Tipping Point: Our picks and pans
Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber
When I watched this, I had to really think whether or not I’ve even been in an Uber, but that’s kind of the point. People who use Uber couldn’t imagine not using Uber. It’s become a way of life you don’t think about, which I think was the goal. The company built itself up to create a friction-less personal rideshare service that has become indispensable, especially to city dwellers, in its short history. And its history is short: Uber wasn’t available publicly until 2011 and, in the 12 years since, has completely transformed the transportation industry. The series revolves around Travis Kalanick (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt), the co-founder and CEO of Uber. JGL plays Kalanick as incredibly driven and constantly scheming ways to get away from regulators. Uber is his life, he makes no bones about it, and if you get in his way, all bets are off. With supporting performances from Kyle Chandler and Uma Thurman and narration from Quentin Tarantino, “Super Pumped” makes a compelling case that some people who think up impressively world-changing ideas can also be difficult to work for, even as they pay for weekend retreats in Las Vegas. Is he a villain or a visionary, or maybe somewhere in between? You can decide.
— Owen Poole
Stop Making Sense
Taylor Swift is getting all the headlines for her concert movie, but no one should overlook the re-release of this classic film that melds together a few 1983 Talking Heads shows. Its electric atmosphere and dynamic music serve as a jolt of energy to an audience. Your only regret will be that you weren’t at the actual concerts, but this Jonathan Demme movie is a very close second to seeing the band live. The undisputed star of “Stop Making Sense” is a young David Byrne, all dark, intense eyes and impossibly high cheekbones. He is magnetic, drawing all attention to him. He’s also a perpetual motion machine — twitching, dancing, jogging around the stage. And that iconic oversized jacket he dons is still all that.
— Kristina Dorsey
Becoming the Boogeyman
This sequel to Chizmar’s bestselling metafictional “Chasing the Boogeyman” is every bit as disconcerting, tantalizing and yearning as the quasi-autobiographical original. But where “Chasing” beautifully etched the wild magic of Chizmar’s youth against a dark backdrop of serial murder, “Becoming” details the author’s adult years. He’s got a wonderful family and big success as a result of the first book. But, set in real time, and with a copycat killer suddenly on the prowl, Chizmar becomes a different kind of victim. As the death toll mounts, he’s thrust unwillingly into the mania of social media, trolling, celebrity, guilt, jealousy and misdirected rage — all contributing to an increasing possibility that his life will be destroyed by the runaway lunacy of our culture in full frenzy. Once again, and to great effect, Chizmar’s enearing and simple prose is augmented by realistic devices like photos, newspaper clippings, interview and broadcast transcripts, emails and texts.
— Rick Koster
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