Pick of the week: “Mud“ — Writer-director Jeff Nichols’ terrific films feels like a modern-day updating of a classic boys’ adventure tale mixed with a true slice of Southern life, as two boys help a mysterious stranger (Matthew McConaughey in mid-career Renaissance) hiding out on a remote island. The film’s understanding of its characters and their environs feels authentic; this movie was made by people who’ve been there.
“20 Feet From Stardom“ — This rousing Oscar-winning documentary looks at the careers of Darlene Love and other backup singers responsible for vocals on some of the most iconic songs in popular music — but rarely credited for their contributions.
“Howard Zinn: You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train” — This fine documentary chronicles the life and times of the late activist and author of “The People’s History of the United States,” one of the essential texts of modern progressive thinking in America.
“Devil’s Miner” — My full review is here. This harrowing documentary looks at the lives of two 14-year-old boys in Bolivia who descend deep into the silver mines of a nearby mountain to make money (often a pittance) for their families.
“Taxi Driver” — Now that Martin Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street” is out on DVD this week, revisit his nervy 1976 classic about an unhinged cabbie (Robert De Niro).