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Up To Date

What's Showing In Independent, Foreign & Documentary Film, June 5

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'Love & Mercy' dramatizes the life of Beach Boy Brian Wilson.

Get the inside look at Beach Boy Brian Wilson's journey from stardom to slump and back again, and go base jumping with a crew of adventurous souls. Up to Date's indie, foreign and documentary film critics know that the weekend is about more than sunshine, so take refuge from those ever-rumbling thunderstorms with any of the films they discussed this week.

Sunshine Superman, PG, showing at the Tivoli 

  • Cynthia Haines: Given the choice between (Sunshine Superman and Man on Wire), I think Man on Wire is a better film. There’s this matter of re-enactments… it’s getting in the way of what we consider a documentary film.
  • Steve Walker: When people jump off mountains there’s two options. We get to jump with these people through the technology they employ.
  • Bob Butler: This guy is very childlike in some ways. He’s got a huge laugh and loves organizing people. You like the guy, (but) at the same time… I don’t know. There’s something in me that says, “What’s wrong?”

Love and Mercy, PG-13, showing at Glenwood Arts, Cinemark Palace on the Plaza, AMC BarryWoods, AMD Studio 28, AMC Town Center

  • Bob: You have two actors, Paul Dano… and John Cusack… They so dig deep into what made this guy tick... that they nail it. But the real star of the show… (is) Elizabeth Banks, (who) has one of those thankless roles of playing a decent person.
  • Cynthia: John Cusack as the older Wilson and Paul Dano as the young Brian didn’t work for me… They made an effort not to communicate with each other in terms of their performances. I just felt like every time Cusack was on the screen he was making one movie, and Paul Dano was making another and never did they come together to create the Brian Wilson we wanted to get to know.

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared, R, showing at the Tivoli and Glenwood Arts

  • Bob: Apologies to Ingmar Bergman, but the biggest movie of all time in Sweden is this movie… I remember thinking to myself (when reading the book), “Well, this is a Swedish Forest Gump, and indeed it is.
  • Cynthia: If you think that the Swedes don’t have a sense of humor, this is a movie for you.
  • Steve: It could have gone off the rails so far, because of this mix of Gump-like (sequence) of him thinking about his life and this contemporary crime chase thriller that looks like Guy Ritchie could have made.

Far From the Madding Crowd, PG-13, showing at the Glenwood Arts, Liberty Hall, Cinemark Palace at the Plaza, Cinemark 20, AMC BarryWoods, AMC Independence Commons, AMC Studio 28, Cinetopia 

  • Steve: One of my favorite actresses currently is Carey Mulligan, who is so terrific in this. Mulligan’s going to win best actress not for this but for (the upcoming film) Suffragette.
  • Cynthia: It was entertaining. The director Vinterberg did The Celebration and The Hunt. He’s a great filmmaker. Carey is just fantastic in this part. Julie Christie’s interpretation was much more sensual than the way Carey Mulligan decided to play the part.
  • Bob: The Julie Christie movie ran for three hours. This runs for two. That was a Hollywood-ish story and really emphasized the melodrama… (This version) concentrates on the realistic, and as a result, the coincidence and melodramatic stuff doesn’t feel like it’s piling on. There are some really subtle moments in this that… say a lot.

Iris, PG-13, showing at Liberty Hall and the Tivoli

  • Cynthia: I noticed that Albert Maysles was the director of this film, and he and his brother David have made some of the most important documentaries and have influenced documentary filmmaking in a way few others have. What really sold me was the fact that she was validated by an exhibit of her clothes and jewelry at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute.
  • Steve: Think about the Met: The current exhibit they have at the Costume Institute is about China. They did an exhibit just about this woman and her sense of style.
  • Bob: I liked her comment on the people who go to formal affairs in black dresses and black tuxedos. She says, “That’s not fashion, that’s a uniform.” I love this movie, because it dares you, the viewer, to look in your closet, declare this the most boring crap you ever saw in your life and go get something gaudy.

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When I host Up To Date each morning at 9 a.m., my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. My email is steve@kcur.org.