John Travolta has defended his controversial church and says he hasn't seen Alex Gibney's controversial documentary.
John Travolta has come out in defence of his controversial religion Scientology after the release of Alex Gibney's documentary Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, which depicts the church as dangerous.
John Travolta has defended his controversial church
Travolta, who converted to Scientology in 1975, told the Tampa Bay Times that he hasn't watched the film and that he doesn't "really care" to see it.
Continue reading: John Travolta Doesn't Care To See Alex Gibney's Scientology Documentary
Directed by ‘Going Clear’s’ Alex Gibney, ‘All Or Nothing’ is a sympathetic look at Sinatra’s life through his music.
As one of the most recognisable voices of the 20th century, much has been written about the colourful life of Frank Sinatra in the years since his death in 1998. But this Sunday night (April 5th ) on HBO, Alex Gibney’s latest documentary All Or Nothing will attempt to provide the most in-depth look yet at both the singer’s career and personal life.
Frank Marshall, Tina Sinatra and Alex Gibney - Premiere of HBO's 'Sinatra: All or Nothing at All' at the Time Warner Center - Arrivals at Time Warner Center - New York City, New York, United States - Tuesday 31st March 2015
Alex Gibney is back with his latest documentary - this time tackling scientology.
Alex Gibney's Scientology documentary Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief rocked audiences on the third day of the Sundance Film Festival, with various revelations coming to light from former followers of the religion. The movie had apparently been vetted by 160 lawyers before its premiere.
Alex Gibney's documentary was apparently vetted by 160 laywers before its release
The film details numerous allegations, including revelations about Tom Cruise and his then-wife Nicole Kidman. Based on a nonfiction bestseller by Lawrence Wright, Gibney's film reveals that Kidman was viewed by Scientology head honchos as a "Potential Trouble Source" and an enemy to any Scientologist. That status mainly arose from the fact that she was raised by a father who was a psychologist - a profession the church despises.
Continue reading: Sundance: Gibney's Scientology Doc 'Going Clear' Has Tom Cruise Claims
Christian McBride and Alex Gibney - A variety of stars were snapped on the red carpet at the Premiere of HBO's documentary film 'Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown' The event was held at the Park Cafe in New York City, United States - Monday 20th October 2014
While the eventful life of Fela Kuti provides more than enough subject matter for a biographical documentary, award-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney weakens the film with a second narrative strand that feels like another movie altogether. He did the same thing with last year's The Armstrong Lie, which compromised the Lance Armstrong scandal with clips from an abandoned glowing doc about his earlier comeback. This time, he has intercut Fela's story with a theatre group trying to mount a show about his life.
Born in 1938, Fela is considered one of the most important figures in 20th century Africa. As a pioneering composer and performer, he transformed Nigeria's musical landscape, all while standing up for human rights and criticising political corruption, often at considerable risk of retaliation from Nigeria's oppressive government. As a young man, he was influenced by jazz clubs he visited in London and Los Angeles, and returned to Lagos to start his own iconic venue, The Shrine. A lone voice against government corruption, he lived a communal life with countless wives, girlfriends and children, and he very nearly sabotaged his career with heavy drug use. But even with his death in 1997 at age 58, he challenged the Nigerian state propaganda machine, which had declared that Aids did not exist in the country.
This story is told with a superb wealth of archival footage, stills and interviews, letting Fela himself speak and sing as his life traverses the first 50 years of Nigerian independence. This is such a vitally important story of a seriously revolutionary man that it's utterly gripping. So it's rather frustrating that Gibney weaves it together with the project to tell Fela's story through a Broadway musical. The practice and performance clips offer dramatic recreations of events in Fela's life, putting his music in context, but the actual home movies and newsreel clips tell us a lot more.
Continue reading: Finding Fela Review
This biographical documentary about disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong feels eerily gentle compared to filmmaker Alex Gibney's recent films, the WikiLeaks doc We Steal Secrets and the Catholic priest expose Mea Maxima Culpa. But then it was originally conceived as a celebration of Armstrong's comeback at the 2009 Tour de France, which is still at the heart of the film.
It was during this comeback that Armstrong's stellar image started to slip, with old rivalries and gurgling rumours surging to the surface. Gibney intercuts interviews he shot at the time with more recent chats, including a conversation immediately after Armstrong taped his notorious confessional interview with Oprah Winfrey. So we vividly see Armstrong's two-faced personality. Along the way, Gibney also traces the cyclist's remarkable rise to fame, his near death from cancer and the secret doping system he used to win the Tour de France seven times from 1999 to 2005. Armstrong's rationale is that everyone else was doing the same thing, so it was actually a level playing field.
Only of course it wasn't, because many cyclists remained clean and were edged out of the winning position as a result. Gibney also talks to a wide variety of experts, journalists and fellow riders who discuss the sport's culture of omerta (a mafia-style code of honour). From the news reports, we already know about the many years of deception, which is why society no longer holds professional athletes to such high, clean standards. It's clearly more about the money now than the human achievement. And there's so much cash to be made that competitors will break every rule there is if they think they'll get away with it.
Continue reading: The Armstrong Lie Review
There are three films in the pipeline, telling the story of the doping cyclist.
Ben Foster will play the part of Lance Armstrong in Stephen Frear’s biopic, and he will be joined by Chris O’Dowd, who’ll play journalist David Walsh, who campaigned tirelessly to expose the biggest cheating scandal in the world of sport, Deadline report.
Ben Foster and Chris O'Dowd will both star in the untitled biopic
Foster, while bearing a resemblance to the disgraced cyclist, has seen his reputation grow of late with performances in Kill Your Darlings – alongside Daniel Radcliffe - and Lone Survivor, which also stars Mark Wahlberg. The Irish actor O’Dowd has become a household name stateside due to his performances in Bridesmaids and the popular sitcom, Girls.
Lance Armstrong was probably one of the most inspirational sportsmen on the planet with seven Tour De France triumphs and an Olympic medal behind him; he even overcame a severe bout of cancer in 1996 and developed popular charity, the Livestrong Foundation. However, in 2013 he found himself stripped of all his prestigious titles and relieved of his cycling career after the US Anti-Doping Agency found solid proof that he had been taking performance enhancing drugs - a claim he admitted had been happening for a large part of his career. Filmmaker Alex Gibney had set out to work on a movie based on his return to cycling in 2008 following a three year retirement, but the project turned on its head when it was revealed Armstrong had been lying to him for two years, denying all doping claims.
Oscar winner Alex Gibney ('Taxi to the Dark Side', 'Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room', 'We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks') directs this extraordinary documentary detailing Lance Armstrong's immense fall from grace. The film was originally to be called 'The Road Back', but a major name change was needed when the project took a dramatic turn. 'The Armstrong Lie' will hit the US on November 8th 2013.
It's Friday and the barbecue smoke plumes of the not-so-distant weekend beckon, but if you fancy going to see a film this weekend here's what's just been released.
Friday 12th July has been quite the launchpad for a host of new and exciting films, showcasing the genre spectrum. From action blockbusters to indies, political thrillers to kids animation films, there'll be something to suit all tastes and ages as the summer of film gets hotter.
Well, we'll start off with Trap For Cinderella first because it's the underdog erotic thriller indie with an interesting premise. The Iain Softley film will star young, up-and-coming British actresses Tuppence Middleton and Alexandra Roach as vivacious Micky and shy Do: two girls who are reunited after years apart and reignite a secret passion despite the disapproval they are faced with.
Tuppence Middleton & Alexandra Roach In Trap For Cinderella.
With a subject matter that oddly feels both timely and out-of-date, this documentary is packed with telling details about WikiLeaks, Although it gets muddy as it delves into the lives of founder Julian Assange and whistleblower Bradley Manning. Prolific Oscar-winning documentarian Alex Gibney (see Taxi to the Dark Side or Maxima Mea Culpa) deploys his usual skill to assemble a lucid, entertaining film, but the dirt-digging approach leaves us with more questions than answers.
The roots of WikiLeaks go back to the pre-internet days in 1989, when Melbourne student Assange participated with a group of hackers to break into Nasa's space shuttle launch system with a message from Australian band Midnight Oil: "You talk of times of peace for all, and then prepare for war". Nearly 20 years later he established WikiLeaks in the response the growing mountain of secrets being held by Western governments following 9/11. The idea is simple: WikiLeaks allows people to post images and documents anonymously in a way that can never be taken down. And it's essentially run by one man with a battered laptop and lots of friends.
The film features a wide array of interviews with people who have worked with Assange or know his work, plus extensive footage of the man himself. The most telling description of him is as a "humanitarian anarchist" who speaks out against what he sees as "not democracy but encroaching privatised censorship". And the main focus here is on his interaction with Manning, a military computer nerd who was picked on for being gay, stuck in an isolated Iraqi base and shocked by evidence he discovered about the American military's illegal, unethical and immoral activities.
Continue reading: We Steal Secrets: The Story Of WikiLeaks Review
Controversy surrounds Alex Gibney's new documentary.
It was only a matter of time before the story of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks got adapted for the big screen. The idea of one man taking on the world’s government with the aid of thousands of anonymous informers seems to capture the zeitgeist of the 21st century so well, that it is perfectly suited for a movie adaptation – or several. Director Alex Gibney’s We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks is only the first of several – Laura Poitras, Ken Loach, Craig Ferguson, even Steven Spielberg are all working on documentaries or adaptations of the story, with Spielberg’s The Fifth Estate having just wrapped. Some have the blessing of Assange himself, while others do not.
Alex Gibney did not have Assange's backing.
We Steal Secrets falls in the second category. While Gibney worked in cooperation with Assange initially, the working relationship broke down when the WikiLeaks founder asked for $1 million for his interview. Gibney, however, doesn’t pay his subjects. He explained for the Guardian: "[Assange] then came up with an outrageous idea: 'How about you spy on the other interview subjects and report back to me, because I want to know what they're saying.' I said, 'No. I can't do that for you. I don't work for you.' [Assange] said in a huff, 'I don't work for you, either.'"
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