Hitting The Apex – Mark Neale’s Latest Documentary

The steady stream of new documentaries concerning motorcycles continues, with the latest film titled Hitting the Apex. It comes from Mark Neale, a name many may recognize from previous features he’s released including the brilliant Faster, as well as The Doctor and Fastest. His latest film again focuses on Moto GP and chronicles from the time that Valentino Rossi joins Ducati up until the start of this years’ season.

That means in addition to Rossi it focuses on the likes of Casey Stoner, Jorge Lorenzo, Marq Marquez and the late Marco Simoncelli. Unlike previous documentaries Neale has produced, Brad Pitt narrates the film instead of Ewan McGregor – both of whom are well known bike aficionados.

Hitting the Apex will be screened in select cinemas in the UK from 2 September with it coming to the US in the near future. No dates have yet been confirmed for Canada or Australia. Regardless, it will be available for digital purchase from 7 September.

IOM TT – The Latest Film On The World’s Most Dangerous Race

This years’ Isle of Man TT only finished a few weeks ago, where sadly French rider Frank Petricola became the 243rd rider fatality at the event since its inception in 1911. It’s this ever present risk of death or serious injury that is the focus of Studio Kippenberger’s short film – simply titled IOM TT – where it examines what attracts riders year after year to this momentous yet unforgiving event.

It doesn’t reach the incredible heights of TT 3D: Closer to the Edge which remains one of the best automotive documentaries ever, but then again it would be difficult to come close given IOM TT has a run time of a mere 19 minutes.

Thankfully, that 19 minutes packs a fantastic punch, with breathtaking footage one magazine described as “truly stunning photography and painstakingly arranged slow-mo sequences that perfectly capture the drama and danger of threading hedgerows at 180 mph.”

IOM TT can be purchased for viewing off Vimeo for $4.99. Check out the trailer below.

 

On Any Sunday, The Next Chapter

Motorcycle documentaries seem to be having a resurgence of late and perhaps this latest one could be the biggest of them all. On Any Sunday, The Next Chapter is the spiritual successor to the groundbreaking 1971 documentary ‘On Any Sunday’.  Dana Brown, son of Bruce Brown who produced the original documentary has teamed up with Red Bull to introduce to a new generation what makes motorcycling so unique.

Given previous efforts by Red Bull the production values should be stunning.  The documentary will be made available in 4K Ultra HD and will features riders including current MotoGP champion Marquez, daredevil Australian Robbie Maddison and custom bike builder Rolan Sands.

The documentary will be released in September for direct purchase and further announcements will be made about a theatrical release. Check out the trailer below.

 

 

Why We Ride – Documentary Review

Why We Ride is a new release, independent documentary that stays true to its title – its purely a movie by motorcyclists, for motorcyclists.

If you’ve seen the trailer (below) for the movie, then you’ve already got a good indication of how this documentary pans out. It’s effectively a variety of people talking (some famous names, some relatives of famous motorcycle personalities) about their passion for riding. The feeling of freedom, camaraderie, adrenalin, even love.

Linking these passions together are some interesting historical recounts, including the early days of the industry and the sport in the United States which I thoroughly enjoyed as my main interest in the sport is more European and Japanese centric.
  

 
From an enjoyment point of view, I feel however that the documentary really never hits the mark.

I guess my main criticism of Why We Ride is that I feel its preaching to the converted. I cannot see any non motorcyclist sitting through more than a few minutes of this documentary and even if they did, to me there’s nothing compelling to draw them to the sport. Why We Ride just feels like a 90 minute circle jerk of famous and not-so-famous riders effectively slapping themselves on the back as to how cool it is that they can ride.

Undeniably, Why We Ride is beautifully shot, and its an absolute credit to the film makers that they managed to achieve so much on what would be a very limited budget. Hollywood take note. The musical score accompanies the visuals well, though at time feels a little too dramatic for the subject matter.
 
And that’s OK I suppose. There’s nothing wrong with a bit of self-indulgence every now and then. But perhaps this documentary was a lost opportunity to sell motorcycle riders to the great unconverted, rather than an introspective advertisement for itself.

6 out of 10

TT3D – Closer to the Edge

Perhaps the easiest way to state if this documentary is good is to ask whether or not it would appeal to biker and non-bikers alike? Well, the answer is a resounding, yes.

From the first few seconds of onboard footage around the Isle of Man circuit to the final race of the weekend, TT3D: Closer to the Edge is an incredible documentary that will make its 104 minutes runtime go all too quickly.

TT3D Closer to the Edge

It follows a number of riders for the 2010 event, though the colourful Guy Martin, with his thick Lincolnshire accent is the main focus of this doco. His somewhat eccentric personality and candid talk adds an additional dimension to the film which already features spectacular footage and real, raw emotion.

Motorcycle enthusiasts will watch in awe as the front wheels wobble at 180mph over crests and riders get within centimetres of cobblestone walls. Non enthusiasts will probably be in awe too, albeit from a different perspective.

TT3D – Closer to the Edge (and the standard 2D version which I viewed) is a brilliant documentary, one that is immensely re-watchable and really shows the thrill we all get from motorcycle riding. Its release was completely overshadowed by Senna which was released within a month of Closer to the Edge, so if you were unaware of its existence, now’s the time to see it.