Tired of ridiculous romantic fantasies and heartless special effects? Then mark April 28 in your calendar because Hot Docs is back. For 18 years the film festival has brought the best documentaries from around the world to Toronto. With more than 200 films to choose from in 2011, Metro created this handy list of recommendations that might remind you of some movies you’ve loved in the past.
Hot Docs runs from April 28 until May 8 with movies screening at 12 different venues throughout the city. For more information, go to hotdocs.ca.
If you liked Super Size Me, you'll like POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold
Morgan Spurlock is off his McDonald's diet and the subject of his latest is the subliminal marketing in films that audiences are often blissfully unaware of. Spurlock not only confronts and criticizes marketing execs, but actually financed his film with their tactics (hence the POM Wonderful-purchased title).
If you liked Joan Rivers: A Piece Of Work, you’ll like Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop
Fans of the wonderfully candid Joan Rivers documentary released last year should appreciate this portrait of Conan O’Brien, captured during the live tour he put on after being banned from TV and radio for six months following his ugly public exit from NBC’s The Tonight Show. If nothing else, this is the only film in the fest that might feature the Masturbating Bear.
If you liked Man On Wire, you’ll like Project Nim
Oscar-winning director James Marsh returns with another genre-bending doc that combines interview and archival footage with vividly constructed reenactments. This time he tells the story of a chimpanzee named Nim whose extraordinary life included being the first chimp to learn sign language and a torturous stay at a medical lab. You’ll never identify this closely with an ape again.
If you liked Jackass, you’ll like Beauty Day
Years before Tom Green humped a moose and Johnny Knoxville assembled his Jackasses, Canadian Ralph “Cap’n Video” Zavadil created low-fi TV gold out of insane stunts and professional stupidity. Beauty Day chronicles his period of public access infamy, which almost cost him his life after a neck-breaking stunt. Zavadil is still around and will accompany the film to the fest, but please don’t try anything you see in the movie at home.
If you liked Kick-Ass, you’ll like Superheroes
The “real people trying to be superheroes” trend in film founded in titles like Kick-Ass and Super gets a documentary spin with Superheroes. The doc chronicles life of the members of the RLSH (Real Life Superheroes), a few reality-challenged folks who don leather masks and costumes to clean up the mean streets of Brooklyn. Delusions of grandeur are rarely this entertaining.