Review: HBO Documentary Film: ‘TONY HAWK: UNTIL THE WHEELS FALL OFF’

TONY HAWK: UNTIL THE WHEELS FALL OFF

Centering around intimate new interviews with Tony Hawk himself, the film is an all-encompassing look at the skateboarder’s life, legendary career, and relationship with the sport with which he’s been synonymous for decades. Hawk, a pioneer of modern vertical skating who is still pushing his limits at the age of 53, remains one of the most influential skateboarders of all time.


Tony Hawk kicks off his big HBO documentary by falling down. A lot. Like, 5 solid minutes of eating it all over the ramp. It’s a bold, remarkably human way to start a documentary about a 53-year-old icon who many in the non-skating community would still consider the most famous skateboarder of all time (this reviewer raises his hand). Heck, my wife knows more about Tony Hawk than I do.

The complete list of things I knew about Tony Hawk before watching this documentary:

  • He was (probably) the most prominent skater in the world
  • He was the first skater to land a 900 (a crazy trick where you shoot off a ramp and spin 2.5 times in the air before landing)  I also learned this from his video game series, Tony Hawk Pro Skater
  • He has a hilarious Twitter feed

And yet, I left Sam Jones’ Tony Hawk: Until the Wheels Fall Off feeling pretty invested in skateboarding. Jones’ documentary benefits not only from extensive access to Hawk and his skating peers but also from a wealth of archival footage and clips that help these interview recollections resonate. Sure, you learn about Hawk’s upbringing in San Diego, and his dynamic with his strict father – but what really resonates is the sense of purpose uniting these passionate young skateboarders. You really get the spirit of the community. Tricks and success in this sport are the product of individual inspiration, yes, but also due to watching and learning from both your rivals and teammates. Hawks’ contemporaries are real unique characters, too. I particularly loved hearing from Rodney Mullen, who applies the principles of Nietzsche to the act of launching yourself off a skate ramp without a hint of irony.

I also appreciated the documentary’s balanced romanticism surrounding skateboarding. There are the obligatory skating montages, but there’s also a blunt assessment of the risks (and honestly, the near foolishness) of Hawk refusing to set aside his board at 53 years old. We’re talking about guys for whom broken bones and near-constant concussions seem to always be part of the deal – it takes a lot to make these folks nervous. Hawks’ peers speak frankly and graphically about the risks he’s taking on. Given Hawks’ prominent association with this documentary, I was surprised he didn’t push to edit some of those comments out of the final product. I appreciated that Jones included them.

Ultimately, this feels to be an honest portrait of a complicated legend who became a pro athlete before he had his learner’s permit. It strives to connect viewers to the deep connection skaters have with their art, it clues you in on Tony Hawk’s countless contributions to the sport, and acknowledges that most guys in their 50s shouldn’t be on fast-moving, narrow objects.

You see Tony Hawk falling down a lot. But he also executes tricks that seem to scratch the surface of immortality. Unless you’ve skated a mile in his shoes, can you really pass judgment? One thing’s for sure – after seeing this documentary, I’ll be firing up my wife’s copy of Pro Skater.


Debuts Tuesday, April 5 on HBO and will be available

to stream on HBO Max

Director: Sam Jones

Executive Producers: Mel Eslyn, Jay Duplass, and Mark Duplass


ABOUT SAM JONES
Sam Jones is a director of documentary films and narrative television. He most recently directed an episode of “Ted Lasso” and a film in post-production: “Running With Our Eyes Closed, A Film about Jason Isbell,” which is being co-produced by the Duplass Brothers and Jones.

Jones is the creator and host of the documentary series “Off Camera with Sam Jones,” which had a 219 episode run on DirecTV’s Audience Network from 2013-2020. Jones is also an acclaimed commercial director and recently wrote and directed a series of commercials for OnePlus featuring Robert Downey Jr. He directed the Showtime series “Roadies,” created by Cameron Crowe, and also directed and produced the feature-length Showtime documentary “Lost Songs: The Basement Tapes Continued,” a film that reexamines Bob Dylan’s “The Basement Tapes.” In 2002, Jones started his documentary career with “I Am Trying To Break Your Heart,” which chronicles beloved indie-rock band Wilco’s tumultuous recording of their acclaimed fourth album, “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.” Rolling Stone named “I Am Trying To Break Your Heart” one of the best rock films of all time.

Jones began his career as a photographer and quickly gained acclaim for his seminal portraits of cultural icons. His work has appeared on the covers of Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, Esquire, GQ, Time, and many others, and he has had several books published. Jones lives in Los Angeles with his daughters and still loves to skateboard.


 

HBO Documentary films review: ‘The Legend Of The Underground’ Invites You to a Party and a Movement

The Legend of the Underground

This film is a searing and timely look at the struggle against rampant discrimination that exists in Nigeria today, as seen through the lens of several charismatic, non-conformist youth who fight to live life out loud. Through social media, celebrity and bold creativity, they spark a cultural debate that challenges the ideals of gender, conformity and civil rights in Nigeria.

The Legend of the Underground overflows with an unshakable optimism in the face of oppression that is mesmerizing to watch. Told by a tremendous ensemble cast, the film depicts the reality of a new generation of LGBTQ+ youth in Lagos, Nigeria, as they bravely push past a conservative cultural landscape in a quest for freedom and happiness. 

The film shows both the fight against rampant discrimination in Nigeria today and the LGBTQ+ community’s response– a defiant, dynamic, and endlessly creative counter-culture. While honest about the realities that these youth face, the film is not a slog through trauma and hardship. Instead, it is a fascinating deep dive into an in-crowd that is invite-only by necessity. Filmmakers Nneka Onuorah and Giselle Bailey excel in contrasting exciting and brilliant underground club scenes with intimate portraits of human connection so much so that at times it feels like being immediately thrust into a deep friendship with the coolest kids you know. 

The dynamic is magnified by how the film spotlights naturally magnetic real-life characters like “World Famous James Brown”, or WFJamesBrown on his Instagram account (that I now follow). James’ snappy and legally sound retort to aggressive police brutality during a birthday party that local police condemned as a gay orientation(?!) went viral and helped to bring an international social media spotlight to the struggle of Nigeria’s LGBTQ+ community. 

No one can articulate what this film is about and who it represents better than the courageous individuals that make up its cast. Honestly, it was tempting to make this review solely pull quotes from the documentary itself because they are spectacular. There is local underground podcaster Tomi smartly setting the scene: “Lagos is not for vanilla cakes. Mm mm, no way. If you’re born with vanilla, keep those flavors in your house.” To James’ sincere hopeful mantra, “One thing about life is that you have to be extremely happy because happiness is the key to all things.” 

Although many may be familiar with what is happening in Nigeria from international headlines, the film aims to personify bland statistics by introducing faces, names, and stories to the discourse. Primarily, however, it portrays a group of brave young people relying on each other to create the community they need to survive.

Airing on HBO and HBO Max June 29th, 2021

Directed by Giselle Bailey and Nneka Onuorah
Cinematography by Stephen Bailey
Edited by Rabab Haj Yahya
Executive Producers John LegendMike Jackson, and Ty Stiklorius

Review: ‘Moonlight Sonata: Deafness in Three Movements’ is an ode to sound and silence.

MOONLIGHT SONATA

DEAFNESS IN THREE MOVEMENTS

A Film by Irene Taylor Brodsky

 

Moonlight Sonata is a deeply personal memoir about a deaf boy growing up, his deaf grandfather growing old, and Ludwig van Beethoven the year he was blindsided by deafness and wrote his iconic sonata.
Their lives weave a story about what we discover when we push beyond loss.

Jonas inherited his deafness from his maternal grandmother and grandfather. We learn so much from watching him communicate with and without his cochlear implants. We learn by watching the interaction between him and his grandparents. Genetics determined that Jonas and his grandparents had a tiny “typo” in a specific gene causing them to be deaf. Music became another way to communicate and bridge the generational gap. Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata was Jonas’ personal challenge he set for himself. His goal was to study for 7 months in order to perform it in a recital. The history of Beethoven’s own deafness weaved into this doc is stunning on every level. While rehearsing, Jonas’ music teacher explains the emotional impact of the piece not only to him but the audience. Moonlight Sonata: Deafness in Three Movements is an ode to sound and silence.

Utilizing home movies, truly immersive sound editing, sit-down interviews, and lush animation to express how deafness affects the world, Moonlight Sonata moves an audience. Jonas’ grandfather puts it’s so frankly, “You can’t understand the world through your ears.” The challenges are unfathomable for those of us who can hear in a typical fashion. Determination, pride, frustration, discipline, acceptance, and evolution all guide this film towards an emotionally high close. You feel the music and the joy. Be sure to watch through the credits to experience the full effect. Filmmaker Irene Taylor Brodsky has given us a true gift.

Opening in NY on September 13 at Landmark 57 and in Los Angeles on September 20 at Laemmle Royal

Directed by: Irene Taylor Brodsky
(Academy Award-nominee®, Peabody Award-winner®, Hear and Now, Beware the Slenderman)
Produced by: Irene Taylor Brodsky & Tahria Sheather

Review: ‘Leaving Neverland’ exposes the man in the mirror. The two part doc airs this Sunday and Monday.

PRESENTS

LEAVING NEVERLAND

Debuts on HBO March 3rd and 4th

This two-part documentary explores the separate but parallel experiences of two young boys, James Safechuck, at age ten, and Wade Robson, at age seven, both of whom were befriended by Michael Jackson. Through gut-wrenching interviews with Safechuck, now 37, and Robson, now 41, as well as their mothers, wives and siblings, the film crafts a portrait of sustained abuse, exploring the complicated feelings that led both men to confront their experiences after both had a young son of their own.

I’ve started this review many times in the past seven days. It’s been difficult to put into words how Leaving Neverland has made me feel. For my sixth birthday, I can only recall receiving one particular gift. It was Micheal Jackson’s Thriller on cassette. This was my very first album that was all mine, outside of Sesame Street or Disney songs. I had already been dancing for three years and MJ would influence my musical and performance taste going forward. In 2009, my husband and I were in the car and the radio came on with the breaking news on Michael’s death. We were stunned, devastated, conflicted. We’d lived through the accusations at the same time his accusers and fellow defenders had. Macaulay Culkin was my childhood crush and one of Jackson’s close friends. Culkin has categorically denied anything inappropriate ever happened. He and Wade Robson‘s testimony had a huge effect when Jackson went to trial. I was relieved when Michael was acquitted of all charges in the early 2000s. I wanted to believe that his hands were clean. Now, I think my idolization of this once in a lifetime artist is destroyed.

The personal risks for Wade Robson and Jimmy Safechuck coming forward now are immense. Hardcore fans are up in arms. Threatening to protest in droves at the film’s premiere at Sundance. But in the doc, we see and hear more evidence than ever before. Family photos, home video, faxes, and to top it off, voicemails, all from Michael. There is new video from inside Neverland. The sheer number of bedrooms hidden onsight should have been alarm enough. The pattern is laid out for us to see. The grooming is there. The gifts, the promises, and all the personal attention. But obviously most upsetting is the sexual abuse itself. Each act described in illicit detail. I want so badly for these stories to be lies. I do not think they are. In a time when victims’ voices are more important than ever, we have to respect Robson and Safechuck for finally feeling healthy enough, physically and emotionally, to share their stories. They are not being paid for the film. They have confronted the abuse that they were groomed to believe was love. Now, as father’s of little boys themselves, they have to come to terms with not only their hurt but the onus of their mothers who failed to protect them. There are no winners here. No amount of money can bring back the childhoods that were stolen. What emotion comes after denial? I think it’s anger. Now, after Leaving Neverland, I’m just really angry.

RT: Part 1: approx. 2 hours
Part 2 approx. 2 hours

Directed and Produced by Dan Reed
Edited by Jules Cornell
Featuring Wade Robson and James Safechuck

Review: HBO’s documentary ‘BLEED OUT’- The medical blame game might literally kill you.

Medical error is the third leading cause of death in the U.S.

I have an innate fear of the doctors and hospitals. There are valid reasons for that. The first surgery I had to remove my appendix only happened after I refused to leave the emergency room until the doctors found out what was wrong with me. Had I left, my appendix would have burst the next morning. Then, I was able to learn more about the dr roxy reviews and while going to the plastic surgeon for a simple mole removal, the nurse asked me who would be driving me home. When I told her I’d be transporting myself, she told me that I’d be under a massive amount of anesthesia because I was getting a breast augmentation. “Wow! Wrong file!” I screamed. There were only two patients at the clinic that morning. And don’t even get me started on my two C-sections.

Death insurance, or Burial Insurance as it is more commonly known, is a way of making sure that your funeral costs are taken care of before the event comes. It is a way of preparing yourself for the inevitable whilst making sure that loved ones are not left with the responsibility. You will find many options when it comes to insurance relating to life and death and it certainly pays to find out more about them, what do you think about death insurance. Basic death insurance means that you can make sure that at the very least your funeral is all paid for before you leave this earth. A policy known as Pre-Need Insurance is available which is specifically designed for this purpose. They are available through funeral homes and it is these homes that are the beneficiary of the policy. This ensures that the funds are paying the funeral costs and nothing else. Other types of death insurance include the option of getting a lump sum paid to any named beneficiary in the event of your death. The difference between these types of policies and the Pre-Need Insurance is that the funds are not specifically allocated to the costs of a funeral. If you still have money owing to others after you pass on, the funds from these policies can be used to pay these debts off. Items associated with death including medical bills and nursing home fees could be paid off in full. Commonly these policies are called simply Burial Insurance or Final Expense Insurance. The advantage of these types of policies is that you pick the person who receives the death benefit. It could be a spouse, colleague, your children or a friend. It is recommended that after taking out a policy, you discuss with the beneficiary where you would like the funds to be allocated. You may have specific requests about who should be given a payment from the monies received. It is worth noting that the beneficiary will be given the money to use as they see fit unless you do this. Also, any cash that is left over belongs to the named person themselves.

The new HBO doc airing tonight, BLEED OUT, hit home and it’s a brutal and frustrating watch. That’s the point. Steve Burrows was a comedy director in L.A. until his mother broke her hip in Wisconsin. She went from free spirit retiree to permanent neurocognitive impairment in a matter of days. Now he’s on a mission to take the hospital, doctors, insurance companies to task in a lawsuit no one wanted to touch. Visit us at https://cliffsideskinandlaser.com/general-dermatology/ for more details regarding to medical dermatology. The entire system is stacked against the people and most of them don’t even know it… Until something happens to them. Politicians love to use healthcare as a talking point but no one can seem to protect the patient, they’re only protecting the business of corporate medicine. You will be pissed off and rightly so. This is a story about one family’s fight but there are literally thousands of stories like this happening daily. Daily. People are drowning in bills they should not have to pay. It’s quite frankly disgusting.But if you have allergy or food intolerance problem then I suggest you to visit this website. Bleed Out is a phenomenal companion to the podcast Dr. Death. This, too, illustrates the lack of care for patients. In Bleed Out, you will watch mistake after mistake, finger pointing, and zero accountability. This single ordeal is one that covers a decade of chaos. Now imagine the cases that go undocumented. Burrows put his heart, soul, and career on the line to fight the proverbial man. He is my hero. This film is one every single American needs to watch, if not for themselves most definitely for their loved ones. For dedicated and passionate about the health of your skin. It’s our commitment to you that has helped us achieve dermatologist rancho santa margarita help us.

After a routine partial hip replacement operation leaves the mother of filmmaker and comedian Steve Burrows in a coma with permanent brain damage, what starts as a personal video diary becomes a citizen’s investigation into the state of American health care. Shot over the course of ten years, using archival footage, vérité scenes and interviews with family members and experts, the thought-provoking documentary BLEED OUT debuts MONDAY, DEC. 17 (8:00–9:30 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.

The film will also be available on HBO NOW, HBO GO, HBO On Demand and partners’ streaming platforms.

DOC NYC review: ‘We Are Not Done Yet’ shines a spotlight on PTSD

HBO’s powerful new documentary short WE ARE NOT DONE YET, airing November 8thand produced by actor Jeffrey Wright (HBO’s Westworld), follows the stories of ten U.S. veterans striving to combat their traumatic military histories through art, poetry and performance. At a workshop led by poet Seema Reza and Community Building Art Works, they share their fears, vulnerabilities and victories, using the written word to heal, bond, encourage and empower. Their work culminates in a live performance at Washington D.C.’s Lansburgh Theater under the direction of Wright. As much of an activist as he is an actor, Wright produced the short and has been heavily involved with veteran organizations for years. He was so inspired by the group’s process and motivation during the workshop that he knew he had to get a camera crew inside and help share their stories.

There is something so cathartic about standing onstage and bearing one’s soul. When it’s your own written word it’s on another level. When the words are true, it’s the most powerful of all. WE ARE NOT DONE YET gives a literal voice to a group of veterans living with PTSD. They have used performance art to share their stories, lives, and emotions with an audience now far beyond the Lansburgh Theater. HBO has given us a gift in this short. It has opened the door for others to speak,  hope, and feel connected in a new way. Watching these fine people is nothing short of breathtaking. I’m not sure you can sit back and hold back the tears as a human being as you experience their trauma through their writing. Not of a moment of this film feels exploitative from an observer with zero military background. I’m hoping it reads the same for those who might believe they are alone. WE ARE NOT DONE YET aired this evening and will be available on HBO Now and HBO Go. This is important filmmaking. The message is clear. We cannot ignore the trauma, we must embrace it and do better for all our veterans.