Sophie Brooks doesn’t try to reinvent the romantic comedy with The Boy Downstairs, she just takes it out for a little spin around Brooklyn, where her gawky would-be artists stumble into love. The writer/director’s first feature is warmly affectionate and maddeningly vague.
Miriam Makeba is an artist, a symbol, and a woman in the fractured documentary Mama Africa, but never all three at once. Mika Kaurismäki toggles between these roles in his 2011 biography of the South African singer and civil rights activist.
Documentarians Kate McIntyre Clere and Mick McIntyre take fellow Australians to task for their treatment of kangaroos, the free-roaming indigenous animals that elicit loathing as much as wonderment.
Jennifer Gerber’s accomplished first feature emphasizes the disconnect between Pastor Eli and his Southern Baptist flock, which screenwriter Samuel Brett Williams details in a backstory about familial obligation and suppressed desires.
The feature debut of Howard L. Weiner, an eminent neurologist who directed the documentary What Is Life? The Movie, is a compassionate portrayal of lives stripped down to bare essentials by aging, illness, and loss.