Po­lit­i­cal doc­u­men­tary looks back at Obama’s last months in of­fice

Austin American-Statesman - - THE PLANNER - By Matt Shiverdecker Spe­cial to the Amer­i­can-States­man

Here’s a look at an in­ter­est­ing new re­lease avail­able to rent from ca­ble and dig­i­tal providers as well as some ti­tles that have re­cently be­come avail­able to stream.

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“The Fi­nal Year”: If the cur­rent ad­min­is­tra­tion is stress­ing you out, this new doc­u­men­tary from Greg Barker will al­low you to slip back in time and gain some in­sight into Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s last nine months in of­fice. The film fo­cuses specif­i­cally on his for­eign pol­icy team and pro­vides re­veal­ing ac­cess to for­mer U.N. Am­bas­sador Sa­man­tha Power, Sec­re­tary of State John Kerry and Deputy Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­vi­sor Ben Rhodes. The film­mak­ers fol­lowed this team around on vis­its to 21 coun­trie s,a nd the end re­sult is a fas­ci­nat­ing slice of his­tory that ul­ti­mately de­tails the tran­si­tion of powe r and tries to es­ti­mate the value of a legacy. We also get a sober­ing look at an Elec­tion Night 2016 party hosted at Power’s home that was ob­vi­ously in­tended to cel­e­brate an as­sumed Hil­lar y Clin­ton vic­tory. Cur­rently avail­able in a lim­ited the­atri­cal re­lease and on VOD, you can also catch this HBO Doc­u­men­tary Films re­lease on the premium ca­ble net­work later this spring. (Ca­ble and dig­i­tal VOD)

Also on stream­ing ser­vices

“In­grid Goes West”: Nom­i­nated for best first fea­ture and best first screen­play at this year’s In­de­pen­dent Spirit Awards, Matt Spicer’s de­but film is a pierc­ingly dark com­edy about ob­ses­sion and the per­ils of so­cial me­dia. Aubrey Plaza is mag­netic as the tit­u­lar char­ac­ter, an un­sta­ble young woman who be­comes fu­eled by In­sta­gram likes and com­ments. She aban­dons her dreary real life for what is es­sen­tially a fake iden­tity on so­cial me­dia where her care­fully cu­rated pho­to­graphs present life as she wants it to be, not as it ac­tu­ally is. In­grid be­gins to in­fil­trate the life of Tay­lor (El­iz­a­beth Olsen), an “in­flu­ence r”wh os el if ea ppears to be “hash­tag per­fect,” and things on ly get weirder from there. Both le ads are out­stand­ing, but O’Shea Jack­sonJr .(“Stra ight Outta Comp­ton”) is the real MVP as In­grid’s land­lord/love in­ter­est. (Hulu)

“Won­der­struck”: If you are fa­mil­iar with the work of Todd Haynes (“Carol,” “My Own Pri­vate Idaho”), a fam­ily film is prob­a­bly not the first thing that co mesto mind. He brings Brian Selznick’s book to life with stun­ning re­sults by telling two sto­ries in­ter­twined — that of a young deaf girl named Rose (Mil­li­cent Sim­monds) in 1927 on the hunt to find her fa­vorite film star , and a young boy i n1 977 who has lost his mother (Michelle Wil­liams) and goes deaf after be­ing struck by light­ning. The dif­fer­ent eras are rep­re­sented by blend­ing black-and-white and color film, while large chunks of the cap­ti­vat­ing story play out like a silent movie punc­tu­ated only by Carter Bur­well’s breath­tak­ing score. An over­looked gem. (Ama­zon Prime, 4K avail­able)

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