The Rolling Stones - Crossfire Hurricane
The Rolling Stones - Crossfire Hurricane
Rolling Stones' Crossfire Hurricane
London Film Festival 2012
The title, lifted from Jumping Jack Flash, is a neat evocation of the fast-moving, jump-cutting style of a highly entertaining, pungently nostalgic documentary about the career of “the world’s greatest rock and roll band” (a catchphrase helpfully uttered on camera by a fan). Cramming 50 years into two hours, however, the sense is not so much of weathering terrifying winds as being swept along by surging waves. Contextualising their career with cleverly sourced archive footage, Crossfire Hurricane presents the Stones not as masters of their own destiny but as pop culture surfers battling their way through a series of storms.

Chicago 10
Chicago 10 Trailer
Bringing a Political Trial to Animated Life
OUTSIDE, along broiling Main Street in Bridgehampton, N.Y., the summer traffic flow was controlled by Land Rovers and large dogs on leashes. Inside there was no traffic flow: the film director Brett Morgen and the actor Roy Scheider were jammed into a Buick-size sound booth, fashioning a vocal performance to accompany the animated sequences of Mr. Morgen's new film. Mr. Morgen — to whom the words mad scientist have occasionally been applied — seemed to be channeling strange voices, from a strange place and time.

“ ‘Will you please identify yourself for the record?' ” he recited from a court transcript. “ ‘Of course I will, Len, my name is Abbie and I'm an orphan of America.' ‘Your honor, will the record show that ...

Chicago 10 Trailer
'Chicago 10': Right On
Ding-dong, the dumps are done: After a slew of awful late-winter studio releases, the first great film of 2008 has arrived. "Chicago 10," Brett Morgen's bold, ambitious and improbably affecting documentary about the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago and the trial that followed, not only brings to life one of the sorriest chapters in American cultural and political history; thanks to Morgen's adroit manipulation of the cinematic medium, "Chicago 10" feels like a brand-new kind of film, and one that's every bit as inspiring, exhilarating and contradictory as the events it depicts.   A spirited and densely layered collage of animation, archival footage and ingeniously anachronistic music, "Chicago 10" stars the voices of Hank Azaria, Mark Ruffalo and Jeffrey Wright. They play Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin and Bobby Seale, who with five other activists were arrested on conspiracy charges during the convention, when violence broke out between antiwar demonstrators and Chicago police (by way of Mayor Richard J. Daley's thuggish machine).

The Kid Stays In The Picture
The Kid Stays In The Picture
A Fallen Movie Maestro, Still Addicted
to Himself
"I think that from the very start my literary ambitions were mixed up with the feeling of being isolated and undervalued," George Orwell theorized in his essay "Why I Write." Robert Evans -- a failed actor and fashion executive who went on to run Paramount Pictures when the studio released a storied cluster of hits like "Rosemary's Baby" and "The Godfather" -- does not specifically iterate Orwell's sentiment in his ribald trench of an autobiography, "The Kid Stays in the Picture." But both the book and the film version of "Kid," from the directors Brett Morgen and Nanette Burstein, flow from similar motivations.

Mr. Evans's story of sauntering into the right place at the right time and still feeling underappreciated is the focus of this movie, in which he serves as star, subject and unreliable narrator ...

On The Ropes
On The Ropes
All The Rage
The Bed-Stuy Boxing Center in Brooklyn is the dramatic setting for On the Ropes, Nanette Burstein and Brett Morgen's transfixing digital video tale of four individuals whose life hopes are pinned on boxing. Bennett Miller (The Cruise) speaks with the directors about their dramatic approach to making documentaries.

Brett Morgen: This whole video-to-film thing raises so many issues.

  Bennett Miller: Like what?

Morgen: Like, will there be more bad films now?

Nanette Burstein: I think it's a combination. Basically, the technology makes filmmaking more accessible to everyone. The downside is that the IFFM [Independent Feature Film Market], which is already a nightmare, is going to be purgatory because everyone is going to make a film.

On The Ropes
On The Ropes Review
Ebert Rating: ****

"On the Ropes" tells the true stories of three young boxers. One of them is sent to prison, although she is apparently innocent. We watch as she is represented by an incompetent lawyer, crucified by uncaring prosecutors and sentenced by a judge who exhibits the worst kind of barbarism: indifference to those whose lives he has power over.


The most amazing thing about the trial and conviction of Tyrene Manson is not that it happened. Justice miscarries all the time in America, frequently when poor black defendants are involved. The new movie "Hurricane" tells the true story of a boxer much more famous than Manson, who was railroaded for life on three fabricated murder convictions.

June 17th, 1994
June 17, 1994
June 17, 1994
As solid as the 30 For 30 series has been thus far, often the documentary filmmaking itself has been either distractingly quirky or merely functional, with the subject matter determining the success of an episode more than whoever's putting it all together. Despite that, 30 For 30 has been responsible for two of my favorite documentaries of the year so far (and this has been a hell of a year for docs). First came Steve James’ No Crossover: The Trial Of Allen Iverson, which deals smartly with race, justice, and cultural bias.   And now Brett Morgen’s June 17, 1994, which is as exciting and playful a piece of media analysis as anything I’ve experienced since Negativland’s cola wars deconstruction Dispepsi.

So what’s the big deal about June 17th, 1994? Well, it was the day that Arnold Palmer played his last round ever at the U.S. Open, the day that the World Cup opened in Chicago, the day the Rangers celebrated winning the Stanley Cup ...

Nimrod Nation
Nimrod Nation
'Nimrod' chronicles

Since the current writers strike was first bruited, the prospect of more reality TV has been held out to the public like a threat -- coal in the stocking at Christmas, the boogeyman waiting in the closet. People watch a lot of reality TV as it is, but I suspect that even among its most ardent fans there are many who sense there is something not quite right about it, something not . . . real. It's good for sensation and sentiment but not for anything resembling the dispassionately considered truth.

It sometimes feels as if all this unreal reality, fast and cheap as it is to make, will leave no room for more considered, delicately rendered representations of the world. But the answer to that, as embodied by Brett Morgen's eight-part, four-hour "Nimrod Nation" (which begins tonight on the Sundance Channel), is "Not yet."