Lord knows Isabelle Huppert is allowed to take it easy every once in awhile, and luckily this resulting light soufflé is fairly tasty and takes advantage of her singular talents. The ice queen plays an aging kook trying to prove she can hold a job by shilling Belgian timeshares. There’s an ensemble cast of lovable (or not) losers at her disposal, but the show is entirely Huppert’s, and she commands it with the ease and grace of...well, Isabelle Huppert.
Sat., Oct. 16, 5pm, R5. Mon., Oct. 18, 5pm, PMT.
Do It Again: C-
Imagine if Morgan Spurlock got about one week into his monthlong McDonald’s binge, realized it was a terrible idea and went crawling back to Whole Foods, but unleashed Super Size Me anyway. That’s the frustrating experience of watching this stunt doc, in which journo Geoff Enders tries to reunite the Kinks—a feat that would include patching up two of the most estranged brothers on the planet. He doesn’t—but you already knew that. A couple lovely celeb jam sessions (not, alas, with Paul Weller) and a frank chat with Dave Davies are catnip to Kinks nerds, but this serves most interestingly as a document of its own wretched, depressing failure.
Sun., Oct. 17, 5pm, RA.
Four Lions: A-
Who says watching suicide bombers kill innocent bystanders can’t be howlingly funny? The film debut of Chris Morris, Britain’s most savage satirist (Brass Eye, Nathan Barley), offers a quartet of bumbling Sheffield Jihadists and their plan to ignite the London Marathon. Luckily, they’ve got a lot in common with the underwear bomber. Gut-busting long before our would-be terrorists have disguised themselves as ostriches and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, it winds up rich and tragic, more than just something pointing out how terrorists are a bunch of shits.
Sat., Oct. 16, 4:50pm, R5.
The life of WWII megaspy Juan Pujol cries out for a movie, but for now it’ll have to make do with Garbo. A Spaniard who bluffed his way into Nazi confidence, and nicknamed after Greta for his peerless “acting,” Pujol managed to never leave a physical trace. That strands director Edmon Roch with little visual material, but he compensates with copious clips, often from Hollywood war films from the ‘40s and ‘50s. Too bad he did so little with the soundtrack. The historians he rounded up are as knowledgeable as they are dry, and their narcotic drones summon memories of falling asleep at a desk with a pen in your hand.
Sun., Oct. 17, 7:25pm, R5.
The art of redrawing voting-district boundaries into shapes sometimes bordering on surrealism to ensure continued victory in elections gets an 80-minute simplification for the layperson. Documentarian Jeff Reichert keeps viewers interested any way he knows how: big, bouncy graphics, stars (or at least the California governor), and rabble-rousing emotional appeals. The peppiness would almost be grating if the subject’s dense and confusing nature weren’t one of the reasons it remains in play. Gerrymandering argues that its subject is one reason for our current state of bitter partisan divide and the continued employment of extremist nutters, and the film pines for a future of civility.
Sat., Oct. 16, 12pm, RA.
Making his second acclaimed feature at the age of 21, Canada’s Xavier Dolan (I Killed My Mother) is the real deal. A love triangle between friends—the director himself, Niels Schneider and Monia Chokri—is handled with acuteness and thrilling filmic volleys, not limited to peppered interviews and great use of super slo-mo. Dolan may be swiping from others (Wong Kar-Wai, Woody Allen, etc.), but he mixes his influences into something strange and unique. If filmmakers are ever truly born, Dolan is proof.
Sun., Oct. 17, 5:25pm, R5.
How I Ended This Summer: B+
Intern Pavel (Grigoriy Dobrygin) and his more weathered superior Sergei (Sergei Puskepalis) aren’t the lone residents of both an Arctic radiation station and this odd-couple psychodrama. Our dysfunctional heroes are torn even further apart when word comes of a grim development in Sergei’s home. The unraveling that proceeds may be too over the top for some, but there’s no arguing with the visuals. Director Aleksei Popogrebsky is aces with both character detail and jaw-dropping vistas; there’s copious examples of both.
Those seeking sexy dirt in a doc on Jeanette Maier, madam of the late, well-patroned Canal Street brothel, take note. The brunt of Cameron Yates’ doc isn’t the scandal, but its less-skeezy aftermath—what becomes of the news sensation once the sensation ends?