Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Yes, yes, y'all!  

It is finally time to pay kudos to studios whom are willing to take a risk on an original idea in a down economy.  And the following movies look very promising in terms of production value, originality, and of course, entertainment.  

Let's begin with a category that I personally am drawn to....Documentaries / Exposés.  And it seems like there are more than of these coming out this year than ever.  Time to get your game faces on and also open your minds, but at the same time shield them, as Documentaries can easily convince you of things you didn't even know that you didn't know.

1.  Chasing Maddoff
Oh Wallstreet, you have given us so much canon fodder against you....and as long as people are hurting in the pocket, you will have documentarians knocking at your doors.  I happen to believe that as soon as things turn for the worse, people always want a simple explanation.  And most of the time, a simple explanation comes in the form of blaming a single solitary man for the things that have gone awry.  Totally to blame or just partially, take a look, and judge for yourselves, the case of "Chasing Maddoff."

2.  Senna
There are plenty of documentaries out there about seemingly fantastic people whom excel in a particular activity or field.  And there are plenty of "Bargain Bin" movies about racing, cars, and the like.  But it is definitely rare, when the two categories are fused together, and takes a look into the life of a particular man behind the wheel.  Usually, this kind of movie would take the view of a "Big Event", in which the peak of interest would happen around the big racing scene.  However, this documentary seems to be more about the man, and less about the machine.  Homo Ex Machina.

3.  Magic Trip
A recipe for a "Magic Trip";
Take One part Eccentric,  Add a bus with a psychedelic paint job, fill the bus full of people with "new ideas about ways, man"  and add a heaping dose of LSD.  Then you will have a "Magic Trip"  however, you also need to make that time in history into an iconic age for new ideas and societal movements.  THEN and only then can you make a documentary about what happened on that "Magic Trip."

4.  Jane's Journey
Jane Goodall is an amazing person, who has not only dedicated her life to a study, but has also founded many causes and brought attention to an otherwise little-known species.  Now if you are thinking to yourself, "Oh great, a movie about how awesome she is"  then you are in for a surprise.  This documentary is actually about how Jane Goodall is now shifting from the roll of observer / studier, into the roll of activist.  It's hard to imagine someone who could speak more convincingly about the Chimpanzee ecosystem and how mankind is affecting it, than Jane Goodall.  Take a look.

5.  Crime After Crime
Debbie Peagler was abused by her boyfriend (whom also allegedly sexually molested Debbie's daughters), forced into prostitution, and then convicted of a murder that she may or may not have committed (for legal reasons, I cannot state otherwise).  Now, after 28 years in prison her struggle continues, as she seeks justice.  This film is all about her legal struggle to free herself from prison, and the people whom help her.  This is going to be an interesting one, especially in lue of recent trial cases that are semi-related.

6.  Page One: Inside the New York Times
"Mommy, what is a news-paper?"  
"Oh well, you see we used to cut down trees and then process the trees with saws, presses, and some of the harshest chemicals on the planet, until we made what was known as paper.  Then, we would sometimes write news stories on it."
"But Mommy, wouldn't that news already be old by the time that the paper is handed to someone who wanted to read it?"
"Yes dear, it certainly was.  And you couldn't just email paper either, you had to clip it out with scissors if you wanted to save it or send it to someone else"
"That sounds awful"
"It was my dear, it certainly was"
****END SCENE****
What did we learn here today people?  oh yeah, I know, if you make a documentary about "The New York Times" which could only bring attention and interest back to the newspaper industry, the same exact news corporation whom the documentary is all about will review the movie and say, "The movie, directed by Andrew Rossi, is, in a word, a mess."   So enjoy.  because certainly the people it was about did not like it.   

7.  Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest
awwwww yeah!  check out the method!  The title is pretty much self explanatory, albeit a bit long.  Basically, this documentary is about A Tribe Called Quest's rise from nothing, to fame, to in-fighting, to reckoning.  Along the way, other artists whom have been influenced by the artists share how their music also reflects elements of the original inspiration.  So check out the trailer and then get hype! 

8. Tabloid
Risque love!  A Woman Infatuated!  Kidnap! Lies!  Tabloids!  .... Mormons?  Yes, all of these things and more in the new documentary "Tabloid."   Really, I could try to explain it, but the trailer does a very nice job of going over all of the events that led to this scandal.  Watch this trailer, and then judge for yourselves,  Crazy woman, or just a world gone mad?

9.  Sholem Aleichem
Try reading the title out loud and see if you can get someone else around you to say "Bless You."  This is a story about how one man's articles and writings helped transition traditional Jewish life, into a new kind of traditional life in America.  He was a genuinely good man, and it was in his stories that people started to change their views, opinions, and traditional lives in America.

10.  Conan O'Brien Can't Stop
If you're like me, then you really like Conan O'Brien.  And if you think that the whole NBC thing was awful, then see this!  This documentary is all about how Conan went from out-of-work, to sold-out shows.  Performing comedy, doing interviews, and traveling from venue to venue, this documentary is definitely on my list of "Must See."

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