Seymour: An Introduction trailer

If you’re tempted to think “oh, whatever, a documentary about an old piano player,” based on the subject of this film, I urge you to watch this trailer for Seymour: An Introduction. I guarantee you’ll see it differently. Ethan Hawke has been part of Richard Linklater’s association with IFC thanks to Boyhood, and now he’s made a really tender doc that IFC will distribute later this year. Seymour follows pianist Seymour Bernstein, who quit a concert career in order to teach. Ethan Hawke profiles Bernstein, following not just his life, but his attitudes about life, performance, and priorities.

Watch the Seymour: An Introduction trailer below. Read More »

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wolfpack clips

We liked the documentary The Wolfpack at Sundance this year — directed by Crystal Moselle, the film focuses on six brothers who spent their lives leaving their Lower East Side apartment only a couple times a year. Inside the flat, they obsessively watched movies, and eventually recreated their favorite films for their own amusement. The film captures some of these recreations on video, and they are startlingly good. That’s part of the reason other people liked the film, too. Magnolia picked it up quickly, and the film won the US Documentary Grand Jury Prize at the fest.

As a thank you for the award, the Angulo brothers created a few new video recreations based on ’90s faves such as The Usual Suspects, El Mariachi, and Clerks. Check out those clips below, along with a poster for the film, with a design influenced by another major ’90s movie. Read More »

Jabba the Hutt puppet

How much do you know about the creation and performance that gave life to one of the nastiest aliens in the Star Wars universe? Dive deep into the guts of slimy intergalactic gangster Jabba the Hutt in a new short documentary from the guy who made some of the most detailed making-of films we’ve ever seen, for movies like Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Jaws. Jamie Benning has put together Slimy Piece of Worm-Ridden Filth: Life Inside Jabba the Hutt, using incredible vintage footage showing the inner workings of the Jabba puppet, and a new interview with puppeteer Toby Philpott.

This doc tells you more than you ever thought you wanted to know about the workings of the giant alien slug Jabba the Hutt puppet, and goes into great detail about the staging of every major scene in Return of the Jedi, and the team of people required to bring the character to life.  Read More »

Malick IMAX documentary

For years — since before the release of The Tree of Life — we’ve heard about Terrence Malick‘s planned documentary film Voyage of Time, to be released in full IMAX format. But most of what we’ve heard about the film is that it is coming eventually, with little in the way of actual specifics. We know Brad Pitt narrates the film, and that it will explore the full span of time, and that’s about it. Now the Malick IMAX documentary Voyage of Time has been formally announced, and in fact there are two official versions, one for IMAX distribution, and one for regular theaters. More details are below.  Read More »

Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead

Many people today don’t realize it, but much of modern comedy was born at the National Lampoon. John Hughes, Al Jean, Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, John Landis, Ivan Reitman and John Belushi are just some of the famous names who got their start through something related to the once-popular humor magazine, created in 1970.

Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon, directed by Douglas Tirola, tells the complete history of this incredible brand. Simultaneously, the film documents much of the humor we love today: Saturday Night Live, The Simpsons, and more. Below, read the rest of our Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead review. Read More »

The Nightmare review

The last thing you probably ever want to see is a literal recreation of your deepest, darkest nightmares. In The Nightmare, director Rodney Ascher (Room 237) has done just that. The film explores the condition commonly referred to as “sleep paralysis.” That’s a condition where someone is in bed, but totally physically immobilized. Some who suffer from the condition – including the eight subjects in this documentary – feel they are visited by something evil during these periods. Ascher lets these subjects tell their stories, then we watch them play out on screen. It’s absolutely horrifying, if not wholly rewarding. Read more of our The Nightmare review below. Read More »

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Racing Extinction review

The Cove director Louie Psihoyos returns to Sundance in 2015 with a new call to action. Racing Extinction is a more wide-ranging documentary than its predecessor, albeit one that is just as sharply produced, and no less stirring. Psihoyos says his intention was to go a lot bigger, and the film follows through by offering a sort of omnibus catalog of several interrelated problems facing life on Earth. If anything, Racing Extinction is too broad to give ample time to every subject, but the sum total of Psihoyos’ efforts is devastatingly effective. Read More »

Going Clear Movie Review

Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief is a good primer for, and a very damning and powerful indictment of the church of Scientology. Unfortunately, the film provides little in terms of new revelations, and viewers who have researched the church will find most of the documentary to be familiar ground. Read my Going Clear movie review after the jump.

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Julia Roberts batkid
Batkid Begins premieres Saturday at the Slamdance Film Festival but, before that even happened, the movie’s story has a happy ending.

Julia Roberts – yes, the world famous actress – has purchased the rights to the documentary to make it into a narrative version. Roberts will produce as well as star in the film. There’s no word on who Roberts would play, but the smart money is on Patricia Wilson, the director of the San Francisco Make-A-Wish chapter that put the whole event together. She has a huge role in the documentary, which you can read our review here. Below, read more details about Julia Roberts Batkid. Read More »