Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Chris Rock's Hair Gets a Theatrical Run

The Sundance Film Festival documentaries are finally (emphasis on finally) lining up theatrical runs and the latest one happens to star comedian Chris Rock.  His film, titled Good Hair, is directed by Jeff Stilson and examines hair culture in the black community.

You might think this documentary is a frivolous waste of an audience's time, but investigate Chris Rock's reasons for making this film and you'll see why this could be one of those great documentaries that makes you laugh and think at the same time.  It also helps that it happened to win Special Jury prize in the U.S. documentary category at Sundance.

Good Hair hits a limited amount of theaters in early October.  In the meantime, head over to Punchline Magazine to see a trailer.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

18 “documentaries” That Blur the Line

Yesterday, a group of writers from the AV Club wrote an interesting little article on the faux-documentary genre that gets little mention in the public reviews limelight.  Faux-documentaries are those films that either pretend to be real, or use staged events to recreate an event or illicit a response from real people.  Confused? Well you should be, these films travel across so many gray areas it's hard to pin point which are which.

But don't concern yourself with such details, instead focus on this quite interesting list the AV Club has posted.  Though it's not exactly clear if these are the best in the genre, or if there is any ranking order at all, the discussion their article presents is well worth the read.

Head on over the AV Club's website to check out the list and detailed summary.  Feel free to come back here and post your personal favorites list too... who knows, we might be coming up with our own as we speak.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Ken Burns, Ranger Johnson and Woodland Love

Whether it's the history of the Civil War, the biography of a once forgotten boxing legend or a discussion of baseball, one thing is for sure, Ken Burns proves his love for the material by in the length of screen time he gives it. Though his PBS documentaries tend to be a little dry he still manages to remind people that even an 8-hour run time can be surprisingly engaging.

It's no surprise then that Burns' newest series National Parks will undoubtedly shift the nation's focus back to those rural treasures that are all but forgotten in this digital age. The legendary filmmaker began his publicity tour this past weekend and already seems well aware of the effects his documentary may have on the population. Though, in the midst of all the discussion of his personal stories and the lack of funding national parks receive is an interesting look at the popularity of Burns' filmed subjects.

The USA Today recently highlighted the phenomena of documentary filmmakers turning ordinary citizens into national demi-celebrities. In the article, Burns admits that his series (though focusing on the parks, not the people) already has a soon-to-be famous figure in Ranger Shelton Johnson. He claims that Johnson has a boisterous personality that makes 'park talk' engaging. Will it be enough to hold your attention during the entire six part series? Watch the premiere of National Parks on PBS September 27 to find out.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

David Lynch Meets Regular People

David Lynch is the director of such absurd/confusing/masterful films as Mulholland Drive, Lost Highway and Blue Velvet. In many's eyes, he is Hollywood's version of T.S. Eliot. But the man known more for confounding audiences now suddenly finds himself producing a project that is as simple and straightforward as interviewing an ordinary citizen.

Well, actually, that is exactly what Interview Project is about, as Lynch sent a small team of filmmakers on the road to interview anyone they come across during their road trip across America. There is no topic, just brief snapshots of individuals. The series is already 21 episodes in and provides audiences with an honest reminder that everyone has a story to tell.

Interview Project is updated regularly with a new interview that lasts less than 5 minutes, but be careful, once you watch one, you'll want to watch them all.