documentary film

Lightning has been striking all over the metro this week, and Up to Date's indie, foreign and documentary film critics have a few recommendations to light up your weekend--without the rain.

Cynthia Haines:

Wrecking Crew, PG 

  • Documentary about legendary studio musicians

Ex Machina, R

  • A computer programmer is hired to test a new form of artificial intelligence.

Seymour: An Introduction, PG

If you prefer the light of a movie theater to sunshine, Up to Date's indie, foreign and documentary film critics have some suggestions for your light sources this weekend.

Cynthia Haines

Clouds of Sils Maria, R

  • A veteran actress confronts ageism.

Ex Machina, R

  • A young computer programmer is hired to test a new type of artificial intelligence.

Seymour: An Introduction, PG

Explore the story behind the mysterious gnome houses that appeared along a local walkway, and get the inside scoop on a special group of studio musicians. These stories and more are appearing on local screens this weekend, and our indie, foreign and documentary film critics know which ones are worth the ticket price.

The Gnomist,  special showing at the Jewish Community Center May 9

The Gnomist

When Sharon Liese started to hear buzz about tiny fairy homes in an Overland Park forest, she knew it was something special. On this edition of Up To Date, Steve Kraske speaks with Liese about how she and her crew discovered the stores of the three women she features in her 19-minute documentary film, The Gnomist.

Thunderclouds might be creating a scary tableaux outside, but on the silver screen you can choose a different backdrop. Try a suggestion from Up to Date's indie, foreign and documentary critics this weekend.

Cynthia Haines:

Wrecking Crew

  • Documentary about legendary studio musicians

Seymour: An Introduction

  • Documentary about a pianist who found his calling as a teacher

Woman in Gold

This weekend has it all: rain, Royals and a whole slate of films for you to try. Up to Date's indie, foreign and documentary critics have some suggestions to guide your appointment with the silver screen:

Cynthia Haines

Seymour: An Introduction 

  • Inspirational documentary about 88 year old pianist Seymour Bernstein 

Wild Tales 

It's severe weather season in Kansas city, and that means you'll want a some options for rainy day activities. Up to Date's indie, foreign and documentary critics have a few for you:

Cynthia Haines

  • Wild Tales
  • The Hunting Ground
  • What We Do in the Shadows

Steve Walker

  • The Hunting Ground
  • While We're Young
  • Wild Tales
Radius TWC

  In a new twist on classic horror films, a sexually transmitted  demon stalks a group of Detroit teenagers in It Follows.  This is just one of the plots our critics review in a roundup of independent, foreign, and documentary film. 

Among the other plots discussed is a young woman in the center of a love triangle, personal stories of vengeance in Argentina, and a British soldier abandoned on the streets of Belfast following a riot. 

The critics weigh in on what's good, what's bad and what's ugly. 

Films discussed during this program: 

Thunderclouds have been gathering in the skies, so you might need a few rainy day activities for your weekend. Up to Date's indie, foreign and documentary film critics might have just the thing to start off your spring. 

Cynthia Haines:

  • Wild Tales
  • What We Do In The Shadows
  • Diplomacy

Steve Walker:

If you've got spring fever and want to get out of the house this weekend, Up to Date's indie, foreign, and documentary film critics have a few suggestions of what you can see.

Cynthia Haines:

  • What We Do In The Shadows
  • Wild Tales
  • Diplomacy

Steve Walker:

Spring has sprung, and if you feel like springing for movie tickets this weekend, our indie, foreign and documentary film critics have a few ideas for you.

Cynthia Haines:

  • What We Do In The Shadows
  • Diplomacy
  • Red Army

Steve Walker:

  • Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalam
  • '71
  • Diplomacy

In 2013, fairy homes — with doors custom-built for the hollows of trees and tiny furniture nestled inside — cropped up on a wooded trail in Overland Park. Firefly Forest, as it was called, appeared as if by magic. People tucked hundreds of notes into these small abodes, listing their struggles and dreams. And, to their surprise, the fairies answered.

It's starting to feel like spring, and if you want to celebrate the warmer weather, Up to Date's indie, foreign, and documentary film critics have some ideas for you.

Cynthia Haines:

  • Diplomacy
  • Mr. Turner
  • Red Army

Steve Walker:

This story is part of True/False Conversations, a series of in-depth interviews with the filmmakers of this year’s True/False Fest.  Find the rest of them here or download the podcast on iTunes.

Back in 2008 filmmaker Ed Cunningham heard a strange story on the news about a man who bought a barbecue smoker at an auction and found a severed human leg inside. A legal battle ensued between the finder of the foot and the man it once belonged to.


The Man who is ‘Almost There’

Mar 6, 2015

This story is part of True/False Conversations, a series of in-depth interviews with the filmmakers of this year’s True/False Festival.  Find the rest of them here or download the podcast on iTunes.

83-year-old artist Peter Anton was only known in his community of East Chicago before filmmakers Dan Rybicky and Aaron Wickenden stumbled into his life. The film “Almost There” follows Anton as the filmmakers become his caretakers and advocates for his art exhibit, which quickly becomes controversial.


  In two of the films Up to Date's  indie, foreign and documentary film critics discuss, vampires dress up for nightclubs, and the Irish fairytale legend of the selkies comes to life. We also shine a light on the experience of living with Alzheimer's disease and what it's like to deal with Russian bureaucracy.

Here's a list of the films:

The weather may be cold, but area theaters are showing some movies that are red hot. Up to Date's indie, foreign, and documentary film critics have some ideas that might chase that chill away.

Cynthia Haines:

  • Leviathan
  • What We Do In The Shadows
  • Song of the Sea

Steve Walker:

Oh, to be fifteen years old. Not a care in the world, except that feature length documentary you've been working on, satirizing the governor and his fiscal policy. That's how most high school sophomores spend their free time, right? 

Guest:

Up to Date's indie, foreign, and documentary film critics are getting into the Oscar spirit. If you want to do the same, check out one of their favorites playing on area screens.

Cynthia Haines:

  • Mr. Turner
  • Two Days, One Night
  • Song of the Sea

Steve Walker:

  • Still Alice
  • Mr. Turner
  • Two Days, One Night

Whether you want to celebrate Valentine's Day with dinner and a movie or distract yourself from the day of Cupid, Up to Date's indie, foreign, and documentary film critics have a few ideas of what you can see on the silver screen.

Cynthia Haines:  

  • Two Days, One Night
  • Mr. Turner 
  • Oscar-nominated short films

Steve Walker:

One woman is given the weekend to convince her co-workers to give up their bonuses or lose her job, and another becomes obsessed with the suicide of a member in her support group. On Friday's Up To Date, our independent, foreign, and documentary film critics discuss these films and other movies playing now, plus the Oscar nominated live action, documentary, and animated shorts.  Films opening today:

  • Two Days, One Night

Films already showing:

IFC Films

With the Academy Awards quickly approaching on Feb. 22, it may be just the weekend to head out to the theaters to see some of the nominees. Up To Date's Indie, Foreign, and Documentary film critics offer their Oscar nominated suggestions. 

Cynthia Haines:

  • Two Days, One Night
  • Oscar-Nominated Live Action Short Films
  • Boyhood 

Steve Walker:

If you want to feel a little more knowledgeable on Oscar night, or even if you just want some good weekend entertainment, Up to Date's indie, foreign and documentary film critics have a few suggestions for you.

Cynthia Haines

  • 2015 Oscar-Nominated Shorts
  • Boyhood
  • Selma

Steve Walker

  • A Most Violent Year
  • Amira & Sam
  • 2015 Oscar Nominated Shorts: Live Action

It's controversial, it has the nation talking, but is it good? 

On Friday's Up To Date, the indie, foreign and documentary film critics discuss the controversy surrounding The Interview and weigh in on its quality. Plus, they review  Paul Thomas Anderson's new film Inherent Vice, and check out the story of the terrifying monster of a boy's dream come to life. 

Fox Searchlight

From a thousand-mile journey of self-exploration to a raunchy bromance that has the nation talking, Up To Date's indie, foreign and documentary film critics suggest some films they think are worth heading to the theaters this weekend:

Cynthia Haines:

  • Boyhood
  • The Interview
  • Whiplash 

Steve Walker:

Courtesy / Lacey Schwartz, Truth Aid Media

“White people will think anything,” says a guy named Matt in Lacey Schwartz’s documentary, Little White Lie.

The Best Independent, Documentary And Foreign Films of 2014

Dec 26, 2014
IFC Entertainment

For those who prefer art houses for their film viewing, it's been a very good year. From the class system that develops on a train of the future to musician Nick Cave marking his 20,000th day on the planet to a young novitiate nun in 1960s Poland,  independent, documentary and foreign filmmakers have given moviegoers plenty to choose from.

American Experience Films/PBS

If the grey skies are getting you down, why not take a trip to the cinema to lift the gloom? Up to Date's independent, foreign, and documentary film critics have a few recommendations for you:

Cynthia Haines:

  • Force Majeur
  • Birdman
  • Last Days in Vietnam

Steve Walker:

Still recovering from Thanksgiving? Try a good film for your relaxation this weekend. Up to Date's independent, foreign, and documentary film critics have a few recommendations for you:

Cynthia Haines:

  • Force Majeure
  • Nightcrawler
  • Whiplash

Steve Walker:

Life on the open prairie can drive you crazy, and Tommy Lee Jones knows it in his latest flick.

On Friday's Up to Date, our independent, foreign and documentary film critics review The Homesman, as well as a new Stephen Hawking biopic, and we check out the story of a scramble to survive an avalanche-- and what that can do to a family.

Also on the agenda: our critics share their top 10 films of the year.

Films discussed during the program:

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