Some wonderful under-the-radar movies for your viewing pleasure!
“Good Ol’ Freda” is a doc about the teenager who worked for the Beatles from their days playing The Cavern Club to their break up in 1970. This is not a tell-all, nor is it really about the Beatles; it’s infinitely more interesting and enjoyable. If you were pals with the Fab Four back in the day, wouldn’t you be telling everyone you met for the rest of your life? Well Freda Kelly didn’t, and you’ll fall in love with her for it.
You can tell a Lynne Shelton movie in a minute – they’re quirky, low-key, naturalistic…and somehow undefinably feminine. I always enjoy her films (even when they don’t totally hold together) and I think “Hump Day” never got its props for its hilarious foray into a do-not-go-there subject (two straight men contemplating sex – with each other). Her latest film, “Touchy Feely,” is a really lovely, funny take on that “fear of intimacy” problem we all talk about too much – but rarely get anywhere with.
J.D. Salinger published his last book in 1965, gave his last interview in 1980 and died in 2010. The long-awaited and much-hyped doc ”Salinger“ purports to unravel his mystery: Why did he write? Why did he stop? Why did he disappear? But where Salinger’s enigmatic story enhanced his stature, using a “The Mystery of Al Capone’s Vaults” approach as the hook for this very standard biopic will only create disgruntled mover-goers. One of the ads (left), and the film’s general backstory (read the first line of the film’s Wikipedia entry) seem to imply they’ve uncovered something really groundbreaking about Salinger, and maybe they did – I left after an hour. I might have liked this film if I had gone into it just to hear people talk lovingly about one of my favorite writers.
If you live in New York, check out “Il Futuro” (it opens in LA on 10/25), a fascinating (if not totally satisfying) film. The story of an orphaned high school girl and her brother, this is a movie the veers on occasion into the pretensions of both existential and adolescent angst. But it takes a wonderful turn when the young woman is sent as a prostitute to case the dark (literally) mansion of an aging, blind American star of Italian Sword-and-Sandal movies – played wonderfully by Rutger Hauer. The scenes of their time together are worth the price of admission.