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Top Picks - Capture Arkansas

HOME MOVIES

By Karen Martin

This article was published December 6, 2013 at 12:21 a.m.

Good Ol’ Freda, directed by Ryan White

Good Ol’ Freda, directed by Ryan White (PG, 86 minutes)

Freda Kelly was a shy Liverpudlian 17-year-old in the early 1960s when she was asked by a guy named Brian Epstein to work as a secretary for a local band he was managing. Though she had no idea of how far they would go, Freda had faith in The Beatles from the beginning. And The Beatles had faith in Freda, a practical and dedicated fixer, improviser and woman of uncommon empathy and integrity.

In this documentary by Ryan White - which opened the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival in October - Freda tells her funny, nostalgic, good-natured but none-too-revealing stories with the support of the living Beatles, accompanied by original Beatles music and evocative pictures and videos.

“Filled with old photos and drenched in nostalgia, with a host of interviewees to attest to her good humor and efficiency, Good Ol’ Freda is a slight movie that exists largely because of the good will of its subject, who never felt impelled to convert her proximity to greatness into monetary success, or even much notoriety,” says our critic Philip Martin. “All those years ago, Brian Epstein made an excellent choice: Freda is certainly one of the good ones.”

The Wolverine (PG-13, 126 minutes) Hugh Jackman returns as solemn, forceful Wolverine (aka Logan) as he battles with himself over the benefits of immortality in the sixth film in the X-Men series. Mark Bomback and Scott Frank wrote the script, which takes its inspiration from the Chris Claremont/Frank Miller Marvel miniseries from the 1980s dealing with the character’s adventures in Japan as he uses inventive strategies to wage battles with determined ninjas in the ceremonial garb of the samurai. With Rila Fukushima; directed by James Mangold.

Drinking Buddies (R, 90 minutes) Luke and Kate are co-workers at a Chicago brewery, where they spend their days drinking and flirting. They’re perfect for each other, except that they’re both in relationships. Luke is in the midst of marriage talks with his girlfriend of six years, and Kate is continuing a coolly casual romance with her music-producer boyfriend Chris.But the line between “friends” and “more than friends” can become very blurry when beer - lots of it - gets involved.

“Drinking Buddies sneaks up on you; you think it’s going in one direction, and suddenly it goes somewhere much more interesting,” says critic Moira MacDonald in the Seattle Times. With Olivia Wilde, Jake M. Johnson, Anna Kendrick and Ron Livingston.

The Iran Job (not rated, 90 minutes) This is a sports/ lifestyle documentary about exuberant American basketball player and St. Croix native Kevin Sheppard, who is offered a chance in 2008-09 to play point guard in Iran, not exactly way up there on the list of safe-travel destinations.Despite fearing the worst, Sheppard heads to the Middle East for a season, where he encounters rowdy fans, a fierce dedication to playing by the rules, interesting women, and a fight-to-the-finish competition to reach the national playoffs. Written and directed by Till Schauder.

All the Boys Love Mandy Lane (R, 90 minutes) A serviceable horror slasher from director Jonathan Levine (his first feature), this film premiered way back in 2006 at the Toronto International Film Festival. After getting handed from one studio to another, it was finally released in October. Exploring what has become a popular theme since its production seven years ago, it follows what happens when a group of high schoolers invite popular, gorgeous and virginal Mandy Lane to a let’s-go-wild party on a secluded ranch. Everybody seems to be having a good time at the chaotic ruckus, until some of them begin to drop in increasingly gruesome manners. With Amber Heard, Anson Mount (Hell on Wheels).

The Doors R-Evolution (not rated, 154 minutes) This new music documentary offers seldom-seen footage of rock gods The Doors in TV appearances, films and video commentaries by members John Densmore, Robby Krieger and the late Ray Manzarek, who died May 20 (lead singer Jim Morrison died in 1971). It tracks the ascent of the American band during the 1960s (including performances of classic songs such as “L.A. Woman,” “People Are Strange,” “Light My Fire” and “Break on Through”) in their journey to becoming the controllers of their creative future. The Blu-ray deluxe edition includes a 40-page book with lyrics, photos and trivia.

MovieStyle, Pages 29 on 12/06/2013

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