WE ♥ DOCS
"George wanted a bunch of guys who didn't know what was impossible." Disney has revealed a trailer for Light & Magic, a documentary series about the magic of movies, taking us into the world of VFX studio Industrial Light & Magic – known as just ILM. Showcasing the people of Industrial Light and Magic, the special effects division of Lucasfilm, this series takes us back in time as they create the effects for some of the biggest and most successful films of the last 45 years. Everyone who has ever made a movie knows about ILM, they're the iconic studio that first launched back during the Star Wars days when George Lucas needed a big crew to help create the effects for the original trilogy. They have gone on to still lead the way as the best VFX house in Hollywood history, only rivaled by Weta. This series will feature six episodes, with music by James Newton Howard, arriving on Disney+ for streaming at the end of July. I have been a fan of ILM for as long as I can remember - they're the best of the best. Very excited to watch this for an inside look.
"There's objects in the skies that we don't know what they are." They exist! The truth IS out there! Believe! Tubi has revealed a fun trailer for a documentary titled Aliens, Abductions & UFOs: Roswell at 75, a two-hour long doc special. This is available to watch for free to Tubi starting today, if you want to find out all the secret details and revelations in here. Explore why Americans became obsessed with proving alien existence through eyewitness interviews, abductees, and scientific experts – all to make you believe: we are not alone. On the 75th anniversary of the alleged UFO crash outside of Roswell, New Mexico, comes this fascinating doc special about why Americans first became obsessed with little green men, the truth behind the notoriously secret Area 51, and proof of alien existence. It looks totally ridiculous but also entertaining, at least to hear what people think now that the government has been releasing their own UFO videos. Do you still believe in aliens? Will they ever visit and stop hiding in the shadows? Who knows! Maybe one day…
"Dogs do speak, but only to those who know how to listen." Another film about the amazing street dogs of Turkey!! Filmmaker Elizabeth Lo has released another short doc film titled Stray in Kars, a follow-up to her remarkable feature doc Stray from a few years ago. I am a huge fan of Stray - I raved about it and tried to get everyone to watch (here's the trailer). "Shot in coordination with Stray, this short doc takes viewers to the other side of the country, where strays in the ancient city of Kars roam, fight and and are occasionally interrupted by their human neighbours." Stray was shot in Istanbul, this one in a town called Kars (see Google Maps) on the east side of the country. For those concerned, street dogs (and cats) in Turkey are very well taken care of - they're fed, tagged, looked after, with strict protections against harm. Dogs are the best.
"She was easy to love, let's put it that way." Zeitgeist Films & Kino Lorber in NYC have revealed an official US trailer for an indie documentary biopic titled Loving Highsmith, made by the Swiss filmmaker Eva Vitija. This will be showing in US art house cinemas starting in early September later this summer. Based on celebrated American author Patricia Highsmith's personal writings & accounts of her family and lovers, the film casts new light on the famous thriller writer's life and oeuvre, permeated by themes of love and its defining influence on identity. Highsmith herself was forced to lead a double life and had to hide her vibrant love affairs from her family and the public, only discussing any details in private correspondences. Excerpts from these notes voiced by Gwendoline Christie in the film, beautifully interwoven with archive material of her and her most famous novel adaptions, create a vivid, touching portrait of one of the most fascinating female writers. This looks lovely, indeed a captivating profile of an enigmatic and superbly talented writer.
"Would you advise a couple to try swinging?" Kino Lorber has revealed an official trailer for a compelling documentary film titled Bloom Up, in full it's Bloom Up: A Swing Couple Story. Yes, indeed, it's an inside look at the lives of swingers. This premiered at the 2021 Hot Docs Film Festival in Canada last year, arriving in very limited US theaters this summer. Hermes and Betta are a middle-aged Italian couple who run the neighborhood pet store by day and organize extravagant sexual encounters with multiple partners by night. "With this candid, vulnerable, and tender portrait of a relationship, Mauro has captured how there is so much more to the swinger lifestyle than just sex. Though he shows us many intimate moments between his subjects, it’s the emotional nakedness on display that stays with the viewer." The film is directed and shot by Mauro Russo Rouge, who spent a year immersed in the swinger lifestyle of his subjects. Ooh la la… I can certainly appreciate the honesty and openness of this, very curious to see how far it goes with these two.
"Hiding in plain sight…" An official trailer has arrived for an intriguing documentary film titled My Old School, recalling a stranger-than-fiction story about a guy who pretend to be a school student in the 1990s in Scotland. This first premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, and will be playing in select theaters this July. Alan Cumming stars in this since the actual guy who the story is about, the "real" Brandon Lee (not related to the actor), didn't want to be shown. He's interviewed and his voice is in this, but Cumming "plays" him even though it's a doc with him retelling his story of what happened. Cumming is involved because back in the 90s he tried to make an indie film about this, but it fell apart. Now years later they've made this doc and it's utterly fascinating. In 1993, a "16-year-old" kid named Brandon Lee enrolled at Bearsden Academy, a secondary school in a well-to-do suburb of Glasgow, Scotland. What followed over the next two years became the stuff of legend. You have to hear all the stories, and make up your own mind.
"I believe the Amazon is the heart, not just of Brazil, but the whole world." National Geographic Films has revealed an official trailer for The Territory, an incredible documentary film about an Indigenous tribe in Brazil fighting to defend their territory from invading "farmers" from the cities. This premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, and it's one of the best from the fest - it's a phenomenal film. When a network of Brazilian farmers seizes a protected area of the Amazon rainforest, a young Indigenous leader and his mentor must fight back in defense of the land and an uncontacted group living deep within the forest. The film follows the Uru-Eu-Wau-Wau people, with some footage shot by the tribe members and their own videographer (which is awesome btw!!). The film opens in August in theaters in the US, complete with a a multiyear impact campaign will launch in support of Indigenous land defenders across the Amazon. It won tons of awards at festivals so far, and is produced by filmmaker Darren Aronofsky. I wrote in my review: "Powerful filmmaking combined with a powerful must-tell story makes for an unforgettable film."
"It's the content of what will become the industry of motion pictures: stories and sex." Madman Films in Australia has unveiled an official trailer for a documentary film titled Exposing Muybridge, which tells the story of trailblazing 19th-century photographer Eadweard Muybridge, who changed the world with his camera. This premiered at DOC NYC last year and is still touring festivals this summer, including at the Sheffield Doc Fest most recently. Muybridge set the course for the development of cinema when he became the first photographer to capture something moving faster than the human eye can see--Leland Stanford's galloping horses. Artful, resilient, selfish, naive, eccentric, deceitful--Muybridge is a complicated, imperfect man and his story drips with ambition and success, loss and betrayal, near death experiences and even some murder (what?!). More than a century after his death, Muybridge's photographs have never ceased to seduce cutting-edge artists, scientists, innovators, and general viewers alike. This looks crazy fascinating! Let's go.
"You have discovered that the veil that separates your ordered life from disarray is wafer thin." Mubi has revealed another official trailer for the fascinating music performance documentary This Much I Know To Be True, the follow-up from filmmaker Andrew Dominik and their doc One More Time with Feeling from 2016. Similar in concept, but different - this one is shot in color. This new music film explores the creative relationship and songs from Nick Cave and Warren Ellis' latest two studio albums, "Ghosteen" and "Carnage". It premiered at the 2022 Berlin Film Festival earlier this year, and already opened first in theaters back in May. The doc will be streaming on Mubi's platform this summer. In this document of their first ever performances of these albums, filmed in spring 2021 ahead of the UK tour, we observe the two, accompanied by singers and string quartet, as they nurture each song into existence. The film features a special appearance by close friend and long-term collaborator, Marianne Faithfull. It looks quite profound and visually stunning, might be worth turning up the volume and enjoying it one evening with your friends.
"It wasn't showtime, it was greatness." Hulu has revealed an official trailer for a sports documentary mini-series titled Legacy: The True Story of the LA Lakers, all about the iconic basketball team from Los Angeles. This seems like a nice follow-up to the fictionalized comedy version of the Lakers story Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty (on HBO also this year). 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’ve 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 is just a first teaser as the series doesn't have a debut date yet - check it out below.
"Feels like the world hates me." "This has to be life-changing." Hulu has revealed the first official trailer for another new music biopic documentary titled Machine Gun Kelly's Life In Pink, profiling the rock star and his rise to fame and current struggles with criticism. "Pain, passion, and love, get a look into the mind of Machine Gun Kelly" - also known as Colson Baker. The film is "an all-access pass, that goes beyond the headlines, into the chaotic world of Machine Gun Kelly." From this full-length trailer, it hints that the doc will cover his origins as a local band and being raised by divorced parents, as well as his current fame and success, including all the dislike and negative attention that comes with it. I always appreciate when they're honest about the "love him, hate him" side of things - not everyone is a fan of MGK, but that doesn't mean he doesn't have a story to tell. But this still looks like an average music biopic doc hitting all the usual beats.
"We don't know who he is or was, where he came from, or where he went." Focus on the facts, people, don't get caught up in conspiracy! Netflix has revealed a trailer for another true crime doc mini-series streaming this July titled D.B. Cooper: Where Are You?!. In 1971, a skyjacker parachutes off a plane with a bag of stolen cash — and gets away with it. Decades later, his identity remains a compelling mystery, turning him into some kind of folk hero. The series looks into the years of investigations, and specifically the "citizen sleuths" who have been trying to solve it on their own despite the FBI unable to figure it out after decades of work. This isn't even the first doc about him! The Mystery of D.B. Cooper debuted on HBO a few years back. They've even been trying to make a movie about him for years called Skyjack. Then along came the "Loki" series which answered all the questions by revealing that it was Loki all along. Of course it was…! I honestly believe we will never know the truth and he will never be revealed, remaining an unsolved mystery forever.