King of Chinatown takes an in-depth look at the culture of video games, an industry that has evolved into a worldwide, multi-billion dollar phenomenon. Filmmaker Calvin Theobald follows ... See full summary »
FOCUS is a documentary about Mike Ross, an average 26-year-old African-American, unemployed college graduate, who happens to be one of the world's best video game players. The documentary ... See full summary »
The production office for this film was directly across from the World Trade Center in New York. On September 11, 2001, the Center was destroyed in a terrorist attack. The attack also destroyed the production office which contained the film's sound tapes. A VHS rough cut of the movie survived and played at SXSW in 2002. It cannot be distributed legally because it contains unlicensed music. See more »
In the rush to capitalize on "reality" TV, we will soon have unscripted dramas playing out on the big screen, with the upcoming Spring Break: The Movie, along with many more which are no doubt on their way. But why? When reality TV becomes a movie, thus losing the thrill of following a contest from week to week, doesn't that just make it a big, contrived documentary? Why would you want to watch that? If you're in the mood for "reality" style fun in movie form, why not just watch an an actual documentary, but about something lighthearted and fun? In short, why don't producers, instead of contriving more horrible things for people to do, simply find more documentaries like "Bang the Machine"?
Bang the Machine combines all the things that people love about reality TV--competition, watching real people behave in unconsciously ridiculous ways, and laughing at them while gradually, and secretly starting to sympathize with them. (Incidentally, "American Movie" has a similar effect, but is not as energetic as this film.) Apparently "documentary" is a dirty word, with boring connotations, but "Bang the Machine" proves it doesn't have to be. Documentaries can be light and fluffy and fun, yet more interesting than Reality shows because they actually show us how certain people are really living--not how they've been made to live for six weeks in some made-up situation. Maybe we need a new word for documentaries like this. Fun-u-mentary, or something. You'd come out for that, right, America?
If "reality movies" must exist, *this* is what they should be like. "Bang the Machine" is a lot of fun, especially for anyone who's loved a video game, and even more especially for anyone who was caught up in the Street Fighter II craze for any length of time.
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