Don McGlynn’s uncompromising and soulful documentary look at the tumultuous life of musician and rebel Charles Mingus is fascinating stuff. Mingus said of himself “I am half black man, half yellow man, but I claim to be a Negro. I am Charles Mingus, the famed jazz musician–but not famed enough to make a living in America.” His statement summed up the conflict that plagued this musical genius his entire life: volatility, pain, prescience, and raw rage roiled inside a complex man, composer, bass player, and trombonist who transcended labels and refused to be pigeonholed into a single musical style–and who did not achieve real fame until late in his career.
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A documentary about the legendary series of nationally televised debates in 1968 between two great public intellectuals, the liberal Gore Vidal and the conservative William F. Buckley Jr. Intended as commentary on the issues of their day, these vitriolic and explosive encounters came to define the modern era of public discourse in the media, marking the big bang moment of our contemporary media landscape when spectacle trumped content and argument replaced substance. Best of Enemies delves into the entangled biographies of these two great thinkers and luxuriates in the language and the theater of their debates, begging the question, ‘What has television done to the way we discuss politics in our democracy today?’
When Miley Stewart (aka pop-star Hannah Montana) gets too caught up in the superstar celebrity lifestyle, her dad decides it’s time for a total change of scenery. But sweet nibblets! Miley must trade in all the glitz and glamour of Hollywood for some ol’ blue jeans on the family farm in Tennessee, and question if she can be both Miley Stewart and Hannah Montana. With a little help from her friends – and awesome guest stars Taylor Swift, Rascal Flatts and Vanessa Williams – will she figure out whether to choose Hannah or Miley?
Comedy special featuring socio-political comedian W. Kamau Bell, who brings his characteristically biting and hilarious take on the real issues of contemporary America from gentrification to raising his family in a post-Obama nation.
American: The Bill Hicks Story is a biographical documentary film on the life of comedian Bill Hicks. The film was produced by Matt Harlock and Paul Thomas, and features archival footage and interviews with family and friends, including Kevin Booth. The filmmakers used a cut-and-paste animation technique to add movement to a large collection of still pictures used to document events in Hicks’ life. The film made its North American premiere at the 2010 South by Southwest Film Festival. The film was nominated for a 2010 Grierson British Documentary Award for the “Most Entertaining Documentary” category. It was also nominated for Best Graphics and Animation category in the 2011 Cinema Eye Awards. Awards won include The Dallas Film Festivals Texas Filmmaker Award, at Little Rock The Oxford American’s Best Southern Film Award, and Best Documentary at the Downtown LA Film Festival. On Rotten Tomatoes, 81% of the first 47 reviews counted were rated positive.
Bugs Bunny hosts an award show featuring several classic Looney Tunes shorts and characters. This movie was released in 1981 by Warner Bros. and was produced by Friz Freleng. New footage was one of the final productions done by DePatie-Freleng Enterprises (also known as Marvel Productions beginning in the 1980s) and the film was re-released in the USA on April 28, 2009 from Warner Home Video.
Between 2007 and 2011, 725 Quebecers aged 16 to 24 were killed in car accidents. Excessive speed and alcohol were involved in half of these deaths. To try to understand what is going on in these young drivers’ heads when they get behind the wheel, host and documentary filmmaker Paul Arcand met with some of them. On one hand, he gives a voice to these young people who love driving fast. On the other hand, he provides a forum for two accident victims who were injured both physically and psychologically. Finally, the director meets the mother of little Bianca Leduc, who was killed by a drunk driver while she was in the care of her babysitter, and the parents of Michael Borduas, 23, who is severely disabled from an accident.
The LMN special, “The Secret Tapes of the O.J. Case: The Untold Story,” reveals new insights into both the events surrounding the verdict of the criminal trial, and the various disturbing facets of O.J.’s personality, through statements by O.J. himself. The documentary exposes disturbing realities about O.J.’s thoughts, feelings and behavior before, during and after the trial. And an audio recording that O.J. secretly taped, prior to the infamous Bronco Chase, is heard. The special features rare interviews with key players on both sides of the case, including extensive, candid discussions with Robert Kardashian and Kris Kardashian Jenner.
Albert and David Maysles’ classic GREY GARDENS immortalized the estate of Edith and Little Edie Beale, relatives of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, who lived in alarmingly poor conditions. But there is more to the story: it was Lee Radziwill and Peter Beard who first brought the Maysles to the Beales, when the two set out to make a film about Radziwill’s childhood. The reels of that first contact were shelved for 45 years. This documentary recovers the lost footage. Anchored in Beard’s recollections and artistic vision, we are returned to “that summer” in 1972, a seductive dream world and collage of radically unconventional creative personalities—Warhol, Bacon, Jagger, Capote—practicing the art of living amidst oppressive forces of class expectation and prejudice.
“Wishful Drinking” is based on Fisher’s memoirs of the same title. The stage adaptation had its world premiere in 2006 at the Geffen Playhouse in L.A. It later played at Berkeley Repertory before opening on Broadway in October at Studio 54. The show takes audiences on a comic tour of Fisher’s messy personal life and career. The actress-writer recounts stories about her work on the “Star Wars” series as well as her relationship with her parents Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds. She also discusses her much-publicized problems with alcohol and drugs.
Comic Russell Brand uses drugs, sex and fame in a quest for happiness, only to find it remains elusive. As he explores iconic figures such as Gandhi, Malcolm X, Che Guevara, and Jesus, he transforms himself into a political antagonist.