Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope

dujour

I understand that not a lot of FSR readers are even marginal One Direction fans, let alone “directioners,” so bear with me this week as I offer this list to any who find their way here. Also, if you’re not into 1D and don’t plan to see their new documentary One Direction: This Is Us — even if you normally like Morgan Spurlock‘s films or are a Martin Scorsese completist (he has a cameo) or think it could be a good place to pick up chicks (and not just tweens, as my screening had a number of adult women fans in attendance) — you may discover something of actual value among the selection of films below. The easiest and even most logical way to go with this week’s hottest new movie is to just offer a basic list of the best concert films and tour docs of the past. But really there’s not much there to connect Gimme Shelter (nobody dies at any of the 1D shows) or Woodstock, even though the latter involved Scorsese. There are mostly music movies picked for this list, but they’re specifically relevant and they’re joined by other kinds of films.

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Were you a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer long before Marvel Studios even thought about a summer tentpole release of The Avengers? Do you find yourself swearing in Mandarin when you get angry? Have you made a Facebook post with that image comparing the one-season cancellation of Firefly to the multi-season accomplishments of The Jersey Shore? If you’ve answered yes to these questions, you still might find Morgan Spurlock’s charming documentary Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope entertaining, but you’ll also have ulterior motives for buying it when it hits DVD on July 10. Spurlock’s documentary will be released in a special Collector’s Edition with action figures of both Spurlock himself and geek-hero-turned-billion-dollar-director Joss Whedon. That’s right, you can be the proud owner of the first ever Joss Whedon action figure, and all you have to do is buy Spurlock’s latest film.

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Infamous big personality/camera hog Morgan Spurlock has made a cottage industry out of the documentary film. He first burst onto the scene with his 2004 feature, Super Size Me, which followed the filmmaker as he existed on food from McDonalds for an entire month. And from the success of that film has come a tidal wave of Spurlock-conceived, reality-based stunt documentary, both on television and in the theaters. He’s hunted for Bin Laden, funded a film entirely on corporate sponsorship, and lived through countless other experiments on his TV project, 30 Days. And in his latest film, Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope, he’s even experimented with keeping himself out of the movie and documenting a story in a more traditional way. But the one thing Spurlock has yet to do is produce a narrative bit of storytelling that he actually sat down and wrote. Yet. In an interview with /Film, the filmmaker let loose some info that indicates this isn’t going to be the case for very much longer. Earlier in the year Spurlock became attached to write and direct a film project that he described as being “very Erin Brockovich-ish,” and, according to the filmmaker, enough work has been done on the film that they’re ready to schedule shooting.

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Take a deep breath and prepare to learn everything you need to know about Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope straight director Morgan Spurlock‘s fast-talking mouth. Will it change the world? Probably. Plus, Junkfood Cinema enthusiast Brian Salisbury accepts the dangerous mission to play Movie News Roulette. Download Episode #128

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The reason that Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope works is because it focuses on the very human story that’s sometimes lost during the event itself. Amidst the sprawling, sweaty mass of storm troopers and manga characters come to life, it’s easy to forget that there are people with hopes and dreams hiding under their latex. When footage was shown at Comic-Con last year, it seemed like it would be a huge explosion of good vibes toward a complex event. When it showed at Fantastic Fest, it proved itself to be sugary, but level-headed enough not to feel like a syrup-chugging contest. No, not everything about Comic-Con is sweet – especially the shifting focus away from comic books and toward other mass media – but director Morgan Spurlock is seasoned enough to know where the real stories are: in the people. Check out the trailer for yourself:

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Last week the programmers for this year’s Toronto International Film Festival introduced the main course of this year’s festival lineup, fifty-three films from all over the world, big and small, about any number of subjects. The list was so impressive I ran out and booked a hotel room. So, now that I’m financially locked in to heading up to the city of David Cronenberg and that rapper who called himself SNOW, I’ll be following future announcements by the festival pretty closely. Today brought a big one. Adding to their initial lineup of films, TIFF has added a bunch of documentary works by fairly large documentary filmmakers and a bunch of genre works from fairly deranged genre filmmakers. First let’s take a look at some of the docs. Thom Powers is the lead programmer for documentaries, and about this year’s lineup he said, “I’m thrilled at the large number of veteran filmmakers who have brought us new works this year. The line-up contains a wide range of memorable characters – crusaders, convicts, artists, athletes, nude dancers, comic book fans, dog lovers and more. Not to mention the epic 15-hour Story of Film. These documentaries will have audiences discussing and debating for months to come.” I don’t think I’ll have time for that fifteen hour one, I’ve only got five days in the city, but the one about nude dancers is definitely on my docket.

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The Hall H floor at Comic-Con was an easy audience for it, and Morgan Spurlock took full use of the home field advantage when he introduced a trailer for his new documentary Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope. He’s partnered with Stan Lee, Joss Whedon and Harry Knowles from Aint It Cool to make a film about the event that offers fans the freedom to dust off their Ryuk costume and wear it without shame. The trailer was sleek and featured memories and observations from Whedon, Eli Roth (who brought up the first time he “took a piss next to a stormtrooper and a Klingon), Seth Rogen, Kevin Smith, Seth Green and Guillermo del Toro. All Con favorites, they were joined by a few fans as well as what appeared to be an aspiring artist getting his work reviewed from working comic book producers. The trailer itself was otherwise vague, but it looks like it will have the same humor and heart that Spurlock’s work is marked by, and with full access, there are a ton of great stories that might be told.

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published: 12.19.2014
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published: 12.18.2014
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published: 12.17.2014
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