WE ♥ DOCS
"We want to compete, and we want to show you that this is real." There's a doc about every obscure sport, so why not one about quidditch? Yep, that game from Harry Potter, the one where you fly around on brooms and toss balls through hoops. Except here in the
human muggle world, it's played on the ground by die-hard nerds (one of them is a huge Tron Legacy fan) who love to compete in sports. The doc is called, appropriately, Mudbloods is focuses on the resilient underdogs of the UCLA Quidditch team as they make their way to the Fifth Annual Quidditch World Cup in NYC. This looks fun but potentially a little too wacky.
If you're more than a casual video game fan, then you might already know about the infamous attempt at an Atari game that was E.T., based on Steven Spielberg's modern classic sci-fi film of the same name. The game is regarded as one of the worst ever made, and one of the biggest blunders ever by any tech company in history, one that almost sank the entire video game industry back in the 80s. If this sounds familiar, that's because the film just made the news recently after being behind the dig into a New Mexico landfill where millions of unsold copies of E.T. were buried. Now the documentary Atari: Game Over from director Zak Penn dives into the story of Atari and this failed game and the first trailer has arrived. Watch!
Director Michael Apted is no stranger to documentaries as his Up series has chronicled people over the span of 56 years now. This time he's putting the focus on the process that allows him to actually photograph his films with a documentary called Bending the Light. The film focuses on the creation of camera lenses in a top notch Japanese factory and the photographers who use them so effectively to brilliantly capture a single moment in time. As you'll see in the trailer, there's talks with some of the foremost experts on intricate lens-crafting, as well as cinematographers from the feature film world and more. Watch below!
"The New Beverly crowds are genuine, they're there just to love cinema." How do we save 35mm film? By cherishing it, archiving it, and reminding the world of its existence with screenings and events that herald the soon-to-be-long-lost-format. One of the latest documentaries about this technological evolution is titled Out of Print, a film two years in the making from New Beverly's Julia Marchese. The doc focuses on the New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles and the many people who make it their home. She has interviews with people like Edgar Wright, Patton Oswalt, Rian Johnson, Joe Carnahan, Kevin Smith, Joe Dante and so many others. The first trailer is out and it's all about a love for cinema, its many joys, and repertory theaters.
Hot on the heels of the 50th anniversary re-release of the musical classic A Hard Day's Night, featuring the iconic British import The Beatles, it turns out The Fab Four have a new film on the way as well. Apple Corps Ltd, White Horse Pictures and Imagine Entertainment announced in a press release that they are teaming up to produce a documentary about the early party of The Beatles career. More specifically, it will focus on the touring years following the rock group from their early days in the Cavern Club in Liverpool to shows in Hamburg and all the way to their last public concert in Candlestick Park, San Francisco, in 1966.
"I wake, I write, I eat, I watch TV." Madman Films has unveiled the first official trailer for the remarkable new documentary 20,000 Days on Earth, profiling Australian singer/songwriter/musician/poet Nick Cave. This doc premiered at Sundance in January and received quite a bit of acclaim for its originality (I've never seen anything like it) and was picked up by Drafthouse Films for release later this fall. An early trailer has arrived online and it gives us all a taste of just how unique, and exciting, and bold, and fascinating this doc (and Nick Cave himself) is. I'm actually really impressed by this trailer, it sells the film nicely, and makes it look like the kind of must-see music doc that will easily attract both fans and non-fans alike. Enjoy.
"What Gordon did is create a negative that no one could mess with." In 2008, Paramount restored and re-released Francis Ford Coppola's original The Godfather trilogy in full high definition, and the result was a glorious must-have box set featuring all three movies. The restoration was supervised by Coppola and cinematographer Gordon Willis (who just passed away a few months ago) as well as Steven Spielberg, and this 19-minute short explores the process they went through to bring these classics back to life. Featuring interviews with Coppola, Willis, archivist Robert A. Harris, and others, it's a fun and fascinating featurette.
"A true tale told by those who lived it." Something a little raw to raunch up your day. A trailer has debuted for a wacky documentary called Limo Ride, about an epic "wildest night ever" limo ride about ten friends having the time of their lives. If you like white trash cinema, this is the doc for you. It's essentially about these guys recounting the tale of this crazy night of drinking and sex and all kinds of bad shit, which hearing about now is so much fun. They end up at some beach, endless bars all over, and other nasty places. This sales trailer is full of nudity and language aplenty, so don't watch this one at work, or with any one around.
Following a debut at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, the documentary The Battered Bastards of Baseball will make its debut exclusively on Netflix next month, and the first trailer has just arrived. The documentary tells the true story of the Portland Mavericks, a scrappy, independent baseball team of underdogs started by actor Bing Russell in the 1970s. In fact, you probably know one of the many players, because Kurt Russell is Bing's son. As someone who doesn't enjoy watching sports, there's just something that is inexplicably appealing about sports documentaries and dramas, and this looks like a treat. Watch!
If you're a hardcore Star Wars fan, there's a good chance you have already discovered the indie documentary The People vs. George Lucas from 2010. The film from director Alexandre O. Philippe looked at the disenchantment that fans of Star Wars and Indiana Jones came to feel following the mostly disappointing prequels to the classic original trilogy. Speaking with various fans and celebrities, the film talks about the anticipation leading up to The Phantom Menace, and the disappointing that eventually followed. And with Star Wars: Episode VII in production, that means it's time for the documentary sequel.
This sounds delightful. GKIDS, a US distributor of animation from all over the world, has acquired rights to release the documentary The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness in North America. The doc is actually an inside look at Studio Ghibli, and the three men who are the "lifeblood of Ghibli": director Hayao Miyazaki, producer Toshio Suzuki, and the elusive Isao Takahata (all three seen above). GKIDS picked up the film prior to its appearance at Annecy International Animation Film Festival, but will likely release it in theaters later this year along with Ghibli's next US release, The Tale of The Princess Kaguya. More below.
Normally, we don't cover straight-to-DVD releases, because it's the films released in theaters or at least VOD that are the ones worth watching. But in this case, a documentary on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles caught our eye, and there's probably many fans interested in checking it out. Turtle Power is a documentary focusing on the 30 year legacy of the heroes in a half-shell from their debut in comic book form to their animated series and decades of toys and plenty more merchandising. Kevin Eastman is featured, along with plenty of others who came to love the turtles. The teaser trailer can be viewed below!
"Have you ever had music just hit you in a place where it immediately brought you to tears? Music has that power." This looks wonderful. Winner of the Documentary Audience Award at Sundance 2014 earlier this year, Alive Inside is a doc by Michael Rossato-Bennett about the power that music has to "awaken memories and emotions that have been asleep for years". It focuses on the elderly and how patients with dementia have been able to open their minds again through music, proposing that music has the power to heal by touching our hearts and souls. This does look like a very moving and inspiring documentary, and I definitely do want to see it. Check out the official trailer below for what's being called a "life-changing film".
Last fall, we learned about a timely, developing documentary called Beyond the Brick: A LEGO Brickumentary that would take a closer look at the international building block toy sensation by focusing on Adult Fans of LEGO (AFOLs), fan conventioneers, LEGO artists, and famous LEGO fans along with the kids who love the LEGO toy sets so much. THe film debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival earlier this year, and now Radius-TWC has picked up the film for distribution worldwide. In addition, two photos from the documentary have been released, showing off a massive Lord of the Rings homemade LEGO set. Look now!