Belushi Documentary

(Welcome to The Quarantine Stream, a new series where the /Film team shares what they’ve been watching while social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.)

The Movie: Belushi

Where You Can Stream It: Showtime

The Pitch: A feature documentary from award-winning filmmaker R.J. Cutler about the too-short life of John Belushi, the once-in-a-generation talent who captured the hearts and funny-bones of audiences worldwide. Told using previously unheard audiotapes, this film examines Belushi’s extraordinary life in the words of his collaborators, friends, and family, including Dan Aykroyd, Jim Belushi, Penny Marshall, Lorne Michaels, Carrie Fisher, Chevy Chase, Harold Ramis, Jane Curtin, Ivan Reitman and his high school sweetheart and later wife Judy Belushi.

Why It’s Essential Viewing: There are plenty of documentaries profiling some of the most famous names in history, science, literature, sports, cinema, television, music, and more. But it’s been a long time since I’ve seen a documentary like Belushi that focuses on a force of nature in pop culture in such an intensely intimate fashion. Instead of using the traditional talking heads in the homes of those who crossed paths with comedian John Belushi, director R.J. Cutler has pieced together an impressive array of personal photos, home videos, stylish animation, and never-before-heard audio interviews from those who knew him best. Read More »

This Week in Trailers

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: What better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising?

This week, we welcome a crotchety Sam Neill into our lives, get lit, get high, and follow the trajectory of a literary superstar.
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John Belushi Documentary

Following a deep dive into the history and legacy of The Comedy Store, Showtime has another chronicle of a comedy staple who left us far too soon.

John Belushi was a tour de force. After breaking out on Saturday Night Live and National Lampoon’s Animal House, Belushi became one of the biggest comedy stars in the world. He was the kind of guy everyone wanted to have a beer with. But while there was this wrecking ball of comedic energy on the outside, on the inside, Belushi was dealing with his own demons, and his incredible fame would only feed them with alcohol and drugs. Showtime’s new documentary Belushi will chronicle all the comedian’s highs and lows, and you can see the first trailer right now. Read More »

If I Stay trailer

If you still have any tears left to spare for fictional adolescents after seeing The Fault in Our Stars, If I Stay would like to lay claim to them. The weepie stars Chloë Grace Moretz as Mia, a talented young musician who suffers a terrible car accident. She’s left in a coma, while the rest of her family is killed.

Mia is now faced with an impossible decision: follow the rest of her family into death, or survive and struggle through a difficult life. Jamie Blackley plays her boyfriend Adam, who is definitely rooting for her to pick the latter. Watch the latest If I Stay trailer after the jump.

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If I Stay

Chloë Grace Moretz is no stranger to (onscreen) life-or-death situations. She’s played a superhero, a vampire, and a telekinetic outsider with a furious grudge. But she’s never been in one quite like this.

Directed by R.J. Cutler (The September Issue) and based on the novel by Gayle Forman, If I Stay stars Moretz as a bright, talented teen who falls into a coma after a car accident kills the rest of her family. She’s faced with a choice — wake up an orphan and get about the hard work of moving on, or let go and die with her loved ones. Jamie Blackley plays her punk rock boyfriend, who may just give her something to live for.

Watch the first If I Stay trailer after the jump. Read More »

The September Issue Movie Trailer

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Editor’s Note: This trailer was released a couple weeks ago, but we never got around to covering it. Now that we have the time, here it is.

Amidst the on-going events of New York Fashion Week, the well-received Anna Wintour/VOGUE documentary, The September Issue, opened in limited release in select cities on Sept. 11th. Appropriately enough, say the snarks. As the trailer below nicely alludes, the doc has a number of factors working in its favor per mainstream interest, not least of which is an unprecedented IRL look at the woman/editrix who served as the basis for The Devil Wears Prada. The title refers to the annual, fabled fashion tome, and, more specifically, to the 2007 edition, which “ended up weighing nearly five pounds, was 840 pages, and was the single largest issue of a magazine ever published,” in VOGUE‘s ‘s 117-year history.

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2009 Sundance Film Festival Competition Films Announced

The Sundance Institute has announced the first half of the line-up for the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. Included in the first press release are the films in competition in the Drama and Documentary segments. 3,661 feature-length films were submitted this year, which is 37 more films than last year. For the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, 118 feature-length films were selected including 87 world premieres, 19 North American premieres, and 4 U.S. premieres representing 21 countries with 42 first-time filmmakers, including 28 in competition. Before we get into the full list, I would like to point out some of the films that particularly interest me. Also, now should be the time for me to admit that I focus more on English-language films, so my foreign picks will probably be lacking.

The Wrestler screenwriter Robert Siegel makes his directorial debut with Big Fan, which stars Patton Oswalt as a parking garage attendant and hardcore New York Giants football fan who struggles to deal with the consequences when he is beaten up by his favorite player. Michael Rapaport also stars. I loved the humor that Siegel brought to The Wrestler, and with Oswalt in the lead – this one is a no brainer.

The Office star John Krasinski makes his directorial debut with a big screen adaptation of David Foster Wallace‘s book Breif Interviews with Hideous Men. The story follows Julianne Nicholson as a doctoral candidate in anthropology who “tries to remedy the heartache” of being dumped with little explanation, by interviewing men about their behavior. Krasinski, Dominic Cooper and Timothy Hutton also star.

In Cold Souls, Paul Giamatti stars as a famous American actor who in the midst of an existential crisis, “explores soul extraction as a relief from the burdens of daily life.” Okay, doesn’t have the best plot description but Giamatti is involved, as well as David Strathairn, Emily Watson, and Lauren Ambrose.


Emmy Rossum stars in Adam Salky‘s feature directorial debut Dare, about “three very different teenagers discover that, even in the safe world of a suburban prep school, no one is who she or he appears to be.” IMDB also provides a different teaser synopsis: “The good girl, the outsider and the bad boy…like you’ve never seen them before.” This is a feature length adaptation of Salky’s 2005 short film which was met with acclaim at film festivals. I’m a sucker for coming of age films.

Everyone is talking about Paper Heart, the film that Michael Cera made under the raydar with his girlfriend Charlyne Yi. The film is apparently a meta-love story with the stars playing themselves (?). The pre-festival hype aside, I would see this film based on Cera’s involvement alone.

Teeth star Jess Weixler returns to Sundance opposite Jason Ritter in a big screen adaptation of Peter and Vandy, the Drama Desk Nominated Best Play that was lauded for its “almost embarrassing intimacy and killer comic timing.” The film tells the story of a contemporary Manhattan love story, told out of order, with no beginning and no end. Festival programer Geoffrey Gilmore says that “One of the themes” of this year’s festival is “the kind of new-generation love story,” … a new “way of telling love stories right now by a new, younger generation that’s different, that’s fresh, that’s original.” This and the Cera film Paper Heart seems to fit into this statement.

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Jeff Daniels stars as the title character Arlen Faber, a reclusive author of a groundbreaking spiritual book awakens to new truths when two strangers enter his life. The film also stars Kat Dennings (Nick and Norah), Olivia Thirlby (Juno, Wackness), and Lauren Gram. The film was formerly titled “The Dream of the Romans“, which is a much better title if you ask me.


In Good Hair, Comedian Chris Rock turns documentary filmmaker when he sets out to examine the culture of African-American hair and hairstyles. I’m not sure if it will be good, like many of Chris Rock’s films, but I’ll always be there for anything the guy creates.

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Documentary filmmaker R.J. Cutler was given unprecedented access for a film titled “The September Issue“. Cutler and crew shot Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour and her team over the corse of nine months as they prepared the 2007 VogueSeptember issue, widely accepted as the “fashion bible” for the year’s trends. I’ve always been interested in the world of journalism, even if the Fashion world might be a very different realm. And I must admit that The Devil Wears Prada has me very interested to catch this one.

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You can read the full press release (which includes a listing of all the films announced today) after the jump.

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