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Cinemania (Documentary)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Jack Angstreich, Eric Chadbourne, Bill Heidbreder, Roberta Hill, Harvey Schwartz
  • Directors: Angela Christlieb, Stephen Kijak
  • Producers: Stephen Kijak, Avi Weider, Gunter Hanfgarn
  • Format: Color, Letterboxed, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Winstar
  • DVD Release Date: November 4, 2003
  • Run Time: 83 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000AKCMC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #270,016 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Cinemania (Documentary)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Deleted scenes

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A funny yet mesmerizing documentary that chronicles the lives of five film crazed New Yorkers so consumed by their obsession that they don’t have jobs or social lives, out of fear that it would take time away from their movie viewing.


When movie obsessive Bill declares, "Film is a form of living," he means it. The surprisingly entertaining documentary Cinemania tracks five crazed movie fans, for whom a day spent seeing only two movies is a day wasted. Harvey owns dozens of movie soundtracks, but doesn't own a stereo on which he can play them. Roberta once physically attacked an usher who tore one of her ticket stubs, which she compulsively collects. For Eric, the death of Audrey Hepburn was sadder than the death of his own family members. Jack, perhaps the most self-aware and strikingly eloquent of this quintet, designs his diet so that bodily functions won't disrupt his filmgoing. These New Yorkers are heady, opinionated, and charming in the most neurotic way--but they also express a fascinating joy in both film and collecting that will strike a chord with any movie-lover. --Bret Fetzer

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Anita on February 8, 2004
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Here's a problem most moviegoers don't have: scheduling conflicts. If you want to see a movie, it's probably playing at the multiplex all day and evening and you just pick a time and go. But the five people in Cinemania have every film showing anywhere in New York City to choose from, first run movies, film classics, festivals, films shown in museums and small screening rooms. Two of the men have worked out a computerized system to figure it all out. A movie they want to see might only be playing three times in the coming week, at the same time as one or more other movies they want to see. They need help from databases and decision trees. Another guy will only see a movie if it's a good print. He has the phone number of all the projection booths, and calls ahead of time to discuss the quality of the print. Then he brings his cell phone with him into the theater; if something goes wrong with the projection, he doesn't want to have to leave his seat. He calls instead. It's these kinds of details that make this movie fascinating, and fun to watch, in a head-shaking, "I can't believe this" sort of way.
It was also sad to see these people driven by an obsession that maybe even they don't understand. It was hinted that at least two of the film buffs didn't know as much about film as they thought they did, and didn't have discerning tastes. That was good stuff, and made me wonder, why do they do it, then? Ultimately, maybe the question can't be answered. There were five people, and five different, complex reasons. I think the movie gave as full a picture of what they were about as is possible in 80 minutes. So even though I wanted to know, and understand, more, I give the movie 4 stars and will watch it again.
I do wish there'd been more of sense of the mix of movies they all watched.
Read more ›
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Zach Brock on November 18, 2003
Format: DVD
I don't know what that other review is talking about! Dissorganized? I teach a course in film editing and this is a perfectly structured little gem - and funny, and human, and really touching. Yes, it's sad at times (these are fringe characters scraping by on the edges of the big city), but it is also very compassionate.
CINEMANIA is a near-verite look at some of the most whacked out film obsessives you could ever hope to find, but it reveals them in subtle layers - they're self-aware, smart, dangerously brilliant at moments. I found myself thinking about these people long after I saw the film (and was lucky enough to see it on the big screen!) There's no narration (no obnoxious Michael Moore-type leading you by the hand throught he film - thank GOD) so, sure, it may seem haphazard, but I was caught up in it moment-to-moment. I found it fascinating structurally - seeming to anticipate your questions about these folks and then answering them. I did miss hearing about their past lives a bit, but it seems a very in-the-moment experience, very much like the lives of the characters - as if there IS no other life beyond the confines of the silver screen.
People familiar with more verite styles of documentary filmmaking or brilliant personal essay films like Varda's "The Gleaners and I" will love this. It's a great homage to our love of cinema.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Cecily Champagne on May 9, 2006
Format: DVD
Cinemania is a fascinating and very funny documentary that focuses on the lives of five New York film-lovers. The men (and woman) this film chronicles are not simply erudite, artsy types who can appreciate Bergman. They are people who have literally re-arranged their lives in order to make movie-watching their primary focus. They are all articulate and funny. None of them are normal ... they range from strangely overzealous to OCD to downright creepy. And - while it is frequently hilarious to listen to their testimonies (one cinephile suggested that he's ripped food out of a too-noisy movie-goers hands; another has memorized the precise running time for practically every movie he's ever seen; and another is permanently banned from the MOMA (I'll let you figure out why)), it is also a little sad that these people get more fulfillment from movies than they do from their everyday lives.

This documentary excels most when it asks *why* these people need to watch movies (the answers, I think, also speak to the pleasure each of us gets from escapism). There is a scene where Jack, the main "character" in the film, insists that he could only make love to Rita Hayworth in black-in-white. It's an interesting and telling concept. Cinemania's greatest weakness is probably its amateurish production qualities. Rather than come across as quirky and immediate, they are more along the lines of frustrating. But this is only a minor complaint. Overall, I would still recommend Cinemania. I can pretty much guarantee that, if you give it a shot, you'll be entertained and amazed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Muzzlehatch VINE VOICE on September 26, 2013
Format: DVD
I liked this a bit more than I expected to - actually, I was really loving it while watching it, but a day or so of thinking about it got me to considering it's flaws and limitations more. Still, this is an interesting portrait of five of New York's most relentless, hardcore cinephiles, circa 2001 - people who make me and most of my Chicago cinephile friends from the 1990s look like pikers. The title "cinemania" is very apropos, as both the filmmakers and the filmed-buffs often see their cinema love and lonely, obsessive lifestyles as a disease or addiction more than as a passion. But a couple of them are quite articulate and do make attempts to explain it as a valid way of life outside of society's norms, and even if they're not perfectly happy we get the idea that this isn't as bad a choice as others they might have made.

This certainly could have been longer, and had a wider scope to encompass some of the less desperate examples of the bree, like I and some of my friends used to be - ok, we were in Chicago, but there were New Yorkers much like us who saw hundreds of films in the cinema every year but still had decent jobs, friends, even significant others. One gets the impression that most of the cinemaniacs have embraced their hobby as much out of desperation and the lack of anything else useful or important to do with their time. Despite the bleakness and the one-note tone of much of it, though, I guess I still think it's worth a view, and heck, I have known people pretty close to these folks, like the guy in the trench coat who was at EVERY showing EVER at the Film Center in downtown Chicago in the early 90s, and who seemed to be the loneliest man in the city.
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