Restrepo

Korengal Mountains

Filmmaker Sebastian Junger launched a Kickstarter campaign earlier today for a follow-up to his Oscar-nominated documentary Restrepo. And it’s already about a third of the way funded. The new film, titled Korengal: This Is What War Feels Like, is basically a sequel to that 2010 effort, for which he and co-director Tim Hetherington were embedded with a U.S. platoon in Afghanistan for a look at a year on the front lines of the war. Hetherington later died covering another dangerous conflict, the Libyan civil war, and became the subject of Junger’s subsequent film, Which Way Is the Front Line From Here. Korengal takes us back with the duo to the titular valley for events that happened either following or alongside those in Restrepo. Junger says in his campaign statement that it had been an idea during the editing of the earlier film that they’d come back and make another doc out of the unused footage. That makes it sound almost like what they did with the Anchorman movies, but of course this is reality and also this second film is said to pick up where the other one left off, not be merely a collection of deleted scenes.

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Tim Hetherington, the director of last year’s Academy Award Nominated and Sundance Grand Jury Prize Winning war documentary Restrepo has been killed alongside photographer Chris Hondros while filming in Libya. Three other journalists were said to have been injured in the same mortar attack, but details are still sketchy. Hetherington’s last Twitter update eerily points to the danger that he and the other journalists were facing, and also seemingly criticizes international forces for their lack of involvement in the current uprising: “In besieged Libyan city of Misrata. Indiscriminate shelling by Qaddafi forces. No sign of NATO.” Hetherington’s film Restrepo was a documentary about a hotly contested military outpost that was set in one of the most dangerous valleys in Afghanistan. It gained notoriety not only for its craftsmanship, but also for the way it took the viewer inside of deadly war situations, like maybe no other footage before it had. In addition to that film, Hetherington also did several pieces on Afghanistan for ABC’s Nightline. The executive producer of Nightline, James Goldston, is quoted as saying, “Tim was one of the bravest photographers and filmmakers I have ever met.” Source: ABC News

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While we may not see a non-fiction film nominated for Best Picture anytime soon, the Best Documentary Feature has for many risen from a minor category rarely given its due attention to a battleground for some of the most important movies in a given year. 2010 was no exception, and in this year and in this category there are an impressive collection of docs addressing a variety of subjects in unique ways that truly exemplify the personalities of the filmmakers behind them. If no other year has convinced you the documentary is a great art form, this one should. But perhaps more significantly, this year exhibits such a variety of films that it throws the simplistic notion that a documentary should occupy one single mode of address out the window: here we have ambitious and stylish massive doc about a very complex subject, an intimate biographical advocacy piece, some on-the-ground investigative journalism, some trash art, and that film everyone’s been talking about all year that puts the entire notion of artistic truth into question. Only one of these films will take home the gold at the end of the night, but I’ll be damned if they’re not all impressive pieces of non-fiction filmmaking. And the nominees (with my prediction in red) are…

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At the end of the 90s, famous Oscar show writer and Celebrity Fit Club contestant Bruce Vilanch claimed that, “Generally with the Oscars…there isn’t much you can do until the nominations are announced. Then you know what kind of year you’re dealing with – what’s been overlooked, what the issues are.” He was talking about preparing to write the show, but it applies to everyone from the directors, producers and stars on down to the fans. It’s fun to guess around the water cooler (your office still has a water cooler?), but until now, it’s all been speculation. Thankfully, almost all that speculation has been spot on, so we can all continue our conversations about whether Black Swan will beat The Social Network for Best Picture. Whether Natalie Portman has any true competition for Best Actress. Whether, most importantly of all, Colleen Atwood will beat Mary Zophres for Best Costume Design. Here they are. The 2011 Academy Award nominees:

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Once in a while a film gets released in theaters that’s so big other movies go out of their way to avoid coming out on the same weekend. The same thing happens on Tuesday’s with DVD releases where you’ll notice one major title alongside several films you’ve probably never heard of before. This week that major title is… Scouts Honor: Badge To the Bone. Other titles out this week include Christopher Nolan’s conversation starter Inception, Shrek Forever After, two Roger Corman releases about memorable ladies with guns, a renamed Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre, and more.

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The top nominations for this year’s Indie Spirit Awards are no surprise. Winter’s Bone continues its march through the woods to find its father and an Oscar with 7 nominations (which is almost all it was even eligible for). In a close second, The Kids Are All Right finds itself with 5 nominations. If you’re a fan of female directors, this year is celebrating a number of them in the top spots, but it’s also incredibly important to point out that Samuel L. Jackson and Bill Murray are finally up for the same award. The Indepdenent Spirit Awards make a good primer for the films that might make their way into the Academy Award nominee pool. In recent tradition, the winner of the Best Feature prize goes on to be an Oscar contender (and occasional winner). Examples of that include Precious, The Wrestler, Juno, and Brokeback Mountain. The full list of nominees continues below:

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After a record-breaking opening weekend, it’s time to see how much Toy Story 3 can pull in in its second weekend out. It has Adam Sandler and that Tom Cruise guy to worry about, so I think it’s pretty safe.

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June 2010 Movie Guide

Now that American Idol and Lost are over, you have the entire month of June free for movies. What the hell are you going to watch?

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Last night at a ceremony here in Park City, Utah, the winners of the annual awards were announced…

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published: 12.17.2014
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published: 12.15.2014
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published: 12.05.2014
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