Tuesday, March 31, 2015

New release roundup for March '15

- Deli Man. My first 2015 movie of the year is this delightful little documentary about the traditional Jewish deli, its glorious past and its diminished-but-still-thriving present, including testimonials from notable Jewish celebs such as Jerry Stiller and Larry King. We see the difficulty and the stress of working such a hectic place as a deli, as well as the camaraderie and the fun, and Jewish culture and history get their fair share of attention. Not as New York-centric as you might imagine, although the Big Apple is well-represented. We also see Jewish delis in places like Houston, Toronto and San Francisco, among other places. While I don't frequent them that much, here in New York I've been to Katz's on the Lower East Side and the Carnegie in midtown. They feel rather touristy, but as a unique New York experience, they're worth going to. If you can't make it, though, at least see this movie.

- Red Army. Fascinating doc about the Soviet hockey team of the 70s and 80s - the team that utterly dominated its opponents in the name of the greater glory of the USSR and the Communist way of life. I have vague memories of "Miracle on Ice," when the US Olympic team upset the Soviets in 1980. I certainly remember the pro-US fervor that gripped the country around that time, even if I was too young to understand the reasons why the Soviets were the so-called "Evil Empire." The movie focuses on superstar player Slava Fetisov: his career, his contentious relationship with his coach, his eventual move to America and the NHL, and his post-playing career. He's a prickly sort, to say the least, but hearing him talk about living behind the Iron Curtain and what the Red Army team represented to the Soviet people, particularly the government, is riveting. Much more than just a sports doc.

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