Category: Film Trailers


_walken128292811

The Power of Few is an upcoming feature film directed and written by American filmmaker Leone Marucci.

This interactive film was produced by Marucci through Steelyard Pictures with Q’orianka Kilcher and her company iQ Films. Ensemble cast features Christopher WalkenChristian Slater, Kilcher, Anthony AndersonJesse BradfordMoon BloodgoodNicky Whelan,Devon GearhartJuvenileNavid NegahbanJordan Prentice, and Derek Richardson. Through The Power of Few website, Marucci and Kilcher developed and delivered a ground breaking interactive experience embarked upon in 2006. From online casting to online editing, the global audience was provided original material from the film (and an online editing system) and invited to help create the finished film. The interactive collaboration continued beyond the website as the production ran an extensive community outreach program in the city of New Orleans during filming.

 

 

— image from badassdigest.com words from wikipedia

_hitchcock-john-keaton
This morning the Academy Award nominationswere revealed, and as usual, they’re bound to inspire debates over who got snubbed.

In light of today’s news (and, ahem, no Best Actor nomination for Jamie Foxx’s work in Django Unchained), we’re looking back at the biggest Oscar snubs of all time. To be clear, we’re not squabbling about nominees who should’ve won their categories—we’re talking about iconic and classic performances or films that were inexplicably overlooked and failed to even receive nominations.

15. Gary OldmanSid and Nancy (1986)
Overlooked for: Best Actor
Nominated Instead: Paul Newman (The Color of Money), Dexter Gordon (Round Midnight), William Hurt (Children of a Lesser God), Bob Hoskins (Mona Lisa), James Woods (Salvador)
It’s always tough to play a real person, but to play a punk icon/raging drug addict/probable murderer less than a decade after his high-profile death is a nearly impossible task. Oldman transformed into Sid Vicious for this film, both physically (at one point being hospitalized for losing too much weight for the role) and emotionally, pouring himself into the role.

14. Kathleen TurnerBody Heat (1981)
Overlooked for: Best Actress
Nominated Instead: Katherine Hepburn (On Golden Pond), Diane Keaton (Reds), Marsha Mason (Only When I Laugh), Susan Sarandon (Atlantic City), Meryl Streep (The French Lieutenant’s Woman)
As femme fatale Matty Walker in this neo-noir, Kathleen Turner made her film debut, but her performance makes it seem as though she’s been doing this forever—oozing the style, confidence and sensuality of a bygone era.

13. Steven SpielbergJaws (1975)
Overlooked for: Best Director
Nominated Instead: Milos Forman (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest), Robert Altman (Nashville), Federico Fellini (Amarcord), Stanley Kubrick (Barry Lyndon), Sidney Lumet (Dog Day Afternoon)
Sure, the directors’ category was pretty stacked in 1975, and it’s tough to decide who we’d bump to make room for him, but with Jaws, Steven Spielberg essentially created the summer blockbuster and forever changed how we see movies while laying the groundwork for the auteur’s impressive career—no small feat.

12. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Overlooked for: Best Picture
Nominated InsteadOliver!Funny GirlThe Lion in WinterRachel, RachelRomeo and Juliet
As we wrote when we declared this one of the slowest (but also greatest) movies of all time, “Straddling the boundary between art film and sci-fi epic, Stanley Kubrick’s space-age fantasia is loaded with arresting images. The legendary opening, with the apes and the bone—would you really want that passage hurried? The scene builds like a symphony, and then hurtles us into space, where the action moves with appropriate gravity. The menace of HAL is partly in the deliberateness with which he operates. If you’re looking for exploding Death Stars and quippy little alien creatures, you’ve come to the wrong place. Kubrick takes interstellar life seriously.” If you’re still not convinced, think about how visually stunning the film remains to this day and consider what it’d be like to watch it in 1968—before we’d even put a man on the moon.

11. Dennis HopperBlue Velvet (1986)
Overlooked for: Best Supporting Actor
Nominated Instead: Michael Caine (Hannah and Her Sisters), Tom Berenger (Platoon), Willem Dafoe (Platoon), Denholm Elliot (A Room With A View), Dennis Hopper (Hoosiers)
The Academy chose the wrong 1986 Dennis Hopper performance. He’s great in Hoosiers, but as Frank Booth in David Lynch’s Blue Velvet, he’s positively terrifying. Booth is one of the most memorable movie villains of all time—sometimes funny, frequently disturbing and always riveting. Plus, he was drinking PBRbefore it was cool.

10. The Dark Knight (2008)
Overlooked for: Best Picture
Nominated InsteadSlumdog MillionaireThe Curious Case of Benjamin ButtonFrost/NixonMilkThe Reader
The Dark Knight was more than just a movie; it was an event. Christopher Nolan’s sequel to Batman Begins managed to transcend genre and become much more than a simple comic-book movie. It’s a visually stunning morality tale that raises some important questions about good and evil, and Heath Ledger’s performance as The Joker—hideous, deranged and yet hugely charismatic—is one for the ages.

9. Bette Davis, Of Human Bondage (1934)
Overlooked for: Best Actress
Nominated Instead: Claudette Colbert (It Happened One Night), Grace Moore (One Night of Love), Norma Shearer (The Barretts of Wimpole Street)
There was such a massive public outcry when Bette Davis was snubbed for her star-making performance in Of Human Bondage that the Academy essentially owned up to their mistake and actually allowed a special write-in campaign to get her on the ballot.

8. Alfred Hitchcock, North By Northwest (1959) (but also basically every other film he made)
Overlooked for: Best Director
Nominated Instead: William Wyler (Ben-Hur), Jack Clayton (Room at the Top), Billy Wilder (Some Like It Hot), George Stevens (The Diary of Anne Frank), Fred Zinnerman (The Nun’s Story)
The fact that one of the greatest—if not the greatest—directors of all time never received a Best Director Oscar seems unreal and borderline criminal. Despite making almost 60 films, the lion’s share of which his directorial work is more than worthy of a nomination, Hitch was only nominated for the award five times and never won.

7. The Shining (1980)
Overlooked for: Best Picture
Nominated InsteadOrdinary PeopleCoal Miner’s DaughterThe Elephant ManRaging BullTess
Though it’s considered a classic today, The Shining failed to receive the recognition it deserved when it initially came out; in fact, it actually received two Razzie nominations—a Worst Actress nod for Shelley Duvall and a Worst Director nomination for Stanley Kubrick. Thankfully, audiences have since come to their senses and realized what a gem this Stephen King adaptation truly is.

6. Anthony Perkins, Psycho (1960)
Overlooked for: Best Actor
Nominated Instead: Burt Lancaster (Elmer Gantry), Spencer Tracy (Inherit The Wind), Trevor Howard (Sons and Lovers), Jack Lemmon (The Apartment), Laurence Olivier (The Entertainer)
Like the director himself, Alfred Hitchcock’s actors were historically overlooked by the Academy. As the villainous Norman Bates, Perkins played against type and delivered an iconic, creepy, yet wildly sympathetic performance. Norman’s a murderer with his dead mom stuffed in the attic, but he’s also a seemingly sweet, awkward guy who just got pushed to the brink by an unbearable relative. Hey, we all go a little mad sometimes, right?

5. Gene Kelly, Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
Overlooked for: Best Actor
Nominated Instead: Gary Cooper (High Noon), Marlon Brando (Viva Zapata!), Kirk Douglas (The Bad and the Beautiful), Jose Ferrer (Moulin Rouge), Alec Guinness (The Lavender Hill Mob)
The epitome of Old Hollywood glamour—and a triple threat if ever there was one—Gene Kelly received a special Oscar in 1952 (the same year he stunned in An American in Paris) for “his versatility as an actor, singer, director and dancer, and specifically for his brilliant achievements in the art of choreography on film.” That same year, he turned in arguably his most iconic performance in Singin’ In The Rain, but despite his exuding grace and pure joy in the titular number, the Academy rained on his parade at the following ceremony and failed to recognize him.

4. Sidney Poitier, In the Heat of the Night (1967)
Overlooked for: Best Actor
Nominated Instead: Rod Steiger (In the Heat of the Night), Warren Beatty (Bonnie and Clyde), Dustin Hoffman (The Graduate), Paul Newman (Cool Hand Luke), Spencer Tracy (Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner)
In 1967, Sidney Poitier starred in not one, but two extremely important films about race. At a time when Civil Rights tensions were boiling over, Poitier brought a glimpse of the African-American experience to the mainstream. His white co-stars (Rod Steiger for In the Heat of the Night and Spencer Tracy for Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner) were both nominated for their portrayals of men who must confront their own prejudices, but Poitier himself wasn’t rewarded for his work. His performance as homicide detective Virgil Tibbs in In the Heat of the Night is especially profound, as he brings a quiet, restrained anger to the performance.

3. Do The Right Thing (1989)
Overlooked for: Best Picture
Nominated InsteadDriving Miss DaisyBorn on the Fourth of JulyDead Poets SocietyField of Dreams,My Left Foot
As Scott Wold wrote when we declared it the third-best movie of the ’80s, “the violence of Do the Right Thing erupts as an extension of literal and metaphorical long-simmering neighborhood temperatures, and finally boils over as something of a catharsis while never coming off as mawkish, or giving audiences the ability to escape conversation after the credits roll. A remarkable cast sells the complicated relationship with their Brooklyn neighborhood flawlessly.” The titular “right thing” in the film is hazy and thought-provoking, but instead, Driving Miss Daisy—a story about race with a much more upbeat, Hollywood ending in which the two protagonists put aside their differences and share a piece of pie—took home the top prize.

2. Hoop Dreams (1994)
Overlooked for: Best Documentary Feature
Nominated InsteadMaya Lin: A Strong Clear VisionComplaints of a Dutiful DaughterD-Day RememberedFreedom on My MindA Great Day in Harlem
Hoop Dreams is one of the best films of the ‘90s—documentary or otherwise—and despite appearing on more critics’ Top 10 lists than any other movie in a stacked year that included Pulp FictionForrest Gumpand The Shawshank Redemption, it failed to make even the shortlist for the Oscars. There was (justifiable) outrage, and many campaigned for the film to be nominated for Best Picture, but sadly, director Steve James and his team got shafted. History repeated itself last year when James’ The Interrupters was overlooked as well.

1. Vertigo (1958)
Overlooked for: Best Picture, Best Actor (James Stewart), Best Director (Alfred Hitchcock)
Nominated Instead: Best Picture: GigiCat on a Hot Tin RoofAuntie MameSeparate TablesThe Defiant Ones
Vertigo is Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece, and it features frequent collaborator Jimmy Stewart’s finest performance. As we wrote when we declared it to be the best Hitchcock film, “His typically warm everyman on-screen persona is gone, and here he’s neurotic, cold and obsessed—and brilliant. It’s also regarded as Hitchcock’s most personal film; the idea of a man remaking a woman in the image of another he’s lost is often said to reflect the director’s decision to keep casting Grace Kelly-esque blondes after feeling abandoned by Kelly, who retired from acting in 1956.” So, what did Vertigo get at the Oscars? Squat, save for a few minor technical nominations. For shame, Academy voters, for shame.

 

— image taken from fineartamerica.com articles written by bonnie stiernberg for paste magazine

 

James McAvoy searches for a lost painting

The first trailer has gone online for Trance, Danny Boyle’s new film in which James McAvoy plays a fine art auctioneer with a light-fingered tendency to pocket some of the more expensive pieces that come his way.

All is going lucratively until McAvoy takes a bump on the head and forgets where he’s stashed the spoils of his latest heist. And it isn’t just a case of lost profit, since Vincent Cassel’s ringleader isn’t best pleased with McAvoy’s bungling.
Enter Rosario Dawson’s hypnotherapist, who is charged with extracting the info from McAvoy’s brain in order to recover the missing painting…
Take a look, below:
Above everything else, our predominant feeling about this one is that it seems like a whole heap of fun, with the plot rattling along at breakneck speed and McAvoy and co. clearly having a ball.
Co-starring Tuppence Middleton and Danny Sapani, Trance opens in the UK on 27 March 2013.

 

— article by george wales for totalfilm.com image from total film.com

_lastexorcism2-poster-sm
As Nell Sweetzer tries to build a new life after the events of the first movie, the evil force that once possessed her returns with an even more horrific plan.

Director:

Ed Gass-Donnelly

 

–image from screencrush.com words from imdb.com

_a-good-day-to-die-hard-trailer-bruce-willis-john-mclane

Release Date: February 14, 2013 (2D theaters and IMAX)
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Director: John Moore
Screenwriter: Skip Woods
Starring: Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney, Sebastian Koch, Yulia Snigir, Cole Hauser, Amaury Nolasco, Megalyn Echikunwoke, Anne Vyalitsyna
Genre: Action, Adventure
MPAA Rating: Not Available
Official Website: DieHardmovie.com | Facebook
Review: Not Available
DVD Review: Not Available
DVD: Not Available
Movie Poster: Not Available
Production Stills: View here

Plot Summary: Since the first “Die Hard” in 1988, John McClane has found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time, with the skills and attitude to always be the last man standing, making him enemy #1 for terrorists the world over. Now, McClane faces his greatest challenge ever, this time on an international stage, when his estranged son Jack is caught up in the daring prison escape of a rogue Russian leader, and father and son McClane must work together to keep each other alive and keep the world safe for democracy.

 

— words from comingsoon.net image taken from flickeringmyth.com

 

In the remake of the 1981 horror classic, kids in a cabin stir demonic trouble that really spoils their planned weekend in the woods.

Evil Dead Trailer Screengrab - H 2013
An update to the Sam Raimi-directed horror classic, this new film looks to up the ante on the strange mutations and excretions. Co-written by Oscar-winner Diablo Cody and the director, Fede Alvarez, the movie stars Jane Levy (theSuburgatory star, here with brown hair and a demon tearing apart her insides) and Shiloh Fernandez as two of five twenty-somethings who unlock ancient demons from a book (teaching college kids that books are their worst enemies).

The film, due for an April 2013 release, is the result of a long effort to remake the original, after three sequels continued the franchise’s legacy. It also comes on the heels of Raimi blocking the release of an unauthorized sequel.

— article made by jordan zakarin for hollywoodreporter.com

From ‘Avengers’ to ‘Argo’ and ‘Chronicle’ to ‘Cloud Atlas,’ THR’s fanboy expert counts down the movies that mattered in the nerd universe.

Ben Affleck Argo Set - H 2012

On paper, 2012 was supposed to be one of the greatest geek movie years ever. Ridley Scott back in sci-fi with Prometheus and Peter Jackson returning to Middle Earth withThe Hobbit. Pixar veteran Andrew Stanton was giving us Martians in live-action (John Carter) and the Wachowskis were taking on an “unfilmable” epic novel (Cloud Atlas). Not to mention new installments in the Batman, Spider-Man and Marvel sagas.

O

But when the dust settled, the landscape was a little different.

This was a great year for geeks, but it wasn’t the obvious films that made our blood course faster. Many out-of-left-field surprises made it on to this list of my favorite genre/animation/sci-fi/ films of the year.

PHOTOS: Todd McCarthy’s 10 Best Movies of 2012

(And just to be clear: This list excludes films such asSilver Linings Playbook and Zero Dark Thirty, which are excellent in their own fields. And time will of course color the rankings. For example, I’m still trying to reconcile my feeling towards The Hobbit, which features the best world-buiding of the year but also is bloated like a dwarf).

But with less than a week to go in 2012, let’s chew on this:

10) Wreck-It Ralph

This Disney CG-animated movie has simple premise: a video game villain from a classic game wants to be good for once. But from something that could easily have been just a tossed away short we surprisingly got a movie that reached Pixar heights in terms of character development, humor, heart, and even a plot twist or two. Probably the best all-ages movie of the year.

9) Cloud Atlas

Andy and Lana Wachowski teamed up with German director Tom Tykwer to adaptDavid Mitchell’s time-sprawling epic novel, in the process making the most ambitious movie of the year. Six stories spanning from the mid-1800s to the 24th century are chopped up, re-arranged and interconnected by structure. On top of that, the same actors play the various characters, sometimes switching gender on us. The movie insists you pay attention as it tells of acts whose effects ripple through time. Some parts work better than others and some of the actors are as inconsistent as their prosthetic make-up, but when it soars, as it does in the future Korea and post-apocalyptic Hawai’i installments, among others, it really soars. The Wachowski are in fine form working with their favorite themes of anti-authority and destiny, and Tom Hanks reminds us again of his great versatility.

8) Django Unchained

It’s funny: While Django Unchained is not in the top tier of Quentin Tarantino’s impressive oeuvre (it rambles too long and often lacks tension), it may be his boldest and most thought-provoking entry. Sure it’s a spaghetti Western and Blaxploitation flick in a big budget blender, but the movie, about a slave (Jamie Foxx) freed by a German bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz) on a quest to save his wife (Kerry Washington), forces you to examine your own inner feelings on racism. With its language and violence and strong performances, it does a better job at examining slavery in America than 95 percent of those self-important dramas made on the subject.

7) Frankenweenie

While we are firmly in the second decade of the 21st century, filled with cutting edge whiz-bang 3D CG animated movies, this was a banner year for stop-motion movies. The Pirates! Band of Misfits, Paranorman and Frankenweenie were all major releases in a medium that could be seen as stodgy. (Audience seem to think it is: the movies were not hits at the box office, after all.) But they are missing out on a deep well of creativity, with Tim Burton’sFrankenweenie the most audacious. Think about it: a black & white…stop-motion…1930s and 50s monster movies homage. Each of those is enough to make an exec reach for the Maalox, but combined? Man! Burton’s tale of a pet dog brought back to life by his science-loving young master is the filmmaker’s most personal and most satisfying film in years.

6) Skyfall

“Some times, the old ways are the best,” says a character in this James Bond movie. What’s amazing is that after 50 years, we get a Bond movie as vital, thrilling, entertaining, and timely as this. Skyfall, like many other late-season releases, goes on for too long and wobbles in its Straw Dogs-style ending. But the movie expertly juggles great set pieces, political intrigue and winks to the Sean Connery and  Roger Moore Bond eras while setting a 21st century course. And Daniel Craig captures the weariness of 007, but also his confidence and makes him a cool, sexy silver screen hero once again. It’s impossible to say if this is the best Bond ever since each 007 film is a reflection, good or bad, of its time. But it’s the Bond movie that we deserve right now.

5) Looper

Looper is part of the recent wave of original sci-fi movies. It’s more modest in scale than say Prometheus or Cloud Atlas but is just as ambitious in scope. Joseph Gordon-Levittis a hitman in the near future whose targets pop in, silver spoon-like, from a further future. One day his target is his future self, played by Bruce Willis. He falters, and now both hitmen are pursuing each other and their own agendas, which happen to revolve aroundEmily Blunt and her child. The movie needlessly goes Akira on us in the end, but even so, seeing Gordon-Levitt carry an action movie like he does, seeing Willis rise to writer-director’s Rian Johnson’s high bar, and seeing a complicated script be distilled in a simple but effective fashion, makes you feel safe knowing that while there may always be boring remakes and dutiful sequels in Hollywood, originality still blooms.

4) The Raid

The best action movie of the year. Director Gareth Evans’ tale is pretty simple – a SWAT team goes into a tenement to nap a drug lord and things so south fast – but the execution is not. The movie is filled with precisely choreographed fight sequences featuring an Indonesian form called sillat and a lot of machete mayhem and, like any great martial arts movie, is a wonder to behold.

3) Chronicle

The year’s other great superhero movie, although “hero” is what this movie seeks to define. The story of three teens who find themselves with superpowers, is tailored for our darker, more self-absorbed time, and can be seen as an antithesis of Avengers. With a breakthrough performance by Dane Dehaan, the found footage movie shows how an angst-ridden, down-trodden teen doesn’t take the path of a Peter Parker but rather, in the hands of director Josh Trank and screenwriters Max Landis,  the slow road to a tragic God-like complex.

2) The Avengers

In a year of some heavy-hitting superhero movies, this one reigned supreme. Yes, it had some plot holes big enough to fly the Helicarrier through, but no other movie was more enjoyable than this Marvel team-up. Director Joss Whedon made it about the characters (if you’ve ever read an Avengers comic from the 1960s, 70s or 80s, you know this movie nailed the heroes), their moments and their one-liners. It’s also one of the most immensely re-watchable movies of the year.

1) Argo

If someone said a Ben Affleck-directed period political thriller would be my favorite movie of the year, I’d have banished them into the Negative Zone. But it’s true. And even me knowing how the events of 1980 ended didn’t prevent me from being on the edge of my seat in a way that few other movies did. Argo succeeds in balancing three different worlds – Tehran, Washington and Hollywood – contrasting elements of office politics, Hollywood humor and undercover heist in telling the story of how the CIA concocted a fake movie in order to rescue six American hostages during the Iran Hostage Crisis. How is this Heat Vision material? Setting aside the heist thriller aspect, there’s the backdrop of the making of a sci-fi epic, Planet of the Apes‘ Oscar-winning make up artist John Cambers (played by John Goodman) is a major supporting character, it’s filled with Star Wars references and even ends with a shot of the classic action figures. Deceased comics legend Jack Kirby even makes a fleeting appearance as a silent character, for crying out loud. Who knew that when a full-page Argo ad ran in the trades in 1980 for the fake movie that 32 years later the movie would be an awards contender?

 

–compiled by borys for hollywoodreporter.com

Roger Ebert Names ‘Argo’ As The Best Movie Of 2012

While there have been many, many 2012 lists and recaps, the year isn’t over until Roger Ebert weighs in with his favorites, and today he’s done so, dropping his list of the best movies he saw in 2012. And as usual, it’s a mix of more popular choices, with some love shown to smaller, foreign films that might not get the shine otherwise.
Ben Affleck‘s “Argo” got the top shelf slot from Roger, with auteurs generally ruling the roost, with Ang Lee,Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis all getting their films onto the top ten. Indie faves “Arbitrage,” “The Sessions” and “Beasts Of The Southern Wild” also ranked, but what will stand out most are the ninth and tenth slots. Joachim Trier‘s patient and melancholy “Oslo, August 31” gets some love from Ebert, as does “A Simple Life,” the film by Ann Hui that is Hong Kong’s official selection for the Oscars this year. It didn’t make the shortlist, but consider its profile raised considerably. And yes, he saw “Zero Dark Thirty,” but he didn’t fall in with the rest of the critics who put it at the top of their list.

Here’s Roger’s ten movies below, but hit his blog to get this thoughts on all of them. And our best wishes to Roger for a full recovery after recently suffering a hip fracture.

Roger Ebert’s Top Movies Of 2012

1. Argo
2. Life Of Pi
3. Lincoln
4. End Of Watch
5. Arbitrage
6. Flight
7. The Sessions
8. Beasts Of The Southern Wild
9. Oslo, August 31
10. A Simple Life

— made by kevin jaggernauth for blogs.indiewire.com

 

First 4 minutes of ‘Warm Bodies‘ offers a look inside the mind of a zombie: Watch

’50/50′ director Jonathan Levine helms the undead rom-com adaptation

_warmbodies2_620_120312

Zombie R (Nicholas Hoult) has a “conversation” with a fellow member of the undead in “Warm Bodies.”

“What am I doing with my life? I’m so pale. I should get out more. I should eat better. My posture is terrrible. I should stand up straighter. People would respect me more if I stood up straighter. What’s wrong with me? I just want to connect. Why can’t I connect with people?”

If you’ve ever found yourself having thoughts like these, you’re not so unlike “R” (Nicholas Hoult), the undead protagonist of director Jonathan Levine’s (“50/50”) upcoming zombie rom-com “Warm Bodies.” Indeed, these are the opening lines of the young flesh-eater’s interior monologue in the first four minutes of the film, which Summit Entertainment has now made available for your holiday-viewing pleasure.

Based on the 2011 novel of the same name by Isaac Marion, the film centers on the relationship that develops between R and a teenage girl named Julie (Teresa Palmer) after the former devours the brains of Julie’s boyfriend Perry (Dave Franco) – an action that allows him to experience the memories of the young woman’s paramour and consequently develop romantic feelings for her.

Though the book was championed by the likes of “Twilight” author Stephenie Meyer and the resulting film financed by the studio behind the wildly-popular teen-vamp franchise, this first look suggests a far more sophisticated (and less self-serious) treatment of the supernatural than that offered by its blockbuster predecessor. Check out the full video below and let us know what you think.

“Warm Bodies” hits theaters on February 1.

 

–by chris eggertsen for hitfix.com

_crossfire181012w
Paste’s Best of 2012 series continues through Dec. 31 and is made possible by our friends at Tretorn.

When all your favorite bands are on Twitter and Instagram, it can seem like you’ve got the inside scoop on all that goes on off stage. But there’s nothing like a well-crafted documentary to see what went into the music you love so dearly. This year saw directors like Spike Lee, Jonathan Demme and Kevin Macdonald filming some iconic music legends. But it also showed that little-known filmmakers documenting smaller acts can create just as a powerful a story. Here are the 10 Best Music Documentaries of 2012.

10. How to Grow a Band
Director: Mark Meatto
A good film—and a good band, for that matter—can be much like The Wizard of Oz. If everything goes just right, if the curtain doesn’t get pulled back, then the audience can find itself part of a great and powerful experience. But with How To Grow A Band, director Mark Meatto proves that, sometimes, a look behind the curtain can yield just as amazing of an experience. Meatto followed the folk-formal-fusion-but-don’t-you-dare-call-it-bluegrass band Punch Brothers for two years: on tour, in studio, on the street, in the living room, in comfort and in flux. The portrait of the band that emerges is clear and precise. We come to know the band so well that the music is comfortingly familiar by film’s end; we come to the know the band members so well that we can hear each individual personality filter through each song. And that’s what How To Grow A Band is really about. Meatto shows us how five virtuosos come together to take traditional music in a new direction.—Joan Radell

9. Bad25
Director: Spike Lee
Airing on ABC on Thanksgiving Day, Spike Lee delved deep into Michael Jackson’s Bad—both the album and the tour—a quarter century after its release. With no more records to break after Thriller, Jackson poured the pressure on himself, pushing himself and everyone around him to take things even bigger. With current interviews with folks like Quincy Jones and Martin Scorsese (who directed the BAD short film) and historical interviews with Jackson, Bad25 captures the moment in pop history. But it’s the candid moments that are most special. While the TV version was just over an hour, you can see the full 123-minute documentary coming to DVD in February, including a clip of Jackson dancing with Sheryl Crow, a section on his purchase of the Beatles’ catalog and interviews with Stevie Wonder and the Biebs.

8. Carol Channing: Larger Than Life
Director: Dori Berinstein
Carol Channing is such an endearing, sharp, funny personality that director Dori Berinstein could easily have just thrown her camera on a tripod, have the 90-year-old musical theater legend spin anecdotes for an hour and a half, and had a great documentary. Thankfully, what she made is even better. Sure, Channing still tells those stories about her life and stage career in her paradoxically inimitable-yet-oft-imitated style. But there are also heartfelt testimonies from fellow actors and personalities, most legends in their own right, about how talented and genuine she is. Carol Channing: Larger than Life is like a warm cinematic hug from Shubert Alley, not to be missed by anyone with even the remotest passing interest in Channing or Broadway history.—Dan Kaufman

7. Crossfire Hurricane
Director: Brett Morgan
Oscar-nominated documentarian Brett Morgan (On the Ropes) interviewed The Rolling Stones on the eve of the band’s 50th anniversary. “No cameras were allowed in the room,” he lets us know at the beginning of Crossfire Hurricane. But immediately we’re taken back to one of the band’s earliest tours of America, where they reigned as the bad boys to The Beatles’ cleaner image. With tons of concert clips, interview footage and backstage moments—much of which was previously unreleased—it’s an entertaining story about natural entertainers. Courtney Love liked it enough to invite Morgan to helm the upcoming Kurt Cobain documentary.

6. Neil Young: Journeys
Director: Jonathan Demme
Neil Young Journeys is director Jonathan Demme’s documentary of the last two nights of Young’s solo world tour performing at Toronto’s Massey Hall. The uncut performances, almost entirely from his 2010 album Le Noise, are interspersed with footage of Young driving around his hometown of Omemee, Ontario, in a 1956 Crown Victoria. In the car, he tells stories about his childhood, showing Demme the places where he grew up, almost all of which have been completely destroyed. Demme’s third documentary about Young assumes that his audience has a deep biographical knowledge of Young, but it’s enchanting to watch. There’s a reason he has had such a long and successful career as a musician and performer: watching him is enthralling and, at times, chill-inducing. The film offers a rare chance to experience an incredibly intimate performance from a rock-and-roll icon.—Emily Kirkpatrick

When all your favorite bands are on Twitter and Instagram, it can seem like you’ve got the inside scoop on all that goes on off stage. But there’s nothing like a well-crafted documentary to see what went into the music you love so dearly. This year saw directors like Spike Lee, Jonathan Demme and Kevin Macdonald filming some iconic music legends. But it also showed that little-known filmmakers documenting smaller acts can create just as a powerful a story. Here are the 10 Best Music Documentaries of 2012.

5. Big Easy Express
Director: Emmett Malloy
What happens when you have all the members of Mumford & Sons, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros and Old Crow Medicine Show on an old, historic train traveling 2,800 miles throughout the American Southwest playing shows in the unlikeliest of places? Lots of jamming, a set with a high-school band and a hell of a lot of fun. If you have any interest in the Americana/folk-pop movement, Big Easy Express will give you a glimpse into its motivation, showing even those now-enormous pop stars in Mumford playing around in their roots.

4. Under African Skies
Director: Joe Berlinger
Joe Berlinger’s fascinating, immersive documentary Under African Skies celebrates the 25th anniversary of Paul Simon’s landmark Graceland album and examines the firestorm of controversy that it ignited.The narrative core of the film is Simon’s 2011 return to South Africa to stage a reunion concert and, most poignantly, a conversation between him and Dali Tambo about their opposing stances 25 years ago and where they find themselves today. To his credit, Berlinger presents all arguments impartially and leaves the viewer to come to his or her own terms with Simon’s motives and actions.—Clay Steakley

3. Marley
Director: Kevin Macdonald
It’s not entirely clear why director Kevin Macdonald decided to make a documentary about the musician Bob Marley, a cultural icon whose life has been recounted countless times through a variety of mediums. Macdonald claims it’s because he wants to understand why Marley continues to speak to legions of fans around the world. Whatever his reasons, he’s clearly up to the task. Marley offers an expansive and at times fascinating perspective on the man through interviews with his fellow former Wailers, family, and childhood friends. The film is fairly detailed concerning Marley’s songwriting and musicianship from his early ska days up through the release of Catch a Fire. After this, however, it skips through his catalogue, choosing to focus more on his personal life, conversion to Rastafarianism, the tumultuous state of Jamaican politics, and his prolific womanizing—all of which are important elements of the artist’s character.—Jonah Flicker

2. Searching for Sugar Man
Director: Malik Bendjelloul
“The Story of the Forgotten Genius” is such a well-worn formula for music documentaries that it was already being parodied more than three decades ago in This is Spinal Tap. In Searching for Sugar Man, as Swedish director Malik Bendjelloul begins to tell the story of Rodriguez—the Dylanesque folk rocker who released two apparently brilliant albums in the early 1970s, then disappeared—it appears he’s traveling a familiar road. But that road takes a sharp left turn when we learn that bootleg recordings catapulted Rodriguez to stratospheric heights of fame in apartheid-era South Africa. (When a record-store owner is asked if Rodriguez was as big as the Rolling Stones, he matter-of-factly replies “Oh, much bigger than that.”). In fact, his uncensored depictions of sex and drugs were so thrilling to South African musicians that he became the patron saint of the Afrikaner punk movement, which in turn laid the groundwork for the organized anti-apartheid movement that eventually brought the regime down. It’s just a shame that Rodriguez never lived to see it—he burned himself to death onstage in the middle of a show. Or overdosed in prison. Or shot himself alone in his apartment. Or… could he still be alive? Bendjelloul’s film manages to create an aura of mystery and suspense around a search that actually unfolded 14 years ago—a “detective documentary” set in the very recent past.—Michael Dunaway

1. Shut Up and Play the Hits
Directors: Will Lovelace and Dylan Southern
A year ago, hundreds of friends and thousands of fans converged on Madison Square Garden for LCDSoundsystem’s farewell performance. All the while, the cameras were rolling, resulting in Shut Up And Play the Hits, a documentary that follows James Murphy and the band in the days leading up to, during and after the tumultuous four-hour farewell. Directors Will Lovelace and Dylan Southern use a staggering number of cameras and crosscut liberally to provide an experience that’s arguably even better than seeing the band live (okay, maybe not quite that good but…). And the scenes outside the concert footage are equally compelling. —Michael Dunaway/Bo Moore

— articles by josh jackson for paste magazine. image from uncut.co.uk
%d bloggers like this: