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The Last Gladiators | Review

Fight Club: Gibney Finds Tragedy In ‘Knuckles’ Nilan

The assiduous docu director Alex Gibney wrapped three films back in 2011, all of which seem minor works in his ever growing oeuvre, and the proof is in the lagged theatrical release of The Last Gladiators, which arrives over a year after it’s Tiff premiere. Falling at the tail end of this stream of lighter fare that includes Steve Bartman’s unfortunate baseball foul in Catching Hell, and a drug fueled Ken Kesey tale with Magic Trip, the film details the rise and fall of famed hockey enforcer Chris ‘Knuckles’ Nilan on a quality scale comparable to a mid-grade 30 For 30 title, lacking the political gravitas of Taxi to the Dark Side, the propulsive style of Gonzo, and the intellectual proclivities that pervade them both. That’s not to say Gibney’s valiant salute to his childhood sport of choice and a
See full article at IONCINEMA.com »

Review: Alex Gibney’s ‘The Last Gladiators’ Takes Us to the Dark Side of Pro Hockey

The popularity of sports documentaries is not recognized enough. Maybe it’s because a lot of the favorites find their audience on TV, particularly as part of Espn’s “30 for 30” series. Perhaps they aren’t considered “important” enough by the documentary community, even when they deal with serious issues as in the case of Steve James’s most recent and most overlooked film, Head Games. Like music docs, they may be disregarded as insignificant fare mainly targeted to a particular fanbase. But with many sports, that’s a very large fanbase we’re talking about. Professional ice hockey is the least followed of the four major team sports in America, but millions of people do watch it, and the number has been on the rise these past few years. So, there’s definitely a large demographic who’ll be interested in Alex Gibney’s The Last Gladiators, a documentary about NHL enforcers with a predominant focus on
See full article at FilmSchoolRejects »

Trailer For Ice Hockey Doc ‘The Last Gladiator’ Pulls Some Punches

It’s not as well known over here in the UK but having witnessed Canada Vs USA in the last Winter Olympics, it’s one hell of a passionate and committed sport, and now we get a little unique insight into the great game with the brutal-looking The Last Gladiators.

This trailer makes it look intensely revealing, following the life of the interestingly named Chris “Knuckles” Nilan, so I think you might see where this is going and especially if you know a little about Ice Hockey, or just Hockey as its called in North America. Anyway, this could be an insightful documentary, whether you know the sport or don’t. Take a look at the trailer and scroll down for the official synopsis:

Academy Award winning Director Alex Gibney takes an unprecedented look at the National Hockey League’s most feared enforcers and explores the career of Chris “Knuckles” Nilan.
See full article at The Hollywood News »

Weekend Preview: Documentaries 'Sound City' and 'Koch' Best Bets, 'Warm Bodies' a Lively Ya Installment

Weekend Preview: Documentaries 'Sound City' and 'Koch' Best Bets, 'Warm Bodies' a Lively Ya Installment
A number of documentaries hit the limited release circuit this weekend, including Neil Barsky's eerily timely "Koch," a clear-eyed portrait of the former NY mayor who just today passed away at the age of 88, and Dave Grohl's "Sound City," with interviews from a panoply of big names from rock history. Both are very well reviewed. Alex Gibney's look at the rough-and-tumble NHL, "The Last Gladiators," isn't quite passing the goal line, meeting mixed reviews. Meanwhile, the latest Young Adult bait "Warm Bodies" has some kick to it, while genre veteran Walter Hill's "Bullet to the Head," starring Stallone, doesn't hit the mark. "Bullet to the Head" Dir. Walter Hill, USA | Warner Bros. Pictures | Cast: Sylvestore Stallone, Jason Momoa, Christian Slater | 48% Rotten | NPR: "The plot fails to deliver a single surprise, however, and the characterizations are thin even by the standards of the tough-guy...
See full article at Thompson on Hollywood »

Watch: Fisticuffs on Ice in 'The Last Gladiators' Hockey Doc Trailer

"There's no question I was gonna be there for my teammates." Just in time for the return of hockey for sports fans, the first trailer for The Last Gladiators has arrived, a new documentary from Academy Award winning filmmaker Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room). The film takes a look at the enforcers of NHL hockey, and the brutal fights they endure to protect their team. In addition, the film takes a closer look at the life of Chris "Knuckles" Nilan, a player for the Montreal Canadiens whose life was rocked upon retiring from hockey, and with no one left to fight, turned to alcohol and drugs almost ruined his life. It looks sensational, whether you're a sports fan or not. Watch the trailer! Here's the first trailer for Alex Gibney's The Last Gladiators originally from Apple: Director Alex Gibney takes
See full article at FirstShowing.net »

Phase 4 Films Acquires Keanu Reeves Drama 'generation Um...' for U.S. and Canada

  • Indiewire
Phase 4 Films has acquired all U.S. and Canadian rights to writer-director Mark L Mann’s "generation Um...," which stars Keanu Reeves. The specialty distributor plans a theatrical release in the spring. Bojana Novakovic and Adelaide Clemens co-star in "generation Um…," a day-in the-life portrait of three people trying to make sense of their lives and relationships in the city. Alison Palmer, Caroline Kaplan and Lemore Syvan produced; Nicolas Chartier, Cassian Elwes, Zev Foreman and Jared Goldman are executive producers. Read More: Phase 4 Films to Distribute Alex Gibney's Hockey Doc 'The Last Gladiators' "We are excited to be working with Mark on his first film and to be collaborating with Keanu and the cast to share their edgy, socially relevant drama with audiences," said Phase 4 president and CEO Berry Meyerowitz. Reeves is currently on-screen as producer and host of the documentary "Side By Side,"...
See full article at Indiewire »

Phase 4 Films to Distribute Alex Gibney's Hockey Doc 'The Last Gladiators'

  • Indiewire
Phase 4 Films to Distribute Alex Gibney's Hockey Doc 'The Last Gladiators'
Phase 4 Films has acquired all U.S. and Canadian rights to Alex Gibney's hockey documentary "The Last Gladiators." The distributor will begin with a theatrical release in Canada in October, with a U.S. release following in early 2013. The film, which had its premiere at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival, provides a glimpse into the very intense and often dangerous strategies employed by some of professional hockey's biggest and baddest players. Gibney also explores the career of Chris "Knuckles" Nilan, an infamous enforcer who helped lead the Montreal Canadiens to the Stanley Cup in 1986. "We are thrilled to team up with Alex Gibney to provide audiences with an opportunity to see behind the curtain of the NHL," said Phase 4 president and CEO Berry Meyerowitz. "'The Last Gladiators' is an incredibly inspiring, introspective and entertaining film that you will think about for a long time." Phase...
See full article at Indiewire »

Previewing San Francisco 2012

  • MUBI
The 55th San Francisco International Film Festival (site), opening tomorrow and running through May 3, "will seem comfortingly the same" to many in the Bay Area, writes G Allen Johnson in the Chronicle:

[A] lavish opening-night film and party, a rocking closing-night film and, in the two weeks between, 172 more films from 45 countries and tributes to distinguished celebrities... But behind the scenes, it's been the most challenging year in the festival's history. Two executive directors of the San Francisco Film Society have died — Graham Leggat, who lost a battle to cancer in August at 51; and his replacement, independent film maestro Bingham Ray, who had two strokes and died at 57 while attending the Sundance Film Festival in January. He had been on the job only 10 weeks.

"It sounds like a line, but it's actually true that for me personally it was a relief that I had something I could throw myself into that
See full article at MUBI »

2012 Sundance Predictions: Alex Gibney's The Road Back or The Last Gladiators

#77. The Road Back or The Last Gladiators - Alex Gibney A regular at the fest over the years (Enron, Gonzo, Casino Jack, Magic Trip...) I'm thinking we might see Gibney at the fest with a sports themed-related docu. He'll either premiere The Road Back - a Sony project (which is news to me) that looks at Lance Armstrong’s attempt to come out of retirement in 2009 to win the Tour de France. Matt Damon narrates that one. And then there is the Tiff preemed (in an unfinished cut) The Last Gladiators which could have its U.S premiere. The doc features Chris "Knuckles" Nilan - a hockey player that had the role of the enforcer. These blue-collar players have one reason to be on the ice: to protect their guys, no matter what the cost—to themselves or others.
See full article at IONCINEMA.com »

Tiff 2011 – Twelve Days In: Ricky D’s final blog entry plus twenty two more reviews to digest

The Toronto International Film Festival ended yesterday and I have to say, it is the most exhausting film festival I have ever attended. Even compared to Fantasia, which runs nearly four weeks long, Tiff manages to suck all my energy. Perhaps the main reason why I find it so tiring is because screenings start as early as 9:00 Am and go until midnight, and somewhere in between you have to find time to write about the festival. This year’s Cadillac People Choice Award winner was a bit of a surprise, awarded to a film that no one I know saw, Nadine Labaki’s Where do We Go Now, a film Tiff describes as: “heartwarming tale of a group of women’s determination to protect their isolated, mine-encircled community from the pervasive and divisive outside forces that threaten to destroy it from within”. Our crew posted thier list of their
See full article at SoundOnSight »

Tiff 2011: ‘The Last Gladiators’ a documentary for puck-heads

The Last Gladiators

Directed by Alex Gibney

2011, USA, 94 minutes

This documentary is for hockey fans only, and by God, will hockey fans love it. The enforcer is a controversial role in hockey, beloved by fans but derided by the evening news. “Gretzky never punches anyone,” they cluck. They forget. For Gretzky to score goals, guys like Dave “Cementhead” Semenko needed to watch his back. Park biography, part history, part psychological profile, and part love letter, The Last Gladiators is the documentary NHL enforcers have been waiting for.

Director Alex Gibney does two things: he explains the role of enforcer using coaches, sports journalists, managers, and players (such as Tony Twist, Marty McSorley, and Donald Bashear), and he follows the life of storied NHL enforcer Chris Nilan. The former is a tall order, but he pulls it off. Through the words of the people who love the game, the documentary explains the role of the enforcer,
See full article at SoundOnSight »

Greg’s 2011 Tiff Report: Day 3

I had a big day on Saturday with big plans to get home early and rest up for the push through the meaty part of Tiff. That sounds unpleasant. One thing I forgot to mention on the Day 2 blog was that after The Last Gladiators, I spotted Chris Nilan in the lobby. Being a big Habs fan and remembering him being pretty awesome, I went up and spoke to him, shook his hand and survived not getting punched square in the face. He's much shorter than I thought he would be. I started off Saturday meeting my brother for brunch at a place called Allen's over on the Danforth. A couple of eggs with smoked salmon and some sweet potatoes. Pretty damn good. The coffee, however, was amazeballs. Organic coffee is delicious. Ranking the places I've had coffee up here...it goes Allen's at number 1, then Starbucks, and then Tim Horton's.
See full article at FilmJunk »

It's hockey night in Canada at Toronto film fest

  • Cineplex
It's looking like hockey night in Canada at the Toronto International Film Festival.

One of the country's national sports, hockey is the subject of three films at the prestigious cinema showcase, which opened Thursday and runs through next weekend.

The Last Gladiators from Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side) premiered Friday, offering a portrait of punch-throwing hockey enforcers such as former Montreal Canadiens brawler Chris Nilan.

Premiering Saturday were Michael Dowse's Goon, featuring co-writer Jay Baruchel, Seann William Scott and Liv Schreiber in a the tale of a gentle-spirited hockey enforcer, and Robert Lieberman's Breakaway, whose cast includes Rob Lowe as coach of a misfit team of Sikh-Canadians trying to make their mark in Toronto hockey circles.

"We're trying to single-handedly create the hockey movie as a genre to match the Western," said festival co-director Cameron Bailey. "We haven't had a lot of hockey movies in Canadian filmmaking,
See full article at Cineplex »

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