Pick of the week: “Blackfish” — My full review is here. There have been better documentaries released in 2013, but none as immediately effective as “Blackfish,” which shines a light both on the mistreatment of killer whales at SeaWorld as well as how trainers have been left in the dark about those abuses, with sometimes fatal consequences.
Comedy of the week: “Prince Avalanche” — My full review is here. David Gordon Green returns to his indie roots with this quietly hilarious tale of two road workers (Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch) painting lines in a remote Texas forest.
Action movie of the week: “Drug War” — My full review is here. Master Hong Kong filmmaker Johnnie To’s latest film plays like a mainland China version of “The French Connection,” as a dogged detective tries to use a snitch to bring down a drug ring. Accomplished and assured, with a gangbusters third act.
Documentary (or mockumentary) of the week: “Street Thief” — I’m pretty sure it’s a fake, but I was still mesmerized by this gritty documentary purporting to follow a real-life thief as he plans jobs, including a nighttime heist at a suburban movie theater that’s somehow even more thrilling for being so banal.
Drama of the week: “Not Fade Away” — David (“Sopranos”) Chase’s directorial debut is an elegaic look at a late ’60s garage band that never made it big, with a fine performance by the late James Gandolfini as one of the teen’s fathers.