barely sustaining themselves on the fringes of society, of humanity, with the everyday, mundane existences of the denizens of the island—both those who devote their lives to helping the refugees and those who work or play or eat big mounds of spaghetti without one thought for the deluge of sad souls passing over their home turf.

In long takes and cinematography that aches with the need to push beyond the boundaries of the screen, Rosi indulges in the rhythm of that juxtaposition, daring us to move on from one atrocity after another in order to understand what moving on takes: a lot of boring afternoons and silent plates of spaghetti.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi Year: Directors: David Gelb Jiro Dreams of Sushi is about one of the greatest masters of the culinary world, one of whom casual foodies have never even heard. Devoid of the typical familial jealousy you may expect and so devoid, arguably, of much conflict at all , Jiro Dreams of Sushi is only a beautifully filmed documentary about three men who have devoted their lives to the pursuit of perfection. Which in itself is conflict enough, as the film airily asks: Where do style, artistry, practice and perfection meet?

The Square Year: Director: Jehane Noujaim Bringing calm insight to an impassioned, still-developing historic event, The Square looks at the Egyptian Revolution from the perspective of those who were on the frontlines from the very beginning, personalizing the dramatic developments without losing a sense of greater stakes. Using no voiceover narration and only a handful of intertitles that inform the viewer about the exact time period of events, The Square seeks to create an urgent, immediate experience that tells its story through the reactions of its main participants.

In the West, the scenes of peaceful, joyous protest at Tahrir Square were warmly greeted as hopeful signs of a new Middle East. His former partners on the shoot, Peter Bogdanovich and Frank Marshall, make good on their old oath to their master to complete the film for him, and in finding the spirit of the thing, deliver us a masterpiece we barely deserve.

A divine accident. Quite the contrary, her movie is refreshingly candid and self-critical: She may be the star of the show, but she has a story to tell and the right perspective to frame it properly. Tan narrates the documentary as a memory piece, recounting her childhood in Singapore with her best friend Jasmine, where they were the two cool kids in their pretty square school, dreaming of being filmmakers and leaving their mark.

In her late teens and perhaps smitten with this man who showed her such attention—the documentary is cagey on the subject—Tan was intoxicated by the rush of making a film that she wrote and would be the star of. The documentary traces the strange, mysterious journey of the project, which was waylaid by Georges sneaking off with the reels of film with a vague promise of finishing the work. That never happened, and 20 years later Tan decides to open those old wounds, connecting with her old friends and trying to determine what became of Georges.

For example, hard-punching Earnie Shavers, who made me feel like I was in the ring with an angry Buick, and Joe Frazier, who gave me a four-stitch gash over my right eye within the first five seconds of the first round. I think the majority of you are right, and I will not pursue the project any longer. Rest in Peace, Charlie…. I love the new Rocky Collectors Edition and it would be a dream come true to have all of them done the same way.

I think that would be outstanding, to truly dissect all the different moods and components that were part and parcel of the making of each of those films. Lame… but effective. Thanks for the idea. Yo Sly, Now that you confess to being a geek I just gotta know what you think of the new Rocky action figures and are you collecting them. Do you think you might secretly punch up the other fighters with your Rocky action figure.

Thanks for appreciating us geeks. That rocks. Go for it!

Barbara Orsini Surwilo

Paul Naylor Brisbane Australia Fellow geek… I am very flattered by the new line of ROCKY toys, only because they indicate the character is still relevant, and yes, I am tempted to have surreptitious boxing matches with my other plastic foes, but refrain myself in the name of mental health. One tablespoon can do you a world of good… a little too much and you get the runs.

I can't wait to see Rocky Balboa. My question requres a short set up: I visited the Grand Canyon in and signed up for a backpack trip to the bottom of the canyon normally a day hike , camped out one night and then hiked back up the next day. The park ranger said that serious althletes marathon runners often do the trip down and back up in one day not carrying any camping gear.

This is no small feat. Anyway the story the ranger tell's is that you visited the canyon and decided to try to do the one day challenge you are obviously a very athletic person then and now. But because of the heat and as you have stated you are not a runner, you got severely dehydrated and couldn't compelete the journey down and up.

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Any truth to this or was the ranger just blowing smoke signals?? Thanks and best wishes for Rocky Balboa, Jerry Aguinaldo Mountain View, California Oh, the ranger was blowing more than just smoke signs; he was blowing a volcano up your posterior. No joke, my dog was boiling to death, or so it seemed, and I pulled into an icehouse, removed the rear seat which was virtually worthless , and filled the back portion of the car with what seemed like a miniature topographical map of Antarctica.

Butkus enjoyed that, and we used that ice method until we eventually got through that heat belt and made our way to California. I've recently been rewatching the Rocky films and was wondering why there was never a proper backstory given to the character. His ten years fighting from are mentioned and that he started boxing when he was 15, but in all five films we never hear much about the Balboa family -- which coming from the "Italian Stallion" seems a little strange. Was this a conscious effort on your part to place Rocky further into the mythological hero role or was it skipped over for other reasons?

Is Rocky an orphan? Does he have a brother with a singing career? Finally, is any mention of the Balboa family made in the new film? If not, I smell prequel!

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And Sly, have I got a script for you. It's your next picture. And you can thank me at the Oscars. I always saw Rocky being born on the night we first see him; he was not meant to have a back story- that could be handled in a few pieces of dialogue. I did not want to dwell on the past, because we had so much ground to cover for the future of the character. Also, starting on the face of Jesus and panning down to Rocky being pummeled was supposed to be an indication that the character was being chosen for a redemptive journey.

Stallone: What an honor. Like you said, this is a window for you to see what most celebrities can't, and it's the same for us.


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  • I have a few questions regarding Over the Top. I chat on another site, getbig. He has said that you took the idea of turning the cap backwards from his buddy. Is this true? Also, he said that most of the competitors in the film were real-life arm wrestlers. Did you actually arm wrestle any of them?

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    Did John Grizzly really chew a cigar and down motor oil? Were you intimidated by any of those guys? Lastly, about Rocky, do you still keep in touch with Tommy Morrison? Is he doing well?

    Did you ever consider using any pros before then? Who else was considered for Clubber Lang and Ivan Drago? Sorry for all the questions. I'll probably never get the chance to meet you. I couldn't win your contest for Instone, so I gotta ask what I can while I can! Thanks for being my idol! Even his misses hurt. I actually saw a gent break his own nose. Check, please. The one movie we really haven't heard enough about yet is Copland. This movie is without a doubt your best performance outside of the first Rocky. I was just hoping you could talk a little about the film. Looking back, do you feel the weight gain was as important to the role as you felt it was back then?