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Searching For Sugar Man

One might too easily conclude that Sixto Rodriguez’s long-interrupted music career is just another refutation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s famous dictum that “There are no second acts in American life.” It’s not that simple, but as Malik Bendjelloul’s unusual, expertly assembled documentary, Searching for Sugar Man, makes clear, the answer is more complex and perplexing than the Jazz Age author’s pronouncement. Rodriguez, a Detroit singer-songwriter, has a story that’s strange, but somehow bound up with American life.

Here Comes The Boom

In his journey from standup comedian through sitcom star and into movies, Kevin James has kept control of his career, generally serving as co-writer and co-producer of his projects. He’s carved out a niche for himself as the inoffensive answer to Adam Sandler and the Farrelly Brothers: a blue collar guy who takes his knocks and keeps it clean without preaching about it. In Here Comes the Boom he plays Scott Voss, a biology teacher at a rundown Boston high school. Ground down by years of working in a system that is determined to turn education into an assembly line, he gets his spark back when budget cuts threaten the job of his friend Marty (Henry Winkler), the music teacher. Rashly vowing to raise the $48,000 budget shortfall, he enters the painful but lucrative world of mixed martial arts fighting.

Samsara

The line from Koyaanisqatsi to Samsara couldn’t be any more direct: Along with being the cinematographer of Godfrey Reggio’s seminal 1982 film, Ron Fricke was also credited as co-editor and co-writer. Reggio went on to do two other Qatsi films, but Fricke went his own way, most notably with 1992’s Baraka, which like Koyaanisqatsi is a mind-tripping compilation of gorgeous photographed images from around the world, set to a propulsive musical score.

Argo

Ben Affleck’s Argo begins with a commonly seen notice that’s often proven drearily frivolous: “Based on a true story.” In Argo’s case it’s more meaningful than has usually transpired. It begins a movie that delivers both (substantially) factual material and a solidly carpentered and exciting political thriller.



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