Available now on VOD is director Igal Hecht‘s documentary The Sheik. Funny at times and jarringly raw at others, the film offers a look at the life of Khosrow Vaziri, better known by his fans as The Iron Sheik. In only 95 minutes the film does an admirable job of spanning Vaziri’s life before, during, and after his legendary professional wrestling career. This approach leaves you invested in Vaziri as a person rather than just as a wrestling/social meda icon, making the highs feel sweeter and the lows all the more tragic as a result. There’s much to like about The Sheik but, as a kid who grew up watching wrestling, the most interesting parts of the film for me were those dedicated to Vaziri’s time in the WWF (now WWE). Seeing the way that the Iran hostage crisis helped fuel The Iron Sheik’s ascent in pro wrestling as the sport’s greatest villain/heel is a fascinating example of the way Vince McMahon has used social issues and xenophobia to help build an entertainment empire. Hearing Vaziri talk about the offers he had from individuals who wanted him to go against McMahon’s plan and beat Hulk Hogan is yet another highlight. All told, The Sheik is a highly entertaining doc that anyone with a shred of pro wrestling nostalgia should go out of their way to see.
Recommendations aside, this week’s Top 5 will attempt to make up for last week’s absence by featuring hits from this week and last including the first trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the news that Roberto Orci is no longer directing Star Trek 3, the first trailer for Terminator: Genisys, Bond 24 getting an official title and casting announcements, and the first trailer for Universal’s Jurassic World. Keep reading for a brief recap and link to each of the above.
1. First Trailer for STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS
I only take off a few weekends every year with last week being one of them. It’s only fitting, then, that probably the biggest trailer debut of the year would happen while I’m away. That in mind, please humor me and watch the first trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens for the thousandth time. When you’re done with that, make your way to some related content such as our breakdown of the trailer, the trailer in lego style, and this fan-made “George Lucas Special Edition” version of the cut.
2. Roberto Orci No Longer Directing STAR TREK 3
Many Trek fans are breathing a sigh of relief after learning yesterday that Roberto Orci is no longer making his directorial debut on Star Trek 3. Making good news even better is the fact that Edgar Wright appears to be on Paramount’s shortlist to replace Orci. Whether or not Wright will actually take on the project remains to be seen, but expect more news soon as the studio is wanting the film finished in time for the franchise’s 50th Anniversary in 2016. Whoever ends up with the gig, I’m instantly more optimistic about Trek 3 with Orci out of the director’s chair.
3. TERMINATOR: GENISYS Trailer
I try my best to avoid being pessimistic but, thus far, Paramount has given me little to no reason to expect good things from Terminator: Genisys. First of all, it’s a pain to have to double check to make sure I’ve correctly misspelled the word “genesis” when writing about the film. In addition to that gripe, the first look images in EW a few weeks back were ridiculous, and now the first trailer has debuted and its primarily goal is seeing how many throwback catch phrases it can fit into two and a half minutes. On the bright side, I do like Jason Clarke and J.K. Simmons quite a bit so there’s that. I’d love to be proven wrong, but this one is shaping up to be mediocre at best.
4. BOND 24 Gets an Official Title; Christoph Waltz and More Join Cast
Sony Pictures made some major announcements regarding their next 007 pic this week. Sam Mendes’ film will be titled Spectre and will star Christoph Waltz, Lea Seydoux, Dave Bautista (who I loved in Guardians of the Galaxy), Andrew Scott, and Monica Bellucci alongside a returning Daniel Craig, Ralph Fiennes, and Naomie Harris. I’ve never been a huge Bond fan, but Daniel Craig and Sam Mendes are absolute studs which leads me to believe I need to go back and watch Skyfall in anticipation for Spectre at the very least.
5. First JURASSIC WORLD Trailer
Rounding out this week’s installment is yet another huge trailer debut that happened while I was away: the first trailer for Colin Trevorrow’s Jurassic World. Besides reassuring me that dinosaurs are indeed scary as hell, this first look at the film caught my eye with the “run” bookends it employs from a loving/playful Judy Greer at the beginning and a terrified Bryce Dallas Howard at the end. A nice touch to be sure and a great primer for what looks to be a huge hit for Universal.