WE ♥ DOCS
"On the outside, we were a perfect family…" Discovery has revealed an official trailer for an intriguing new docu series about Armie Hammer, yes the actor, titled House of Hammer. I despise referring to gossip but most of you probably heard the crazy stories about Armie from a few years ago. "Hammer's meteoric rise to fame came crashing down as victims came forward with disturbing stories of bondage, cannibalism fantasies, branding and that was just the beginning. The rape and abuse allegations brought against Armie Hammer in 2021 shocked Hollywood insiders and fans across the globe. This docuseries begins in 2020 at the peak of Hammer's rise to fame. Featuring exclusive revelations from Armie's aunt, Casey Hammer, and multiple survivors of Armie's alleged abuse, the docuseries brings to light the dark secrets - ranging from accusations of violence and abuse to political manipulation and financial fraud." Scary. The docuseries "weaves together a chilling story of the dysfunction and wickedness that grow behind decades of power and money." I don't even know what to make of this. It's way, way more than just gossip now. Take a look below.
"Who knew that doing the correct thing would actually be so difficult?" Yes indeed… Madman Films has revealed a trailer for a documentary film titled Greenhouse By Joost, which is premiering this month at the Melbourne Film Festival down in Australia. This Australian documentary follows a florist / entrepreneur named Joost Bakker who decides to try the impossible - build a home with 100% sustainable, non-toxic materials that recycles, reuses, and grows everything in one place. Joost Bakker investigates what it would be like to grow all the food you ever needed, leaving no waste as you do so, right at your doorstep. Extending a lifetime's worth of zero-waste activism, visionary designer Joost devises the "Future Food System" (official website), a self-sufficient residence that provides shelter, food and energy while reusing any by-products. This reminds me of the The Biggest Little Farm doc where they learn just how remarkably hard it is to be bio-dynamic and sustainable, it takes a lot of work. But it might be possible! I'm curious to find out.
"The money's not the best, but my job is the best." An official trailer has debuted for a documentary film titled Back to the Drive-In, from filmmaker April Wright. She's the same filmmaker behind two other movie theater docs previously - Going Attractions: The Definitive Story of the American Drive-in Movie and Going Attractions: The Definitive Story of the Movie Palace. With the return of Drive-Ins during the 2020 + 2021 pandemic lockdowns, of course someone decided to go out and make a doc about this. When the pandemic hit, drive-ins were suddenly the only safe venue in town, with press coverage about how drive-ins are "back," and how they are thriving. But this film goes behind the headlines to tell the truth, spending a whole night with 11 very different drive-ins in 8 states all over the country, from preparations before the customers arrive, to selling tickets, opening the snack bar, and getting the movie up on screen, we discover these family-owned businesses are actually struggling to survive. This looks like it might be worth a watch.
"Can you look me in the eye and tell me you don't care?" Abramorama has unveiled an official trailer for a documentary film titled InHospitable, another searing and incisive look at how totally bonkers and awful the American health care system is. This first premiered at DOC NYC last year and will be out to watch soon - maybe it can cause change if enough people get around to watch. InHospitable is an illuminating, feature-length documentary that exposes American hospitals' significant role in the very broken healthcare system, documenting an inspiring story of patients and activists as they band together to fight UPMC, a multi-billion dollar nonprofit (evil) hospital system that was making vital care unaffordable for hundreds of thousands of vulnerable patients in western Pennsylvania. I don't how anyone can look at this entire situation and not be appalled, not be frustrated by how much of the world puts profit over care and health. It's totally insane! I really hope films like this can open up more eyes to what's going on and help us learn the truth: greed is evil.
"Looking at my life, and where I've come from… and where I've been – I think I actually do believe in destiny." Samuel Goldwyn Films has debuted the official trailer for Blind Ambition, a fantastic doc film about a group of Zimbabwean refugees who decide to create their own team and compete in The World Blind Winetasting Championship. I am a HUGE fan of this doc - I watched it last year for its premiere at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival and instantly loved it. The film follows four lovely, humble Zimbabweans who become the first ever from their country to compete in this very elite, very cushy French winetasting event - known as the "Olympics of Winetasting". Of course they deal with tons of racism and xenophobia along the way, but their brotherhood and their tenacity and passion for wine is so exceptional and inspiring, it's hard not to be completely moved (to tears!) by their story. They are the best!! I've been waiting to share this with everyone and it's finally opening in the US in September. Whether you love wine or not, it's a must watch.
"We have nothing to hide." 1091 Pictures has unveiled an official trailer for another mysterious, thrilling, scary new UFO doc called Moment of Contact, about the "Roswell of Brazil." It's made by director James Fox, a self-described "ufologist" who last directed the 2020 doc The Phenomenon all about UFO cover-ups. Ever since the military released all that unexplainable UFO footage for the public to freak out over, ufologists have been going extra crazy with even stronger and more convincing theories. Moment of Contact is an exploration of extraterrestrial encounters centered on a series of events in 1996 when citizens of the town of Varginha, Brazil reported seeing a UFO crash and one or more strange creatures. Freaky shit. It has interviews with key eyewitnesses, experts and officials, including physicist & ufologist Stanton Friedman, Brazilian Air Force General Jose Carlos Pereira, and Brazilian ufologist Ademar Jose Gevaerd. This seems so convincing and sure of the evidence. Which is why I won't be watching this, no way, no aliens for me please.
Have you ever heard of Will Vinton? How many people still know who he is nowadays? Vinton was the co-founder of a stop-motion animation studio based in Portland, Oregon. He created this studio in early 1970s, known as just "Will Vinton Studios" at the time, and it ended up becoming a mainstream success - you will definitely recognize their work. They're most well known for The California Raisins, as well as a few other films including Rip Van Winkle and Dinosaur. They even won an Academy Award in 1975 for an innovative claymation short film they created (called Closed Mondays). But all that is in the past, and it's not a story anyone can recall anymore. There isn't even much info about Will Vinton Studios on Wikipedia. Why? Well, you definitely know the other name of the animation studio as it's now known today - Laika. Claydream is a documentary takes us back through the story of Will Vinton and exactly what happened to him, his success and his downfall. It's the tragic story of a beautifully creative studio's undoing at the hands of a rich bastard.
"He's the last great explorer." Universal has debuted a new US trailer for the documentary film Explorer, which is opening in the US on VOD later in August. It premiered in UK cinemas in July, as it's about a British explorer and has a better audience over there. A portrait of the "world's greatest living explorer" Sir Ranulph Fiennes, a film that goes beyond the record breaking achievements to explore the man behind the myth. With exclusive access to "Ran", his incredible film archive, preserved and cared for by the BFI National Archive, covering decades of expeditions and contributions from life-long friends and colleagues, Explorer tells the definitive story of an inspirational leader, delving deep into Ran's audacious and eccentric dreams to explore, and the complex motivations behind them. Director Matt Dyas says, "I wanted to create a compelling portrait of the real man… between cracks of the ordinary and extraordinary, I hope audiences see for themselves an intimate side to his personality and the motivations that drive him." This looks like it might pair nicely with the fantastic Attenborough doc now on Netflix. Travel lovers definitely need to watch.
"What is Lakers basketball without Magic Johnson?" Hulu has debuted another official trailer for sports doc series Legacy: The True Story of the LA Lakers, all about the iconic Los Angeles basketball team. The series captures the remarkable rise and unprecedented success of one of the most dominant and iconic franchises in professional sports. Featuring exclusive access to the Buss Family and revealing interviews with players, coaches, and front office execs, this 10-part series chronicles this extraordinary story from the inside – told only by the people who lived it. When charismatic real estate tycoon Dr. Jerry Buss purchased the Los Angeles Lakers in a wildly risky and complex business deal, nobody could have predicted just how much success was to come. Ultimately, Legacy: The True Story of the LA Lakers is about family, business, and power – and how all three must be harnessed to achieve greatness. This new trailer focuses on three important players: Magic Johnson, Shaq, and Kobe. It's also a good follow-up to the fictionalized version of the Lakers story told in Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty (also on HBO also this year). Enjoy.
"What a really want right now is to just focus on skating." Netflix has unveiled the official trailer for an LGBTQ documentary titled Stay on Board: The Leo Baker Story, a raw & immersive feature film that follows competitive skateboarding icon Leo Baker in the lead up to the 2020 Olympics. The film premiered at the Outfest LA Film Festival last month and played at the New York Asian Film Festival, and is dropping on Netflix in a few weeks this August. The film follows celebrated competitive skating icon Leo Baker as they try to make space for themselves in the gendered world of pro sports and build a more inclusive skate culture, which leads him to doing the punkest thing imaginable. It won the Audience Award at Outfest and is described as a "must see trans skateboarding doc." This obviously looks like much more than just a story about skating, it's also about "balancing the gendered world of sports, transition, society, and skate culture."
"You only get so many opportunities, and then they're gone." Greenwich Ent. has revealed an official trailer for a documentary film titled Hockeyland, which first premiered at the DOC NYC Film Festival last year. The film opens in theaters this September and it's worth a look. The fest's intro explains: "In Minnesota's unforgiving North Country, hockey is life. Over the course of a season, two rival high school programs—one an emergent dynasty, the other steeped in a proud legacy—strive for a coveted state championship. With the hopes of their towns behind them, boys on both sides cope with the pressures of adolescence along with the added burden of bringing glory to one of the country’s most hockey-crazed communities." Hockeyland is trying to be like Hoop Dreams or Friday Night Lights, but about hockey up in Minnesota. It may not be the most popular sport in America, but it is still important. Keep an eye out for this doc coming your way soon.
"Over here… you take off your pads, you have a cigarette and a beer." Gravitas Ventures has revealed an official trailer for a documentary film titled Unicorn Town, landing in theaters in late August if anyone is curious to learn about this intriguing sports story. With the help of a handful of American recruits from the NFL, an underdog football team in a small German town attempts to keep up in a league that appears to be leaving them behind. The film tells the story of the Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns, a team based in a small town (see Google Maps) in southern Germany, where the passionate players are trying their best to maintain their position in the German Football League (GFL) - an American Football (no, it's not soccer or fußball!) league running in Deutschland. It's yet another underdog sports doc, much like many of the football movies from America, but this one just so happens to be about a team in Germany. And it looks good! Check it out.