Instant Gratification: “The Trials of Muhammad Ali” and four other good movies new to Netflix and Amazon Prime


Pick of the Week: “The Trials of Muhammad Ali” (Netflix): My full review is here. Netflix dropped this excellent documentary by UW-Madison graduate Bill Siegel about a month ago, but wisely picked it back up after the death of Ali. It’s a terrific look inside Ali’s struggles in the 1960s against the Vietnam War and for civil rights, a fight that got him banned from boxing and made him a pariah for many white Americans. While he is being rightfully lionized, this film is an important reminder of how much of the country turned its back on him and what he stood for.

Continue reading

“Love and Mercy”: God only knows where we’d be without Brian Wilson


“Love and Mercy” opens Friday at Point and Star Cinemas. PG-13, 2:01, three and a half stars out of four.

For an extra few bucks, theaters showing the Brian Wilson biopic “Love and Mercy” should issue headphones so audience members could jack in directly to Atticus Ross’ hypnotic soundtrack. (And I don’t mean earbuds, but big, fat, pillowy, quad headphones.)

Ross and Trent Reznor have made memorable soundtracks before for films like “Gone Girl” and “The Social Network,” but what he creates for “Love and Mercy” is more like an aural soundscape, with snatches of Beach Boys music and whispers of sinister voices floating around in the ether. Hearing it helps us understand the beauty and the nightmare of being in Brian Wilson’s head.

Continue reading