Michael Moore

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If you were around and old enough to know anything in the summer of 1989, you remember what a phenomenon the release of Batman was. Tim Burton‘s comic book movie was almost as significant to blockbuster history as Star Wars, only in a different way. The DC superhero adaptation was sort of a peak for Hollywood’s aims in the wake of the surprise game changer of 12 years prior. Warner Bros. went all out to sell Batman as an event long ahead of its June 23rd opening and then used that hype to in turn sell the world on Batman merchandising, especially to those who weren’t already hardcore fans. There’s very little about today’s blockbuster and fan culture that wasn’t around for Batman 25 years ago. Even the Internet was involved. To commemorate the anniversary of the movie that sent America into a frenzy of Batmania, I’m not going to highlight a bunch of scenes we love or controversially compare it preferably to The Dark Knight or champion Michael Keaton’s return to the cape and mask after he returns to the black and white stripes of Beetlejuice. Instead I’ve selected a bunch of my favorite ridiculous facts about Batman, many of which are mostly crazy for how similar the preconception and reception was way back then to what we commonly see with tentpoles today.

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“When Danny asked me to make the film, I knew right away I had the opportunity to pay tribute to a skateboarder I admired and tell a human story that fed my filmmaking soul. When Danny calls and asks, you don’t say no.” – Jacob Rosenberg, director of Waiting for Lightning There is no real way of knowing, just by watching it, that the new documentary Waiting for Lightning is a work commissioned by its own subject. The above quote comes from an interview in the press notes, and after reading it, I decided that the film is even worse than I already thought. Something just rubs me the wrong way about a prominent person having a movie made about himself. It reminds me of Triumph of the Will, especially the opening. This isn’t to say that I think legendary pro skateboarder Danny Way is comparable to Hitler in the worst of aspects, just in the narcissism sense.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s all the movie news that’s fit to print. So, please, print it out and read it on your morning commute. The videos are especially effective that way. We begin this evening with four arms. This is just one of the ninety-seven images that Disney released in support of John Carter which means that if you make a flipbook of them, you’ve got a nice cheap version of the movie. Plus, John Carter wants you to read!

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World events and current affairs invariably inspire cultural commentary, in terms of both entertainment and factual responses, and it is no exaggeration to speculate that if an event, or an idea is worthy of note for documentary filmmakers and straight literary commentators, it will inevitably already have been considered by someone in Hollywood as a potential money-spinner. Just look at how quickly the Kill Bin Laden project was confirmed after the death of arguably the most wanted man in Western history. Recent years have seen the blurring of the distinction between serious exposes and their Hollywood counterparts, as filmmakers like Michael Moore and Morgan Spurlock have used more commercial arenas to promote their messages, and we can now talk about documentaries in terms of their box office appeal and potential bankability. Add to that the fact that revolution is hot right now, with notable uprisings taking up slots in the news almost every day, and you could suggest that this is the perfect time to be making and releasing anything that successfully blends a compelling story with a spirit of dissent. Into this context, filmmaking spouses and activists Joshua Tickell and Rebecca Harrell have made The Big Fix (sometimes known as Spill), a documentary charting the continued after-effects and alleged cover-up of the Deepwater Horizons oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, which screened this afternoon as a Special Screening in Cannes.

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Culture Warrior

I am not a fan of 3D. Even in the most technologically adept cases where the 3D landscape has layers of depth, even in those most “Cameronesque” of instances, I am unable to get past the gimmickry in the mode of viewing. As a human being, I’m already trained to perceive two-dimensional images in three dimensions, why would I need to attach cumbersome glasses to my face to show me a pronounced version of what I already perceive? I had never encountered a situation in which the forced depth of 3D actually added to any depth in content of the film itself. That is, until I saw Werner Herzog’s The Cave of Forgotten Dreams.

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Culture Warrior

With the release of Pixar’s Up, last year saw a great deal of conversation surrounding the ghettoization of animated movies at major awards shows. This debate resulted in something of a minor, qualified victory for animated cinema of 2009, as Up was the first animated movie to be nominated for Best Picture since Beauty and the Beast, but then again it sat amongst a crowded bevy of nine fellow nominations, and animated films remain unthreatening to their live action competitors because of the separate-but-unequal Best Animated Feature Category. I’d like to take this space to advocate for the big-category acceptance of yet another marginalized and underappreciated category around awards time: non-fiction films.

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Expect to see more political documentaries in the near future. Also expect to see more campaign ads pretending to be documentaries in the near future.

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As the year winds down to a close and with award season is already underway, everyone is looking back on all the fine performances in cinema over 2009. But to truly recall all the great performances, we have to slag through some pretty awful ones.

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This week’s Culture Warrior gives an exhaustive review of the decade that you won’t find anywhere else on the Interwebs.

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This week’s Culture Warrior talks fake movies that look real but are fake, from Paranormal Activity to Blair Witch to old people getting in it with garbage.

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This week on a very special episode of Reject Radio, we discuss spoilers (what they are and where to find them), zombie attacks, and why Ricky Gervais really loves being told he’s a fat slob.

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Kevin Carr takes a look at this week’s movie releases, including Zombieland, Whip It and Capitalism: A Love Story.

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Fat Guys at the Movies

Neil returns from the pit of the Great Unwashed, otherwise known as Fantastic Fest. Kevin is stunned that he actually saw some movies this week but understands the Vegas odds of that happening when five flicks head into wide release. The Fat Guys talk toys, roller derby, capitalism and zombies.

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Overture Films has released the first trailer for Capitalism: A Love Story, the latest documentary from the king of shock-docs himself, Michael Moore.

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On a very special episode of Reject Radio, mistake guest host Landon Palmer for Bill O’Reilly, get pissed at movie marketing, and Neil has one more margarita than is advisable.

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Despite the fact that he’s made his name in the world of documentaries, director Michael Moore has dabbled in the world of narrative filmmaking before. And it appears as if he’s about to do it again.

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Michael Moore is recession-proof.

Even Adam Smith is groaning at Michael Moore. Hey, but speaking of capitalism, can we borrow five bucks?

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When Michael Moore describes his new Untitled Bailout Movie as a “vampire” film, I can only assume that he’s written and shot his own Stephanie Meyer fan-fic. Go Team Goldman Sachs!

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Michael Moore is recession-proof.

It turns out that Michael Moore is still making movies, and now he’s really teetered off by the state of the economy.

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Michael Moore to give Slacker Uprising away free online

Filmmaker Michael Moore would like to give you a gift, and no, you don’t have to sign any waivers or drink any questionable Kool-Aid.

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