Doc News: “Being Elmo” Hits Theaters October 21 (Plus Two Cute New Teasers)

Back in May, Submarine Entertainment announced it would release Constance Marks’ cute and heartwarming Kevin Clash profile, “Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey,” this fall for an Oscar-qualifying run before quickly hitting DVD and then PBS. Now the distributor has unveiled its theatrical strategy, and it appears to be a more substantial run than previously hinted at. There’s a possibility the doc’s ongoing acclaim and festival success (including recent wins in Traverse City and Nantucket) got Submarine thinking bigger, so following an October 21 bow at NYC’s IFC Center, they will take it around the U.S. through November and December. For already booked dates/cinemas head over to /Film.

After seeing the film at Sundance, I wrote the following in my Cinematical recap:

Many Sundance attendees fell for Special Jury winner ‘Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey,’ but it’s probably too short and simple to be a substantial theatrical title. And while kids seemed to enjoy it out in Park City, I don’t know that a documentary about the guy who operates their favorite Muppet is as appealing as simply watching ‘Sesame Street’ or an Elmo home video.

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Doc News: Disney and Ben Stiller Remaking “Quantum Hoops”

Doc-makers, a word of creative and financial advice: rather than jumping ship and taking a paycheck to direct a generic Hollywood comedy, instead direct a decent nonfiction film with a feel-good narrative that could easily be adapted into a generic Hollywood comedy. But not too decent, because nobody is ever going to remake a film like “Hoop Dreams” — but maybe “Racing Dreams” (eventually) and now definitely “Quantum Hoops” (more advice: someone make a doc titled “Quantum Racing” right away — whether or not it’s about the sailing team of that name). According to Deadline, Disney is teaming up with Ben Stiller‘s Red Hour production company and doc-maker Rick Greenwald for a dramatic redo of Greenwald’s little known 2007 sports doc, and screenwriter Stan Chervin (“Moneyball”) has been hired to pen the adaptation.

The original “Quantum,” which features narration by David Duchovny, follows the Caltech Beavers at the end of the 2006 basketball season. Known as maybe the worst college team ever, the Beavers had at the time not won a conference game in 21 years, or any game in 11. Of course, they go to Caltech, so they’re total nerds, but perhaps they just needed the right coach… You get the picture, but you likely haven’t seen the film, and that’s probably to Disney and Red Hour’s preference. Theatrically the doc earned only $7,000 and it’s currently not even on Netflix. It is on DVD (and Amazon VOD), however, so Netflix’s status is part of the annoying issue I wrote about recently in my Movies.com column (everyone click the “save” button on the “Quantum Hoops” page now). I haven’t seen it yet either, but I’m still curious who they’ll get to star, as coach Roy Dow (seen in this video), as I can’t think of a single actor who resembles the guy. Maybe it’s the baldness that’s throwing me off.

Check out the trailer for the original “Quantum Hoops” after the jump.

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Doc Review: “Superheroes”

Tonight, Michael Barnett’s “Superheroes” is the latest film to premiere as part of HBO’s Summer Series program of new documentaries. A sufficiently fascinating look at real-life costumed crusaders (like a true “Kick-Ass”) around the U.S., it wasn’t produced by HBO, so it’s great that the doc is airing on the cable network in general, let alone was chosen as part of this weekly spotlight. Obviously the geek niche appeal figures into the deal since it’s hardly as well-crafted as some of the other titles included in the series this year (it does look a whole lot better than “Sex Crimes Unit,” at least). But as silly as much of it is, there are a lot of great points made beneath the surface of the characters’ showcases. For real real-life superheroes, I recommend you seek out Steve James’ “The Interrupters,”┬ábut this doc is worth checking out too.

I excitedly started following “Superheroes” in early January, in anticipation of its Slamdance unveiling. From there I reviewed the doc for Cinematical, in which I noted it’d be popular enough through VOD and online outlets. HBO is an even greater place for it to debut. Here’s an excerpt from the review:

The film doesn’t exactly mean to make fun of the characters, but it is easy to laugh at much of what they do and say in the film. Some, like Master Legend are sillier and less intelligent than others. But I have to admit to feeling guilty in finding humor in their idiocy, just as I’m led to feel at the end of ‘Dinner for Schmucks.’ It’s okay, though, since a lot of the RLSH represented don’t seem to mind being viewed as a joke as long as they’re visible and can thereby bring awareness to the causes they’re fighting for.

Often ‘Superheroes’ comes off as also being more about the problems of the world than the costumed crusaders on screen. Through people like “Zetaman,” “Life,” “Mr. Extreme” and the simply named “Super Hero,” we are made to think about the issues of homelessness and violent crime, as well as police corruption and bureaucracy that lead to the necessity for these RLSHs to pop up in cities across the nation.

Watch the film’s trailer and a bunch of clips after the jump, and hopefully you’ll tune in tonight at 9pm for more.

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