Two years ago, Julia Marchese had an idea and a job at a movie theater. Today, she’s got a movie. Out of Print, a film about the preservation of 35mm at the New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles, CA is about to hit the festival circuit and now has an official trailer and poster.
With the help of a Kickstarter campaign, Marchese was able to score interviews with the likes of Patton Oswalt, Edgar Wright, Rian Johnson, Joe Carnahan, Kevin Smith, Seth Green, Joe Dante, Mark Romanek, John Landis, Lloyd Kaufman, Fred Dekker, Richard Kelly and more. They all talk about memories made at the New Beverly as well as the important of 35mm film. Plus, for when it finally starts screening, Marchese actually had a 35mm print of the film made. How cool is that?
Check out the Out of Print trailer and poster below. Read More »
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Like most of America at the time, director Ron Howard was first exposed to The Beatles when he saw them on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964. After seeing that appearance, he told his parents he wanted a Beatles wig. Fast-forward a few decades, and Howard is relaying that story to a producer on the set of Rush. Turns out the producer knew about a Beatles documentary in development and Howard immediately became interested in working on it. Now, Howard is set to direct an official documentary on the Beatles.
The film is being made with the full support and cooperation of Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono Lennon and Olivia Harrison. It will explore the Beatles’ rise to fame, and what that meant for the culture. The film will feature between 12 and 20 songs, live performance footage sent in from fans, original recordings and more. While still untitled, the hope is to have it completed and in theaters sometime in 2015. Read More »
More Than A Game is a 2011 documentary by Thomas Hewett and Jack Abbot following competitive Street Fighter video gamers who are training and traveling to Las Vegas to compete in the United States Championships.
Every year, thousands of players from all over the world will descend upon Las Vegas to find out who is the globes greatest competitor in Street Fighter, Marvel Vs Capcom, Tekken and other fighting games.The documentary covers more than the events of the EVO tournament, discovering the lifestyles of pro-gamers, their aspirations and accomplishments and their love of their past-time turned profession. Following the progress of US Street Fighter champion Justin Wong and UK champion Ryan Hart as they spend their final month of preperation for the games, traveling to and participating in the tournament. We have unique access to the lifestyle of the pro-gamer, along with a glimpse at a growing cultural phenomenon that has grown almost ten-fold year on year.
I’ve always been interested in documentaries about competitive geeks in a niche world — King of Kong is one of my favorites. More Than A Game seems to take the world and gamers a bit more seriously. The whole movie is available online for free on Vimeo for a limited time only, so if it sounds interesting check it out while you have a chance.
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If you’re like me, you’ve had the DVD for Paul Thomas Anderson‘s Magnolia for over a decade. The film was released 1999 and the DVD arrived a year later. And while it was kind of bare bones in terms of extras, one extra was simply stunning. It’s called That Moment, and is a 72 minute diary/documentary by Mark Rance about the making of the film.
On its own, that’s not really a huge deal. Making of documentaries on DVDs are a dime a dozen. But for a filmmaker like Paul Thomas Anderson, it’s a massive deal. This, and the director commentaries on the Boogie Nights DVD, are a film fan’s best resource into the brain of the shy filmmaker.
So why are we talking about this in 2014? While That Moment has obviously been available for almost 15 years on DVD, it wasn’t readily available online. That’s now changed. Below, watch the entire Magnolia documentary That Moment. Read More »
NOTE: Life Itself is now in theaters and on demand. To mark the occasion, we’re republishing our interview with director Steve James that took place following the film’s premiere at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.
Steve James credits Roger Ebert with launching his career. It was Ebert’s championing of James’ first film Hoop Dreams, at the 1994 Sundance Film Festival, which put that film on people’s radars. James scored an Oscar nomination and the film enjoyed a successful box office run. Afterwards, the two remained friends and James was eventually tasked with directing Life Itself, a documentary based on Ebert’s memoir.
Soon after filming began, Ebert tragically passed away. James endured and finished the film in time for the 20th anniversary of the beginning of his relationship with Ebert, the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. It’s a gorgeous, heartbreaking look at the career of the man many consider to be the most influential film critic in history.
During Sundance I was lucky enough to talk to James about the film. We discussed his approach to the story, balancing the tragedy with humor, the relationship between critic and filmmaker, and the choice to include Gene Siskel’s story. Check it out below. Read More »
Editor’s Note: The following review was originally published on January 20th 2014 after a screening at the Sundance Film Festival. The review is being republished as the movie is hitting theaters.
A movie about the life of a film critic might sound a tad indulgent, but there’s never been another film critic with the influence and character of Roger Ebert. Almost anyone who’s ever seen a movie in the US (and many other countries) has heard his name or taken one of he and partner Gene Siskel’s patented “Two Thumbs Up” recommendations to the box office. As a young film fan, I remember scouring the TV Guide searching for the Sunday morning broadcasts of Siskel & Ebert, and devouring every episode. In particular, I’ll never forget an episode where Ebert dissected Quentin Tarantino’s camerawork in Pulp Fiction. It opened my eyes to a whole new world of film language. Ebert had that effect on a lot of people.
If Ebert opened up that world to people then Steve James‘ latest documentary Life Itself opens Ebert to the world. Based on Ebert’s autobiography of the same name, the film tells Ebert’s life story, yes, but it does so via the framework of our own love of the movies. Great care is taken to specifically illustrate not only how Ebert changed the face of film criticism, but how he helped us all discover our own passion for the movies.
Make no mistake though, this isn’t some simple love letter. Life Itself is a warts and all dissection as well as a beautiful tribute. Issues such as alcoholism, struggles with weight, ego and sex are all part of his story. This is a vast, entertaining and thought-provoking look at Ebert the man and Ebert the icon.
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Thursday night in Hollywood, Magnolia Pictures hosted the premiere of the incredible documentary Life Itself. Directed by Steve James, the film tells the story of legendary film critic Roger Ebert. Along the way, it helps us think about not only Ebert’s legacy, but our own love of movies and ultimately our own lives. It’s a beautiful film that opens in theaters and on demand July 4.
Scrolling through Twitter, I noticed something at the Life Itself premiere that touched my heart. Someone at the premiere had left a seat open for Ebert, who passed away in April of 2013, just four months after James started filming. The simple gesture brought a tear to my eye because of just how much Ebert meant to myself and fellow film critics, fans and audiences all over the world. If it had that effect on me, we thought it might have a similar effect on you. Read More »
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The story of the Portland Mavericks, an independent minor-league baseball team that ruled the Pacific Northwest in the ’70s, is almost too good to be true. Founded by actor Bing Russell, the team counted his son, Kurt Russell, as a member, and brought together a bunch of hopeful oddballs from all over the country. The Battered Bastards of Baseball tells the story of the Mavericks, and it is a nearly unbelievable tale of success and scrappy play. This is a very funny, entertaining film, and one that has more love of the game of baseball than anything else I’ve seen this year.
Watch the Battered Bastards of Baseball trailer below. Read More »