Pass the Remote takes a break from documentaries to focus on narrative features this week.
• “The Glorias”: One of the most iconic figures in the feminist movement — Gloria Steinem — is the subject of creative filmmaker Julie Taymor’s take on her memoir “My Life on the Road.” With Oscar-winning actresses Alicia Vikander and Julianne Moore portraying the founder of Ms. magazine at various stages in her personal and professional life, from journalist to activist, it’s a compelling portrait occasionally undone by artsy bits that take us out of the story. Regardless, it’s an important, absorbing drama that pays tribute to someone who dared to speak up and call out sexism. (Available Sept. 30 via Amazon Prime)
• “The Artist’s Wife”: As the mind of a successful, temperamental artist (Bruce Dern) continues to deteriorate, his wife (Lena Olin) gets back into her creative groove. Former San Franciscan Tom Dolby drew on his own family relationships to craft this tender, sensitively told character drama on the toll Alzheimer’s exacts. Olin is luminous, Dern heartbreaking. A pleasant surprise is Avan Jogia as a manny drawn to the contagious spirit of Olin’s character. (www.theartistswifetickets.com)
• “LX 2048”: Delroy Lindo isn’t in this cerebral dystopian drama much, but his presence looms large, both as an actor and a character. Set in the claustrophobic near future, writer/director Guy Moshe’s sensual-to-look-at thought provoker issues a warning about taking technological advances too far. James D’Arcy stars as Adam Bird (the name suggests the artistic intentions), a workaholic but successful businessman bored with his staid marriage and titillated by his relationship with an attractive AI. You think you might know where this one’s heading, but you’ll likely be wrong. It has issues, but is involving, strange and creepy. (Available on streaming platforms)
• “The Keeper”: Epic period dramas don’t come around often enough in my opinion so this one from filmmaker Marcus H. Rosenmüller fulfills that need. It tells a true story about a WWII German prisoner of war who prevails and becomes a goalkeeper for the Manchester team. All the acting is impressive, but David Kross — playing Bert Trautmann — goes above and beyond, giving both commendable physical and emotional performances. “The Keeper” is an inspiring and human story with Rosenmüller delicately handling dramatic tonal shifts. (https://rafaelfilm.cafilm.org/keeper/ and https://www.rialtocinemas.com/index.php?location=elmwood&film=2020_keeper_elm)
• “Before the Fire”: Just after Charlie Buhler’s apocalyptic thriller received its world premiere last March at Cinequest, future screenings were canceled as the festival cut short its program due to COVID-19. In a surreal coincidence, the effective “Fire” happens to be about an L.A. actress fleeing from a pandemic by returning to her dysfunctional hometown roots. Buhler’s films has rough patches and needed to be tightened, but the scenario is not only eerie, but downright bone-chilling. Lead actress Jenna Lyng Adams wrote the screenplay. (Can be seen via Cinequest’s Cinejoy program https://www.creatics.org/cinejoy)