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I was originally going to write a preview for two films that don’t deserve your money or time. I was going to whine and complain about them, criticize their potential (and probable) faults, and move on.

But then I decided not to because you, reader, deserve better. Sometimes I get tired of complaining about forgettable crap. Not often, but sometimes. This week two very different but equally exciting documentaries are being released, so I decided to write about them instead.

12 O’CLOCK BOYS

Director: Lofty Nathan
Genre: Documentary

They call themselves the 12 O’Clock Boys “because they drop the bike straight back”. Great name, great explanation. The notorious dirt bike crew known in Baltimore as the 12 O’Clock Boys are best known for performing extreme stunts at high-speeds in and out of traffic and skillfully evading the police. Since the police have to adhere to a no-chase policy, that basically gives them free reign over the streets.

Pug is a bright adolescent living in Baltimore’s dangerous Westside neighborhood. He lives with his mother Coco, a former stripper, who hopes he’ll pursue his dream of becoming a veterinarian. He also happens to be obsessed with the 12 O’Clock Boys, an obsession that soon takes precedence over everything in his life. The film follows Pug and his mother as Pug becomes more and more involved with the 12 O’Clock Boys, and as she continues to encourage his veterinary dream.

Director Lofty Nathan began this project in grad school, eventually dedicating three years to its completion. Early buzz is overwhelmingly positive. It’s short, only 72 minutes, and thrillingly shot. Some reviewers have pointed out that Nathan allows the visuals to speak for themselves without too much explanation. I think the visual style in the trailer stands out and the film promises an interesting and thrilling ride.

TIM’S VERMEER

Director: Teller
Genre: Documentary

Johannes Vermeer was a Dutch master painter from the 1600’s. You may know him from a little painting called “Girl With The Pearl Earring”. Tim Jenison is an inventor based in Texas. What do they have in common? More than you think.

Jenison began with a question: how did Vermeer paint so photo-realistically 150 years before the invention of photography? Teller (one half of duo Penn & Teller) directs this decade-long story of Jenison’s epic research project and attempt to replicate Vermeer’s work using his theory.

Documentaries dealing with obsession are usually quite compelling, and this doesn’t seem to be much different. The trailer also provides a little tease regarding Jenison’s attempt at recreating Vermeer’s work. I find the idea of an engineer attempting to understand the work of a fine artist through science fascinating. Count me in.