WE ♥ DOCS
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!
We live on a remarkably beautiful planet, filled with diverse man-made and natural creations, spanning all corners of the world. From lush rain forests to massive deserts to extraordinary mountain ranges to epic landscapes of every kind. In the documentary The Salt of the Earth, filmmaker Wim Wenders connects with legendary photographer Sebastião Salgado, and explores the world with him by telling the story of his life, growing up in Brazil, eventually photographing the atrocities of humanity as well as the remarkable splendor of this world. Take a deep breath, sit back, and let this man's incredible images and story wow you.
Though the next most exciting thing happening with dinosaurs on the big screen seems to be either the appearance of Dinobots in Transformers: Age of Extinction this summer or Jurassic World in 2015, there's a documentary coming out for anyone interested in the digging up of the deceased prehistoric creatures from the ground. Dinosaur 13 is a compelling enough film about a fierce legal battle that ensued for the Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton that most of the public knows as Sue. The doc focuses on the diggers who found the skeleton (sometimes a little too closely in their personal relationships for my tastes), and shows an exhausting and frustrating court case determining the rights to this history-making dino. Watch the trailer!
"He's been writing for half of the history of feature films." Following the debut of the first official poster for the touching documentary Life Itself, the first trailer for the film chronicling the life of late film critic Roger Ebert has arrived. There are some great talking heads in this film ranging from fellow critics like A.O. Scott to directors like Martin Scorsese (who has a few signature moments in the film). But the real star is the story of Ebert, from his younger days when he was just blossoming as a writer to his final days as he struggled with hospital visits, but never truly lost his voice and passion for cinema. Watch the trailer!
For anyone who has more than just a fleeting interest in the art of filmmaking, hopefully you've been made aware of the spectacular film text that is Hitchcock/Truffaut. The book contains in-depth and revealing interviews conducted with master filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock. However, rather that just being interviewed just any author or journalist, Hitchcock was interviewed by the influential French New Wave filmmaker Francois Truffaut. The result is some of the most impacting series of discussions about cinema you've ever heard that give insight not only into their filmmaking styles but also their lives. Now a documentary based on the book is in the works with tons of iconic directors appearing in the film. Read on!
If seeing Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer and Matthew McConaughey taking off their clothes in Magic Mike piqued your interest in male stripping in the area of sheer curiosity, then one of the film's stars has a documentary just for you. "True Blood" star Joe Manganiello was also sharing the stage with those actors with his shirt and pants off, and his experience on the film got him interested in directing a documentary on the profession of male exotic dancers. And so here we are with a red band trailer for the Slamdance selected film La Bare, focusing on the history, lives and culture of the most popular male strip club in the world.
From behind the Iron Curtain comes an inside look at Soviet Russia's Red Army hockey team in a new documentary titled Red Army, which just premiered at Cannes 2014. Directed by Gabe Polsky (The Motel Life), this outstanding doc focuses one of the greatest hockey players to ever live, Viacheslav "Slava" Fetisov, who was trained by the national Red Army team since age 10, playing for the USSR throughout the 70s, 80s and 90s, as well as in the NHL before eventually taking the job as Minister of Sport in Russia. It's a fascinating and surprisingly moving doc about passionate hockey players just playing the sport they love.
Whoa - where did this come from? A press release has announced that Gravitas Ventures has acquired US release rights to release a documentary about the filmmaking career of Richard Linklater, who just debuted his 12-year project Boyhood at Sundance earlier this year. Titled 21 Years: Richard Linklater, the feature-length doc "examines the first 21 years of Linklater's career and includes intimate interviews with many of the filmmakers' longtime collaborators and animation by Austin-based Powerhouse Animation Studios." His first 21 years of work includes classic films like Slacker, Dazed & Confused, Before Sunrise & Sunset, Waking Life, School of Rock, Bad News Bears, Fast Food Nation and A Scanner Darkly. Read on.
It's been nearly three years since we heard anything about Terrence Malick's Voyage of Time, an IMAX documentary spin-off from his existential Tree of Life. For awhile, we've known that Brad Pitt was going to narrate the film that focuses on life, death, the universe and all that good stuff in between. Now the film is being shopped around Cannes this month, so some more information on the project has surfaced. First of all, Screen Daily has word that the haunting voice of Cate Blanchett will also be narrating this wholly interesting and gestating project from Malick. In addition, there will also be two cuts of the film. Read on!
Have you had enough of James Franco yet? Well, no matter what your answer, you're going to get more. Franco has become a renaissance man of art in all forms from painting to filmmaking and even some poetry in between. You might be wondering how a man who has been involved and linked to nearly three dozen projects on film and television alone has time for everything. And soon we'll find out. The Wrap has learned that first-time filmmaker Lisa Vangellow is directing and producing Franco: A Documentary, which will dive into a year in the professional and personal life of the Oscar-nominated star of all sorts of films.