Sunday, October 26, 2008

Biggest regret of 2008...

I have several regrets from this year- one being a recent streak of ignoring the news page- but I have to admit that even with two months left in this calendar year, I can already name my biggest regret: surprise, surprise, it's documentary related.

In short, I missed the few day theater stint of the documentary Call+Response. Now, you may think no film is worth a spot on the 'biggest regrets' list- surely I would save those spots for things like 'forgetting my mother's birthday' or some job related screw up. But for me, after seeing the trailer and then browsing their fan website, I have to say, it pained me to learn that Call+Response was no longer in theaters.

It looks flat out amazing and could easily be one of those rare documentaries that breaks out of the normal archetypes to develop a truly unique experience. Of course, it helps that it probably an amazing soundtrack supporting it with bands like Cold Ward Kids, Moby, Matisyahu, Talib Kweli, Nickel Creek and many others.

Since I can't get a review out to you, I have to do the next best thing and pitch the hell out of this. At minimum, director Justin Dillon developed one of the best trailers for a documentary ever and I have all the confidence that the final product will have people talking for weeks. So I'm gonna stop blatherin' so you can head on over to and find out if it's still in theaters in your area, or just listen to the soundtrack and feel cool.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Best Film of 2008

Everyone has those days at work where you just sorta hate every passing minute of existence and on those days you really appreciate something (anything) that is just light hearted and fun. I had one of those days this past weekend and luckily for me I stumbled upon this video titled "where the hell is matt?" Naturally, as a fellow person named "matt" I was curious to see where this video was going and discovered this jolly world traveller who filmed himself dancing in cities all over the world.

This just made my soul smile and when your soul smiles, you have to share that with others. So I officially claim this video for the documentary genre and hope to one day meet this fellow matt and shake his hand for making, quite arguably, the best film of 2008.

Click here and let your soul bound like the legs on this well travelled man.

HBO Brings Summer Entertainment

If you are like me, the summer months translate to 'nothing to watch on tv.' Of course, there's always the ever wonderful USA original programming to keep us entertained (Burn Notice starts this Thursday and you can't help but love Monk), but that only covers so many nights! Thankfully, HBO has heard the collective sighs of boredom and answered the call with a summer long documentary series.

Airing every Monday night from now until the end of August, HBO has put together a pretty impressive list of films. Tonight's documentary is "The Art of Failure". Directed by Jeff Stimmel, it looks at artist Chuck Connelly, who sold more than a million dollars worth of art in the 1980's.

So if you are luckier (or richer) than myself and actually get HBO I highly recommend making the jump to their website and seeing the list for yourself. HBO has always been on the forefront of documentary promotion so let's hope this series is just a taste of more to come.

Monday, June 23, 2008

NBA Draft Taps Into Doc Potential

For those NBA fanatics out there you may be eagerly counting down the minutes to the NBA draft this Thursday. I for one find myself spending hours upon hours looking up the latest details, rumors and scouting reports hoping to suddenly become "all knowing" on all things NBA draft. If you are like me and starting to burn out on all the words and arguments for who should go to which team and why, boy do I have a distraction for you.

Kansas State star and potential number one pick Michael Beasley has allowed a film crew to basically follow him as he makes the rounds leading up to draft day. To me, Beasley is a young Charles Barkley, both in talent and swagger, and he already leads the league in entertaining quotes so this episodic look at the young man is certainly worth your time.

Head on over to ESPN to check it out for yourself, and prepare for the draft...

Soccer and Poverty = Great Mix

I'm a little confused on AOL's "association game" where they compare homeless statistics to soccer... err, I mean... football, but I guess it's worth mentioning that they are pretty much forced to shove a round peg into a square hole with this idea- so my complements for trying. The story they are trying to dissect? The official summary of Kicking It, a documentary by Colin Farrell (aka sexist Irishman alive) about the Homeless World Cup.

Unlike the underground/cult hit Bum Fights series, where homeless people were filmed fighting each other, the Homeless World Cup looks to "give homeless people a chance to change their lives through an international street soccer competition." It actually sounds like a really cool and even though I've never heard of the event, apparently over 500 people from 48 nations ended up competing in the most recent event. So it's clearly a big deal.

As mentioned, Colin Farrell is the face of the film, and while his sweet talkin' Irish voice may be enough to woo most of you to the theaters, I suggest watching the trailer over at to get a full appreciation of the project. Looks to be a surefire hit in my book (but I also love soccer... err.. football... can we go ahead and get an official name for this sport already?!?)

Monday, June 16, 2008

The People Love Mike Tyson

You read me right. Audiences love Mike Tyson... and not just because his name is attached to one of the greatest video games of all time. No, what made the audiences at Cannes stand up and cheer is director James Toback's documentary, Tyson. Mixing archive footage with a serious of revealing interviews with Tyson himself, it is supposed to be a no holds barred look at the once dominate boxer's life (both in and out of the ring).

OK, yes, this is old news seeing as Cannes was WAAAAAAY back in mid-May, but come on: Tyson was applauded. That's like... well... I can't think of a parallel idea here, but I think it's obvious that anyone who stands and applauds a film is either watching Independence Day or a very very good film. So here's to hoping this release doesn't die on the film circuit but hits major theaters soon.

That's right, I stood up and cheered at the end of Independence Day (starring Will Smith) and all you snobby nay sayers can kiss my overly emotional, patriotic butt! Hmph!

I'm a Mess of a Success

If you're like me and people are constantly coming up to you and exclaiming, "you're a mess!" My advice to you is to rebuttal with "... of success!" Seriously, anytime they say it (even if they say it 500 times) just add "of success" immediately afterward and they'll eventually get tired and move on. If, by some odd chance they actually ask you to 'prove your success' use this example: director Josh Freed.

Freed is like every other messy human being in the world, only, he embraces the fact. Actually he seems to relish it. Oh sure, most of us claim we don't care, but some of us wish we could change. Not Freed, whose now made a documentary on his "mess". Titled My Messy Life, the film already aired on CTV and hopefully will be seen on other outlets as well.

Miro Certnetig of the Vancouver Sun probably summarizes the documentary best: "My Messy Life is a bit of a bio film, a sort of one-man catharsis of the trials and tribulations of Homo disordinadus in a world that makes neatness a virtue."

That sounds delightful to me... and my pile of dirty undies.

I Am Trumbo!

Ok, it doesn't ring quite as powerfully as thousands of Roman slaves standing up claiming to be Spartacus in order to save their leader, but having multiple celebrities honor the great Dalton Trumbo does have a touching air of empowerment to it. The soon to be released documentary titled Trumbo, does exactly that, using actors to read the authors letter and quotes while taking the audience on a journey from blacklist to Academy Awards.

In case your not sure who Dalton Trumbo is (and you're too lazy to wikipedia him), he's basically one of the few Hollywood screenwriters who was first accused of being a communist, but chose to continue fighting back to get his ideas into print. He was sent to prison for 11 months for contempt of court and was basically blacklisted from Hollywood film. Of course, any good writer knows that when the chips are down, you gotta pull out your pen and write. And any great writer knows when you write, you write cinematic gold like Roman Holiday or Spartacus or heck anything Trumbo wrote really.

Anyway, I'm gonna stop boasting about Trumbo. Check out the trailer for this upcoming documentary and bask in the greatness that it clearly is honoring.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Oh Religion... You're So Silly!

What happens when you combine the minds of Larry Charles (Director of Borat) and Bill Maher (original political comedian) and then mix the combination together with a little religious satire? No, you don't get the next Pope... or Pope on Ice (though I think I have a good idea going there). Anyway, what you DO get is what could arguably be one of the funniest, and most protested, documentaries of the year: Religulous

That's right folks, Michael Moore step aside, there's a new man America will hate and his name is Bill Maher. Actually, most people have already sorta made up their minds about him already, but I'm sure this will only fuel their respective fires. Personally, I think the guy is a more serious version of Jon Stewert and while I won't say I agree with him on everything, I'm glad he isn't afraid to say what he believes.

Anyway, the trailer for this sure to be outrageous (and outraging) documentary looks inspiring and I'll be shocked if it doesn't live up to the hype.

iDocumentary... Seriously?!?

Ok. I'm a Mac user. I've been one all my life and will most likely remain one until the end of time... heck, I am a huge fan of the commercials even, but I do think Macs get way too much love these days. Seriously, I think there are at least 500 people here in the United States who are just wishing their Mac computers would turn into people so they could have sexual relations with them.

Case in point: Apple is getting the documentary treatment. Thankfully, the film is not called "iDocumentary" or "iFilm" or any number of other cheesy iTitles that may exist. Under the auspicious name of Welcome to Macintosh, The documentary for the rest of us, the film is set to air in front of the crowds of 2008 IngenuityFest: Cleveland and the 4th Globians Documentary Film Festival.

Anyway, this whole story sorta makes me wish I wasn't a Mac user, but oh well. I'm sure the Apple lovers of the world will flock to see this. As soon as a trailer shows up, I'll get y'all connected to it, but in the meantime, here's some more details for you.

Now, if I were to make a documentary for IngenuityFest, I'd focus on this little bugger...

I'm Gonzo for Gonzo Beans!

"One toke? You poor fool! Wait till you see those goddamn bats. "

God Bless Hunter S. Thompson! A man so bizarre you always wanted to meet him, but never befriend him. And finally, after years of denial by Hollywood, there appears to be a film worthy enough to represent the man's life. The upcoming film is, appropriately titled, Gonzo. Oscar-award winning director Alex Gibney develops (what appears to be) a wildly entertaining look into the life of of Thompson himself.

I must say too, if there is one director I want to handle a documentary on Hunter S. Thompson, I'm definitely going to select Gibney. He's got the right style for this type of film and I can't wait to see the final product this July. If the film is anything remotely close to the quality of the trailer, then I'm sold a dozen times over. Check it out for yourself and then prepare yourself by watching Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas over and over and over again.

Seriously... check out the quotes from Fear and Loathing. Just brilliant writing.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

High School Blows!

That's right. High school wasn't all that and a bag of potato chips. If it was, I would have been slightly nurished. But that's ok, because while high school itself was terrible, Hollywood's version of high school was amazing! Think about it: 16 Candles, Saved by the Bell, Better Off Dead, Back to the Future, I mean the list goes on and on and on.

Unfortunately, documentaries never really had an answer for the high school dramas. I mean, Hoop Dreams sorta works, but not really. Not in the same sense that most of us have come to know and love. Maybe that's why few crowds flock to theaters now adays.

hmmm.... We need a Teen movie!!!

Oh thank you award winning director Nanette Burstein for answering the call. That's right. Burstein's film American Teen was a hit at Sundance for playing the exact role previously dominated by late 1980s, early 1990s Hollywood. The Film follows five high school seniors (the jock, the princess, the heart throb, the nerd and the rebel) as they deal with their final years of teenage bliss.

How will it end? You'll have to check out the film yourself July 25th. But if you're still desperate, head on over to the film's website for more info, trailers and video.

Saying no to Coke and Kickin' Ass in the Process

So maybe you're like me and you had to deal with your parents constantly telling you not to "do drugs" or "drink the booze"... but you know what, they just didn't know me. I was an angsty 8 year old going no where fast and i needed an escape! OK!


But enough about my troubled past, let's talk those youngsta's who've taken a completely different approach.

It's called the straight edge movement and its the subject of an hour long documentary titled "Inside Straight Edge" that aired on National Geographic a few weeks back. Now, these kids choose to abstain from alcohol, tobacco products, and drugs and try to resist peer pressure. Now I know what you are thinking. Wow, these kids sound lame. But before you go up to them and start mocking them, be forewarned: there is a more militant, fanatical groups that use their intense focus on wiping out substance abuse as justification for violence.

That's right, kids. Drugs and sex is bad, but its perfectly OK to kick the crap out of anyone you please! Obviously this is a subject that could be exploited either way, so it's good to know that director Shadrack Smith has taken every attempt possible to keep this as neutral as possible.

So if you can sober up and put down your ciggy for a second or two, you might want to check out this documentary.

Monday, June 9, 2008

A Sick and Twisted Documentary...

I want you to think of the most bizarre situation possible. Go ahead. Make it so ridiculous and off the wall that if you told anyone this sorta thing occurred they’d probably scream “Shut, yo mouth!” Got the idea? Ok, good. $10 says I can top it. Try this on for size: a subculture of Israeli-made Nazi fetish porn. Yea. Oh, don't worry, I’m not that sick to actually imagine that on my own, this actually is true!

Still don’t believe me. Would you be shocked if I told you there is already a documentary on the subject that’s making the film festival rounds? Making things even more interesting, the director of the film (titled Stalags) is Ari Libsker, an Israeli filmmaker and grandson of Holocaust survivors. Obviously this documentary is going to hold a lot of complex emotions and mindsets within it, but it looks like Libsker has come up with a fascinating subject to investigate.

Stalags interweaves interviews with fans of the literature (if we want to call it that) and its authors with black and white films and investigations into the links to psychological damages caused by the Nazis on the Jewish community as a whole. I am looking for a trailer or more widespread release date for this documentary, but in the meantime, check out this review in the Washington Square News.

Bigger, Stronger, Faster

You know what the most influential figure in recent sports history is? No, it’s not Mark Cuban (though, he might be a close second). It's steroids. Literally, whether you’re watching horse racing, Barry Bonds or an Olympic track athlete, you’re bound to witness the effects of steroids. Don’t believe me? Check out the trailer for the documentary Bigger, Stronger, Faster. The film features Christopher Bell, a 'roided version of Michael Moore (no really, the guy is jacked, and yet still sounds oddly like Moore), as he investigates the United States use of steroids. Trust me, one look at the trailer and you’ll be hooked like Sylvester Stallone looking for a quick way to get back into Rambo shape.

P.S. In case your curious, steroids CAN be funny…

RFK Must Die!... it's a film, not my personal view

I’m sure many of you know that the fortieth anniversary of Robert Kennedy’s assassination recently passed. I’ll be honest, I don’t know much about the former Senator/presidential candidate (nor did I see the recent star studded Hollywood tribute to him), so I can’t say one way or the other if I would have voted for him several decades back. But, I do know enough about his assassination that it is certainly an interesting topic to investigate and as such, I’m curious to see the recent documentary RFK Must Die.

The documentary apparently contains rare footage while investigating the mystery surrounding his death. In other words, conspiracy theorists will be drooling over this DVD cover. The film is already out on DVD, but if you’d like to be swayed by marketing ploys, the website for the film is actually kinda cool. So head on over to and see for yourself.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Wikipedia Is Truth

It may surprise you, but some people think Wikipedia is not the end-all-be-all of information. In fact, some people think it's actually "bad" for society (bad= anything detrimental to the well being of something or someone, like when I wake up to my cat scratching "redrum" into my bed post). Personally, I think these people are crazy neo-fascists, I mean, so what if my friend got his name into his high school's list of famous graduates by claiming he was a superhero. I mean, who hasn't let the bit of information slip through?

Ok, ok. I'll admit, Wikipedia is flawed, but don't take my word or argument for it, check out a recent discussion of the film over at the Orlando Sentinel. The 48-minute documentary is by Dutch filmmaker IJsbrand van Veelen, so expect a good serious discussion.

p.s. I don't actually think anti-Wikipedia-ites are neo-fascists.... but come on, any argument can be settled with one click of the button! How can you NOT want that resource? For instance, do bears actually eat beats? Not sure? I know one way to quickly find out... (well, two if you can catch the TV show reference)

Iron Maiden Makes You The Filmmaker!

So, the great thing about being a documentary filmmaker is that, in theory, you don't have to do any of the "hard work" and film, all you have to do is edit that crap together and Bam(!) that Oscar is yours. Great's like Steve James and others have already made great use of this notion and now filmmakers Scot McFadyen and Sam Dunn (of Metal: A Headbanger's Journey and soon-to-be-released follow-up Global Metal) are following in their footsteps and using user submitted videos of the band.

Now, if you are a fan (and may God help you if you are), you are unfortunately too late to submit your own fan vids, but that's ok, because you're getting a tour video of your favorite band in the near future. So suck it up and check out more details over at

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Deadliest Catch Begins Again

I'm sure most of you shun from the idea of Reality TV and probably just as many of you shun from TV based on reality (sounds like the same thing, but please, there is a big difference between Big Brother and Dirty Jobs), but I hope you all check out the reality show that begot all other cool reality shows: Deadliest Catch. Seriously, this is a very cool and very interesting look at those crazy Alaskan Crab fishermen who brave stormy seas so the rest of us can eat delicious nautical meals.
Yes, the latest season started in mid-April but it's bound to continue in the wonderful tradition it has developed, and Discovery Channel is known for repeating shows like Mike Tyson repeats criminal offenses. So head on over to their website, or just tune in at 9 PM to enjoy the wonderfulness.

Release Announcements

So in the first week back after our lil hiatus, I felt the need to repay you all with some nice little tips on upcoming releases to check out... scratch that, need to check out. Well, unfortunately, sometimes I fall in love with films that have already been released... but that doesn't mean you shouldn't ignore them! Three excellent films hit theaters around the U.S. (sorry non-Americans we are unfortunately U.S. focused for the time being, I'm not proud of it, it's just how it is) and two films slid into DVD shelves around the globe. So, go! Quickly check them out, before you find yourself missing out on the latest Water-Cooler Gossip.

- Young at Heart
Coldplay, the Clash and Jimi Hendrix will never sound the same once you've heard the Young@Heart chorus, a group of Massachusetts senior citizens who thrill audiences worldwide with their unusual -- and unusually poignant -- covers of rock songs. Stephen Walker's humane and heartwarming documentary, which premiered at Sundance in 2008, follows the elderly ensemble as they prepare their new show (NetFlix).

- Bra Boys
This documentary focuses on the history and struggles of the Bra Boys, a notorious surf gang from the Australian suburb of Maroubra that's earned a reputation for being legendary partiers, rebellious thugs and incredible big-wave surfers. Continually at odds with the authorities, the tattooed and often criticized Bra Boys have had to rely on one another to survive in a society that would just as well see them displaced (NetFlix).

- Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden
In his directorial follow-up to the breakthrough hit Super Size Me, filmmaker Morgan Spurlock gamely tries to one-up the U.S. government by finding Osama Bin Laden. The wry documentarian reportedly shot more than 800 hours of footage while scouring every nook and cranny of Afghanistan and the Middle East in pursuit of the infamous leader. The film had its much-anticipated world premiere at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival (NetFlix).

- Clash Documentary
The Clash Live: Revolution Rock is an electrifying new performance documentary film, compiling an extraordinary range of peak live concert and live studio performances and more from the Clash, the groundbreaking British band that defined and expanded the power of punk rock in the 1970s, 1980s and beyond (PBS).

- War Dance
Set in civil war-ravaged Northern Uganda, this Best Documentary nominee for the 2008 Oscars follows the lives of three youngsters who attend school in a refugee camp and find hope through a rich tradition of song and dance. Coming from a world in which children are abducted from their families and forced to fight in the rebel army, these kids give it their all when they travel to the capital city to take part in the prestigious Kampala Music Festival (NetFlix).

Updated Lists of Favorites

Finally. After pondering long and hard to determine the final selections, we've updated our lists of favorite documentaries to watch. It was tough and we had to do a lot of soul searching ('soul searching' = 'bare knuckle boxing'), but we think the final product is worthy of your time and viewing pleasure. There are 10 personal favorites followed by 8 films we think all film buffs should see and 8 films we believe work as excellent bait to reel in those who see little merit/entertainment in documentary films.

You might be asking, "why 8?" Well, much like the Democratic party's nomination process, films receive "delegate votes" to determine whats worthy to be on our lists. Unfortunately, two of the films that didn't win the top spot (but finished in the respectable top 10 arena) were too upset/stubborn to accept their rank or return their "delegate votes." Thus, we are left with only 8 positions for the time being.

And if you REALLY believed that last reasoning... I got some magic beans to sell you.

Anyway, enjoy the lists, we'll be back to updating the site with news stories starting this week!!!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

New News Page!!!

so for those of you wondering why you get redirected here to catch any news, the reason is that because you all "like the website" or what have you, we've outgrown our ability to keep spreading the news on our previous format. Of course, despite our success, "money" and "technical abilities" still remain limited so we've developed this as an interim method.

Bare with us as we transfer old stories over to this site so you can keep see our archive, but while enjoying this site for news, don't forget the main page because we'll continue to update reviews, etc there.

Anyway, enjoy the new feature, we already are!