‘Chuck Norris vs. Communism’: The most sincere tribute 1980s Hollywood will ever get

The documentary Chuck Norris vs. Communism recounts how bootleg tapes of Hollywood movies became an underground phenomenon in Cold War-era Romania. The real-life intrigue that swirled around the bootleg videocassettes — and the accompanying paranoia and absurdity — makes for a fascinating, “only in the Eastern Bloc” story. Read more [...]

‘What Our Fathers Did’: An uncomfortably topical documentary about the legacy of Nazism

A dual character study of the sons of two high-ranking Nazi officials, What Our Fathers Did is a fascinating but disquieting coda to the history of 70-odd years ago. But maybe 'coda' is the wrong word, because in 2017 the movie feels weirdly topical. Read more [...]

In honor of Record Store Day: ‘I Need That Record!’, a documentary for and about vinyl lovers

A skeptic might watch the opening minutes of I Need That Record! and recoil at the parade of middle-aged cranks, grumbling about how things used to be so much better. But the interviewees in this documentary mostly prove eloquent and clear-eyed about why indie record stores became an endangered species — and just what the culture at large is at risk of losing if the indie stores disappear completely. Read more [...]

Worst of 2013: What did literature ever do to deserve movies like ‘Austenland’ and ‘Salinger’?

A super-size version of Salinger plays on PBS next week, but spare yourself: Both Austenland and Salinger are so awful that they suggest American filmmakers are ill-suited to making movies about literary culture. Read more [...]

This weekend, L.A.’s ‘German Currents’ film festival will measure the world

This weekend at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, two of my favorite things: the best new German movies... plus receptions with beer in the Egyptian's courtyard. Read more [...]