Pick of the week: “Hits” –My full review is here. “Mr. Show” co-creator David Cross is making the transition from young comedy upstart to cranky old man gracefully. He’s the writer-director of this scathing satire of “instant celebrity” culture in which no one is spared, from a teen girl who will do anything to be a pop star to a disgruntled man who becomes the flashpoint of a viral political movement.
“Girlhood” – My full review is here. This French drama could be the flip side of Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood.” While Linklater’s white middle-class teen finds a world of possibilities open to him, the lower-class French immigrant teen in “Girlhood” finds her options narrowing as she grows older, leading to a final moment of resolve that’s both tragic and triumphant.
“Welcome to the Punch” – My full review is here. This slick British thriller boasts a good cast (James MacAvoy, Mark Strong, Andrea Riseborough), good use of some ultra-modern London locations, and simply the greatest three-second super-slo-mo shootout in movie history.
“The Black Power Mixtape: 1967-1975” – My full review is here. The rise of the Black Panthers is chronicled entirely through archival footage in this engrossing documentary, which aims to reclaim the black power narrative back from the established historical record.
“On the Road“ – My full review is here. Jack Kerouac’s novel is notoriously unfilmable, so Walter Salles’ noble attempt is more of an homage to its influence than an adaptation itself. The film is full of memorable small roles by Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart and Viggo Mortensen doing a bang-on William S Burroughs imitation, but the film’s imagery is more in love with the road than the people on it.