Documentary Review: ‘Life Itself’

li

Ebert would have loved this: It does not gloss over major events that tarnish his star – his alcoholism, his pettiness, even his face. This is not simply a chronicle of the critic’s final few months, rather it’s an overview of his life, aptly so, I suppose, as it’s adapted, in part, from Ebert’s memoir Life Itself.

Ebert was born in Urbana, Illinois, about an hour and a half south of Chicago, and grew up early on recognizing that he had a considerable talent for writing. In his mid-twenties, he began writing movie reviews for The Chicago Sun-Times, winning a Pulitzer Prize for his work in 1975. Around that time, too, he teamed up with Gene Siskel, forming something of the U.S.’s popular critical consensus for nearly 25 years.

Most of those beats you probably know, and director Steve James (Hoop Dreams) does an excellent job filling them in, yes, with interviews from those who knew Roger best during those times, and passages from the book, but even more so with a deft pace aided by short interspersions of Roger today, or at least Roger in 2012. These diversions are, thankfully, less a study in courage than a testament to stubbornness, wit, or another key personality trait that maintained while the body faded away.

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‘The Sheik’ Documentary Takes Fans Behind the Curtain of Wrestling’s Greatest Villain

The Sheik

It’s very easy to look at a personality like the Iron Sheik and make some flash judgments about him. Like many wrestlers from the seventies and eighties,  he wasn’t just a character to the audience. The Iron Sheik was everything he claimed to be. Going head to head with Hulk Hogan, the Iron Sheik helped usher in the era of Hulkamania. He would turn one of America’s heroes against it when he took the real life G.I. Joe, Sergeant Slaughter and made him an Iraqi sympathizer. But by being so hated, he lead a generation of wrestling fans through an emotional journey. But that is only half of his story.

The Sheik is a documentary that debuted last month at the Hot Docs International Film Festival in Toronto that helps fill in all the blanks and brings to light many things that most people who are even fans of the Sheik may not even be aware of. The one that stands out the most that you’ll see in the trailer below is that while he was America’s biggest foe in the ring, he was in fact living the American dream that he escaped Iran to fulfill. Created by Iranian-Canadian twins Page and Jian Magen and joined by commentary from the likes of the Rock, Jim Ross, Jake Roberts, Mick Foley and over 25 celebrities, the Sheik’s story unfolds for audiences as they see there is more to this man than four letter word filled Twitter rants and spitting on the USA.

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Whiskey & Waffles Present: ‘Racist XBox’

Racist XBox

When the original Kinect launched in 2010, it is safe to say the peripheral had a share of flaws. It wasn’t as detailed as one would expect and couldn’t detect hands and fingers the way it was originally designed to. It also had a hard time reading individuals under a certain height. Considering Microsoft was trying to drive kids to play games like Kinectimals with the controllerless gaming, that was up there in the list of top functionality f&#* ups from them.

One that also seemed to be an issue was the rumor that the Kinect also had trouble reading people with darker skin tone. This lead to the premise that the Kinect was actually racist.

The team at Whiskey and Waffles joined up with Sandwich Productions (because the combination just sounded too damn tasty to ignore) and created the mocumentary simply entitled Racist XBox. We were thrilled with the end result and just how awesome WallE looked as a forensic scientist. We won’t spoil anything here but I will say there is a little bit of mature language so I wouldn’t go showing this to your 10 year old.

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Check Out Corey Vidal and Shay Carl’s ‘Vlogumentary’

Vlogumentary

Only five days after hitting the web, the Vlogumentary trailer is approaching 800,000 views. The documentary about video blogging is directed by Corey Vidal, and executive produced by Shay Carl. The two veteran vloggers released the trailer during a main stage presentation at last week’s VidCon 2013 to thunderous applause and plenty of tears.

Vlogumentary, which was previously titled I’m Vlogging Here, looks to be a poignant and honest portrayal of the impact of web video. The film explores the beginnings of many of the most popular YouTube channels as well as the art of vlogging.

Prominent YouTubers such as John and Hank Green (Vlogbrothers), Grace Helbig (Daily Grace), Toby Turner (Tobuscus) and many more are featured alongside dozens of lesser-known vloggers. Vlogumentary is set to release later this year.

Take a look after the break.

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Kickstarter Watch: ‘Legends of the Knight’ Batman Documentary

Legends of the Knight

Most of what you have seen in the past on the Kickstarter Watch has been gaming related. For the most part, we don’t even get a chance to look at every Kickstarter campaign email that gets sent to us because there are so many out there. But when we got the press release about Legends of the Knight using Kickstarter to help them finish off production, there was something special about this project that made us click through and watch the trailer (which you can see embedded at the bottom of this article).

Growing up as lifelong comics fans, it was impossible to not know who Batman was. Whether you were a Marvel guy or even didn’t like Superman because he was just too powerful, almost everyone in or around the industry has a soft spot for the Batman.

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