I'm a big fan of music documentaries, but "The Wrecking Crew: The Untold Story of Rock & Roll Heroes" is easily the best I've seen in years. The band was made up of LA studio pros who would show up for a 3- or 4-hour session, and produce hit after hit. Their biggest successes came in the 1960s and 1970s, and for six consecutive years starting in 1966 the Wrecking Crew played on the Grammy Award-winning "Record of the Year." The band worked all the time, with Frank Sinatra, Simon & Garfunkel, the Beach … Read more
Netflix said it would be setting its original-content sights on documentaries and stand-up specials next, but it didn't mention the two would come hand-in-hand.
The subscription streaming-video service will premiere a comedy special and four-part documentary series based on Canadian comedian Russell Peters' "Notorious" world tour next month. The 70-minute stand-up special, which shares the same name as the tour itself, and docu-series "Russell Peters vs. the World" will be available on Netflix on October 14. They will be available wherever Netflix is.
The move underscores Netflix's ambitions to follow in the path of … Read more
Some actors do everything they can to distance themselves from the roles that made them famous in order to avoid typecasting. Peter Mayhew, the actor who portrayed Chewbacca in "Star Wars," has embraced the legend. He attends fan conventions, often wears Chewbacca-themed shirts, and walks with the aid of a lightsaber cane, much to the chagrin of the TSA.
Filmmaker W. Ryan Ziegler has launched a Kickstarter project, "Standing in the Stars," aimed at raising $42,000 to make a documentary on Mayhew, giving fans a rare peek into the life of the man who brought the big furry Wookiee to life.… Read more
Leaked from today's 404 episode:
- Film crew to dig up Atari landfill site, maybe score 3.5 million copies of E.T.
- The opposite of standing desks: the computer workstation for the person with everything.
- Unlocking The Truth is the most brutal sixth grade metal band ever.
- Hatebeak: a death metal band fronted by a parrot.
Most of us conjure images of "Grandma's Boy" when we think about video game developers, but a new documentary "Indie Game: The Movie" goes deep into the lives of a couple independent programmers, and today we're joined by first-time filmmaking duo Lisanne Pajot and James Swirsky.
They'll take us through the experience of filming the developers behind Super Meat Boy, Fez, and Braid, and we'll also discuss video games as art and the production similarities between film and the evolution of a video game.
Check out the "Indie Game: The Movie&… Read more
PBS is debuting the first episode of a new Ken Burns documentary on its iPhone and iPad apps ahead of the actual launch of the series on TV.
"Prohibition," a documentary about the country's move to outlaw alcohol in the 1920s, will premiere tomorrow on the PBS app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. The free app offers streaming access to both previews and full episodes of notable PBS shows, as well as a schedule guide.
Created by filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, "Prohibition" will then segue to TV screens, with the first episode … Read more
I'm still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that I was emotionally invested in a film that largely focuses on teenagers rapidly tapping keys on their phone.
That speaks to the quality of "Thumbs," a surprisingly entertaining documentary that follows a dozen or so competitors through a grueling national texting championship.
The key to its enjoyment came from the attachments you formed with the various competitors. "Thumbs" spends a good chunk of time building an emotional core with several of the teenagers around the country who have formed bonds with each other through … Read more
One year ago, famous filmmakers asked YouTube viewers to upload a video reflecting a day in their lives. According to the filmmakers, people from all over the world uploaded a cumulative 80,000 videos, with 4,500 hours of footage.
The result of their edited efforts is the 90-minute documentary "Life in a Day." It's been described as "a historic cinematic experiment to create a documentary film about a single day on Earth."
Presented by YouTube and National Geographic, the film was made by a mighty duo of producer Ridley Scott and director Kevin Macdonald. … Read more
I loved Tower Records, but I never felt a thing about any of the other big record store chains like Sam Goody, Virgin, or HMV Records. I'm sure that over a 20-year period I bought 1,000 albums at Tower Records in New York City, vs. maybe one or two at the other chains. It's easy to explain why; the other majors weren't interesting enough to hold my attention. Their inventories were too superficial; when they'd have just a small handful of Miles Davis titles, Tower had a hundred.
Tower stores were in sync with the … Read more
If you own a Blu-ray player and a set of eyeballs, you absolutely, positively must add "Planet Earth" to your library. I insist.
This four-disc BBC documentary series has a list price of $99.99, but Best Buy has "Planet Earth" on Blu-ray for $24.99, plus sales tax in most states and $2.49 for shipping. (You can save on shipping by heading to your local Best Buy brick-and-mortar, though I'm not positive the price is the same in-store.)