King Cohen: The Wild World of Filmmaker Larry Cohen (2017) [Fantasia International Film Festival 2017]

“King Cohen” is the documentary on the life and work of filmmaker Larry Cohen, covering his entire career, from working on and directing television pilots, and blaxploitation, to horror, and studio blockbusters.

Writer/director Steve Mitchell interviews a slew of film industry people for this documentary, starting off with his subject’s early career and taking the viewer all the way until very recent work.  His interviews are varied, including the likes of Martin Scorsese, Fred Williamson, both the first and current Mrs. Cohen, etc.  The bulk of the film is spent with Mr. Cohen himself and some of his collaborators.

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She Makes Comics (2017)

Its ironic how closely “She Makes Comics” has tied in to a key event in history, as Marisa Stotter’s documentary was released almost at the same time Joan Lee, wife of Stan Lee died. Stan Lee is of course widely considered one of the godfathers of the comic book medium and superheroes. After Lee died, husband Stan was widely quoted as crediting much of his success and the success of Marvel to his wife, who acted as his muse and advisor for decades. So without Joan’s influence comic books would have looked wildly different from today and “She Makes Comics” celebrates the female influence of the medium.

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Behind the Mask: The Batman Dead End Story (2017)

Eric Dow’s “Behind the Mask” should be seen by every aspiring filmmaker out there as a course on how to navigate Hollywood and how to basically approach any kind of endeavor involving the Hollywood system. Sandy Collora is a consistently fascinating and interesting artist who has been making waves online for years thanks to his amazing special effects and consistent efforts to get a movie made. He’s also one of the forefathers of the fan film who helped make fan films not only legitimate works of cinematic art, but also a cause for Hollywood to take notice. Sandy Collora, for those unaware, is a brilliant and talented special effects artist who spent years hoping to emulate his favorite creators including Batman artist Neal Adams.

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The WWE Book of Top 10’s [Paperback]

As a list junkie and an old school fan of WWE, “The WWE Book of Top 10’s” is a great new compilation for fans of the sport that tackles all areas of the WWE for fans to debate about. Of course with all lists and books about lists, there is bound to be some anger and or controversy, but first and foremost DK publishing’s “The WWE Book of Top 10’s” is a book meant for fun and intended to evoke conversation among wrestling buffs that can appreciate the novelty of this kind of guide.

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Buena Vista Social Club (1999): The Criterion Collection [Blu-Ray]

Wim Wenders’ ode to the music of Cuba and the Buena Vista Social Club is a brilliant and poetic documentary that depicts the art of music as something that’s soothing to the soul and can ease even the most tumultuous situations. Wenders’ documentary is very much about music with a lot of performances, but it’s also a thoughtful and deliberately paced meditation on the meaning of music. It defines something within the subjects we meet in “Buena Vista Social Club.” And even in spite of the economic turmoil, it’s kept people within the society of Cuba going forward and doing their best to show their love for the art form.

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24×36: A Movie About Movie Posters (2016)

Back in the eighties and nineties, I spent much of my youth in and out of video stores. During the weekends when there was a guarantee there’d be nothing on television we’d trek to the video store in our neighborhood and I always drifted to the horror section. One of the highlights of going through the horror section was perusing through the boxes and gaping in disbelief at all the amazing and often creative box art. Back then artists had to sell a movie with one striking image, and they often did it very well. The box art was only a small result of the art of movie posters, and how once upon a time movie posters were a symbol of a movie that were used to sell their respective cinematic properties, and create lasting memories.

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Batman & Bill (2017)

For a long time, debates have raged in the art world about what can be considered creating a property and who can be credited as a true creator of a creative property. For decades, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko were feuding over who were the rightful mind behind Spider-Man, as Lee insisted Spider-Man was his idea, while Ditko insisted he conceptualized Spider-Man, thus making him the creator. What “Batman & Bill” seeks to do is boldly putting an end to the debate that’s been raging in the comic book medium for almost a century. Directors Don Argott and Sheena M. Joyce simultaneously tells the tragic and often heartbreaking story of Bill Finger, the long uncredited creator of Batman, and how a man named Bob Kane stole everything Finger ever had from the credit, and the massive profits, right down to the very essence of his self-respect.

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