Pick of the week: “Le Week-End“ — My full review is here. Don’t get snookered by the trailer, which tried to sell this Roger Michell drama as a Baby Boomer “Before Sunrise,” which longtime married couple Lindsey Duncan and Jim Broadbent rekindling that old flame in Paris. In fact, this is an often bruising, acerbic but tender look at a wobbly but resilient lifetime relationship, with two terrific lead performances by two of Britain’s finest character actors. Add in a playful Jeff Goldblum performance as an old friend and you’ve got an entertaining but not easy film.
“Citizen Koch” — My full review is here. The 2011 Wisconsin protests against Gov. Walker’s plan to strip most public-sector workers of most of their collective bargaining rights is the centerpiece of this sprawling, sometimes uneven, but often incisive documentary on the flood of big money unleashed by the Citizens United decision is corrupting U.S. politics.
“The Auction” — My full review is here. This French-Canadian drama initially seems so austere that you might think it’s a documentary, about an old Quebecois farmer who decides to sell his land and give the proceeds to his divorced daughter. But what emerges is a quiet and complex character study, and not one that’s as nostalgic about “the old ways” as you might expect.
“Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” — Celebrate Keanu Reeves’ 50th birthday with this delightfully dumb and sweet ’80s comedy about two bros who travel through time with the help of from-the-future George Carlin to collect famous historical figures for their class projects. See, kids, history is fun!
“Grosse Pointe Blank“ — Even as a hitman, John Cusack was just so gosh darn likable in this black comedy about an assassin who returns to suburban Detroit for his 10th high school reunion, only to find that navigating those old teenage social waters is more challenging than trading bullets with rival Dan Aykroyd.