Capsule Movie Reviews (Nov. 20): 'Reaching for the Moon' and three more
Reaching for the Moon
NOT RATED, 1 HR., 58 MINS.
The real-life love story of Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Elizabeth Bishop (Miranda Otto) and Brazilian architect Lota de Macedo Soares (Gloría Pires) is gorgeously shot against the lush postcard backdrops of ’50s and ’60s South America —but its emotional landscape is a little more arid. If Blue Is the Warmest Color is the gloriously messy supernova of this year’s lesbian dramas, this is the J. Peterman catalog version: elegant, tasteful, and two-dimensional. B —Leah Greenblatt
NOT RATED, 1 HR., 24 MINS.
Dysfunctional-family Thanksgivings have been served up by other films (Home for the Holidays, Pieces of April), but there’s still enough meat on the carcass for Will Slocombe’s well-observed portrait of a white-wine alcoholic (Peter Bogdanovich) and his irresponsible brood, who gather for a holiday of bickering, blame-hurling, and fork-stabbing. (Also available on iTunes and VOD) B —Keith Staskiewicz
R, 1 HR., 42 MINS.
Mexico has become the drug-murder capital of the world. And as Shaul Schwarz’s disturbing documentary reveals, the streets awash in cartel blood have fueled the culture of narcocorridos: pop songs that celebrate AK-47s and decapitations, turning violent drug gangsters into folk heroes in a way that would have made Biggie Smalls squirm. B —Owen Gleiberman
Weekend of a Champion
NOT RATED, 1 HR., 33 MINS.
Made in 1971 during the Grand Prix in Monte Carlo, this portrait of the Scottish Formula One legend Jackie Stewart is a blast of ’70s scruffy cool that has never before been released in the U.S. The film, produced by Roman Polanski (we see him hanging out with Stewart), embodies both the strengths and weaknesses of cinema vérité. A rambling look at an engagingly humane daredevil, it presents Stewart as a shaggy charmer, at times visibly anxious in the face of the sport’s then-staggering fatality record. He analyzes each hairpin turn and gear shift as if prepping for a chess game in motion. B+ —Owen Gleiberman