Pearl Jam Twenty, a brand new Cameron Crowe movie, is out on DVD today. The documentary is Crowe’s ode not only to the multi-platinum band who came to personify the Nineties grunge movement, but also to music in the last twenty years as a whole. Crowe uses Pearl Jam as the conduit to tell the story of how grunge in the 1990s changed the cultural landscape much in the way rock in the Sixties, disco in the Seventies or metal in the Eighties changed how people lived their lives. From there, it shows how a group of people who’ve grown apart in many ways can find a common ground to still bring joy to people’s lives after two decades.

Told with humor and passion, Crowe’s Pearl Jam Twenty is a fine film even if you could care less about the band. For a little taste of what it has to offer, the IMDB has exclusively released a full length, never-before-seen music video for Pearl Jam’s 1995 single Not For You, directed by Crowe, combining current and archival footage. Check it out after the jump. Read More »

Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: I celebrate all levels of trailers and hopefully this column will satisfactorily give you a baseline of what beta wave I’m operating on, because what better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? Some of the best authors will tell you that writing a short story is a lot harder than writing a long one, that you have to weigh every sentence. What better medium to see how this theory plays itself out beyond that than with movie trailers?

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If you’re more interested in the typical fall slate of festival entrees than summer’s glut of tentpole action fare, this is a great week. The Toronto International Film Festival announced the first wave of films that will play the fest in September. This is a batch of about 50 titles, which makes up only a small chunk of the programming. Usually TIFF features between two and three hundred films. But these are some of the highest-profile entries.

Below you’ll find rundowns on the new films from George Clooney, Bennett Miller, Jay & Mark Duplass, Todd Solondz, Francis Ford Coppola, Cameron Crowe, Sarah Polley, Fernando Meirelles, Lars von Trier, Marc Forster, Steve McQueen, Alexander Payne, and Lynne Ramsay. No announcement yet of the Midnight Madness programming choices, always some of my faves, but this is a great start. Read More »

Cameron Crowe hasn’t had a film on screens in a while — his last was the tepid Elizabethtown, in 2005 — but he’s roaring back with three features in 2011. Roaring, I tell you. One new film is the drama We Bought A Zoo, with Matt Damon, Scarletty Johansson and Elle Fanning. That one will hit in mid-December. Then there is the first of two documentaries, The Union, about the making of Elton John and Leon Russell’s album of the same name.

Finally, he’s got Pearl Jam Twenty, a doc which celebrates the twentieth anniversary of the band’s existence. (Which is actually not quite right, as the band formed prior to 1991, but ’91 is when the major debut release, ‘Ten,’ hit shelves.) Now there’s a brief teaser for the doc, which shows the very early days, when Peal Jam played under a different name. Read More »

If film fans felt lucky that 2011 held not one but two Steven Spielberg movies, they’re going to be ecstatic that it’ll also hold two Cameron Crowe movies. We know the musically-inclined director is hard at work on production of We Bought a Zoo, which stars Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson, Elle Fanning and Thomas Haden Church and is scheduled for release December 23, but now it turns out that a documentary he’s been working on for several years about the Seattle grunge band Pearl Jam will also be released this year. According to the band’s official website, Pearl Jam Twenty will be released during 2011 to help commemorate the band’s twentieth anniversary. Read more about Crowe’s project after the jump. Read More »