Indie Game: The Movie

The Best Documentaries of 2012

2012’s best documentaries understand people. It’s as simple as that. They include beautiful character portraits, from group pictures like Indie Game: The Movie and El Gusto to individual pieces like Jiro Dreams of Sushi and Marley. Even the most issue-oriented films achieved their strength through keeping things personal, building powerful political and social arguments through the lives of their subjects. They chronicle the lives of victims who are also heroes, filmmakers who are also subjects, and unique characters who end up representing us all.

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Last night, at a special event in conjunction with the AFI FEST, the nominees for the 2013 Cinema Eye Honors were announced. And once again, the titles contending for the ten feature categories, all of which focus solely on nonfiction films (to make up for the Oscars’ minimal recognition), represent the year’s best in documentaries. As someone who professionally concentrates on docs elsewhere, I tend to feel kinda useless or redundant when Cinema Eye names its nominees, because now when someone asks me what’s great this year I can just point to their list of 31 features. Of course, some of these films are only up for specific honors, like those for original music score and graphic design, and may not be quite as necessary as the six up for the top award or the 10 nominated for the Audience Choice Prize (which sadly, for publicity-sake, lacks a Justin Bieber movie like last year). Also, I could name a bunch of exceptional docs that haven’t been recognized, such as This is Not a Film, The House I Live In, Under African Skies, Beware of Mr. Baker, Last Call at the Oasis, The Queen of Versailles, Girl Model (though its directors are up for Downeast) and The Invisible War. Still, I’m very excited that one of my top three nonfiction films of the year, The Imposter, is one of the most-nominated titles, while I’m even more ecstatic that the CEH could bring more attention to brilliant, lesser-known works like Only the […]

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Editor’s note: With Indie Game: The Movie opening up in Los Angeles today as it begins its theatrical run, we thought it only appropriate to re-run this Sundance review, originally posted on January 20. They say to truly be happy you should “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life,” but what does it mean to take something you love doing and try and make it your career? Or at least something you dedicate the majority of your time to? Those who are writers or make films or music usually get into it because they love reading/writing, movies and music, but there is a caveat to this idea that people do not always realize. Even if you are “pursuing your dreams,” at the end of the day, work is work. It may be more exciting and different than your average 9-5 cubicle life, it is still a job with deadlines, pressure, and stress. Indie Game: The Movie follows three sets of video game creators (Edmund McMillen and Tommy Refenes, creators of Super Meat Boy; Phil Fish, creator of FEZ; and Jonathan Blow, creator of Braid) each at different points in their careers (and the games they are working on) to show not only the process of being an independent game creator, but what happens when you pour yourself into something that you eventually have to leave up to other people to determine its success. None of these creators are in it for the money (although there is certainly money to […]

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Cannes! It’s upon us! At this stage last year, I offered my pre-festival wishlist for what films might screen at Cannes (and got six out of eighteen picks correct in the process), which was based on rumors and guesswork from around the net. This year, in the interest of embracing the spirit of imagination, the emphasis is on spurious gossip and pie-in-the-sky wishful thinking. Plucking films that might have an outside chance of screening on the Croisette this year (in some cases so far outside they won’t even be in France until months after the fest, probably), I’ve compiled my Ultimate Cannes 2012 Wishlist. The caveat to this of course is that probably very few of the bloody things will actually screen – at least not to the majority of the collected press – but what’s life without whimsy? Yes, the bent is firmly on American films, and English language ones, but in my defense, I don’t care. It says “wishlist” up there for a good reason. Realism aside, here are 13 movies I hope play at Cannes this May.

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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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published: 11.19.2014
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