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Tribeca Film Festival 2010: Feathered Cocaine

It really skids off the rails at the midway mark, at which point it sharply shifts its attention to the links between falcon smuggling and Osama bin Laden.

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Tribeca Film Festival 2010: Feathered Cocaine
Photo: Tribeca Film Festival

Feathered Cocaine operates from a starting point similar to that of last year’s Oscar-winning The Cove, concentrating on a man striving to halt the animal-cruelty wrongs perpetrated by an industry to which his life’s work was related. In this instance, that individual is Alan Parrot, who, after a childhood in Maine spent obsessing over falcons, snuck away at 18 to Iran and almost immediately thereafter became the head falcon trainer of the Shah. His subsequent career led him to legally export falcons for the president of the U.A.E., a practice he suspended because of the lucrative black market for smuggling the birds in the Middle East (falcons command as much as $1 million in some quarters) that today threatens many falcon populations with extinction. Utilizing numerous one-on-one interviews, Thorkell Hardarson and Öm Marino Arnarson’s documentary spends its early portions on Parrot’s endeavors to outlaw this profitable illegal bird commerce, which he vehemently opposes on a combination of moral and political grounds.

Alas, from the outset, the filmmakers stumble in trying to cogently outline their subject’s motivations. As fuzzily conveyed via scattershot sequences, Parrot’s decision to combat smuggling stemmed in part from the trade’s escalation after the 1991 fall of the U.S.S.R. (which has led to unchecked bird poaching), in part from the U.A.E.’s practice of genetically engineering falcons (which has muddied their gene pool and exacerbated their extermination), and in part from his belief in the birds’ heightened perceptiveness, sensitivity, and all-around nobility. Muddling its depiction of what exactly drives Parrot, the film quickly loses focus. His sadness over the birds’ harsh treatment is sufficiently seen during separate bouts of crying, in which he pleads for help in saving his beloved falcons. Yet more basic questions—who he now works for, exactly how the smuggling trade routes operate, whether he was ethically troubled by legally exporting the birds when he first began the practice—are left frustratingly opaque.

Equally exasperating is Hardarson and Arnarson’s reliance on copious on-screen text that would have been better handled via narration, though Feathered Cocaine really skids off the rails at the midway mark, at which point it sharply shifts its attention to the links between falcon smuggling and Osama bin Laden. Skimming historical context and stringing together facts and conjecture with a gracelessness that would gall even Michael Moore, Hardarson and Arnarson lay out a convoluted scenario in which falcon camps serve as centers of business transactions between terrorists and Middle Eastern governments, the U.S. government knows bin Laden’s exact whereabouts in Iran but refuses to apprehend him (lest they rankle their Saudi financial benefactors), and Parrot is a courageous lone crusader stymied by joint West-East forces in his heroic quest to personally nab the Al-Qaeda mastermind.

Despite a few former military men also chiming in with corroborative theories and opinions asserted as if they were unassailable truths, the film’s conspiratorial case is primarily made through Parrot discussing his supposed—albeit never lucidly explicated—bedrock evidence. While Parrot’s analysis appears sporadically sound, the overarching argument he makes, founded on bits and pieces of tenuously associated information arranged to suggest cause-and-effect relationships, proves specious, an impression exacerbated by dubious insinuations that any government officials who refused to speak on camera did so to conceal their culpability. And then, with five minutes to go, Feathered Cocaine simply drops its entire War on Terror discussion, choosing to suddenly revert back to its original, apolitical save-the-falcons argument. It’s as if the doc had temporarily forgotten what it was about, which—in light of its unconvincing theses and structural sloppiness—is very little aside from shoddy nonfiction filmmaking.

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Watch: The Long-Awaited Deadwood Movie Gets Teaser Trailer and Premiere Date

Welcome to fucking Deadwood!

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Deadwood
Photo: HBO

At long last, we’re finally going to see more of Deadwood. Very soon after the HBO series’s cancellation in 2006, creator David Milch announced that he agreed to produce a pair of two-hour films to tie up the loose ends left after the third season. It’s been a long road since, and after many false starts over the years, production on one standalone film started in fall 2018. And today we have a glorious teaser for the film, which releases on HBO on May 31. Below is the official description of the film:

The Deadwood film follows the indelible characters of the series, who are reunited after ten years to celebrate South Dakota’s statehood. Former rivalries are reignited, alliances are tested and old wounds are reopened, as all are left to navigate the inevitable changes that modernity and time have wrought.

And below is the teaser trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAcftIUE6MQ

Deadwood: The Movie airs on HBO on May 31.

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Watch: Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Gets Teaser Trailer

When it rains, it pours.

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Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Photo: Columbia Pictures

When it rains, it pours. Four days after Quentin Tarantino once more laid into John Ford in a piece written for his Beverly Cinema website that saw the filmmaker referring to Ford’s She Wore a Yellow Ribbon as Tie a Yellow Ribbon, and two days after Columbia Pictures released poster art for QT’s ninth feature that wasn’t exactly of the highest order, the studio has released a teaser for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. The film was announced early last year, with Tarantino describing it as “a story that takes place in Los Angeles in 1969, at the height of hippy Hollywood.”

Set on the eve of the Manson family murders, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood tells the story of TV actor Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stunt double, Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), as they try to get involved in the film industry. The film also stars Margot Robbie (as Sharon Tate), Al Pacino, the late Luke Perry, Damian Lewis, Dakota Fanning, Emile Hirsch, Timothy Olyphant, Kurt Russell, and Bruce Dern in a part originally intended for the late Burt Reynolds.

See the teaser below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Scf8nIJCvs4

Columbia Pictures will release Once Upon a Time in Hollywood on July 26.

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Watch the Stranger Things 3 Trailer, and to the Tune of Mötley Crüe and the Who

A wise woman once said that there’s no such thing as a coincidence.

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Stranger Things 3
Photo: Netflix

A wise woman once said that there’s no such thing as a coincidence. On Friday, Jeff Tremaine’s The Dirt, a biopic about Mötley Crüe’s rise to fame, drops on Netflix. Today, the streaming service has released the trailer for the third season of Stranger Things. The clip opens with the strains of Mötley Crüe’s “Home Sweet Home,” all the better to underline that the peace and quiet that returned to the fictional rural town of Hawkins, Indiana at the end of the show’s second season is just waiting to be upset again.

Little is known about the plot of the new season, and the trailer keeps things pretty vague, though the Duffer Brothers have suggested that the storyline will take place a year after the events of the last season—duh, we know when “Home Sweet Home” came out—and focus on the main characters’ puberty pangs. That said, according to Reddit sleuths who’ve obsessed over such details as the nuances of the new season’s poster art, it looks like Max and company are going to have to contend with demon rats no doubt released from the Upside Down.

See below for the new season’s trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEG3bmU_WaI

Stranger Things 3 premieres globally on July 4.

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