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.
Fred Kudjo Kuwornu wavers between the academic and the personal in his earnest documentary, Blaxploitalian: 100 Years of Blackness in Italian Cinema. His project involves not only film history but also Italian politics and cultural shifts.
The Watermelon Woman is a vital example of New Queer Cinema, but it’s more than a time capsule. Funny and smart, full of biting humor and astute observations about identity and history, Cheryl Dunye’s audacious, joyous debut feature captures the process of falling hopelessly in love with the movies.
The Chet Baker portrayed by Ethan Hawke in Robert Budreau’s misty biopic Born to Be Blue is midway between beauty and ruin. Behind him are the 1950s, when the jazz trumpeter and vocalist was the epitome of California cool. Ahead are two peripatetic decades of scattershot gigs and recording sessions.