Home Movies/Out on Digital July 27, 2017
Behind the Mask: The Batman Dead End Story
Remember Sandy Collora? He was going to be Hollywood’s next wunderkind after seizing entertainment headlines when his short film, Batman: Dead End, became the hit of the 2003 San Diego Comic-Con. Collora was on his way to being the next big thing—until he wasn’t.
Eric S. Dow’s inspiring documentary, Behind the Mask, is a sympathetic look at Collora’s rise and… well, he’s too determined to entirely fall. Drawing from his own fandom and the inspired casting of unknown body-builder Clark Bartram as the caped crusader, Collora’s Batman might have set the stage for Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight. Many pitch meetings followed but he never got to work for a studio. Why? Collora’s suspicion is that he came across as arrogant and obnoxious, albeit hardly unusual traits in Hollywood. Rolling the dice, he raised money to make an indie sci-fi film, remarkable for what it achieved within a tiny budget.
Is psychotherapy ripe for a mockumentary, the way dog contests were in Best in Show or folk music was in A Mighty Wind? Australian writer-director James Raue makes the case with his dryly amusing take on a suicide prevention psychologist, Paul Symmonds (Benedict Wall). He’s a disarmingly earnest celebrity shrink whose groundbreaking method—to “genuinely care” about his clients—is called into question when five of his patients kill themselves. Is it a conspiracy?
Gregory Peck plays a brusque U.S. Army colonel confronted by a hotheaded industrialist (Broderick Crawford) used to getting his way in this 1954 film. The setting is Berlin, the Cold War is simmering, and the Soviets are up to tricks, kidnapping the industrialist’s son to swap him for a pair of Germans they seek to execute. The Technicolor espionage drama was written and directed by Nunnally Johnson, best remembered as the screenwriter for The Dirty Dozen.