WE ♥ DOCS
There's hope of consumer flights to space beginning as early as 2016 with SpaceX breaking ground on a commercial spaceport in Texas recently. But there might be another way for people to head into space if Michael Laine has anything to do with it. Laine has a team for a project called LiftPort, which can most simply be explained as an elevator that could take people to space. While that sounds like something a child could come up, or even something out of Looney Tunes, Laine is deadly serious about the project, and thinks he has all the practical science and plans figured out, now he just needs the awareness, desire and support from the public, and a documentary called Shoot the Moon might just help with that. Watch below now!
Eighteen Films. One legend. Gravitas Ventures has revealed poster art for their upcoming documentary 21 Years: Richard Linklater, telling the story of Linklater's filmmaker career so far. Co-directed by Michael Dunaway and Tara Wood, the doc features (some of these guys are seen on the poster) Zac Efron, Matthew McConaughey, Ethan Hawke, Billy Bob Thornton, Jack Black, Kevin Smith, Parker Posey and many others. It's already set to premiere in theaters and VOD starting this November, so there's not too much longer of a wait for this one. I'm looking forward to delving deeper into Linklater's fascinating and invigorating career.
"Magic is such a universal thing." Who doesn't love a little bit of magic? If you're in the mood for something inspiring, and fun at the same time, check out this short documentary from The Verge about a small town in Michigan called Colon (Google Maps). Dubbed the "Magic Capital of the World", the doc takes a light-hearted look at a lovable town that contains three fabulous home-brewed magic shops/manufacturers, and hosts the annual "Abbott's Magic Get Together", a convention (that reminds me of Fantastic Fest) for magicians, illusionists and entertainers. Never heard of this place? Neither have I, but that's why it's such a memorable introduction. A nice little slice of Americana packed into an entertaining short doc. Have a look.
It's been over four years since we heard about an unprecedented documentary film directed by James Franco that went behind the scenes of the iconic late night sketch series "Saturday Night Live." The documentary is simply called Saturday Night, and it has been awaiting release for years after playing at film festivals like SXSW in 2010. Back in 2013, the documentary was reported to have moved to Focus Features after Oscilloscope Laboratories was unable to do anything with it, but we haven't heard when we might be able to finally see the film. But that changed today as Franco announced the release, and it's soon.
The common phrase of "15 minutes of fame" has become increasingly less relevant as the dawn of the internet and reality television has made the window for celebrity idolatry even smaller. One such actor whose time in the spotlight came and went was Pauly Shore. After hitting it big in the 90s with comedies like Encino Man, Son-in-Law, In the Army Now and more, Shore lost all that fame and glory. But Shore is still a stand-up comic at heart, growing up around icons like Sam Kinison and sharing the fame of The Comedy Store, founded by his mother Mitzi Shore. Now a new documentary called Pauly Shore Stands Alone focuses on his comedy tour across the Midwest along with his personal struggles. Watch!
"I was happy kid. I play game. I play hockey." Sony Classics has unveiled their official US trailer for Gabe Polsky's documentary Red Army, about hockey player Viacheslav "Slava" Fetisov and the monstrous USSR hockey team during the Cold War. The doc has been playing at film festivals–see the first trailer–all summer, from Cannes to Telluride, and will be hitting US theaters in January next year. In the meantime, this trailer has arrived to remind you that this doc is awesome and you will want to see it, even if you're a big hockey nerd and know this story already. It's so much fun, and fascinating, as it lifts the Iron Curtain and takes us inside Russia during the Cold War. How is their hockey always so good? Find out in Red Army.
"Every once in a while, a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything." From MakerBot to Shapeways, we're in the midst of a 3D printing boom and it's exciting to watch whether you're a part of the industry or not. Netflix is so excited about it that they've made an entire documentary about it, titled Print the Legend, from co-directors Luiz Lopez & J. Clay Tweel. Premiering in the video service later this month, the first trailer for the documentary has arrived and we're happy to share it even though we're bending our own rules for something that's only available via the internet (we always prefer theatrical!). But the trailer looks great, and this looks like a really fascinating and fun doc about 3D printing, so why not. Give it a shot.
Netflix has certainly been making waves in original programming from series like "House of Cards" to new seasons of "Arrested Development," not to mention original stand-up specials and documentaries like The Battered Bastards of Baseball. Now they have another doc coming this fall, and it looks like a powerful one. Virunga will get a limited theatrical release to qualify for the Oscars at the same time it premieres on the streaming service and it takes a look at a conflict surrounding the African Congo, where the world’s last remaining mountain gorilla population lives in the forested depths of the Virunga National Park. Watch!
Just as Alejandro González Iñárritu's peculiar drama Birdman hits festivals, featuring Michael Keaton as a washed up former star of superhero films, another former man of the cape is getting a documentary. Adam West was the first on-screen iteration of Batman to become a pop culture phenomenon, and he rode that wave to worldwide fame, even if it's become more of a joke than anything now. But the Starring Adam West takes a deeper look at the man's struggle as a typecast actor, doing his best with the fame that both crippled and then revived his career as he has embraced the good and the bad of his superhero past, usually with great humor. And now we have a trailer looking at the documentary on the veteran actor. Watch now!
When we look back on our lives, there are always key individuals who have an immeasurable influence on us. Not just our family (and relatives), but friends, mentors, teachers, those with learned wisdom to impart and lessons to teach. If they say the right things they can alter our destiny forever, or remind us why/how life is worth living in the midst of the constant stress and chaos of this world. Seymour: An Introduction is a documentary by actor Ethan Hawke introducing us to his inspiration - the piano legend Seymour Bernstein, who is such a humble, charming, considerate man. This wonderful doc spends intimate time with him, showing us his own history, who he is, and how much the emotion of music is important to life.
"Becoming less an art show than a city-wide, full-contact game of hide-and-seek." We occasionally make exceptions to feature HBO movies and documentaries, and this is worth your attention. It's a documentary titled Banksy Does New York, inspired by Banksy's Better Out Than In (the real name of the show), profiling the controversial street artist's residency in New York City last October. Every day for the entire month, Banksy would reveal a new piece of art hidden around the city, and it caused a flurry of interest and activity. The doc, which will be airing on HBO, is made up of footage from the masses and it looks fantastic. I was involved in the Banksy mayhem myself, scouring the city and chasing the art, and it was so much fun.
For several years now, the NBC comedy series "Community" has evaded cancellation like a ninja. It earned five seasons on the TV network after nearly getting canceled several times, and when they finally axed it before the sixth season, Yahoo Screen revived it at the last minute. And one of the reasons the show has gotten such a big cult following is because of series creator Dan Harmon. The writer and producer has become known for his cynicism and blunt attitude along with his hard work and clever writing. Now the documentary Harmontown has followed him on a podcast and live performance tour, complete with interviews with collaborators like Sarah Silverman, Jack Black, Joel McHale and many more. Watch!
"I will not give into despair, because hopeless should never win... and hopeless is a lie." Drafthouse Films has debuted the first trailer for the highly acclaimed documentary The Overnighters, from director Jesse Moss, who captures an extraordinary look at a small community in North Dakota. We've been raving about this documentary since Sundance and recently featured the first "motion-poster" poster for the doc, which fades between many of the faces seen in this trailer. The trailer is a beautiful glimpse at the bigger story in The Overnighters, as there's something else going on but you have to see the film to reveal its secrets. Many, many people are going to be talking about this documentary this year, so get your first look at the trailer.
"Deeply Human..." Yes! Finally some marketing for a documentary I've been raving about since Sundance. Drafthouse Films has debuted the first teaser poster via Indiewire (they're calling it a "stop-motion" poster) that fades through a set of characters/real people featured in The Overnighters, a documentary by Jesse Moss that follows life in one small North Dakota town and a pastor there trying his best to help those who come to work in the oil fields. Yes, the pastor (Jay Reinke) can be seen in the middle of the rotation, but it's the quotes and the imagery that really make this art so striking to look at. You can see the first trailer now.