The Cove

Rick O Barry in The Cove

The first Dolphin Tale got surprisingly strong reviews for an innocuous family flick. While as of yet there is no verdict in for the film’s sequel, Dolphin Tale 2, it seems widely agreed upon that the fact that there is a sequel at all is rather baffling. Like it’s predecessor, the movie is based on true events that took place at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Florida, but there’s no hook to the story of (part 2’s) Hope the dolphin the way there is to that of (part 1’s) Winter, who needed to be fitted with a prosthetic tail by the Aquarium after losing her real tail to a crab trap. Oh wait, Hope was a baby when she was rescued, so the movie seems to be nakedly playing for “aww”s. If you’re in the mood for a movie about dolphins — and why wouldn’t you be? dolphins are great — but aren’t interested in a redundant feel-good movie, then you might want to consider a necessary though dire documentary about them. The Cove was able to ride a wave of controversy to an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature after its release in 2009, and with good reason. It’s full of stomach-churning imagery and immense urgency, and it exposes a subject that many people know nothing about. Everyone loves dolphins, which is why a movie like Dolphin Tale can be a success, but most are content to coo at them in aquariums or at TV and Internet footage of the creatures. Few actually truly care about dolphins, which is how people can get away with […]

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Capitalism Michael Moore

In our review for Fed Up, a documentary on the American obesity epidemic, I recommend that it be distributed free, at least to the poor. “Who wants to pay $10 or more to watch a bunch of talking heads make claims about how the food industry and government have made the problem even worse over the years?” I wondered. “This shouldn’t be the content of a theatrical release.” Now the film is on DVD and Blu-ray and through digital outlets, and we do think it’s worth seeing. But like many issue films of today, this is not a movie so much as it’s a necessary news report — the kind of thing that the networks would air to large audiences (albeit ones with much fewer choices in TV channels and other media options) in the ’60s and ’70s. Presumably, Michael Moore would agree with the stance on such a doc. He has long been arguing the case for more cinematic nonfiction films in theaters and on Oscar ballots. This week, while being honored at the Toronto International Film Festival with a 25th anniversary screening of Roger & Me, Moore spoke out on the need for docs to be more entertaining. The Guardian quotes him as saying, “People want to go home and have sex after your movie. Don’t make them feel ‘Urggggghhhh’.” In his speech, a keynote for the TIFF doc conference, he urged the filmmakers who are primarily lecturing viewers with their docs to quit the business and become teachers, because […]

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With the success of both Blackfish and The Cove, don’t be surprised if the marine life issue films keep coming. They’ve actually been around for a while, as I pointed out in a post last month about the ten-year-old documentary Lolita: Slave to Entertainment. But now they’re increasingly better quality and therefore have been garnering more attention at bigger festivals and through more prominent distributors and ultimately from larger audiences. That means greater awareness and influence, of course. The Cove even won an Oscar and now Blackfish is on the shortlist for the same award. So, what aquatic animal in need is set to follow dolphins and orcas onto the big screen? Sea lions? Manatees? Humpback whales? Well, this time it’s actually a trickier creature to get people to care about: sharks. There’s a new documentary in the works called Extinction Soup, and its focus is on the problem of a particular delicacy in Asia known literally as shark fin soup. Apparently it used to be less of an issue that sharks were killed solely for their appendages because only the wealthy afforded and enjoyed the luxury dish. However, now it’s popularly found all over China as a staple of the country’s cuisine, and so naturally the animals are becoming endangered as a result of more than 70 million sharks of various species being slaughtered every year. Because audiences are less likely to worry about creatures that aren’t so cute and cuddly as the sea mammals who do tricks at […]

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We’re all aware of and used to the blockbuster knockoffs from The Asylum. Maybe you were reminded this past week by coming across their 2011 movie Almighty Thor while looking up Marvel’s own Thor: The Dark World. Well, they haven’t taken on documentaries yet, but there are comparably cheap versions of hit nonfiction films to be found around the web. We can’t call them all knockoffs or ripoffs or copycats or anything of that responsive nature, though, because most of the time they are produced earlier and are actually the ones being overshadowed by the new, better-known features. Last week I was going through the latest documentary additions to Netflix Watch Instantly, as I regularly do for my home viewing picks for our sister site Nonfics, and one title stood out to me: Wild Eyes: The Abby Sunderland Story. The synopsis told me simply that it was about a teen girl who “dares try to become the youngest person to sail around the globe solo.” That sounded awfully familiar. I’d known about the SXSW audience award winner Maidentrip, which also is about a teen girl who set out to sail around the globe solo. But I didn’t know that film’s subject’s name and thought maybe it was Sunderland. After all, how many teen girls are there who attempt such a dangerous adventure? Apparently at least two, because the girl’s name in Maidentrip, I quickly learned, is Laura Dekker.

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The Best Seat in a Movie Theater

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column that cares about your in-theater experience. We want you to have the best seat and be able to avoid having someone do something heinous to your corpse. We care so much. We begin tonight’s multimedia-heavy presentation of your favorite after-hours movie news column with an article I quite enjoyed over at Gizmodo, titled simply How to Find the Best Seat in a Theater. This is the kind of expert knowledge that many people assume I have, given the number of movies I see in theaters every year. But I’ve never quite dug into the science behind what makes the sweet spot the sweet spot.

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The winners of the 2010 Writers Guild Awards for outstanding achievement in writing for screen, television, radio, news, promotional, and videogame writing were announced last night.Among the big winners were Mark Boal for his work on The Hurt Locker and the team of Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner for their work on Up in the Air.

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Check out which of your favorite television shows and movies won with this complete listing of PGA winners. Tiger Woods isn’t on here.

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Put simply, it’s going to be a populist kind of year. Once again, the likes of Avatar and Star Trek, along with The Hangover, are hanging around during awards season.

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Rob Hunter loves movies. He also loves rescuing dolphins from culturally misguided Japanese fishermen. These two joys come together in the form of cash money payments that he receives every week and immediately uses to buy more DVDs.

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Anvil! The Fucking Story of Anvil

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences revealed their list of the final group of 15 films that will contend for the Best Documentary Feature award this week, and with said announcement comes a twinge of bittersweetness.

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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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The documentary ‘The Cove,’ which works as a thriller and a morality play, tells the harrowing story of the mass slaughter of dolphins by the fishermen of Taiji, Japan.

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Everybody loves dolphins. Except for the Japanese. And sharks. And probably Robert Fure. So most folks love dolphins. If you fall into that broad characterization then you may find it difficult watching the new documentary The Cove.

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As the 2009 Sundance Film Festival comes to a close, it is time as always for the Juries and Audiences to recognize the best of this year’s festival…

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