Rock and a Hard Place Trailer - Dwayne Johnson

Dwayne Johnson is one of the biggest movie stars in the world right now, and he’s all about using his fame to help other people. One of his new endeavors allowed him to not only help convicts who need a second chance at life, but also make a new film to show people that some prisoners just need a push in the right direction in order to get back on track.

HBO’s new documentary Rock and a Hard Place (which is not only a pun but also a Rolling Stones reference) follows Dwayne Johnson as he assists with the famous Miami-Dade County Corrections & Rehabilitation Boot Camp, which has one of the highest success rates with their graduates. But their second chance at life doesn’t come easy, because it’s as much of a punishment as it is rehabilitation.

Watch the Rock and a Hard Place trailer after the jump. Read More »

Being Batman Documentary

What kind of person decides to put on a superhero suit and patrol the streets of their hometown? You would think that it’s only in comic books and movies that these kind of people exists, but there are real people out there who take it upon themselves to suit up like superheroes and fight crime. It seems easy to brush them off as being off their rocker, but a new documentary short just might have you sympathizing with one of these heroes that would might otherwise disregard as crazy.

Being Batman is a documentary short that profiles a man named Stephen Lawrence, who dresses up like Batman, drives around a suburb called Brampton in Toronto, Canada, and walks the streets looking to apprehend criminals. And this isn’t just some scrawny kid being some kind of aggressive hall monitor. This is a buff, athletic man with martial arts skills and ninja weapons. That might sound ridiculous, but this short doc shows he’s the real deal. Read More »

Nightmares in the Makeup Chair

One of the things I’ve always loved about Robert Englund is that he seems to genuinely love being Freddy Krueger. Some actors grow jaded when they find themselves associated with a single character and their bitterness radiates in every interview (and sometimes in the performances themselves). But Englund? Englund seems seems happy to be there, happy to endure the prosthetics, and happy to have created a character that has resonated with so many people all over the world.

While Englund will most likely never headline a Nightmare on Elm Street movie ever again (and the remake may have killed the series forever), he’s becoming the iconic horror movie killer at least one more time for the new documentary Nightmares in the Makeup Chair, which will pay tribute to the practical effects artists who have brought the character to life over the years.

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making a murderer season 2

Netflix’s true crime documentary series Making a Murderer was infuriating throughout its ten-episode first season, but it was especially infuriating when its finale offered no sense of closure whatsoever. The credits rolled with justice dodged on every conceivable front because that’s the thing about reality: it doesn’t always want to conform to a satisfying narrative.

However, the popularity of the series led to millions of new eyes turning toward the case of Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey, which meant a lot has happened since the series arrived in late 2015. In other words, the mere existence of Making a Murderer created enough new material for a second season of the show, which may arrive as soon as this year.

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Trumped Trailer

While some would prefer that entertainment and politics stay separated, we live in a world where they frequently intersect. This is even more true when it comes to looking at the genre of documentary films, and a new one that just premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival this past week is certainly going to stir up some heated discussions.

Trumped: Inside the Greatest Political Upset of All Time hails from directors Ted Bourne, Mary Robertson and Banks Tarver, who assembled footage that was originally shot for the Showtime docu-series The Circus, but ended up being used for a feature length documentary film about the 2016 election. Specifically, this documentary focuses on how Donald Trump won by way of a chronicle of his campaign, from the primaries through the debates up until he was elected as the 45th President of the United States of America.

Watched the Trumped trailer after the jump. Read More »

sundance 2017

The /Film team of Angie Han, Ethan Anderton, and myself have returned from the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. Over the six days we were in Park City, we screened over 36 movies (with only one movie having been watched by all three of us). Here are 15-second capsule reviews of all the movies we saw at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.

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Nobody Speak Hulk Hogan, Gawker and the Trials of a Free Press

Nobody Speak: Hulk Hogan, Gawker and Trials of a Free Press premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival on Tuesday afternoon. From Brian Knappenberger comes a documentary about how the Gawker lawsuit might lead to the loss of free press in the United States. It’s an informative, fascinating, and terrifying look at how people with big pockets and large power can silence media.

Read my Nobody Speaks review after the jump.
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Tokyo Idols

Tokyo Idols is a fascinating must-see documentary which explores the disturbing world of super fandom in the Japanese Idol scene. The mainstream cultural phenomenon has overtaken Japan and is supposedly a one-billion-dollar industry. Imagine spunky, cheery Japanese school girls dressed in anime outfits singing and dancing to clubs filled with middle-aged men. The Idol superfans, usually aged 35 to 50, follow the young teenage female singers and girl bands, some even spending most of their earnings and quitting their jobs to devote their lives to the fandom.

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becoming warren buffett trailer

If you need a change of pace from the news headlines of late and want to take a look at an American billionaire who doesn’t inspire dread and panic in much of the world’s population, HBO’s new documentary Becoming Warren Buffett may be for you. Boasting “unprecedented access to Warren Buffett’s day-to-day personal life,” the documentary looks like a pleasant look at one of the most respected rich guys in the United States.

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An Inconvenient Sequel Clip

One of the films that kicked off the first night of the 2017 Sundance Film Festival was An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, a follow-up to former vice president Al Gore‘s 2006 documentary An Inconvenient Truth. The film is another wake up call for climate change deniers who keep hitting the snooze button while the evidence of global warming is all around them.

The first clip from An Inconvenient Sequel has been released (to go hand-in-hand with all the positive buzz), and it references one of the highly criticized parts from the original film. One prediction from An Inconvenient Truth dealt with flooding in downtown New York City, right into the 9/11 memorial, and many thought that sounded ridiculous. But it wasn’t.

Watch An Inconvenient Sequel clip after the jump. Read More »