WE ♥ DOCS
"Our inclination is to tell stories…" One of the many documentaries premiering at the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival is the music documentary The Reflektor Tapes, following the Canadian band Arcade Fire as the tour with incredibly unique and innovative shows. The doc "charts the band's creative journey as they lay foundations for the album in Jamaica, record in Montreal and play an impromptu gig at a Haitian hotel on the first night of Carnival, before bringing their breath-taking live show to packed arenas in Los Angeles and London." This looks like a wild and vivid and entrancing doc that captures the members of Arcade Fire in an intimate way. Whether you're already a fan or not, take a look below. I want to see this.
Know your neighbors. The first official trailer has debuted for a documentary called Welcome to Leith, that played at many festivals after premiering at Sundance earlier this year. The doc profiles a small town in North Dakota called Leith, a tiny "ghost town" that gets taken over by a notorious white supremacist named Craig Cobb. There's some very harrowing and remarkable footage in this, showing some very scary things, but I'm also intrigued to see what angle some of the video is taken from. This looks like a very fascinating and disturbing thriller that examines one extreme example of American white supremacy. Worth watching.
Kicking off later this month is a retrospective screening series of a filmmaker that more people should know about. His name is Wim Wenders, one of the major figures in New German Cinema, who has been making films for over 40 years. His most recent work includes the drama Every Thing Will Be Fine (which I saw in Berlin), his photographer documentary The Salt of the Earth (which I adore), and the dancer documentary Pina, which was filmed in 3D. The retrospective spans his entire career and will include screenings in 15 cities showing restored 4K or 2K versions of his early work, including Paris, Texas, Tokyo-Ga, American Friend, Wings of Desire and of course The Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick. Catch a short trailer below.
"Why? Why did this happen? Who's making these decisions?" The official trailer + poster have debuted for a documentary called Peace Officer, from directors Brad Barber & Scott Christopherson, that is a very timely look at police militarization. The doc is told from the perspective of a former sheriff who put together his state's first SWAT team, then 30 years later experienced tragedy when a stand off left his son-in-law dead. This premiered at SXSW and played at a number of other festivals, and will be hitting limited theaters next month. This looks like a very unique examination at the tense atmosphere today. I'm intrigued to see it.
"We can do anything we want!" Magnolia Pictures has unveiled an official trailer for Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead, a documentary telling The Story of the National Lampoon, the comedy magazine from the 60s. This fantastic and funny documentary takes a look at one of the original comedy magazines that started it all, featuring John Belushi, Chevy Chase and many others. We featured the original poster for this film (seen below) and reviewed it at Sundance this year (read Ethan's glowing review). Some of the appearances in the trailer include Judd Apatow and John Landis, but mostly it's all about the magazine covers and art they show. I'm still amazed at some of what they got away with. You don't want to miss this!
"He was not that much fun most of the time…" Up next from Alex Gibney is a documentary about Steve Jobs. Not to be confused with the "fictional" film titled Steve Jobs, directed by Danny Boyle and starring Michael Fassbender, this is a documentary about Jobs' private and personal life as a technology innovator. Gibney's documentary Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine examines in more depth the "who he was" angle. Gibney has been on a roll with docs recently, churning out multiple in-depth features every year, this being another to following Going Clear. I'm looking forward to seeing what Gibney has dug up for this doc.
"They weren't quite sure what to make of Barry." One of the better documentaries out of Sundance this year is one titled Call Me Lucky, from filmmaker and comedian Bobcat Goldthwait. At my screening at Sundance, Bobcat introduced it by talking about his friendship with Robin Williams, revealing that Robin told him to go out and make this documentary about Barry. So he did. And it's a remarkable documentary that will throw your for a loop, as there's a dark secret revealed halfway through that changes everything. By the end I was inspired, because Barry has gone through so much yet remains such a strong and genuine voice, in comedy and activism. This one of those documentaries where I'll continue to say - it's worth seeing.
"Anytime you get to talk about Chris Farley is a good day." BuzzFeed has debuted the first official trailer for the documentary I Am Chris Farley, a profile about the life of the beloved comedian who died in 1997. It's probably that many of you grew up watching Chris Farley, whether it was on "Saturday Night Live" or in Tommy Boy, Black Sheep or Beverly Hills Ninja. He died almost 20 years ago, if you can believe it was that long ago, and they've finally made a documentary about him and it's out this summer. I Am Chris Farley features all his friends and colleagues, from Adam Sandler to Lorne Micheals, David Spade, Molly Shannon, Christina Applegate, and Bob Saget. I'm looking forward to catching this doc sometime, looks pretty good.
"It's so cliche - but it's like, you're alive, you might as well take chances." Netflix has debuted the official trailer for the powerful and inspiring documentary Tig, from filmmakers Kristina Goolsby & Ashley York, about the incredible story and heartfelt humor of Tig Notaro. Most people know the story, but Tig was diagnosed with cancer just after her mother died, and she had a tough time dealing with it but found her way through stand up comedy. Ethan caught the film at this year's Sundance, where it premiered, and wrote in his review that it "packs an emotional punch, and also shines a fascinating light on the life of a comedian, both professionally and personally." I'm definitely looking forward to seeing this film myself. Take a look.
"I'm not a lone voice, I am many. And our voices are our most powerful weapons." If you haven't seen this trailer yet, it really should be a must watch. Fox Searchlight has debuted their official US trailer for Davis Guggenheim's new documentary titled He Named Me Malala, about the amazing Malala Yousafzai, an inspirational young girl who survived being shot by the Taliban and has since united the world in an attempt to bring education to everyone. This doc profiles her life story, and specifically Malala's connection to her family and her father Zia. Together they are all committed to fighting for education for all girls worldwide. "One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world." Indeed. Prepare to be moved. Enjoy!
2 Men. 10 Debates. Television would never be the same. Magnolia Pictures has debuted an excellent trailer for Best of Enemies, a fascinating documentary about two enemies for life - Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley Jr. Back in the late 60s, these two were recruited to debate each other on television during the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, and it changed television forever. I saw this at Sundance and it was one of my favorite documentaries from the fest. "This thoroughly entertaining and effortlessly fascinating doc examines their relationship on and off the screen, similar to the love-hate battle between Ebert and Siskel shown in the doc Life Itself." It's so good, full of so much fun footage of these two fighting.
"Everybody's got something they're hiding." Showtime has debuted the first official trailer for Listen to Me Marlon, the fantastic new documentary from Stevan Riley profiling the life and mind of legendary actor Marlon Brando. This documentary delves into the mind of Marlon using his own audio recordings, his own voice, to tell you the story of the real Marlon Brando, who he was, why he didn't like the spotlight, the family he raised. It's a wonderful documentary (I first saw this at ND/NF) that really gets into his mind, deep into who he is and explores a side of him you've never seen before. Whether you're a fan of Brando or not, this is a fascinating and must see doc. Start with the trailer and be sure to catch it when it's in theaters.
What if a tennis match lasted 7 days? That's the premise behind 7 Days in Hell, a mockumentary in the style of Christopher Guest's work that follows the two tennis players during the legendary match in 2004. In comparison to real life, the longest tennis match lasted 3 days, which is actually quite long considering it's a set of tennis games that just won't end. In 7 Days in Hell, Andy Samberg battles Kit Harington on the court and it looks like it's going to be hilarious. This first teaser is only 60 seconds and plays more like a sports promo for ESPN, but I love it, they've totally sold me on this. You just need to see the footage below.
"I believe what I am doing is good, and what I am standing up against is evil." The Orchard has unveiled the first official trailer for the documentary Cartel Land, one of the best documentaries this year, hands down. This first premiered at Sundance and has played at numerous festivals all over the world, and is getting quite a bit of acclaim because it's a hell of a film. Cartel Land documents two stories, one from each side of the border, in the increasingly violent struggle between cartels and peaceful people on the US-Mexico border. You may think you've seen and heard all this already, but the footage in Cartel Land is incredible, and he presents a devastatingly dire looking at the situation. And that's why this documentary must be seen.