Steve James directed one of the best sports documentaries of all time with Hoop Dreams. The film is a thoughtful and emotional look at where the love of the game and its pressures interact with the harsh realities of day-to-day life. Unfortunately, his return to the sports documentary genre, Head Games, simply raises awareness about a topic. It has an important issue at its core—sports-related concussions and the resulting chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE)—but James never gets past establishing the problem, restating the problem, and then focusing on whether or not parents should let their kids play violent sports. Head Games doesn’t offer any easy answers, but it also doesn’t get to the larger questions regarding our enjoyment of violent sports and the financial incentives to keep the status quo.
If you need further proof that Roger Ebert is one of the greatest film critics of all time, consider the fact that he’s writing some of the best and most thoughtful essays and reviews at age 70, over forty years after he began his career as a professional film critic. His 2011 memoir Life Itself is a fascinating read, and now a trio of filmmaking giants has optioned the book for a documentary. Ebert broke the news himself on Twitter:
“Whoa! My memoir has been optioned for a doc by Steve James (“Hoop Dreams”) and Steven Zaillian, with Martin Scorsese as exec producer.”
So that’s Steve James, director of one of the best documentaries of all time (Hoop Dreams), Oscar-winning screenwriter Steven Zaillian (Schindler’s List, Moneyball), and Mr. Martin Scorsese. Hit the jump for more, including a reaction from Ebert and the synopsis for his memoir.
Steve James, who previously directed the brilliant sports documentary Hoop Dreams along with last year’s critically acclaimed doc The Interrupters, has returned to the sports world to explore the serious issue of concussions in Head Games. It’s an issue that has recently jumped to the forefront of sports discussions as more athletes suffer the injury that can lead to not only permanent brain damage, but in some cases, suicide. Of course, no one is willing to simply shut down all contact sports, so what’s the solution? Do we stop kids from playing? Should other sports follow the NFL’s lead when it comes to fining certain kinds of hits (although there’s no penalty for sending a concussed player back on to the field; just ask Colt McCoy)? It’s a rich topic, and James has proven time and again that he has the tools to explore it thoughtfully.
Hit the jump to check out the trailer. The film will have a limited release in September, but people who want to see the film can try to put together a screening through Tugg.
On the heels of announcing their nominees for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film for 2011, the Directors Guild of America have announced their nominations for Best Documentary Director. The nominees are Joe Berlinger & Bruce Sinofsky for Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory, Steve James for The Interrupters, James Marsh for Project Nim, Richard Press for Bill Cunningham New York, and Martin Scorsese for George Harrison: Living in the Material World. Scorsese also picked up DGA nomination this year for Hugo, which brings his total number of nominations to ten. He previously won for The Departed.
While I’m rooting for Project Nim, this is a fine collection of nominees. It’s much better than the Academy’s short list, which only includes Project Nim, Paradise Lost 3, and Bill Cunningham New York. The winner of the DGA’s 2011 Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary will be announced January 28th.
A new trailer for Steve James’ documentary The Interrupters has been released. James is responsible for 1994’s Hoop Dreams, which is widely regarded as one of the best documentaries of all time. In The Interrupters, the director takes on violence in inner-city Chicago, examining how it affects the lives of those involved both directly and indirectly. Matt caught the film at Sundance, and while he found its premise honorable, he ultimately thought the pacing and runtime killed the movie as a whole.
Hit the jump to watch the trailer.
Steve James’ documentary The Interrupters takes a strong subject, features compelling central figures, and is completely destroyed by its unwieldy runtime. While James’ 1994 film Hoop Dreams was almost three hours in length, it never felt long because the story had momentum and a clear goal. By contrast, The Interrupters feels redundant and aimless. It’s endlessly frustrating to watch an honorable documentary be destroyed by poor pacing. James’ desire to pay tribute to a group of modern-day heroes stops him from telling their story in the best way possible.
A trailer and poster for Oscar-nominee Steve James’ (Hoop Dreams) documentary The Interrupters have landed online. The film, which will premiere at the upcoming 2011 Sundance Film Festival, follows the lives of three “violence interrupters” in inner-city Chicago as they attempt to dissuade the type of physical violence they themselves once utilized. Although my own knowledge of the film spans only as far as the four-and-a-half-minute trailer takes me, James is one of my favorite documentary filmmakers and is a fellow Southern Illinois University alum to boot. As such, it’s a lock that I’ll be checking out The Interrupters as soon as possible.
To check out both the trailer and the poster for yourself, hit the jump.
We’re bringing you the first images from films that will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January, and today we bring you the first images from two documentaries that will premiere out-of-competition at the prestigious festival: Becoming Chaz and The Interrupters. Becoming Chaz follows female-born Chastity Bono (daughter of Sonny and Cher) and her deeply personal journey in transitioning from female to male.
The Interrupters comes from Steve James, director of the highly acclaimed 1994 documentary Hoop Dreams. In The Interrupters, James tells the story of ex-gang members who are now protecting their communities from the violence they themselves once employed. Hit the jump to check out images and a brief synopsis for both films, which will be playing out-of-competition. The 2011 Sundance Film Festival runs from January 20 -30th.