Archive for the ‘Documentary’ Category
Movie Review: VH1 Rock Doc ‘Downloaded’
March 27th, 2013 at 5:39 pm | |
Director: Alex Winter
Cast: Shawn Fanning, Sean Parker, Don Lenner, Hilary Rosen, Henry Rollins, Billy Corgan, Lars Ulrich, Trent Reznor
VH1 Rock Docs
Not Rated | 106 Minutes
Release Date: March 10, 2013 (SXSW)
Directed by Alex Winter (Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Freaked), Downloaded chronicles the evolution of digital media, focusing primarily on the rise and fall of the pioneering peer-to-peer file sharing Internet service Napster.
Featuring exclusive interviews with Napster co-founders Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker, software developers, musicians, and the music industry elite, Downloaded explores the controversial file sharing software and follows Napster’s rise in 1998, through the gauntlet of copyright infringement lawsuits, to its acquisition by Rhapsody in 2011.
Some of those interviewed for Winter’s documentary include Henry Rollins, Billy Corgan, Island Records founder Chris Blackwell, former Sony Music Chairman Don Lenner, former CEO of the RIAA Hilary Rosen, Beastie Boys’ Mike D, and Noel Gallagher of Oasis.
Although there were already networks that facilitated the distribution of files across the Internet, such as IRC, Hotline, and USENET, Napster specialized in MP3 files, a user-friendly interface, and lightning-fast search speeds. At its peak, Napster had about 80 million registered users and revolutionized the music industry for better or for worse [...]
SXSW 2013 Movie Review: William and The Windmill
March 21st, 2013 at 11:00 am | |
SXSW 2013 Movie Review: ‘Medora’
William and the Windmill
Director: Ben Nabors
Cast: William Kamkwamba, Tom Rielly, Trywell Kamkwamba, Agnes Kamkwamba, Andrea Barthello, Bryan Mealer
Following the award-winning short film Moving Windmills, the feature-length documentary William and the Windmill tells the story of Malawian William Kamkwamba, who teaches himself to build a power-generating windmill from bicycle parts, blue gum trees, and scrapyard materials, saving his family from poverty and famine.
After being forced to drop out of school due to his family not being able to afford the tuition, William decided to educate himself by going to his village’s library. There, he found Using Energy, a textbook that explained how windmills generate power. Using only that book and a few pictures, William constructed a working model, becoming an icon for the developing world. [...]
March 20th, 2013 at 8:45 pm | |
SXSW 2013 Movie Review: ‘We Cause Scenes: The Rise Of Improv Everywhere’
Director: Andrew Cohn, Davy Rothbart
Cast: Dylan McSoley, Rusty Rogers, Robby Armstrong, Chaz Cowles, Justin Gilbert, Corey Hansen, Logan Farmer, Josh Deering, Rudie Crane, Dennis Pace
In the small town of Medora, Indiana, life revolves around high school basketball – but what happens to a community when their beloved team can’t win a single game?
Decades ago, Medora was a booming rural community with a thriving middle class, but the factories and farms have since closed and the population has dwindled. Medora has become something of a ghost town, riddled with trailer parks and abandoned businesses and one of the smallest schools in the nation.
Directed by Andrew Cohn and Davy Rothbart, Medora follows the down-but-not-out Medora Hornets, capturing the players’ stories on and off the court as they seek to avoid another winless season [...]
March 19th, 2013 at 6:00 pm | |
SXSW 2013 Movie Review: Dave Grohl’s Sound City
We Cause Scenes
Director: Matt Adams
Cast: Charlie Todd, Ben Folds, Ken Keech, Anthony King, Chris Kula, Cody Lindquist, Tyler Walker, Bill Wasik
Directed by Matt Adams, We Cause Scenes: The Rise of Improv Everywhere is the story of Improv Everywhere and its founder, Charlie Todd, who has turned the world into a stage, inventing an art form for the Internet age.
Since their humble beginnings in New York City in 2001, Improv Everywhere has grown from a small gang of restless comedians into a global prank collective and a viral video-making sensation. [...]
March 19th, 2013 at 12:00 pm | |
SXSW 2013 Review: ‘Muscle Shoals’
Director: Dave Grohl
Screenwriter: Mark Monroe
Cast: Neil Young, Tom Petty, Stevie Nicks, Trent Reznor, Rick Rubin, Mick Fleetwood, Lars Ulrich, John Fogerty, Rick Springfield, Paul McCartney
Directed by Dave Grohl, Sound City focuses on the history of the legendary Van Nuys, CA studio for which it is named — where artists like Neil Young, Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty, Johnny Cash, Nirvana, Nine Inch Nails, Weezer, and countless others created classic records over the past 40 years — and the never-ending fight to preserve the human element of music in a digital world.
Through interviews with legendary musicians and producers, Sound City uncovers the magic within the walls of that studio and culminates with many of those legends creating a new album on the same legendary neve console that produced so many hits [...]
March 18th, 2013 at 8:30 pm | |
SXSW 2013 Review: Ryan White’s ‘Good Ol’ Freda’
Director: Greg Camalier
Cast: Aretha Franklin, Mick Jagger, Clarence Carter, John Paul White, Gregg Allman, Keith Richards, Steve Winwood, Jimmy Cliff, Rick Hall
Located alongside the Tennessee River, Muscle Shoals, Alabama changed the world as the birthplace for some of America’s most creative, exciting, and soulful music.
Directed by Greg Camalier, Muscle Shoals documents the history of the Muscle Shoals music scene and the players involved in creating that signature sound – including FAME Studios founder and legendary producer Rick Hall and The Swampers, the Muscle Shoals rhythm section that played with the likes of Rod Stewart, Boz Scaggs, and Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Percy Sledge, Gregg Allman, Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Alicia Keys, Bono, and others bear witness to Muscle Shoals’ magnetism, mystery, and why it remains influential as a hot-spot for rhythm and blues [...]
March 18th, 2013 at 2:00 pm | |
Good Ol’ Freda
Director: Ryan White
Cinematographer: Austin Hargrave
Editor: Helen Kearns
On their 1963 Christmas record, The Beatles give thanks to “Good Ol’ Freda!” in Liverpool, their devoted secretary and friend. Directed by Ryan White, Good Ol’ Freda is a documentary about Freda Kelly, who was just a shy Liverpudlian teenager when she was asked to work for a local band hoping to make it big.
The Beatles were together for 10 years, but Freda worked for them for 11. She had no idea how far the band would go, but she had faith in The Beatles from the beginning, and they had faith in her. Many people came and went as they sky-rocketed to international stardom, but Freda remained a staple of the inner-circle because of her unfaltering loyalty and dedication. As the band’s devoted secretary and confidant, Freda was witness to the evolution of the greatest band in history [...]
SXSW 2013 Exclusive: Interview With ‘Rewind This!’ Filmmakers Josh Johnson, Carolee Mitchell & Christopher Palmer
March 18th, 2013 at 10:00 am | |
SXSW 2013 Review: Josh Johnson’s Rewind This!
Check this out! I had a chance to chat with director Josh Johnson, producer Carolee Mitchell, and Cinematographer/Editor Christopher Palmer at 2013′s South by Southwest Film Festival about the world premiere of their new VHS documentary, Rewind This!.
We discuss the impact of the VHS media format, hand-painted cover art, and childhood memories of Tim Burton’s Batman, Evil Dead II, and, you guessed it, Gremlins 2: The New Batch. Check out my review of Rewind This! for more information on this kick-ass love letter to the video tape! Video interview with the filmmakers is here below [...]
March 14th, 2013 at 6:00 pm | |
SXSW 2013 Review: Douglas Tirola’s ‘Hey Bartender’
Director: Josh Johnson
Cast: Atom Egoyan, Cassandra Peterson, David “The Rock” Nelson, Jason Eisener, Chris Strompolos, Frank Henenlotter, Lloyd Kaufman, Kevin Tenney, Charles Band, Mamoru Oshii
Synopsis: Home video changed the way the world consumed films. The cultural and historical impact of the VHS tape was enormous. REWIND THIS! is a documentary that traces the ripples of that impact by examining the myriad aspects of art, technology, and societal perceptions that were altered by the creation of videotape. — IPF Productions.
Directed by Josh Johnson, Rewind This! chronicles the rise and fall of the Video Home System, better known by its acronym, VHS. Produced by Carolee Mitchell with cinematography and editing by Christopher Palmer, Rewind This! was shot over the course of three years as the filmmakers interviewed film critics, filmmakers, and industry professionals in the US, Canada, and Japan. [...]
March 8th, 2013 at 4:00 pm | |
Director: Douglas Tirola
Screenwriter: Douglas Tirola
Cast: Dale DeGroff, Dushan Zaric, Jim Meehan, Sasha Petraske, Julie Reiner, Steve Schneider, Steve Carpentieri, Graydon Carter, Danny Meyer, Amy Sacco
Synopsis: Two bartenders try to achieve their dreams through bartending. An injured Marine turns his goals to becoming a principal bartender at the best cocktail bar in the world. Featuring the world’s most renowned bartenders and access to the most exclusive bars in New York, this is the story of the comeback of the cocktail and the rebirth of the bartender. — 4th Row Films
“The culture of drink endures because it offers so many rewards… above all the elusive promise of friendship and love” — Pete Hamill
At Employees Only in New York City, craft bartender Steve Schneider concocts fancy cocktails like the Mata Hari: Pierre Ferrand Ambre Cognac shaken with Chai-Infused Italian Vermouth & Pomegranate Juice, served straight up. Here the bartender is the royalty of the working class – a mixologist and mad scientist held in the same regard as the top chefs in the city [...]
DVD Review: America: The Story Of Us: Millennium
February 5th, 2013 at 11:00 pm | |
America: The Story Of Us: Millennium
DVD | Instant Video
Narrated by Liev Schreiber
Release Date: July 5, 2011
America: The Story Of Us: Millennium is the last of this series that explores how The United States came to be the the wonderful country that we see today. Exploring the past and reviving it in a new form for current generations to enjoy, The History Channel has breathed new life into some of the greatest achievements in human history. This final disc is broken into two episodes that bring this wonderful journey to an end…so to speak.
In the first section, “Superpower,” the viewer gets to see how much America changed in the years right after World War II. We begin with the Interstate Highway System that created safer roads by which industries could transport their goods to the rural parts of the country. This, in turn, causes a housing boom in what is to become suburban America. Which leads to the coming of the Baby Boomers. And using the community of Levittown, New York as an example of how these areas popped up after the war to accommodate the returning soldiers, this episode explains how these manufactured communities created entirely new cities and towns and even helped populate some of the more remote regions of the country. This was a time of many changes, which leads us directly to the next installment in the series. [...]
Watch Now: ‘Rewind This’, A Documentary About The VHS Revolution, Gets A Trailer
February 4th, 2013 at 7:56 pm | |
Rewind This, a Kickstarter-funded documentary about the massive financial and cultural impact videocassettes had on the international film industry and the lives of hungry movie geeks looking for quality thrills on a Friday night, has a new trailer out today.
You can watch it here below.
Directed by newcomer Josh Johnson, Rewind This features interviews with many individuals who greatly benefited from the VHS boom of the 1980s and 90s including The Sweet Hereafter director Atom Egoyan, Hobo with a Shotgun director Jason Eisener, Troma Films honcho Lloyd Kaufman, Full Moon Video head Charles Band, David Gregory of Severin Films, online film critic Drew McWeeny, and many others not appearing in the trailer. Johnson has assembled a fantastic line-up of filmmakers, writers, fans, and a few of the video store owners and clerks who helped bring these black plastic rectangular boxes of wonderment to the masses and alter irrevocably alter the landscape of film production and distribution forever [...]
DVD Review: America: The Story Of Us: Rebels
January 29th, 2013 at 7:00 pm | |
America: The Story Of Us: Rebels
DVD | Instant Video
Narrated by Liev Schreiber
Release Date: August 16, 2011
This is the first time I have been asked to review something from a channel that I watch more than any other. I loved this mini-series when it came out but watching it without commercials is far superior to my original viewing. I was very excited to have this opportunity to spend an evening watching and writing about America: The Story Of Us: Rebels.
History Channel does an excellent job of bringing the story to life and allowing the viewer to immerse themselves in it on every available level. I love the way the storyboards in this initial episode are set to show the settlements being built and the population increasing and expanding throughout the new world. We see how the cultivation of tobacco positively impacted the settlers and allowed them to thrive in the harsh new land. Showing how the native tribes helped these early settlers grow food and hunt in order to survive, the first part of this episode really concentrates on how these hardy folk adapted to their new country. [...]
You Can Help Fund ‘The Death Of Superman Lives’ Documentary On Kickstarter
January 26th, 2013 at 4:10 pm | |
People tend to forget, or have the memory surgically removed from their brains, that fifteen years ago we saw Superman battle Brainiac, Lex Luthor, and Doomsday on the big screen without the benefit of his trademark costume or even the ability to fly. The possibility that a universally adored icon of comic book heroics could have gone such a revisionist undertaking once is enough to send the most ardent Superman fans into therapy.
Had all the pieces fallen into place in the summer of 1998 Warner Bros. would have brought to the world the Last Son of Krypton’s biggest – and potentially strangest – movie adventure to date: Superman Lives, directed by Tim Burton from a screenplay credited to several different writers including independent filmmaker/geek icon/current critical pariah Kevin Smith and Wesley Strick (Martin Scorsese’s remake of Cape Fear), with no less than Nicolas Cage in the title role of the greatest hero of the DC Universe. Yes friends, this movie almost happened, except it didn’t happen [...]
‘Harlem Street Singer: The Reverend Gary Davis Story’ To Screen in Boston This Friday
January 23rd, 2013 at 9:57 pm | |
Harlem Street Singer: The Reverend Gary Davis Story is a new documentary that tells the story of Gary Davis, one of the most underrated musicians of our time. Though Davis has had a huge influence on many well known musicians including Bob Weir and Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead, Jorma Kaukonen of Jefferson Airplane, David Bromberg, Bob Dylan, Woody Mann, Dave Van Ronk, and Townes van Zandt, his story has gone virtually unknown until now.
The first official screening of the film will take place this Friday, January 25, 2013, at 6:30pm at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, MA. The screening will be followed by a live performance by Woody Mann, Paul Rishell, and Annie Raines [...]