Where are the True Summer Doc-Busters?

I have a new documentary column at Movies.com. For now it’s a bi-weekly feature and it’s called Doc Talk, so look for it again in early June. This first installment tackles the term and the concept of the “doc-buster,” which Morgan Spurlock coined for his new doc “POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold.” I also will be leaving room at the end of each column for new docs I recommend. Here’s an excerpt from “Doc Talk: Where are the True Summer Doc-Busters?”:

How anyone would think a documentary would make a lot of money is beyond me, and I love the darn things. A Justin Bieber concert film, okay, that should be called a doc-buster. Disneynature’s latest Earth Day feature, titled “Al Gore Presents: Global Warming is Making These Cute Baby Animals Sad.” Oh yeah. Doc-buster. A Michael Moore film featuring penguins getting launched into the air inside a portable toilet, in 3D? Maybe that’s a doc-buster. But you really just never know with docs what will be a phenomenal hit and what will fall by the wayside.

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Miami Film Festival is Underway With Excellent Documentary Program

The 2011 Miami International Film Festival began last Friday, but I won’t be arriving to the event for another two days. I want to highlight the fest in advance, though, because I’m very excited about the new documentary program, Doc-You-Up, which has been curated by Thom Powers (Toronto Film Festival, DOC NYC, Stranger Than Fiction), surely one of the best doc programmers in the business right now.

Many of his picks for Miami are lifted out of Sundance, and so I’m happy to (1) recommend some of the films I saw there and (2) catch up with some of those I missed. Of the latter, I’m looking forward to seeing great-buzz titles like “Bobby Fischer Against the World,” “Black Power Mix Tape,” “We Were Here” and “The Redemption of General Butt Naked” (and perhaps “Magic Trip,” the buzz on which was less than great in Park City).

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