WE ♥ DOCS
"Do YOU know who killed JonBenet Ramsey?" Netflix has debuted a trailer for the highly acclaimed, totally unique documentary Casting JonBenet, from director Kitty Green. The film originally premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, and it has also played at the Berlin Film Festival and True/False Film Festival. Casting JonBenet examines the infamous JonBenet Ramsey murder in Colorado in 1996, by having local actors from Colorado audition for the various characters involved in the story. This includes JonBenet herself, as well as her mother, brother, father, and local police. This is a fascinating documentary unlike any other (except maybe Kate Plays Christine) that stirs up quite a unique discussion without ever actually interviewing the real people. It's fascinating, and worth checking out when it premieres on Netflix.
"I'm not about death, I didn't want to die, but I wanted to come close." Magnolia has debuted an official trailer for a documentary titled Burden, telling the story of artist Chris Burden, who made his place in art history in 1971 with dangerous performances. The film features Burden himself, as well as Jonathan Gold, Marina Abramovic, Frank Gehry, Alexis Smith, and Brian Sewell. The description says the doc examines "the artist’s works and private life with an innovative mix of still-potent videos of his 70s performances, personal videos and audio recordings, friends fellow students and colleagues, critics’ comments and latter day footage at his Topanga Canyon studio, all peppered with his thoughts and musings through the years." This definitely looks fascinating, and I'm intrigued to learn more about Burden and his motivations for this.
"She was born in a place called Karl Marx City, where she claims she had a happy childhood." Bond/360 has released an official trailer for the documentary Karl Marx City, which premiered at the Toronto and New York Film Festivals last fall. The film follows one of the filmmakers, Petra Epperlein, as she journeys through the former East Germany looking into her father's 1999 suicide. It has been described as a "lean, smart, quick, well-made, and unsparing" documentary. It's both a look into Cold War Germany, along with an investigation into her father's potential connection with the Stasi secret police of the German Democratic Republic. This looks like a fascinating documentary with multiple layers of discussion and examination. I like this trailer because it's so different than most trailers we see nowadays, and that's definitely refreshing.
"Is there romance? Yes. Is there comedy? Yes. Sex? A little. Drugs? Yeah, a little. Violence? A little. Are there twists and turns? Yes." Hulu has revealed a trailer for a new documentary titled Becoming Bond, telling the story of Australian actor George Lazenby, who played James Bond in one 007 movie. This isn't exactly a straightforward doc. Not only does it include an extensive sit-down interview with George Lazenby, but to bring his story to life, this features numerous recreations. Josh Lawson plays Lazenby, who was a poor Australian car mechanic before he got the 007 gig. The full cast includes Jeff Garlin, Kassandra Clementi, Landon Ashworth, Jake Johnson, Jane Seymour, and Sofia Mattsson. As a huge James Bond fan (who loves OHMSS), I'll watch this just because it's about Bond, but man the footage looks rough.
"Western civilization was at stake, and we're going to fight until we win." Netflix has unveiled a trailer for a new three-part documentary series titled Five Came Back. I'm breaking our rules to share this trailer, because it's a docu-series about filmmaking (and filmmakers) and specifically about WWII movies, which is one of my favorite genres. Five Came Back is executive produced by Steven Spielberg (also interviewed in the doc), Scott Rudin and Barry Diller, featuring narration by Meryl Streep. The title refers to "five" filmmakers who helped change the way the American people saw and understood World War II. Those five filmmakers were: John Ford, George Stevens, John Huston, William Wyler, and Frank Capra. The footage in this looks amazing, and I'm super excited to watch this series when it airs in March. Check this out below.
"War was never our choice. We were forced into war." HBO has debuted an official trailer for the powerful documentary titled Cries From Syria, described as a "searing, comprehensive account of the Syrian war from the inside out." This looks intense and depressing. Made by the same filmmaker behind the Academy Award nominated doc Winter on Fire: Ukraine's Fight for Freedom, director Evgeny Afineevsky takes us inside the Syrian war examining the horrors occurring in that Middle Eastern country. The doc is narrated by Helen Mirren, and also features the original song "Prayers for this World," written by Diane Warren, and recorded by Cher along with The West Los Angeles Children's Choir. This should be mandatory viewing.
"Don't squander this opportunity." HBO Documentaries has premiered a trailer for a new doc titled Rock and a Hard Place, featuring Dwayne Johnson (formerly known as "The Rock") sharing his experiences with a program he supports. Johnson tells about his own experiences with the law as a youth, and meets some of the kids currently enrolled in a one-of-a-kind boot camp program for incarcerated youth. This looks like a powerful, and hopefully inspiring, follow-up to Ava DuVernay's incredible documentary 13th - which touches on the troubles with the modern prison system. It looks like Johnson only comes in for a talk once, but maybe he is more prominent in the actual doc itself. I'm curious about seeing this. Check out the trailer.
"To dance with people is the way to make the world a better place." Magnolia Pictures has debuted a trailer for a documentary titled Alive and Kicking about swing dancing, from director Susan Glatzer. The film provides viewers with an intimate, insider's view into the culture of the current swing dance world while shedding light on issues facing modern society. It features performances by famous dancer Norma Miller and many other people, some of which are introduced in this trailer. From the looks of it, this seems to be an energetic and inspiring documentary that shows how powerful dance can be, encouraging us all to come together and try to improve society by moving our bodies to the music. Who doesn't enjoy dance? Jump in.
"Sickness. Corruption. Fear in the air. It was so good for me." Janus Films has debuted a new trailer for the documentary titled David Lynch: The Art Life, a look at the life and work of American director David Lynch. Lynch is beloved by critics & cinephiles for his films like Eraserhead, Blue Velvet, Lost Highway, Mulholland Dr. and Inland Empire. This doc premiered at the Venice and London Film Festivals last year, and should be arriving in theaters this spring. The film focuses mostly on his early years and many of the various inspirations and moments of his life that made him into the artist he is today. This looks fascinating and totally weird, which is just about right to tell the story of David Lynch. Check out the new footage below.
"Everyone's unique. And the Kiki scene is a place for young people to explore that uniqueness." IFC Films has debuted a trailer for a fantastic documentary titled Kiki, about the "Kiki" community of LGBTQ youths in New York City. Directed Sara Jordenö, the film profiles a community in NYC known as Kiki, where any young LGBTQ can find support and friendship, and their chosen form of expression is dancing. It's a very exuberant, hopeful documentary filled with personal stories and inspiring footage of the group taking on New York with some rad dance movies. I first saw this film at Berlinale last year, and it's outstanding, certainly worth your time. It's an intimate and affecting look at how communities can make a big difference.
"What is it about color guard? Well, tonight you're going to find out." In the summer of 2015, legendary musician David Byrne staged an event at Brooklyn's Barclays Center to celebrate the creativity of Color Guard: synchronized dance routines involving flags, rifles, and sabers, colloquially known as "the sport of the arts." Contemporary Color is a performance documentary capturing the exhilarating experience of enjoying this once-in-a-lifetime show. Performers at the event included St. Vincent, Nelly Furtado, Devonté Hynes, Zola Jesus, Ad-Rock, tUnE-yArDs, and Ira Glass, collaborating with 10 color guard teams from across the US and Canada. This looks like a very vibrant and energetic show captured exquisitely on camera.
The power of people. But who is the leader that can inspire people to actually get out and protest? Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower is a documentary about the Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong in 2014, as well as the story of Joshua Wong, the young activist who lead the movement. I've been excited to see a documentary about this specific moment in Hong Kong's history, and this film covers that event and much more. This really shook up something deep inside of me. Joshua Wong is now my idol, I'm totally inspired and invigorated by him and his endless passion for democracy through peaceful protest - power in numbers. I admire this kid so much, and this doc is a fantastic introduction to who he is and what he helped achieve.