Need For Speed: Based on the most successful racing video game franchise ever with over 140 million copies sold, DreamWorks Pictures' "Need for Speed" captures the thrills of the game in a real-world setting. An exciting return to the great car-culture films of the 1960s and '70s, when authenticity brought a new level of intensity to the action, "Need for Speed" taps into what makes the American myth of the open road so enticing. The story chronicles a near-impossible cross-country race against time - one that begins as a mission for revenge, but proves to be one of redemption. In a last attempt to save his struggling garage, blue-collar mechanic Tobey Marshall (Aaron Paul) - who with his team skillfully builds and races muscle cars on the side - reluctantly partners with wealthy, arrogant ex-NASCAR driver Dino Brewster (Dominic Cooper). Just as a major sale to car broker Julia Bonet (Imogen Poots) looks like it will save the business, a disastrous, unsanctioned race results in Dino framing Tobey for manslaughter.
Hannah Arendt: The sublime Barbara Sukowa reteams with director Margarethe von Trotta (Vision, Rosa Luxemburg) for her brilliant new biopic of influential German-Jewish philosopher and political theorist Hannah Arendt. Arendt's reporting on the 1961 trial of ex-Nazi Adolf Eichmann in The New Yorker-controversial both for her portrayal of Eichmann and the Jewish councils-introduced her now-famous concept of the "Banality of Evil." Using footage from the actual Eichmann trial and weaving a narrative that spans three countries, von Trotta beautifully turns the often invisible passion of thought into immersive, dramatic cinema. An Official Selection at the Toronto International and New York Jewish Film Festivals, Hannah Arendt also co-stars Klaus Pohl as philosopher Martin Heidegger, Nicolas Woodeson as New Yorker editor William Shawn, and two-time Oscar Nominee Janet McTeer (Albert Nobbs) as novelist Mary McCarthy.
The Armstrong Lie: In 2009 Alex Gibney was hired to make a film about Lance Armstrong's comeback to cycling. The project was shelved when the doping scandal erupted, and re-opened after Armstrong's confession.
Weekly Recommendation: I have seen Need For Speed but my thoughts remain embargoed. The Monuments Men should be worth a look for the great ensemble cast, but reports haven't been great about Clooney's latest. Hannah Arendt and The Armstrong Lie will have very limited releases, and could be worth seeking out if you have interest in the controversial subjects. Last week's pair of All is Lost and Tracks come with higher recommendations, and if you still haven't seen Nebraska, get to it.