Pick of the week: “Dear Mr. Watterson“ — My full review is here. My daughers are just discovering my old “Calvin & Hobbes” books, and I imagine that someday their kids will fall into the magical, funny, poignant and beautifully-rendered world of Bill Watterson. This highly entertaining documentary deliberately doesn’t try to contact the reclusive Watterson, instead talking to fans, fellow comic strip artists and colleagues to celebrate and investigate why we love it so much. There’s treasure everywhere in this movie.
“Star Trek Into Darkness“ — My full review is here. As a Star Trek fan (I just watched “Trouble With Tribbles” last night), I think I’ll always wrestle with this one, an ungainly and somewhat cynical attempt to shoehorn fanboy-service details into a generic summer action movie. Most of my problems are with the screenplay — the acting is still good, especially Zachary Quinto as the conflicted Spock, and, against all hopes, I want to believe they can right the starship for “Star Trek 3.” No CGI tribbles, though, okay?
“Stranger By the Lake” — My full review is here. At a beach in French that’s become a hotspot for gay cruising, a young man falls for another bather, even though he’s pretty sure the object of his affection committed murder. This is an unsettling mix of Hitchcockian thriller and sexually explicit psychological drama about the boundaries of desire, and what happens when you cross them.
“Emperor” — My full review is here. You can’t really beat the casting of Tommy Lee Jones as Col. Douglas MacArthur, overseeing Japan after the U.S. victory in World War II. But the movie really belongs to Matthew Fox, who plays an investigator looking into whether the Japanese emperor should be tried for war crimes. The movie is a little stiff, but still an engaging drama about how victors often reveal their best selves not in combat, but in what they do with the defeated afterward.
“Mademoiselle C“ — Fashionistas will eat up this documentary about Carine Roitfeld, the former Vogue Paris editor, as she attempts to launch her own ambitious fashion magazine, CR. It’s an insider’s look at the world of fashion, with celebrities and beautiful models flying by. One might hope for something a little deeper along the lines of “The September Issue,” but it’s still good glammy fun.