Friday, January 28, 2011

Theatrical Releases

Every Friday we update you all with the week's theatrical documentary releases. Now, this is not a perfect process as our beloved genre prefers the rolling/limited release schedule instead of a big nationwide or international-wide release. So apologies if a film isn't out in your area or if you are a filmmaker and we missed the boat on announcing your documentary's big day (if that is the case, please let us know and we'll correct the mistake).Now, with that introduction out of the way, here's this weekend's releases with their current rating on the amazing website

Strongman - (rating - 100%) - A man strong enough to bend a penny with just his fingers, Stanless Steel reaches middle age, career disappointments and difficult personal relationships that begin to test his strengths and force him to struggle with the weaknesses around him.(Rottentomatoes)

Lemmy - (rating - 82%) - Over four decades, Motorhead frontman Lemmy Kilmister has registered an immeasurable impact on music history. Nearly 65, he remains the living embodiment of the rock and roll lifestyle, and this feature-length documentary tells his story, one of a hard-living rock icon who continues to enjoy the life of a man half his age. Shot on a combination of High Definition and Super 16mm film, "Lemmy" includes interviews with friends, family, bandmates past and present and such admirers/peers as Metallica, Slash, Dave Grohl (Nirvana/Foo Fighters), Ozzy Osbourne, Peter Hook (Joy Division/New Order), actor Billy Bob Thornton, wrestling superstar Triple H, Alice Cooper, Mick Jones of The Clash, and many more. (Rottentomatoes)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Get your hair done right in this new trailer

Did you know Vidal Sassoon was an actual person? I honestly didn't. I thought it was just a clever/sophisticated brand name, but I'm also fashion illiterate.

But I digress. For those who know (or don't know) the hair man to revolutionize hair, there's a documentary out highlighting this quirky individual. Appropriately titled Vidal Sassoon The Movie, it is set for release in mid February (currently: Chicago, LA and New York only).

It looks to be highly entertaining... if not a little over the top in its praise. So head on over to the film's website to check out the trailer and learn more about the man who brought style back to hair.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

From Ace Ventura to The Nutty Professor to... a documentary?

You might not consider Tom Shadyac to be an intellectual filmmaker. The director has found fame making films like Bruce/Evan Almighty, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Patch Adams, the Nutty Professor and other similarly humorous but otherwise intellectually void movies.

So it comes as a bit of a shock that Shadyac is jumping into the documentary world with a subject that seems completely out of his realm. His film, I Am, follows the director as he "speaks with intellectual and spiritual leaders about what's wrong with our world and how we can improve both it and the way we live in it."

Sounds a bit generic and cheesy, but I must say the trailer looks pretty good and boasts a strong cast of interviews. I Am does not have an official website, but you can head on over to to learn more about the film and watch it's trailer. Shadyac plans on releasing his documentary in February (I assume it will be of the limited variety).

Oscar Nominees Announced!

Ok, so unless you have been living under a rock the past 24 hours, you are well aware that the Academy Awards announced their entire list of nominees for their February 27th award show. But while everyone else is focusing on the fictional films, we care more about the little guys, the documentaries. So without any more babble:

Documentary (Feature)
· “Exit through the Gift Shop” Banksy and Jaimie D'Cruz
· “Gasland” Josh Fox and Trish Adlesic
· “Inside Job” Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs
· “Restrepo” Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger
· “Waste Land” Lucy Walker and Angus Aynsley

Documentary (Short Subject)
· “Killing in the Name” Nominees to be determined
· “Poster Girl” Nominees to be determined
· “Strangers No More” Karen Goodman and Kirk Simon
· “Sun Come Up” Jennifer Redfearn and Tim Metzger
· “The Warriors of Qiugang” Ruby Yang and Thomas Lennon

Frankly, I'm not surprised by the feature film selections. 'Restrepo' and 'Waste Land' are legitimately excellent films and Charles Ferguson has already proven he can make wonderfully informative documentaries. 'Gasland', though not a major player in most film festivals, won a Special Jury Prize at Sundance last year so it was clearly in the Academy's mind. And 'Exit Through the Gift Shop', for all it's early issues of audiences doubting it's legitimacy, has remained a crowd pleaser and with the out cry caused by ignoring fan favorites in recent years, it's clear the Academy is trying to play into public opinion (which I'm fine with- better to be in tune then disconnected).

The only mild surprise is the exclusion of Davis Guggenheim's 'Waiting For Superman', which seemed built for the Academy Awards (politically and socially relevant, respected director with moderate public celebrity). Then again, after a year of amazing documentaries this was bound to happen.

So what are your thoughts? Agree with the nominations? Is there another movie that should have made the cut instead? Post below!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Oprah eyes documentaries

With all the news coming out of Sundance (distribution deals, James Franco wearing a wig, etc) I wanted to make sure everyone caught what Oprah Winfrey said at her OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) party Saturday night:

“It is my intention to do for documentaries what we have done for books.”

It seems her new network has been acquiring documentaries for a few months now and plans to release these as part of a regular series. Titled, the 'Own Documentary Film Club,' it will be run by none other than Rosie O'Donnell.

While I'm not a hundred percent sure if this is an amazing thing or just the documentary version of the Lifetime Channel, some big names have already signed on to the collaboration, including Forrest Whitaker and Barbara Kopple.

So what do you think? Oprah and documentaries, a match made in heaven for our fair genre? Or will there just be an influx of stories for middle aged women with no benefit to other doc lovers? Post your thoughts below!