Friday, March 12, 2010

Theatrical Releases

Every Friday we update you all with the week's theatrical documentary releases. Now, this is not a perfect process as our beloved genre prefers the rolling/limited release schedule instead of a big nationwide or international-wide release. So apologies if a film isn't out in your area or if you are a filmmaker and we missed the boat on announcing your documentary's big day (if that is the case, please let us know and we'll correct the mistake).

Now, with that introduction out of the way, here's this weekend's releases with their current rating on the amazing website

Severe Clear – (67% rating) based on the memoir by First Lieutenant Mike Scotti as well as video footage shot by him and other members of 1st Battalion, 4th Marines on the outset of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Through their cameras we see the raw sounds of war, capturing the harrowing three hundred mile charge to Baghdad through hostile enemy territory. The footage used to create Severe Clear was never shot for the purpose of making a movie. In this digital age of embedded reporters, the film truly strips the barriers between audience and soldier, personalizing the fear, moral conundrum and adrenaline rush of life on the battlefield. Severe Clear offers an unflinching look at the uncertainty, disorder and chaos of war from the remarkable perspective of one Marine.(

Tales from the Script – (58% rating) Shane Black (Lethal Weapon), John Carpenter (Halloween), Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption), William Goldman (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid), Paul Schrader (Taxi Driver), and dozens of other Hollywood screenwriters share penetrating insights and hilarious anecdotes in Peter Hanson's Tales from the Script, the most comprehensive documentary ever made about screenwriting. By analyzing their triumphs and recalling their failures, the participants explain how successful writers develop the skills necessary for toughing out careers in one of the world's most competitive industries. They also reveal the untold stories behind some of the greatest screenplays ever written, describing their adventures with luminaries including Harrison Ford, Morgan Freeman, Stanley Kubrick, Joel Silver, Martin Scorsese, and Steven Spielberg.(

The White Stripes: Under Great White Northern Lights – (no rating provided) a visual and emotional feature length film documenting The White Stripes making their way through Canada and culminating with their 10th anniversary show in Nova Scotia. The film documents the band playing shows all over Canada; from local bowling alleys, to city buses, and onward to the historic Savoy Theatre for the 10th Anniversary show- a show that turned out to be the longest show the band had ever done on stage together. The film captures intimate moments of Jack and Meg both on and off stage as they travel through some of the most remote parts of the northern Yukon Territory. Along the way, they have some nice casual conversations about their ten years together, fire cannons, play some of their biggest songs together on stage, and even play a "one note show." (

Ghost Town - (no rating provided) a tremendously rewarding film that illuminates the alienation and marginalization of the denizens of one of China's countless remote villages. Divided into three parts, this epic documentary brings a compassionate intimacy to its varied cast of characters, bringing audiences face to face with people who were unceremoniously left behind by China's new economy. Zhao displays tremendous compassion and respect for the squatters and other inhabitants of the village, and he patiently teases out the special places and attachments to which they cling. Cleverly structured and beautifully shot, the film is a gratifying, if ultimately heartbreaking, testimonial to the talent and commitment of China's vanguard independent documentary movement.(

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