"Is The American Justice System Racist?"
Last night I didn’t get to it, but HBO premiered the highly anticipated documentary VICE Special Report: Fixing the System. I’m about to watch now, and I hope you all will tune in. Mass incarceration and its relationship with American racism is an incredibly important topic. Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Atlantic cover story is a must-read on the subject, and I have a very personal connection to the history, which I’ve also written about. President Barack Obama made history as the first sitting US President to visit a prison and I’m hoping Fixing the System sheds some light on thees issues for all of us. Check out the trailer above and head on over to HBO to watch the full special. You can get involved HERE.
"Tower just had everything"
Earlier this year, the documentary film All Things Must Pass — about the rise and fall of the legendary Tower Records — made its debut at SxSW in Austin, TX. In October, the film will open nationally in theaters, allowing music fans everywhere the opportunity to see this wonderful film. Now, I haven’t seen the movie (yet) but based on the clips of footage that I’ve seen, coupled with the rave reviews from those who have seen the movie, I just know that this documentary will likely become one of my favorite movies of the year. I can’t even begin to explain how important Tower Records has been to my life. As a music fan, it was a home away from home where I knew not only I would find pretty much everything that I wanted and needed (from LPs, to CDs, to singles — both import and domestic — to magazines, t-shirts, concert tickets, every and anything music related) but I would be among other likeminded music fans and friends. The rise of digital music led to the death of stores like Tower Records, which is sad but understandable. Nothing will ever take the place of having a Tower Records close by to retreat to whenever you want to get away from everything and just immerse yourself in music heaven. When I visited Tokyo, Japan a couple of years ago, I was so elated to see that Tower Records still thrives in that wonderful city. It was so nice to be in the store again and it’s a great feeling knowing that it still exists … somewhere out there. All Things Must Pass looks to be a must-see movie for any music fan and definitely a movie that Tower Records fans have to check out. The film opens in theaters on October 15. Check out the trailer above and see if it look like something you’ll want to make time for when the movie is released this fall.
"These are all just Kurt by himself with the guitar"
Back in May we learned that the first ever solo album from Kurt Cobain was scheduled for release this summer after the HBO documentary film Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck was released in the spring. Today we learn that plans for the album’s release have been pushed back from the summer to a fall release to coincide with the DVD/Blu-Ray release of the Montage of Heck film. This solo album is intended to be a soundtrack to the film as it will feature music written and performed by Cobain featured in the film along with “a dozen additional tracks, ‘audio montages’, and even a comedy sketch”. The album will feature Kurt Cobain and Cobain only. Click below to learn more. More »
"The pioneers ... made it easier for me"
On June 1, Caitlyn Jenner made her worldwide debut on the cover of that month’s issue of Vanity Fair magazine. But, the road to the cover of Vanity Fair was a long one, chronicled by a short film documentary titled Call Me Caitlyn. The embed above features the full 10-minute documentary, filmed and released by VF magazine, and shows us behind the scenes footage from the shoot along with interviews with members of the Vanity Fair staff and, of course, Caitlyn Jenner herself. Caitlyn offers some really great insight in this short documentary film, particularly her acknowledgement of the trans pioneers who came before her. Check out the video above, I think you’ll enjoy it as much as I do.
Did you watch???
If you didn’t get a chance to catch the MTV documentary short White People, it’s available online and highly recommended by yours truly. During the 40 minute film, created by Pulitzer Prize winner and proud, Filipino illegal immigrant Jose Antonio Vargas, the film hones in on 3 individuals from predominantly white neighborhoods, their family and friends, and uses their experiences to highlight the existence (misunderstood and otherwise) of white privilege in America. I found myself rolling my eyes, yelling at the TV and laughing a lot—and also being incredibly impressed with Vargas. I wanted to hate it but I have to confess, I was moved in some ways. Click inside for more!
Posted under: 'White People', MTV
"I'm not a lone voice, I'm many"
This October, a documentary on the young life of Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai will be released in theaters and today we get our first look at the film’s first trailer. Those of you who are familiar with Malala and her amazing work will not be surprised at all by how inspiring she is in this doc. Those of you who are not familiar with her work absolutely MUST learn about the revolutionary things that this teenage girl has accomplished. I am not ashamed to say that I started to tear up early on while watching this 2 1/2 minute trailer and that I had tears streaming by the end. Malala Yousafzai is the kind of person that we all should aspire to emulate. This young woman stood in the face of death and not only battled back to reach the highest levels of accomplishment but she did so with love and forgiveness in her heart. I just started reading her memoir I Am Malala and I am very much looking forward to the release of this documentary film later this year. I urge you to take the time to watch this trailer and make plans to see this film when it is released in theaters. If this young woman has been able to accomplish this much at such a young age, can you imagine what she will be able to accomplish as she continues to grow and learn? I am in awe … in absolute awe of Malala Yousafzi.
"It can't be good for you to have sex that much, with that many new people."
Netflix and HBO are really starting to change the way we understand documentary films and their distribution. This year one of the most talked-about and critically acclaimed movies so far has to be Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, an HBO original documentary. But we also had Going Clear and now it looks like Netflix is expanding its original content to include more documentaries as well. Rashida Jones, who has her hands in a little bit of everything lately, is the producer behind Hot Girls Wanted and the trailer is pretty interesting… or devastating, depending on how you see it. Click inside for more!
"He gave everybody license ... to live their little dreams for a little bit"
Remember back in November of 2013 when San Francisco, CA was turned into Gotham City so that Miles Batkid Scott could live out his Make-A-Wish dream to become Batman? Well, his story and the story of that day have been turned into a documentary film titled Batkid Begins. The first trailer for the film can be watched in full above and, as you can see, it’s a story full of heart, love and hope. I teared up a bit watching this trailer, I think you might do the same. Batkid Begins will open in select theaters on June 26.
"I'm not a girl trying to be a star. I'm just a girl that sings"
Back in early April, we got to see the first video teaser for the forthcoming documentary film on the life of the late pop singer Amy Winehouse. Today, we get to see the just-released full-length trailer for the film Amy. As you may know, this documentary was filmed with the full support of Amy‘s family … but once the finished film was released, the family has decided to distance themselves from the project. As I understand it, the Winehouse family (Amy‘s father Mitch Winehouse, in particular) doesn’t come off looking too great in this film and they are angry. IMHO, it sounds like they aren’t happy that the truth about Amy‘s life and death are being exposed in this very well reviewed documentary film. I wasn’t the biggest Amy Winehouse fan but her immense talent cannot be denied. This is a film that I’d be very interested in seeing, if only to be reminded of the amazing voice that has been lost to us. Amy opens in select theaters on July 3.
Posted under: 'Amy', Amy Winehouse
"Most people are afraid to be as honest as she lived"
On June 26, Netflix will release a documentary film on the life of legendary singer Nina Simone that uses not only her music but rare, never before heard audio recordings of Simone discussing her life. Cut together with present-day interviews of the family and friends that knew her best, What Happened, Miss Simone? sounds like an amazing narrative of the rise and eventual fall of Nina Simone. Watch the trailer above to get your first look at this Nina Simone doc that is making the film festival circuit now and will be released on Netflix in June. I only know Nina by her music so the story of her life is still a mystery to me. We will get to hear the story of this iconic woman in her own words, with her own music, and I cannot wait.