The real Lee Israel, the celebrity profiler turned forger who died in 2014, was a more boastful figure than the sad-sack recluse Melissa McCarthy plays in Marielle Heller’s sympathetic biopic, especially when methodically detailing her brief, prolific criminal spree in the early 1990s.
In adapting the wartime diaries of Marguerite Duras, Emmanuel Finkiel captures the author’s oblique style, which filters events though a thick layer of ennui, and centers on women who deal with inflicted trauma by torturing themselves.
Canadian journalist Jay Bahadur (Evan Peters) arrives in Somalia as an opportunist and leaves an advocate. Writer/director Bryan Buckley treats Bahadur’s 2008-09 odyssey as an elucidating examination of kinship more than a biopic.
Michael Almereyda’s Escapes is a rough sketch compared to polished Hollywood portraits like The Kid Stays in the Picture. That’s partly because Hampton Fancher is not a well-oiled raconteur like Robert Evans.
A straightforward performance film benefits one-person shows that are conversational or invoke characters through voice and gesture, but that doesn’t suit Okwui Okpokwasili’s demanding multidisciplinary piece, Bronx Gothic.