Friday, February 11, 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

Justin Bieber: Never Say Never- (rating - 65%) - Justin Bieber: Never Say Never is the inspiring true story and rare inside look at the rise of Justin from street performer in the small town of Stratford, Ontario to internet phenomenon to global super star culminating with a dream sold out show at the famed Madison Square Garden in 3-D. (Rottentomatoes)

Carbon Nation - (rating - 63%) - Carbon Nation is a feature length documentary about climate change SOLUTIONS. Even if you doubt the severity of the impact of climate change or just don't buy it at all, this is a compelling and relevant film that illustrates how SOLUTIONS to climate change also address other social, economic and national security issues. (Rottentomatoes)

Vidal Sassoon: The Movie - (no rating provided) - This first-time, deeply intimate look into the life of Vidal Sassoon, from his early days in an orphanage, to his time as a soldier, his beginnings on Bond Street, and ultimately, the revolution he caused, which continues to this day. Vidal Sassoon The Movie features unprecedented access to Vidal, candid interviews with former staff, family members, reporters and historians. Together they explore the life and legacy of the most influential hairdresser in the world, whose influence far outreaches the industry he changed forever. (Rottentomatoes)

Orgasm, Inc. - (rating - 89%) - Liz Canner's shocking yet entertaining documentary Orgasm, Inc. explores the strange science of female pleasure, and in the process reveals the often warped mentality of our pharmaceutical and medical industries. Upbeat, engaging, enlightening, and provocative, Orgasm, Inc. will change the way you think about sex. (Rottentomatoes)

Certifiably Jonathan - (rating - 17%) - Jonathan Winters, 85-year-old comic genius, is a gifted painter. A famous critic believes Jonathan is "the missing link between Miro and Dali" and convinces the Museum of Modern Art to give Jonathan a show-but only if he paints three new paintings. Jonathan launches into a painting frenzy but disaster strikes when his favorite painting is stolen, causing him to lose his sense of humor (He claims that a witch doctor trapped him in a bathroom and sucked the humor from his body.) Without his sense of humor Jonathan cannot paint. About to lose his big show, Jonathan tries everything to get back his humor. With the help of a shrink, a new age healer, a séance with the Arquettes, Robin Williams, Sarah Silverman, Howie Mandel, Nora Dunn, Ryan Stiles, Gary Owens and others, Jonathan sets out on a quest to get his mojo back. (Rottentomatoes)

The Sky Turns - (rating - 100%) - Mercedes Alvarez was three years old when, in the late 1960s, her parents left La Aldea, a village in the barren Northern Spanish Soria region. She was the last child born in La Aldea. Now, only fourteen people live there, a last dying generation. Soon this village, like so many other rural communities all over the world, will be deserted and will probably disappear from the map. Alvarez returns for the first time to her ancestral home and makes a stunning film about memory and the terrifying passing of time. (Rottentomatoes)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Acadamy Awards to Banksy: No Shenanigans

Since when did the Academy Awards fall under the jurisdiction of uptight puritans?

It seems Academy president Tom Sherak and executive director Bruce Davis are so worried about any potential Banksy stunt or disguise that they've asked only producer Jamie D'Cruz to appear on stage- don't worry, Banksy still gets his statue.

Frankly, I can understand a show producers fear of suddenly having mass confusion over some clever artistic appearance. But here's two reasons why it's a bad decision: 1) if Banksy's Exit Through the Gift Shop wins best documentary, it means people are fond of his shenanigans, so why not include them in the presentation? 2) Our best moments of the Academy Awards are of people doing things against the Oscars' rigid system (Adrien Brody, Roberto Benigni), so why prevent that? It's a rating boon during a stretch of the award show most people ignore (sorry fellow doc fans, it's true).

But there, I've spoken my peace. What do you think? Post your thoughts below!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A documentary about super computers during World War 2?

Seriously, this isn't some sort of weird science fiction story. Before there were hi tech computers calculating our every needs (ok, in my case whims), people had to solve elaborate equations themselves. Back during World War 2, that meant using insane math skills to develop ballistics tables for weapons. And while the men may have fired the weapons, women stepped in to fill the crucial mathematician roles needed to design the tables. But these brainiac women didn't stop there, they put their mathematical knowledge to good use, helping design the first electric computer!

Shocked that you are just discovering this information out now? I know I am. So head on over to to learn more about this recently finished film that will shed light on this part of American history. Or just go to Netflix and watch it instantly now!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Michael Moore Sues Weinsteins

That's right. Michael Moore is suing the dude's that brought you the Matrix and and a whole slew of other less impressive films.

The Hollywood Reporter broke the story of Moore's lawsuit which claims Harvey and Bob Weinstein (along with their Fellowship Adventure Group) cheated him out of at least $2.7 million dollars. According to the suit, the two sides agreed to split the profits of Moore's 2004 Fahrenheit 9/11 50-50.

This is quite a story considering the Weinsteins have been behind most of his major theatrical films.

The whole story in all its complexity is over at The Hollywood Reporter, but my question is, will Moore make a film about this? Come on, you know you'd be curious to get a first person perspective of how lawsuits play out.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Home documentary rivals beauty of Planet Earth series

I love, absolutely love, the Planet Earth series. So when I say Yann Arthus-Bertrand's aerial perspective of our planet is as breathtaking as the BBC/Discovery Channel series, I hope you take me seriously.

Don't take my word for it though, head on over to the official website, where you can catch a trailer, buy an accompanying book, see what theaters it's playing at (lucky New York) or even watch the entire film for free (how awesome is that!).

With a more activist minded approach, Home weaves together gorgeous visuals of nature and industry to remind audiences of the changes society needs to make. This is Arthus-Bertrand's second climate change film, but this one has the support of Luc Besson (of Leon and Le Femme Nikita fame) and Glenn Close- two more reasons to see this visually stunning film.