THE ROCK-AFIRE EXPLOSION
If there is one thing that documentarians contribute to the world it is their uncanny ability to root out incredibly obscure subcultures one could never rationally imagine exist and finding tragedy and everyday heroism there. The Rock-afire Explosion is no exception, following the handful of enthusiasts of the titular animatronic band that entertained kids at Showbiz Pizza in the 80s and the man who invented them and ultimately lost his creation.
I THINK WE’RE ALONE NOW
Very frequently hard to watch, I Think We’re Alone Now trails two people — one with autism and another mid-operation transgender woman — as each lives out the obsessive superfandom they feel toward the 80s pop star Tiffany. The movie’s invasiveness into the lives of its subjects borders on exploitation.
The subject of this film, Mark Hogancamp was attacked outside a bar one night and suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result. Injured and different than he was before, Hogancamp retreated to his home behind which he built a besieged town named Marwencol, populated by dolls and action figures he uses to play out his imagination.
There is pretty much no way to enter a camp for fundamentalist Christian children and produce a documentary for mass consumption about them and not be accused of betraying their trust. Although extremely controversial, Jesus Camp still manages to show its subjects as whole people – leaving the viewer to pass any judgments on their culture.
Legendary documentary director Werner Herzog tracks the last summer of Timothy Treadwell, a self-proclaimed expert on grizzly bears who, for several years, managed to survive Alaskan summers living alongside enormous bears. During his last summer his luck and he both expired and Herzog creates part raw-footage documentary, part travelogue to get to the bottom of what Treadwell’s deal was.