As summer winds down, it becomes time to shift away from the commercial theater at Gallery Place and start spending more time at the Landmark Theater a few blocks away. First up was Interview based on a Dutch movie by the late Theo Van Gogh and man-oh-man is it bad. The film serves primarily as a reminder of why nobody likes actors, since the whole thing is obviously a couple of actors' notion of what a really good movie would be like -- totally contrived, meandering uninteresting story full of pointless twists and turns in the plot designed to let the performers show off. Nothing anyone does in this film makes any sense, at any point, on any level.
Rocket Science, written and directed by Jeffrey Blitz who made the popular documentary Spellbound, is much better. Still, it's pretty disappointing. There's a lot of good material here, certainly enough that I hope he writes and directs another movie down the road, but the story totally runs out of gas near the end.
The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters, on the other hand, is really great. This is a documentary about Steve Wiebe's efforts to beat the Donkey Kong world record -- a quest wherein his greatest foe turns out to be not an animated gorilla, but the corrupt competitive classic video gaming establishment. You'll laugh, you'll cry, etc., and the film is surprisingly effective at moving beyond just mocking its protagonists. The title, however, is a little unfortunate. Either joke would be pretty fun, but making both simultaneously is tacky. But when a tacky title is the worst thing about your movie, you're in pretty solid shape.
Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.