Capsule Movie Reviews (Sept 4): 'Winnie Mandela' and five more
R, 1 HR., 47 MINS.
Darrell J. Roodt’s bland biopic of the South African antiapartheid activist feels like the Hallmark Hall of Fame version of history. Jennifer Hudson brings some fire to the controversial crusader and Terrence Howard is very good as her husband, Nelson Mandela. But this well-intentioned film is an oversimplified mess. C —Chris Nashawaty
99% — The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative FIlm
NOT RATED, 1 HR., 37 MINS.
The Occupy Wall Street movement deserves enormous credit for locking the “meme” of the 99 percent into the American psyche. But that doesn’t make this day-to-day documentary about the protests a very interesting movie. You can agree, in large part, with those who camped out for months in New York’s Zuccotti Park and still think that the film showcases way too much naive gabble about “revolution.” B- —Owen Gleiberman
Good Ol’ Freda
PG, 1 HR., 26 MINS.
Freda Kelly, the Beatles’ longtime secretary, is a cheeky storyteller even if her loyalty to the Fab Four prevents her from dishing up any new dirt in this documentary. Still, it’s a charming sideways look at a woman who had a backstage pass to the greatest pop phenomenon of the 20th century. (Also available on VOD and iTunes) B —Chris Nashawaty
R, 1 HR., 51 MINS.
In this sugary dollop of French whimsy, the pixieish Déborah François plays an adorably klutzy Mad Men-era secretary who’s a whiz with an Underwood. The always great Romain Duris smolders as the boss who pushes her into a national speed-typing contest. Romantic tension ensues. Will they or won’t they? Oh, s’il vous plaît! B- —Chris Nashawaty
A Single Shot
R, 1 HR., 56 MINS.
Another strong performance from Sam Rockwell can’t rescue David M. Rosenthal’s bleak indie thriller about a West Virginia deer hunter who accidentally shoots and kills a young woman. It might have been more interesting if the film grappled more with one man’s guilt instead of becoming a tediously grim game of cat and mouse. Rockwell deserves better. (Available on VOD; in select theaters 9/20) C+ —Chris Nashawaty
NOT RATED, 1 HR., 16 MINS.
A high school teacher (Lindsay Burdge) has a fling with a student (Will Brittain), a genial hunk who seems a lot more levelheaded than she is. She’s paranoid about being discovered, but Hannah Fidell’s movie doesn’t pivot on scandal. It portrays the heroine’s inappropriate obsession as fatally romantic, a provocative hook of diminishing returns. (Also available on VOD and iTunes) B- —Owen Gleiberman