Anvil! The Story of Anvil

Band Called Death

June saw the buzzed-about release of not one, but two documentaries examining talented but underappreciated and not-at-all famous musicians: Morgan Neville’s 20 Feet From Stardom, about the careers of female back-up singers, and Mark Christopher Covino & Jeff Howlett’s A Band Called Death, about an African-American, Detroit-based proto-punk bank who recorded music and broke up before The Sex Pistols initiated any anarchy whatsoever in the UK. These two documentaries are hardly the first non-fiction films to focus on the lives and extraordinary-ordinary struggles of marginal musical subjects: Sacha Gervasi’s popular Anvil! The Story of Anvil was perhaps the first really visible instantiation of this subgenre, which reached its height when Searching for Sugar Man struck awards show and box office gold, resurrecting the career of long-forgotten singer-songwriter Rodriguez in the process. Back in March, I argued contemporary mainstream documentaries seem to be heavily preoccupied with resurrecting exceptional but buried personalities, while mainstream narrative films do the opposite. Christopher Campbell tackled a similar subject in regard to music docs, but placed their appeal in more direct terms: we’re drawn to such docs because they essentially tell a Cinderella Story. It’s clear that films like these are compelling, entertaining, headline-ready, and can often be damned funny (and it doesn’t hurt that they typically have killer soundtracks). But perhaps one of the more interesting, little discussed aspects of these documentaries is what they ultimately say about the huge gaps we take for granted in ways we think about American popular music.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s the calm, both before and after the storm. It’s the thing that keeps you warm just before you slip into a night’s slumber. It’s the movie news, editorial links, audio-visual stimuli that you yearn for all day long. It’s the alpha and the omega of what’s happening in the world of entertainment news. It’s also quite playful. We begin tonight with a new shot of Bruce Willis in G.I. Joe: Retaliation, in which he plays Joe Colton, the original G.I. Joe. It’s hard to argue with the facts: that man knows how to look cool holding a gun, even if the gun in the hands of Adrianne Palicki (seen behind him) is far more badass.

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Whether you’re trying to avoid the releases this week or augment them with even more movies, Your Alternate Box Office offers some options for movies that would play perfectly alongside of (or instead of) the stuff studios are shoving into the megaplex this weekend. This week features comedy wearing hot pink taffeta dresses, a vampire action film set in the Old West of the future, and the long-haired metal attitude of a bad ass who sets fire to everything.

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In the online world, our lives wouldn’t be complete without the embattled entity known as the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS). Which means this year’s awards season wouldn’t be complete without this list of winners.

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Perhaps one of the greatest honors, yet most difficult tasks of my year is the creation of my annual top ten list. As this site’s editor in chief (or whatever title suits me this week), I get to kick-off our Year in Review every year with my picks for best of the year.

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The wonderful group of fine professional film critics and journalists known as the Austin Film Critics Association — a group that includes the membership of yours truly and FSR Managing Editor Dr. Cole Abaius — has announced its award winners for the year 2009.

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Anvil! The Fucking Story of Anvil

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences revealed their list of the final group of 15 films that will contend for the Best Documentary Feature award this week, and with said announcement comes a twinge of bittersweetness.

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If you’ve ever held witness to an “air guitar” competition, then you will undoubtedly share in my excitement for this next story.

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Anvil! The Fucking Story of Anvil

First we rock, then we go out and get those Oscar votes, then we rock Michel Gondry’s Green Hornet movie so hard that it explodes! That’s the plan for the aging rockers of Anvil…

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Anvil will rock you.

Here the band Anvil perform after a special showing of Anvil!: The Story of Anvil on Mother’s Day in Columbus, Ohio!

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So there was nothing stopping Hannah Montana from getting the best of both worlds at the box office, but when you check out the per screen average, it’s a different story. Check to see if Anvil will be coming to a theater near you.

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Anvil! The Fucking Story of Anvil

It’s a story about hope that all goes back to a life philosophy shared by the band members and director Sacha Gervasi: “The only way you can fail is if you give up.”

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FSR

Kevin Carr reviews this week’s new movies: Observe and Report, Hannah Montana: The Movie, Dragonball: Evolution and Anvil!: The Story of Anvil.

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Fat Guys at the Movies

Neil comes out swinging, preparing to defend the good name of Observe and Report from Kevin’s bile. Meanwhile, Kevin defends Hannah Montana as best a fat guy can.

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Anvil continue to rock.

We risk losing our doctored press badges and sneak behind enemy lines to get an early look at a film
playing at SXSW – Anvil! The Story of Anvil.

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Anvil will rock your face off.

The documentary’s popularity is feeding the band. The band’s popularity is feeding the doc. The two are building to be the cultural phenomenon of the year, and we got our hands on an exclusive clip.

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Between our own scouring of the schedule and the countless emails from publicists, producers and directors, we are confident that we’ve got a handle on which films you should absolutely see at all costs should you be coming here to Austin this weekend. So here’s a list of the must sees, from us to you.

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Anvil! The Story of Anvil is a brilliant documentary look at a band that suffers from extreme arrested development and the grand frustration of making it big without ever making it big. That said, here’s the trailer.

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LA Film Festival

From June 19 to June 29, Film Independent, the group behind the Independent Spirit Awards, will play host to the 2008 Los Angeles Film Festival. Universal will be bringing two of its big summer flicks, so you should probably be there, too.

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