Recent Entries in Film

The current spotlight on documentaries, particularly those of the political persuasion, means more movie fans than usual are likely to pay attention to the Best Documentary Feature category during the 77th Academy Awards.

But a quirky rule that declares ineligible any documentary distributed on television or the Internet during the nine months after its theatrical release could leave some gaps in the potential nominees.

The rule reads in part: "Any documentary which is transmitted anywhere in the world in any version as a television or Internet program within this period will automatically be disqualified from award eligibility." Taken literally, any download -- legal or illegal -- during that time period would seem to disqualify a documentary.,1412,64184,00.html?tw=rss.CUL

The Hebrew version of "Shrek 2" has been redubbed after an Israeli singer famed for his falsetto voice complained it implied he had been castrated, a representative for the movie's producers says.

In its original Israeli dub, the hit animated comedy had one character threaten to emasculate another by saying "Let's do a David Daor on him" -- referring to the leading contralto who represented the Jewish state at the Eurovision song contest this year.

  Moore film a Brit hit

Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 broke the British box office record for a documentary in its opening weekend by taking �1.3 million ($3.35 million), the film's British distributor said today.

The film - a vitriolic assault on President George W Bush over the September 11 attacks and the Iraq war - opened Friday on 132 British screens and has received standing ovations from audiences.

Distribution company Optimum Releasing said the previous opening weekend record for a documentary was set by Moore's Bowling for Columbine, which took �158,000 ($405,300 at today's exchange rates) in its first three days.

The early success of Fahrenheit 9/11 meant it was likely to become the biggest grossing documentary ever in Britain. The record is held by the 2003 mountaineering film Touching the Void, which took �2.58 million ($6.66 million).,5478,10122873%255E1702,00.html

It may well be true that anyone willing to pay $9.50 to see Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" has already decided to vote for John Kerry for president this November. Partisans of George W. Bush don't tend to like Moore to begin with, and most of the undecided will likely opt for less political cinema fare.

But if Democratic loyalties are what got them in the door, it was the movie that prompted the outburst of sustained applause we witnessed at a Monday showing in Framingham. Others have noted the same reactions at other area theaters: applause, tears and heated discussions, sometimes going on long enough that cinema employees had to clear the auditorium.

"Fahrenheit 9/11" makes no claim to objectivity, fairness or balance. Moore is an advocate, even a propagandist, not a journalist. He picks and chooses facts and images to make his case. There are cheap shots in the film, to be sure. But for all the howls from the defenders of the Bush Administration, it's hard to find an outright falsehood.

The movie's greatest weakness is in its implications of conspiracy. By connecting Bush and members of his family and administration so closely to the oil industry, defense contractors and Saudi royals, Moore gives simple greed too large a role in Bush's foreign policy blunders. We would ascribe a greater role to ineptness and ideological myopia. But Moore isn't wrong to point out the connections. Never has an administration been so dominated by the petroleum industry, and never has a family of presidents been so financially entangled with foreign rulers.

...Now, whose fault is this? I'll tell you: it's ours. You and me and everyone. We have got to be among the most ignorant and selfish people on the face of the planet and we have got in our political system and our President exactly what we deserve. As a country, we have utter disdain for everything and everyone. It's me first and fuck everyone else and that attitude is perfectly represented in our political system. We are the greediest, most conceited people on the face of the Earth and we spread our attitudes like a cancer...

Filmmaker Michael Moore, who criticized U.S. President George W. Bush's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in the film Fahrenheit 9-11, called for a similar film on U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair.

"In some ways, I find Blair a more fascinating character than Bush," Moore said on British Broadcasting Corp.'s Radio 4. "Blair is smart. So what's his excuse? At least Bush has an excuse. I hope there's one or two Brits out there that want to pick up a camera and do a film like this about Tony Blair."

  Marlon Brando, 1924-2004

He was the greatest American actor of the last half century, but he squandered his gifts, and his fortune, in a slow-motion car crash of self-indulgence and self-loathing.

He was only an actor and, as he pointed out, actors are no more than dishonest entertainers, frauds, pretenders, liars - he could be relentlessly hard on himself. But was it then any defence that he so seldom acted, that he had deserted the stage he had himself brought to life, or that he had come to regard movies with the hurt feelings of a Kong, hiding in his lair, unwilling to make a cheap spectacle of himself for those exploiting showmen?


  '9/11': Just the facts?

A reader writes:

"In your articles discussing Michael Moore's film 'Fahrenheit 9/11,' you call it a documentary. I always thought of documentaries as presenting facts objectively without editorializing. While I have enjoyed many of Mr. Moore's films, I don't think they fit the definition of a documentary."

That's where you're wrong. Most documentaries, especially the best ones, have an opinion and argue for it. Even those that pretend to be objective reflect the filmmaker's point of view. Moviegoers should observe the bias, take it into account and decide if the film supports it or not.

One of the many problems with the American left, and indeed of the American left, has been its image and self-image as something rather too solemn, mirthless, herbivorous, dull, monochrome, righteous, and boring. How many times, in my old days at The Nation magazine, did I hear wistful and semienvious ruminations? Where was the radical Firing Line show? Who will be our Rush Limbaugh? I used privately to hope that the emphasis, if the comrades ever got around to it, would be on the first of those and not the second. But the meetings themselves were so mind-numbing and lugubrious that I thought the danger of success on either front was infinitely slight.

MICHAEL MOORE is not coy about his hopes for "Fahrenheit 9/11," his blistering documentary attack on President Bush and the war in Iraq. He wants it to be remembered as the first big-audience, election-year film that helped unseat a president.

"And it's not just a hope," the Oscar-winning filmmaker said in a phone interview last week, describing focus groups in Michigan in April at which, after seeing the movie, previously undecided voters expressed eagerness to defeat Mr. Bush. "We found that if you entered the theater on the fence, you fell off it somewhere during those two hours," he said. "It ignites a fire in people who had given up."

The movie's indictment of the president is nothing if not sprawling. Mr. Moore suggests that Mr. Bush and his administration jeopardized national security in an effort to placate Bush family cronies in Saudi Arabia, that the White House helped members of Mr. bin Laden's family to flee the United States after Sept. 11 and that the administration manipulated terrorism alert levels in order to scare Americans into supporting the invasion of Iraq.

A sure-footed Republican and self-described "ardent Bush-Cheney supporter," Alan Wilenski found none of his other right-leaning friends and family willing to go along with his Sunday afternoon plans.

But the Alan Wilenski who stepped out of the Farmingdale Multiplex Cinemas yesterday afternoon, after the 12:40 showing of "Fahrenheit 9/11," was a different man. Hands in pockets, his expression contemplative, he left with more than a new perspective. He left with three more tickets to a later showing of Michael Moore's politically combustible documentary criticizing the Bush administration and the war in Iraq.

"It's really given me pause to think about what's really going on," said Wilenski, 50, of Plainview. "There was just too much - too much to discount.",0,2997491.story

After blistering the box office in its inaugural New York launch, Michael Moore's anti-Bush documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11" opens nationwide in the United States today with most reviewers giving it high marks as brilliantly provocative but unflinchingly partisan.

While saying Moore's latest work can fairly be classified as propaganda, critics generally praised the film as an artfully rendered critique of U.S. President George W. Bush, his war on terror and the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

"Unabashedly partisan, wearing its determination to bring about political change on its sleeve, 'Fahrenheit' can be nit-picked and second-guessed, but it can't be ignored," wrote Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times.

Michael Moore has lost an appeal to lower the R-rating for Fahrenheit 9/11, his controversial film about George W. Bush's actions before and after the September 11 attacks on the US.

The R-rating prohibits children aged 17 and younger from seeing Fahrenheit 9/11 without an adult.

Distributors Lions Gate Films and IFC Films said yesterday the appeals board of the Motion Picture Association of America had rejected their request to reduce the rating to PG-13.

Moore urged teenagers to see the film anyway. "I encourage all teenagers to come see my movie, by any means necessary. If you need me to sneak you in, let me know," the director said.,5744,9936364%255E2703,00.html

Ray Bradbury is demanding an apology from filmmaker Michael Moore for lifting the title from his classic science-fiction novel "Fahrenheit 451" without permission and wants the new documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11" to be renamed.

"He didn't ask my permission," Bradbury, 83, told The Associated Press on Friday. "That's not his novel, that's not his title, so he shouldn't have done it."

The 1953 novel, widely considered Bradbury's masterpiece, portrays an ugly futuristic society in which firemen burn homes and libraries in order to destroy the books inside and keep people from thinking independently.

After more than a week of round-the-clock Reaganolotry, New York was so ready for the rollout of Michael Moore's Bush-bashing movie. I mean really, really ready. There was such demand to get into a small screening at the Beekman Theatre on Monday night that executive producer and host Harvey Weinstein moved the celebrity crowd to the thousand-seat Ziegfeld Theatre. This was a canny PR move. There was only a one-week frenzy window between Gippermania and the pending Clinton memoir, and Weinstein flew right through it.

Disney's refusal to distribute "Fahrenheit 9/11" was a perfect ploy to dramatize one of Moore's favorite themes, the suffocating power of big media. Attempted suppression is a promotional must these days. Bill O'Reilly's lawsuit put Al Franken on the bestseller list. The distributors who ran away from Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" made him a miracle worker at the box office. Now we have the Moore/Disney psychodrama. We have gone from the marketing Calvary of Christ to Michael Moore's Messiah complex.

Filmmaker Michael Moore and distributors of his anti-Iraq War documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11" are contesting the restrictive rating it received from the Motion Picture Association of America because of its strong language and violence.

The MPAA, which represents major studios and administers its classification system, gave the film an R rating due to "violent and disturbing images and for language", a spokesman for the Washington-based organisation said on Monday.

An "R" rating prohibits anyone under 17 years of age from seeing the film unless accompanied by a parent or adult guardian.

Moore's film, a scathing critique of U.S. President George W. Bush's foreign policy and the U.S. war in Iraq, is slated for U.S. commercial release on June 25 in 500 to 1,000 cinemas, making it one of the biggest openings ever for a documentary.

Benjamin Bratt is not happy with British actors after being rejected for the film Troy because he wasn't white enough.

"About a year and a half ago, I read a wonderful script called Troy and, though the leads were set, even the tertiary roles, smaller in size, were of interest to me. I succeeded in getting a meeting, but was told that I was 'too brown'.

What do people in Asia Minor look like? If they all look like Brad Pitt... fine. After the major roles were established, they said they were only going to hire British actors."

Warner Bros said Bratt was too high profile for a bit part and Brit actors were hired "to qualify for a lucrative British financial incentive". Bratt, an ex-love of Julia Roberts, is starring in this summer's Catwoman with Halle Berry.

French actress turned animal rights activist Brigitte Bardot has been convicted of inciting racial hatred and ordered to pay 5,000 euros (3,300 pounds) -- the fourth such fine for the former sex symbol since 1997.

The Paris court sentenced Bardot, 69, on Thursday for remarks made in her book "A Scream in the Silence", an outspoken attack on gays, immigrants and the jobless which shocked France last year.

In the book, she laments the "Islamisation of France" and the "underground and dangerous infiltration of Islam".

Reclusive actor Marlon Brando is in final negotiations to star as himself in "Brando and Brando", a low-budget movie about disenfranchisement and broken spirits.

The 3 million pound project details the story of a young innocent with a fascination for the American dream -- embodied by the iconic Brando -- on a journey of hope to the United States. Brando has played an active role in the development of the project, which is scheduled to shoot this summer on location in Tunisia and Los Angeles.

Writer/director Ridha Behi describes his screenplay as "a path to explore the desperately unfair conflict between Western technological and materialistic power and those many human beings whose only weapons are their identity and their timeless values."

Brando was last in cinemas with "The Score", a 2001 heist movie starring Robert De Niro and Edward Norton.

Director Michael Moore's controversial anti-Iraq war film "Fahrenheit 9/11" has won a standing ovation from an audience of film industry professionals attending its West Coast debut at Academy Award headquarters.

After an audience of more than 600 people in the theatre of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences cheered, whistled and laughed their way through the two-hour film on Tuesday night, they jumped to their feet to give Moore a standing ovation as he took the stage.

Clearly buoyed by the reception, Moore, whose film is scathingly critical and mocking of President George W. Bush, declared: "There has been a shift in this country. ... The average American is finally beginning to figure it out. We were duped (into invading Iraq)."

CANNES, France (Reuters) - French and Brazilian films are the leading contenders for top prize at the Cannes festival but movie industry watchers say that with cult director Quentin Tarantino presiding over the jury, anything is possible.

They lead the race for the Palme d'Or top film prize at a 2004 festival which has, by common consent, far surpassed last year's lacklustre effort, bringing big stars, edgy themes and powerful politics to the Riviera.

French director Agnes Jaoui's "Look at Me" and "The Motorcycle Diaries" by Brazilian Walter Selles both deal with themes of awakening, but there the similarity ends.

Jaoui tells the story of a tortured 20-year-old desperate for the attention of her self-centred father and longing for the figure of a fashion model.

"The Motorcycle Diaries," starring Mexican "Sex Mex" screen idol Gael Garcia Bernal, traces the political awakening of a young Che Guevara on a Latin American odyssey.

"The general sense of the festival is that the adrenalin is flowing. Cannes got a facelift at the age of 57," said Tim Gray, executive editor of the trade paper Variety.

"Last year was sleepy with nothing to talk about," he told Reuters as the festival headed into the home straight and Saturday night's prize-giving.

"Cannes is traditionally the most apolitical of festivals. This year it is very political. That's exciting. It is reflecting what is happening in the world."

CANNES, France -- Michael Moore's controversial anti-Bush film "Fahrenheit 9/11" has debuted at the Cannes Film Festival to resounding applause from film critics.

Moore, who is facing an uphill battle to get his movie into U.S. theaters this summer as planned, offers a relentless critique of the Bush administration both before and after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

"You see so many movies after they've been hyped to heaven and they turn out to be complete crap, but this is a powerful film," Baz Bamigboye, a film columnist for London's Daily Mail newspaper, told The Associated Press.


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