The Playlist

Hot Docs Review: 'Bones Brigade' Another Winning Look At Skateboarding Culture From Stacy Peralta

  • By Samantha Chater
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  • May 6, 2012 11:10 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Most people don't have enough happen in their life to make one documentary, but it turns out Stacy Peralta has enough to make at least two. Eleven years after he delved into his own adolescent history with “Dogtown And Z-Boys,” Peralta has made another skateboarding doc about the next phase of his career after the Z-boys. When Peralta founded his skateboard company Powell Peralta in the late '70s, he brought together a bunch of unknown amateur skaters, cherry picked from around the USA -- including Steve Caballero, Tommy Guerrero, Tony Hawk, Mike McGill, Lance Mountain and Rodney Mullen, among others -- and created a skate team called the Bones Brigade. In case you know less about skating than me, these guys pretty much all grew up to be the top competitors of the 1980s, and went on to inspire and shape the next generation of skaters and their culture -- in short they are skate legends.

Review: Julia Roberts-Produced 'Jesus Henry Christ' Is Blasphemously Joyless

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • May 4, 2012 10:56 AM
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  • 1 Comment
There's a moment in "Jesus Henry Christ" when a character is said to be in poor health. When asked what happened to him, the answer is "The Bulls won the championship." We flash back to 1998, where a lisping ethnic caricature sits on a couch; his shoulders slumped, defeated as the television blares news of the Bulls' championship triumph. The joke, we're meant to assume, is that there were serious repercussions to Chicago winning that championship, though we never exactly see what happens to our doomed, ultimately irrelevant character. Later, we learn in another cutaway occurring a half hour later for no apparent reason, that the man left the house to take out the garbage, only to absorb a bullet to the head, ostensibly fired in the air by an overzealous Bulls fan. So the joke...yeah.

Review: 'With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story' Is Breezy And Somewhat Superficial But Tons Of Fun

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • May 3, 2012 3:03 PM
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Few figures in comic book lore command the attention and devotion of Stan Lee. Now in his late eighties, with a grey-white caterpillar of a moustache perpetually perched atop his upper lip and oversized, dark-tinted glasses, he’s an easily identifiable character, as iconic as one of his pop culture creations (Fantastic Four, Spider-Man and the X-Men, to name a few), and just as important. But many don’t know the story behind the man. “With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story,” a zippy and somewhat superficial documentary, attempts to fill in some of that backstory, and the result is as compulsively entertaining and colorful as any Marvel comic book. Excelsior!

SFIFF Review: Caveh Zahedi's 'The Sheik And I' Creates A Compelling, Subversive & Ethical Puzzle

  • By Sean Gillane
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  • May 2, 2012 2:04 PM
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In “The Sheik and I” director Caveh Zahedi once again turns the camera on himself, this time as he chronicles his attempts to create and exhibit a film commissioned by the Sheik of Sharjah for the emirate’s art biennial. The film is stitched together with Zahedi’s after-the-fact recalling and contextualization of the events of the production, along with behind-the-scenes style footage, brief glimpses at the film within a film that Zahedi is supposedly originally creating, unpolished animated sequences, and even just white text on a black screen (for when the cameras run out of batteries, which appears is often due to Zahedi’s always-be-rolling approach).

Review: '65_Redroses' A Compelling, Inspiring Doc That Will Make You Want To Take A Breath & Appreciate Those Roses

  • By Katie Walsh
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  • May 2, 2012 12:02 PM
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Take a deep breath. Unless you have cystic fibrosis, this is probably something you take for granted. About halfway through the documentary "65_Redroses," which documents the life of CF sufferer Eva Markvoort, you might find yourself gasping for air, if only to relish in your ability to do so. "65_Redroses" refers to Eva's online handle with which she communicates with other CF patients, and her connections with them are an integral part of her story. But the spine of the film belongs to Eva, as she is such a compelling and arresting persona from the outset, that audiences can't help but be drawn in by her.

Hot Docs Review: 'The Final Member' Is Fascinating Phallic Fun

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • May 2, 2012 10:58 AM
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There are few movies this year where you'll see a man get the stars and stripes of the American flag tattooed on the head of his penis. But then again, there are few documentaries like "The Final Member," a warm look at a quirky subject that gets to the human story behind it.

Tribeca Review: 'Queen: Days Of Our Lives' Is A Good Overview Of The Classic Band's Career

  • By Cory Everett
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  • May 2, 2012 9:57 AM
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  • 2 Comments
Compared to other mega-selling bands like say, The Beatles, the story behind Queen is not quite as widely known. Formed in London in the early ‘70s, the band was responsible for a slew of hits over the two decades or so, traversing genres from rock to opera to disco sometimes within the same song, before singer Freddie Mercury died of AIDS in the early ‘90s. Told through archival footage and interviews with two of the band’s principal members guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor (bassist John Deacon has quietly refused to participate in any of the band’s recent activities since retiring a few years ago), “Queen: Days Of Our Lives” is a compelling overview of the classic band’s career. The group originally formed during college as an outfit called Smile before Mercury joined up and renamed the band which would eventually go on to record a slew of massive hits including “We Will Rock You,” “We Are The Champions,” “Another One Bites The Dust,” “Under Pressure” among many others.

Review: Though Beautiful & Touching At Times, 'My Way' Fails To Deliver An Authentic Experience

  • By Emma Bernstein
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  • May 1, 2012 12:58 PM
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  • 1 Comment
“My Way,” from one of Korea’s most famous and acclaimed directors, Kang Je-kyu, is a venture of expansive and expensive proportions, recounting two men’s overlapping lives, and set against the backdrop of the Second World War. The film opens with a runner suddenly taking the lead at the 1948 Olympic Marathon in London. Just as quickly, we are pulled 20 years back and half the world away, to Korea under Japanese occupation. Two young boys – one the grandson of a prominent Japanese official, the other his Korean servant – run a footrace, and the metaphor for national conflict commences. Shots of their running feet transition from this playful moment to all-out competition, as the boys are swiftly replaced with teenage versions of themselves, involved in a heated rivalry.
More: My Way, Review

Hot Docs Roundup: 'Despite The Gods' Fascinates, 'Beauty Is Embarrassing' Is Heartwarming & 'About Face' A Fun Look At Fashion

  • By Samantha Chater
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  • May 1, 2012 11:57 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Aussie filmmaker Penny Vozniak's "Lost in La Mancha"-esque documentary “Despite The Gods," following director Jennifer Lynch and her experiences making her third film in India, is a low budget docu-delight. Lynch is the beating, empathic heart of the film, an endearing combination of raw emotional honesty and self-deprecating humor. After surviving a critical flogging at 19 for her first film "Boxing Helena," and enjoying the relative success of her second film "Surveillance," Lynch still had a lot to prove with her third film. However it is clear from day one this will not be the film she envisions it to be. The film in question is "Hisss," a Bollywood action tale of a snake that turns into a woman, and then back again

Hot Docs Review: 'Big Easy Express' A Rambling, Affectionate Tour Documentary That Should Make Fans Happy

  • By Samantha Chater
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  • May 1, 2012 10:58 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Director Emmett Malloy has returned with an excellent follow up to 2009’s “Under Great Northern Lights” with another winning concert documentary titled "Big Easy Express." In a tight 60-odd minutes, the film follows three bands, Mumford and Sons, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes and Old Crow Medicine Show, as they travel from San Francisco to New Orleans, Louisiana, on a sold-out 6-stop tour, aboard the most beautiful-looking train you've ever seen. From the opening tracking shot that follows 'Magnetic Zeroes' singer Jade Castrinos as she walks through the various rustic train cars, past Mumford and Sons playing in one, 'Old Crow' in another and right down the back to Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, Malloy's film is not only beautifully soundtracked, courtesy of all three bands, but is also dreamily captured.

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