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Tag: Documentary (1-10 of 40)

'Sonic Highways' premiere react: Foo Fighters dig into musical roots for impressive documentary

Recording an album is tough, but after 20 years of producing music, the most difficult aspect may be keeping the process fresh. The Foo Fighters took that concept to a new level while creating their latest album, due out in November–they toured the United States, recording each song in a different city, hoping that the music scene of the area would influence the track.

But Dave Grohl didn’t just want to record Sonic Highways–he decided to document the experience, interviewing figures important to each city’s musical history for a documentary series that shares the album’s name. In turn, those interviews shaped the album, as Grohl fashioned his lyrics out of the words of his documentary subjects.

So Sonic Highways attempts to be three different things–a history of music in America, the story of what inspired the Foo Fighters, particularly Dave Grohl, and a behind-the-scenes look at the music production process. Having to serve so many masters unfortunately detracts from the ultimate impact of each story thread, but the show’s ambition and actual construction are fascinating enough for anyone interested in American music, Foo Fighters fan or not, that Sonic Highways is still a unique and enjoyable look into the country’s defining musical history.

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What I'm Watching Now: HBO's 'Captivated' reveals why we love vilifying pretty girls

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If you’ve already binge-watched every critically acclaimed show out there and are wondering what to do next, TV critic Melissa Maerz has a few suggestions. Her column, “What I’m Watching Now,” is devoted to the best underhyped series on television (or Amazon, or Netflix, or whatever iDevice you’re using), whether they’re just premiering or have been lingering on your friends’ season pass queues for years.

Why do we love to watch pretty girls suffer?

I thought about that question a lot while watching Captivated: The Trials of Pamela Smart, a fascinating documentary that airs August 18 on HBO. Now, upon hearing the name “Pamela Smart,” your brain probably sorted through its file cabinet and plucked out this photo, recalling the 24-year-old blonde and her 1991 murder trial. I thought I knew all the details myself. Smart was a high school teacher who slept with her teenage student, Billy Flynn, right? She seduced Flynn with bikini- and lingerie-clad photos of herself, then told him she’d never sleep with him again unless he killed her husband, right? And Flynn and his friends did kill the husband, but Smart was the one who became infamous: Helen Hunt played her in a TV movie called Murder in New Hampshire, and then Nicole Kidman played her in Gus Van Sant’s 1995 film, To Die For. And now everyone knows the story by heart. Right?

Not so much. After watching Captivated, the only thing I knew for certain was that I didn’t know anything. And I’m not the only one: Even people involved in the case sometimes get the details wrong. As the first trial ever broadcast on television, Smart’s case sparked a media frenzy, making it difficult to separate the facts from the more salacious spin offered by the tabloid-driven talk shows whose popularity was peaking at the time. (Geraldo Rivera once asked, “Isn’t this trial by television?”) It turns out that Smart wasn’t Flynn’s teacher. He was a student at the same high school where she worked as an administrator. Those photos? They weren’t taken for Flynn’s benefit. Smart’s girlfriends snapped them, hoping to create a modeling portfolio for her. And the murder? Twenty-three years later, Smart still insists that Flynn acted on his own.

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Martin Scorsese's doc 'The 50 Year Argument' gets premiere date on HBO

Martin Scorsese’s latest documentary, The 50 Year Argument, is set to premiere on HBO Sept. 29 at 9 p.m. ET.

The documentary, directed by Scorsese and David Tedeschi, looks at The New York Review of Books and its founding editor Robert Silvers. “I have learned so much over the years from The New York Review of Books—it’s given me so much that I jumped at the chance to make this film,” Scorsese said in a press release. “And [Tedeschi] and I both welcomed the challenge of making a film that reflected what is so unique about the Review, really, a film about the adventure of thought, and, as Colm Toibin puts it, the sensuality of ideas.”

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Miley Cyrus 'Bangerz Tour' documentary coming to NBC in July

Get ready for two hours of Miley just being Miley: Next month, NBC will air Miley Cyrus: Bangerz Tour, a two-hour documentary special featuring behind-the-scenes and live performance footage from upcoming concerts in Spain and Portugal. READ FULL STORY

Kobe Bryant documentary a slam dunk for Showtime

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As Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant prepares for his much-anticipated return to the NBA next season, Showtime is set to air its original documentary Kobe Bryant’s Muse, an in-depth look into the life, inspirations, and challenges facing the athlete.  The feature-length documentary will air in the fall and is directed by Gotham Chopra (Decoding Deepak, ESPN’s upcoming 30 For 30 film, The Little Master). Bryant himself is the executive producer. READ FULL STORY

First look at HBO's Bruce Springsteen documentary 'High Hopes' -- VIDEO

HBO has just released the first look at High Hopes, the documentary chronicling the making of Bruce Springsteen’s 18th studio album.

In the clip, The Boss talks about the emotional impetus behind the album, also titled High Hopes, and how collaborator Tom Morello, guitarist for Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave, served as “the glue” of the project.

The film reunites Springsteen with filmmaker Thom Zimny, who previously directed The Promise: The Making of ‘Darkness on the Edge of Town’ in 2010. It will feature interviews, behind-the-scenes studio and rehearsal segments, and exclusive E Street Band tour footage.

High Hopes premieres April 4 at 9:30 p.m. ET on HBO.

Britney Spears documentary tanked in ratings

Britney Spears’ residency at Las Vegas’ Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino begins tonight, and while people may be anticipating the show, they weren’t that excited about E!’s two-hour documentary, I Am Britney Jean, following the four months of preparation for it. USA Today reports the Dec. 22 premiere garnered just 706,000 viewers. As of now, you can catch the full documentary here, though the first riveting question Spears is asked — “What’s your favorite bubble gum?”* — may have you switching YouTube channels. READ FULL STORY

Where has Miley's mother been? 'Right beside her,' according to doc -- VIDEO

For the past few months, wild child Miley Cyrus has provoked one question from professional pearl-clutchers: “Where on Earth is that poor girl’s mother?!” (And fine, maybe one more: “Won’t somebody PLEASE think of the children?!”)

The answer? “My mom is my homie,” Miley says in a clip from her upcoming MTV documentary. “If I win, she wins — not because she’s my manager; because she’s my mom.”

As for “anyone that’s ever said, ‘Where’s her mother?'” adds Tish Cyrus, the answer is “right beside her — through good, through bad, through arguments, through crying, through I don’t care what — right there.” Though foam finger thrusting, through naked pendulum swinging, through hour upon hour of tongue aerobics…

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Bill Paxton to narrate 'JFK: The Final Hours' documentary -- EXCLUSIVE

Leading up to the Nov. 10 premiere of its original movie Killing Kennedy starring Rob Lowe as JFK, the National Geographic Channel will debut a two-hour documentary titled JFK: The Final Hours narrated by Bill Paxton on Nov. 8. It features first-hand accounts from people who were among the last to interact with the president on the day of his assassination 50 years ago. Why is Paxton a fitting choice for narrator? He was actually among the crowd gathered in the parking lot of Fort Worth’s Hotel Texas, where Kennedy gave one of his last public speeches just hours before his death on Nov. 22, 1963. Paxton’s the child sitting on someone’s shoulders in the photo above. “I was eight years old that day, and I remember thinking it was like seeing a movie star,” Paxton says in the announcement. “There stood a man at the peak of his life and his career, but little did he or any of us know that in three hours he would be murdered in cold blood.”

In addition to restored footage shot by a White House film crew following Kennedy that day, JFK: The Final Hours features: READ FULL STORY

New ESPN '30 for 30' sports docs include 'Tonya and Nancy'

The knee whack heard ’round the world will be revisited near the 20th anniversary of the rivalry between Olympic figure skaters Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding, as one of six new documentaries on ESPN’s 30 for 30 series.

The series’ second season begins Oct. 1 with “Hawaiian: The Legend of Eddie Aikau,” about the big wave surfer and lifeguard.

It wraps up Nov. 5 with “Tonya and Nancy,” a look back at the Jan. 6, 1994, incident in which Kerrigan was clubbed on the knee after practice for the U.S. championships in a plot masterminded by Harding’s ex-husband. The film includes new interviews with Harding and people close to Kerrigan.

ESPN Films Vice President Connor Schell said Wednesday that they’re still trying to persuade Kerrigan to do an interview. She has mostly shunned the spotlight to focus on raising her family.

“Several people close to her have done interviews,” he told the Television Critics Association summer meeting. “We’re still working to get Nancy and hope by November that we do.”
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ESPN's 'Nine for IX' starts with Whoopi Goldberg-produced doc -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

Basketball coach Vivian Stringer is maybe most famous outside the sports world for her role as a spokeswoman during the Don Imus scandal, when the former radio host made racist and sexist remarks about Stringer’s players. But there’s much more to Stringer’s career and life — maybe too much even for Coach, the new ESPN documentary about her.

The film kicks off a new series called Nine for IX: Nine documentaries airing over nine weeks for the 40th anniversary of Title IX. We spoke with the doc’s director, Bess Kargman, about working with Stringer — and Coach‘s producer, Whoopi Goldberg.

See an exclusive clip from the documentary, and read our Q&A, below. READ FULL STORY

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