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What's Showing In Independent, Foreign & Documentary Film, August 14

Ian McKellan plays Sherlock Holmes opposite Milo Parker (left) in 'Mr. Holmes'.

Whether it's a Buckley-Vidal debate that gets your blood pumping or an exploration of the late David Foster Wallace, Up to Date's indie, foreign and documentary film critics have given the verdict to help you select your weekend entertainment. Here are the films they discussed:

Best of Enemies, R, Tivoli

  • Steve Walker: Some really ugly things were said that haunted Buckley the rest of his life.
  • Bob Butler: The movie makes a very strong point: there was a time long ago when at 5:30 at night, the entire nation turned on  TV and watched the news, and they weren’t getting polemics.
  • Cynthia Haines: I thought it was going to be terrible bore. It’s more about America at that time than these two men. The thing that’s quite amusing is the pompous attitudes of these men and their accents.

End of the Tour, R, Tivoli, Glenwood Arts, Cinetopia, AMC Barrywoods

  • Bob: This film was drawn from the tape recorded transcripts (of real interviews). (The real journalist) said that when he listens to the tapes of David Foster Wallace, he listens to the same scene in the movie, he can’t tell which is which. The film is basically a love letter to (David Foster Wallace). 

Return to Sender, not rated, AMC Studio 28

  • Steve: I can’t think of another contemporary actress who can have a seemingly perky blond kind of exterior but carrying deep scars (like Rosamund Pike).
  • Cynthia: I could see the producers of Gone Girl watching this performance saying, "She’s the one we want for our movie." It’s not a great psychological thriller, but it’s interesting to watch a couple of really good actors on the screen together.

Irrational Man, R, Cinemark Palace, Glenwood Arts, AMC Town Center

  • Bob: With Woody nowadays, you pray you’re going to get funny Woody, but you’re likely to get dour Scandinavian Woody.
  • Cynthia: I thought all the characters were insipid, kept checking my watch—yawnsville.
  • Steve: I go into every Woody Allen movie hoping this is going to be as good as Midnight in Paris or Blue Jasmine. This is not there. It is boring.

Infinitely Polar Bear, R, AMC Town Center

  • Steve: I don’t think Ruffalo even portrays bipolar disorder correctly—he's at one pace throughout. We don’t see these highs and low extremes at all.
  • Cynthia: Zoe Saldana does a pretty good job as the mother, although the film, to me, was a disappointment
  • Bob: This is one of those movies that was at Sundance. It got a lot of buzz, and you're saying, "Goody, goody." Then you watch it and you go, “Uh, what did I miss?”

Tangerine, R, Liberty Hall

  • Cynthia: This film is really about friendship. It is endearing; it’s entertaining. It’s funny. It’s one of the best surprises of the summer. It is a lesson for all aspiring filmmakers.
  • Bob: Think of a screwball comedy about transgender prostitutes. Somehow it doesn't compute and yet it works perfectly.
  • Steve: I liked it a lot. Despite saying it’s been filmed on an iPhone, it has a look to it. It just pops with color.

Mr. Holmes, PG, Tivoli, Regal Kansas City Stadium 18, Cinemark 20, B&B Shawnee, Glenwood, Cinetopia, AMC Barrywoods

  • Cynthia: I was disappointed. I really thought it had great potential. I thought the film was a bit tedious. It is wonderful to see him up on the screen. (Director) Bill Condon made some real mistakes in casting, except for Milo Parker, and he plays the (little boy).
  • Bob: You think going in it’s going to be Sherlock’s last big case. Basically, it’s more of a character study… it’s not presented in a tremendously dramatically fashion.

Guilty pleasures:

  • Cynthia: Pitch Perfect 2
  • Steve: Trainwreck
  • Bob: Shaun the Sheep
When I host Up To Date each morning at 9, 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. Reach me at steve@kcur.org or on Twitter @stevekraske.