Currently streaming on Netflix is director Tony Shaff‘s fascinating documentary Hotline. The film premiered last year at Canada’s Hot Docs festival and focuses on a slew of American telephone hotlines for suicide prevention, psychic readings (starring Miss Cleo!), phone sex, and more. Its tagline states that “It’s ok to talk to strangers” and while that’s probably not the best advice to give the children in your life, within the context of the doc it’s entirely appropriate.
The idea of learning more about the hotline industry and the people on both ends of the phone is intriguing in its own right, but Hotline really found its footing with me through its exploration of telephone technology as a means of fostering meaningful, often times cathartic, human interaction amongst two anonymous parties. The doc puts an emphasis on the unique value of being able to verbalize our deepest fears, concerns, insecurities, etc., not only to someone who will listen without judgment but, perhaps most importantly, someone we will never meet in person. It’s a captivating watch from beginning to end and absolutely worth seeking out if you’re already a Netflix subscriber.
Before you take this rec and run, take a beat and check out this week’s Top 5:
1. CinemaCon 2015 Coverage
For the past week, Caesars Palace in Las Vegas has been home to the fifth iteration of CinemaCon (the world’s largest trade show for movie theater owners). While the term “trade show” doesn’t exactly scream excitement, studios tend to use CinemaCon as a last minute attempt at generating buzz leading into the summer movie season which means some cool stuff has a tendency to go down. That in mind, I encourage you to browse all of Steve’s CinemaCon coverage to date or at least a few of my personal favorites such as he and Peter from Slash Film’s video blog recaps of the studio presentations from Universal, 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros., and Paramount.
2. New FANTASTIC FOUR Trailer
Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four reboot is quickly becoming my most anticipated superhero film of the year. How much of that has to do with my love of Miles Teller’s Whiplash performance is up for debate, but the fact remains that I’m genuinely looking forward to the film which seems to have a natural sci-fi bent. Check out the new trailer here and join me in crossing fingers that the pic will help us all forget that its predecessors ever happened.
3. SPIDER-MAN Actor Shortlist
This week we learned the names of five actors who appear to make up the shortlist for the coveted spot as Marvel/Sony’s next Spider-Man. With Spidey’s scenes for Captain America: Civil War set to shoot in June, I imagine the role will be filled sooner rather than later. To be honest, though, the most exciting Spidey news of the week for me was learning that Phil Lord and Chris Miller will “mastermind” a standalone animated wall crawler film that’s set to hit theaters in 2018.
4. First Trailer for BLACK MASS
I’m usually quick to criticize Johnny Depp for his choice of roles but, if this first trailer is any indication, it looks like he’s going to absolutely own his turn as gangster Whitey Bulger in Scott Cooper’s Black Mass. If someone ever asks me for my steak recipe in the future, I’ll likely just piss my pants and beg for mercy.
5. INSIDE AMY SCHUMER Eviscerates Football’s Rape Culture
This is one of my favorite things I’ve written about so far this year. With its Friday Night Lights parody, Football Town Nights, Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer delivers one of the funniest and most poignant sketches since Chappelle’s Show introduced the world to black white supremacist Clayton Bigsby. Seriously, the last forty-five seconds or so of this sketch are near perfect satire.