● Three months old and Blue Ivy has already jetting town to spend the holiday weekend with her parents in St. Bart’s on a big ole’ yacht. [Rap-Up]
● Bravo’s Bethenny Frankel would like Mila Kunis to play the lead in the big-screen adaptation of her novel Skinnydipping. And as for everything else that goes into making a movie? She’ll figure that out later. [NYDN]
● Justin Bieber has graciously lent his song "Born to Be Somebody" to new Bully campaign. "My fans are always up for supporting a great cause," he explains. "I hope they see Bully with their friends and help start the conversation so we can end bullying." [MTV]
● Headed to the Hamptons this summer? Unfortunately for you, Coldplay’s drummer’s won the very last beach-parking permit, so you will have to plan accordingly. [NYDN]
● In order to pay back the IRS, Young Buck is selling all of his intellectual property, song composition and name included. So, uh, who’s buying? [Fuse]
● "Good luck dude, you are going to need it," is the best Kris Humphries can muster for Kanye West. [Radar]
For those who haven’t heard of it / frequently forget that there is an entire expanse of America in between the coasts, True/False is an eight-year-old all-documentary film festival that takes place on the winter/spring border in Columbia, Missouri, that has been likened to Telluride before Telluride got all corporate, or whatever. There are parties and workshops and important film industry people and that Speed Levitch guy from Waking Life. If you’re living in the proximity of it, you should go. There’s still time. And I can live vicariously through you and relive my freewheeling undergrad days. But the point of the festival is documentaries, and docs that have screened at T/F (usually along with a whole mess of other stops on the festival circuit) have gone on to big things. Past selections include Man On Wire, Oscar winner Taxi to the Dark Side, GasLand and Restrepo (Rest in peace, Tim Hetherington).
Anyway, here are six docs that will be at the festival this weekend worth checking out now or keeping an eye out for when they make the rounds where you are.
Bully (Dir. Lee Hirsch)
We’ve written about Bully before for the same reasons most people have, in that the movie has gotten a lot of media attention not just for its subject, but because of the MPAA’s obstinate stance of maintaining the film’s "R" rating, effectively barring the film’s intended audience: children and teens. That said, even if it’s not the greatest documentary ever made, it’s still a documentary capable of doing what documentaries are meant to do: get people to talk. Because the MPAA continues to lack any sort of forward thinking, if you are a responsible parent with an underage child incapable of sneaking into R-rated movies, take your kids to see it.
(Bully will be shown at T/F on Saturday, March 3rd at 3:30 pm at Jesse Auditorium and Sunday, March 4th at 3 p.m. at the Missouri Theatre. Director Lee Hirsch and the subjects of the film will be holding a Q&A session afterward.)
Detropia (Dirs. Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady)
Documentarian team Ewing and Grady are adept at giving human faces to serious, divisive, intense and often discussed with prejudice topics. There is no better evidence of this than their Oscar-nominated doc Jesus Camp, about the evangelical Kids On Fire School of Ministry camp in North Dakota, where children are trained to be young soldiers on the front lines of key religious right battles, most notably the one to end abortion. Their newest work focuses on the dystopian reality that is Detroit post-manufacturing collapse, with stories coming from club owners, bloggers and scrap metal gatherers alike. As with Jesus Camp, radio broadcasts connecting the narrative to larger national conversations serve as a thru-line.
(Detropia will be shown at T/F on Friday, March 2nd at 8:30 at the Picturehouse, Saturday, March 3rd at 6 p.m. at the Globe Theater and Sunday, March 4th at 10 a.m. at The Blue Note.)
Me @ the Zoo (Dirs. Chris Mourkabel and Valerie Veatch)
Citizens of the Internet, it finally happened. There is a documentary about Chris Crocker. The human meme best known for "Leave Britney Alone" is the subject of a part-character study, part-investigation of Internet fame and its growth into a legitimate business model. For those that didn’t catch it at Sundance, where it was also an official selection, here’s another chance.
(Me @ the Zoo will be shown at T/F on Friday, March 2nd at 10 p.m. at The Blue Note and Saturday, March 3rd at 12:30 p.m. at The Missouri Theatre.)
Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present (Dir. Matthew Akers) and Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry (Dir. Alison Klayman)
There are two documentaries at T/F focused on high-profile contemporary artists, one about dissident and Olympic stadium constructor Ai Weiwei and the other about performance art maven Marina Abramovic. Never Sorry director Klayman previously produced a 20-minute video to run with Ai’s 2009 exhibition of photographs of his time in New York; Akers’ last stint as a doc director, Nimrod Nation, also was a T/F selection.
(Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry will be shown at T/F on Saturday, March 3rd at The Picturehouse and Sunday, March 4th at 1:30 p.m. at Jesse Auditorium. Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present will be shown Saturday, March 3rd at 3 p.m. at the Missouri Theatre and Sunday, March 4th at 5:30 p.m. at The Blue Note.)
¡Vivan Las Antípodas! (Dir. Victor Kossakovsky)
This is the kind of movie that falls into that Tree of Life / Meek’s Cutoff category of people will really love it because it is aesthetically beautiful and moving or they will really hate it because it is long and boring and confusing. Kossakovsky, who won the festival’s True Vision Award for 2012, compares and contrasts four of the world’s antipodes. Hard to follow, it may be. Lacking ambition, it ain’t.
(¡Vivan Las Antipodas! will be shown at T/F on Friday, March 2nd at 5:30 p.m. at the Globe Theater, Saturday March 3rd at 5:45 p.m. at the Missouri Theatre and Sunday, March 4th at 4 p.m. at the Globe.)
Bully is a documentary that some might call "important;" it’s an in-depth look at America’s bullying crisis that doesn’t pull any punches about how rude kids can be to each other. In the trailer, which you can watch after the jump, there’s footage of kids getting slapped around on the school bus, even with a camera trained on them. It’s supposed to come out in limited release on March 30, but there may be a hitch in the process: the R-rating that was just handed down by the MPAA on grounds of language. An appeal to contest the ruling fell short by one vote, and The Weinstein Company, which is releasing the movie, says it might abandon the MPAA for a little while. "As of today, The Weinstein Company is considering a leave of absence from the MPAA for the foreseeable future," TWC co-chairman Harvey Weinstein wrote in a statement. "We respect the MPAA and their process but feel this time it has just been a bridge too far."
Doesn’t seem very controversial, no? It’s like any other harsh documentary, except the audience that would get the most use out of it — that under-17 crowd — won’t be able to get in on their own. Yes, they’ll be able to attend a viewing when accompanied by a parent, but an R-rating is a harder sell for a family outing (also, gross, family outing). Some schools won’t play it in class where it might do the most good, for fear of parents who might automatically raise a stink if their kids are exposed to such restricted material. It’s all very, very silly.
I mean, not to turn into a soapbox for the Weinstein Company, but this does seem especially shortsighted on the MPAA’s part. But when has that ever not been the case? Blue Valentine got an NC-17 rating because it dared to show a realistic portrayal of sex (it was later overturned); Shame got the same for similar reasons. They’re not entirely equivalent situations, of course, but the MPAA’s process for deciding such ratings seems to be based on entirely arbitrary moral standards. How could anyone see this documentary about kids and say that kids aren’t supposed to see it? (Okay, soapbox out.) Bully is still supposed to come out in a month, but we’ll see if anything changes.