Director: Chris Kenneally

It sounds like the kind of documentary that film school professors would use in classes and casual moviegoers would equate to paint drying on celluloid: With a partially educational mission, Side by Side, directed by Chris Kenneally, details the behind-the-scenes revolution brought about by the rise of digital technology. Nowadays, within circles of directors, cinematographers, and editors, the debate pitting digi advances against old-school photochemical film types is as polarizing as it exciting. But should Joe Popcorn Eater really care?

As this highly entertaining and informative documentary (produced by on-camera guide Keanu Reeves) makes perfectly clear, they sure as hell better. Thanks to deep insight from an esteemed lineup of professionals (including Martin Scorsese, James Cameron, George Lucas, and David Fincher), Side by Side pulls the curtain back and reveals the inner mechanisms of cinema in such a way that both film buffs and folks who call Michael Bay’s Transformers blockbusters “brilliant” can appreciate its messages.

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