‘Infinitely Polar Bear,’ ‘The Wolfpack’

Posted on 03 Jul 2015 at 7:20am

Polar-BearThe 4th of July is one of the biggest movie weekends of the year, so it’s not just Magic Mike XXL and the other big tentpole film, Terminator Genisys, that are competing for your attention. Here are two more weekend releases to look for (both now playing at the Angelika Mockingbird Station).

Infinitely Polar Bear. Maya Forbes, best known for her screenplays to animated and teen films, makes her directorial debut with this memoir about being raised by a manic-depressive father, played with flamboyant sad-sweetness by Mark Ruffalo. This quirky comic adventure sometimes veers into cutesy-poo cliches, but it’s elevated by a tour-de-force performance by Ruffalo, who has mastered the kind of winning braggadocio of Johnny Depp, as well as Zoe Saldana, doing her best film work to date.

The Wolfpack. The premise of this documentary is almost impossible to believe. The six Angulo brothers are dark and smiling and roughly handsome, and they all have a passion for movies — from Citizen Kane to Reservoir Dogs — which they recreate, in full costume and props, in the spacious Lower East Side apartment they share with their parents and sister. Indeed, making these home movies is their lives: Their strange, immigrant dad has home-schooled his brood, and they have, for all intents and purposes, never left the apartment, virtual prisoners in the middle of New York City. It’s as if Grey Gardens was remade for millennials. Director Crystal Moselle has chosen a fascinating topic, so it’s too bad she doesn’t know how to make a movie. She’s terrible about identifying each brother, and the film has no shape, no texture. The boys themselves are hypnotically interesting; they deserved a better showcase for their story.

— A.W.J.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 3, 2015.

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