This week’s new home video releases for documentary nearly have an interesting pattern. When put in alphabetical order, as I normally do, the titles are a nearly complete set from O to T. The only letter missing is S. We could make up for that, I guess, by including the VOD debut of Swastika, which hit DVD weeks ago. Other than that, there’s not much to link these docs, which cover film history, urban folk mysteries and music. Well, there are three that are music related. Here are five docs now on DVD as of January 31, 2012:
Jamie Foxx presents this crowd-pleasing doc from director Mark Landsman, a former producer at Morgan Spurlock’s 30 Days series. The film depicts a reunion of high school band mates after 35 years, as they perform a tribute concert to their 92-year-old former teacher. Somehow I’ve missed this one while many of my non-doc-focused colleagues have reviewed it, and quite positively I might add. Apparently people like it:
Nominated for Best Documentary at the 2011 Independent Spirit Awards — Winner of the Lone Star States Audience Award at the 2010 SXSW Film Festival — Winner of Best Feature Documentary at the 2010 Indie Memphis Film Festival — Winner of Best Feature Documentary at the 2010 Pan African Film Festival — Winner of the Audience Award at the 2010 Hot Docs Film Festival — Winner of the Audience Award for Documentary Feature at the 2010 Dallas International Film Festival — Winner of the Audience Award at the 2010 Los Angeles Film Festival — Winner of the Audience Award at the 2010 Aspen Film Festival — Winner of the Crystal Heart Award at the 2010 Heartland Film Festival.
Also available on VOD.
This little favorite of mine from Sundance ‘11, directed by first-time filmmaker Jon Foy and produced by Doug Block (51 Birch Street), looks into a nationwide cult phenomenon involving a mysterious sort of public art created by an anonymous and until now unknown person. In searching for the artist, the doc gets into strange theories and questions about Jupiter, bringing people back from the dead, David Mamet, Stanley Kubrick and telescopes in Chile. If that’s not enough to sell you on this enigmatic tale of urban folklore and curious street art, how about my blurb quoted in the trailer: “as sci-fi as a non-fiction film can get.”
Winner of Best Director at the 2011Sundance Film Festival.
Also available on VOD.
In celebration of the 40th anniversary of the band, Queen is the focus of this two-part BBC documentary considered the definitive account of the group’s history. The doc was produced by Simon Lupton and Rhys Thomas, who also handled the concert film Queen Live at Wembley ‘86. Thomas has also produced other Queen videos as well. I’m mostly curious about this (aside from being a fan) because there’s long been talk of a Freddie Mercury biopic and this should be a better alternative to that. Not that I won’t see the dramatized version too.
Also available on Blu-ray.
A Personal Journey With Martin Scorsese Through American Movies
This is a necessary doc for all Martin Scorsese fans and most film students, so it’s great that Lionsgate is re-releasing this 226-minute (3hrs and 46min.) lesson in history and cinema studies from one of the great directors of our time (co-directed with Michael Henry Wilson). It’s a perfect time, too, since this and Scorsese’s other subjective film studies films (My Voyage to Italy etc.) are great companions to Hugo.
Oscar-nominated producer Andrea Blaugrund (Still Kicking: The Fabulous Palm Springs Follies) takes a look at an aging generation of punk rock stars as they discuss the transition to settling down. The other “f word” is namely “fatherhood,” though subjects including Jim Lindberg (of Pennywise, and author of the book “Punk Rock Dad: No Rules, Just Life”), Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Fat Mike (NOFX), Art Alexakis (Everclear), Mark Hoppus (Blink-182), Duane Peters (U.S. Bombs) and skater Tony Hawk also discuss more general adult issues as well as addressing the recent changes in the music business. Here’s what I wrote in a column at Movies.com:
It’s the most endearing and potentially tearjerking documentary about punks you’ll ever see. Could you ever have expected that a pseudo sequel to films like Penelope Spheeris’s The Decline of Western Civilizaiton and Suburbia would elicit so many responses of “awwwww”? If so, you’re probably a former punk who has grown up, too, and this is made just for you. Those still in the gutter might not be so interested. Even I expect to relate more to the thesis once I’ve had kids.
Also available on VOD.