Just two movies are creeping into theatres on the last Friday of the year. One of them is very good. The other is not. Adjust your expectations accordingly.
Barbara: Christian Petzold’s character study of a doctor trying to survive under surveillance in 1980s East Germany plays like the indie version of The Lives of Others, with a powerhouse performance from Petzold’s regular collaborator Nina Hoss, whom I interviewed here.
Not Fade Away: David Chase — yeah, the Sopranos guy — jumps to features with this semi-autobiographical (and insufferably self-indulgent) period piece about how he really wanted to be a musician. It’s like the East Coast version of That Thing You Do!, except the band never breaks because the songs aren’t catchy and the lead vocalist spends 40 years resenting the world for not getting his vibe, man. I think Susan liked it, though.
So, yeah. Go see Barbara, it’s really good.