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By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,Sun Movie Critic | October 6, 2006
For movie fans, the "saved" children in the hypnotic, upsetting and bleakly humorous Jesus Camp are like an extroverted version of Village of the Damned (1960). The kids in that sci-fi-horror film also have a hard-to-pin-down beauty and a mysterious affect, as well as a telepathic unity. But their power comes from the concentrated focus of their minimalist emotion. The power of the children in Jesus Camp comes from their maximalist fervor. When they speak in tongues or dance for divine joy, their eyes glow like streaking asteroids and a communal heat emanates from the screen.
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By Michael Sragow, The Baltimore Sun | March 5, 2011
Maryland Film Festival director Jed Dietz needed a smart, distinctive newsperson to host his annual fundraiser's centerpiece attraction. Who could be authoritative and engaging when asking a panel of Oscar-nominated directors, "Are documentary filmmakers the new journalists?" His top pick was always Meredith Vieira, co-host of "The Today Show" and the host of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. " Viera said Thursday, "I told him it's a little off-point for me because I'm doing a morning show now. I can't speak to what the landscape is like for documentaries at the networks.
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By Jonathan Pitts and Jonathan Pitts,Sun reporter | October 5, 2006
"Fight the good fight of faith." --1 Timothy 6:12 She mounts the stage in a theater full of kids, some as young as 6, and holds up a cuddly, stuffed baby lion for all to see. Becky Fischer, pastor in the Kids in Ministry evangelical church, tells her doe-eyed listeners that sin -- when it first tempts us as children -- can seem as sweet and harmless as the toy cub in her hand. "It looks kind of cute, in fact," she coos, pressing it to her cheek. "Warm and fuzzy." Then her tone sharpens, her eyes narrow, and Fischer -- the charismatic central figure in the controversial new documentary film Jesus Camp, which opens at the Charles Theatre tomorrow -- swings the lion over her head as an Olympic athlete might throw a hammer.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Michael Sragow, The Baltimore Sun | February 25, 2011
Documentaries are the most exciting conversation-starters in contemporary American movies — and when they earn Academy Awards, their influence soars into the stratosphere. Winners like "Taxi to the Dark Side" and "The Cove" have shaped international discussions about human and animal rights. No wonder the Maryland Film Festival gala on March 11 will debate the question: "Are documentary filmmakers the new journalists?" Documentaries give the Academy a needed dose of gravitas. But how useful or amusing is it for documentary-makers to get nominated?
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By Chris Kaltenbach and Chris Kaltenbach,Sun movie critic | January 26, 2007
This year's Oscar season is hard upon us, and once again, Baltimore cinephiles are being left in the dark. Of the five movies nominated for best foreign language film, only two - Mexico's Pan's Labyrinth (the favorite) and Canada's Water - have opened in Baltimore. Denmark's After the Wedding, Algeria's Days of Glory and Germany's The Lives of Others all have received rave reviews. But for now, none seem destined for Charm City screens. That's a shame, because interest in all three films will never be higher.
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By Liz F. Kay and Liz F. Kay,Sun reporter | October 6, 2006
Jason Poling was shifting uncomfortably in his seat while watching the new film Jesus Camp, the same way he does while watching the TV mockumentary The Office about a dysfunctional workplace - except the film was real. Poling, the pastor of New Hope Community Church in Pikesville, said he worried about how his neighbors and friends would perceive the film, about a North Dakota camp, that began arriving in theaters last week. "As an evangelical, I'm concerned that people see this as an accurate representation rather than a sliver of evangelicalism ... and see that as normative for everybody," Poling said.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Michael Sragow, The Baltimore Sun | March 5, 2011
Maryland Film Festival director Jed Dietz needed a smart, distinctive newsperson to host his annual fundraiser's centerpiece attraction. Who could be authoritative and engaging when asking a panel of Oscar-nominated directors, "Are documentary filmmakers the new journalists?" His top pick was always Meredith Vieira, co-host of "The Today Show" and the host of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. " Viera said Thursday, "I told him it's a little off-point for me because I'm doing a morning show now. I can't speak to what the landscape is like for documentaries at the networks.
FEATURES
By Michael Sragow and Chris Kaltenbach and Michael Sragow and Chris Kaltenbach,Sun Movie Critics | October 13, 2006
Capsules by Michael Sragow and Chris Kaltenbach. Full reviews at baltimoresun.com/movies. All the Kings Men, -- stars Sean Penn as Willie Stark, a veiled portrait of Louisiana Gov. Huey Long. The movie fails to capture Stark's electric connection with the voters, or how a democratic mass movement can turn fascistic; it also suffers from flat pacing, a pseudo-literary tone and a total waste of a promising cast. (M.S.) PG-13 128 minutes C- The Departed -- illuminates the tangled roots of urban corruption when a Boston Irish kingpin (Jack Nicholson)
ENTERTAINMENT
By Michael Sragow, The Baltimore Sun | February 25, 2011
Documentaries are the most exciting conversation-starters in contemporary American movies — and when they earn Academy Awards, their influence soars into the stratosphere. Winners like "Taxi to the Dark Side" and "The Cove" have shaped international discussions about human and animal rights. No wonder the Maryland Film Festival gala on March 11 will debate the question: "Are documentary filmmakers the new journalists?" Documentaries give the Academy a needed dose of gravitas. But how useful or amusing is it for documentary-makers to get nominated?
NEWS
October 6, 2006
BUSINESS +DOW+123.27 11,850.61 +NASDAQ+47.30 2,290.95 +S&P+16.11 1,350.22 +SUN INDEX+4.12 341.74NATIONAL House committee opens probe The House ethics committee opened a broad investigation into the sex scandal surrounding the congressional page system, a furor that has ended the political career of one lawmaker and jeopardized the leadership position of House Speaker Dennis Hastert. pg 1a WORLD South Korea warns Pyongyang The president of South Korea reportedly ordered his government to send a grave warning to North Korea about the consequences of a proposed nuclear test, and Russia said it was trying to dissuade Pyongyang from conducting it. pg 12a MARYLAND Boy's mother faces charges A Baltimore mother who allowed her 11-year-old son to associate with a registered sex offender - a man charged this summer with killing the boy - was arrested and accused of putting her children in harm's way. Shanda R. Harris, 41, is being charged with reckless endangerment and four counts of a charge similar to contributing to delinquency of a minor.
FEATURES
By Chris Kaltenbach and Chris Kaltenbach,Sun movie critic | January 26, 2007
This year's Oscar season is hard upon us, and once again, Baltimore cinephiles are being left in the dark. Of the five movies nominated for best foreign language film, only two - Mexico's Pan's Labyrinth (the favorite) and Canada's Water - have opened in Baltimore. Denmark's After the Wedding, Algeria's Days of Glory and Germany's The Lives of Others all have received rave reviews. But for now, none seem destined for Charm City screens. That's a shame, because interest in all three films will never be higher.
FEATURES
By Michael Sragow and Chris Kaltenbach and Michael Sragow and Chris Kaltenbach,Sun Movie Critics | October 27, 2006
Capsules by Michael Sragow and Chris Kaltenbach. Full reviews at baltimoresun.com/movies. Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker, -- the adventures of a teen spy created by British novelist Anthony Horowitz, is about as clunky as a movie gets. Newcomer Alex Pettyfer, reportedly plucked from a gaggle of some 500 teen heartthrob wannabes, plays Rider, a heretofore carefree high schooler who's recruited into Britain's top-secret MI6 after the murder of his super-spy uncle (Ewan McGregor, displaying more charisma during his brief time onscreen than the rest of the cast combined)
FEATURES
By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,Sun Movie Critic | October 6, 2006
For movie fans, the "saved" children in the hypnotic, upsetting and bleakly humorous Jesus Camp are like an extroverted version of Village of the Damned (1960). The kids in that sci-fi-horror film also have a hard-to-pin-down beauty and a mysterious affect, as well as a telepathic unity. But their power comes from the concentrated focus of their minimalist emotion. The power of the children in Jesus Camp comes from their maximalist fervor. When they speak in tongues or dance for divine joy, their eyes glow like streaking asteroids and a communal heat emanates from the screen.
FEATURES
By Liz F. Kay and Liz F. Kay,Sun reporter | October 6, 2006
Jason Poling was shifting uncomfortably in his seat while watching the new film Jesus Camp, the same way he does while watching the TV mockumentary The Office about a dysfunctional workplace - except the film was real. Poling, the pastor of New Hope Community Church in Pikesville, said he worried about how his neighbors and friends would perceive the film, about a North Dakota camp, that began arriving in theaters last week. "As an evangelical, I'm concerned that people see this as an accurate representation rather than a sliver of evangelicalism ... and see that as normative for everybody," Poling said.
FEATURES
By Jonathan Pitts and Jonathan Pitts,Sun reporter | October 5, 2006
"Fight the good fight of faith." --1 Timothy 6:12 She mounts the stage in a theater full of kids, some as young as 6, and holds up a cuddly, stuffed baby lion for all to see. Becky Fischer, pastor in the Kids in Ministry evangelical church, tells her doe-eyed listeners that sin -- when it first tempts us as children -- can seem as sweet and harmless as the toy cub in her hand. "It looks kind of cute, in fact," she coos, pressing it to her cheek. "Warm and fuzzy." Then her tone sharpens, her eyes narrow, and Fischer -- the charismatic central figure in the controversial new documentary film Jesus Camp, which opens at the Charles Theatre tomorrow -- swings the lion over her head as an Olympic athlete might throw a hammer.
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