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.
The simplicity of Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit is its best and worst quality. Her direction has such clarity and power that the chaos and brutality of 50 years ago is vivid and immediate.
In the trying relationship drama Between Us, a thirtysomething couple addresses commitment pressures with a childish display: a discussion about marriage builds to frenzied chanting and flailing dancing that dissolves into exhausted giggles.
The unmoored millennials in Brett Allen Smith’s moody debut feature click easily but rarely connect. Denim (Zachary Booth), recently arrived in Seattle, is meeting new people, including the introspective singer-songwriter Nikki (Zelda Williams).
Robert Edwards’s wan drama One More Time opens with the sounds of fumbling in the dark and a crooner’s voice promising romance. That’s when Jude Lipman (Amber Heard) demands that her latest pick-up change the album. He doesn’t know that the singer is Jude’s father, Paul Lombard (Christopher Walken).