Flick Picks 12/29/2015: Pawn Sacrifice, Bone Tomahawk, He Named Me Malala

Chess, anyone?  Need your faith in humanity restored?  Or perhaps as some truly wintry weather descends upon us (or attacks horizontally in the form of sleet - yikes!), all you want to do is hunker down with a good series and have yourself a marathon.  Whatever the case, we've got you covered.

 

Feature Films

 

It's hard to imagine the place that chess and one chess player held in the American imagination in the early 1970's.  Of course, the chess player was the enigmatic Bobby Fischer.  Fischer's 1972 defeat of Russian Boris Spassky for the World Chess Championship in Iceland was followed in the United States with the interest usually reserved for a major sporting event.  Genius that he clearly was, Fischer was also a troubled man.  Tobey Maguire plays Bobby Fisher in Pawn Sacrifice, which focuses on the tempestuous world championship match.

 

There is also a fascinating nonfiction film on the singular, ultimately sad life of Bobby Fischer, available in our documentary collection:  BOBBY FISCHER AGAINST THE WORLD.

 

 

Good or bad, Quentin Tarrantino's latest film continues an admirable trend on the part of the director in resuscitating careers that Hollywood has left for dead.  In the case of his current The Hateful Eight, there are rich roles for both Kurt Russell and Jennifer Jason Leigh.  We won't have The Hateful Eight on DVD until the spring.  In the meantime, you can enjoy Kurt Russell in the dark, complex and very well-reviewed western Bone Tomahawk.  

 

Also new:  Robert Redford and Nick Nolte play two old friends hiking the Appalachian Trail in A WALK IN THE WOODS.

 

 

Series

The always excellent William H. Macy stars as the frequently drunk single father who in no discernible way leads his family of six children in this Showtime series.  The kids generally have to fend for themselves in this dysfunctional family comedy set in the South Side Chicago neighborhood of Canaryville.  

 

Liev Schreiber and Jon Voight star in another popular Showtime series about a law firm "fixer" (Schreiber), contending with all sorts of dubious characters, not the least of which is his ex-con father (Voight)

 

 

Documentary/Performing Arts

For those unfamiliar with the 18-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai, Davis Guggenheim's documentary tells her better than fiction story.  An activist in her native Pakistan for the rights of girls, especially the right to education, Malala was hunted by the Taliban and shot three times, including one to her head.  As you'll find out, the attack only strengthened the resolve of the exceptional young woman.  He Named Me Malala is currently shortlisted for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.  

 

The renovation of the Netherlands national museum of arts and history, also known as The Rijksmuseum, was supposed to take five years, from 2003 to 2008.  Ten years and some $500 million dollars later, the museum enjoyed a triumphant reopening.  However, the previous decade saw a surprising amount of drama and even comedy as two museum directors battled detractors and adversaries on all sides.  




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