Up To Date's Indie, Foreign & Doc Critics' 'Three To See,' May 19-21

May 19, 2017

Jane Jacobs, known to take over a city planning meeting, brings the battle to Robert Moses in the documentary 'In Citizen Jane.'
Credit IFC Films

City planning flare-ups, folk-rock, and a poetry biopic ... if these aren't movie topics appropriate for a public radio audience, nothing is. This weekend's recommendations from Up To Date's independent, foreign and documentary film critics will give you the chance to revel in your nerdy-ness, and learn a little history in the process. We'd be lying if we claimed to be too cool for some popcorn and a well-crafted flick that features zero actual explosions.

Steve Walker

Citizen Jane: Battle for the City, Not rated

  • A documentary profile of journalist and activist Jane Jacobs, whose love of cities in general and New York in particular led to her stopping “urban renewal” projects in her beloved city that had the ugly, hidden synonym of “Negro removal.”

A Quiet Passion, PG-13

  • Sharp wit and deep feelings permeate Terence Davies’ intoxicating biopic of Emily Dickinson, played with steely resolve and palpable bitterness by Cynthia Nixon.

Folk Hero and Funny Guy, Not rated

  • Friends since childhood, a successful folk-rock star and a struggling stand-up comic set out on an eventful tour that opens old wounds while teaching them what it means to be a grown-up.

Cynthia Haines

Citizen Jane: Battle for the City, Not rated

  • New York City construction titan Robert Moses and activist Jane Jacobs, who pioneered the idea of organic urban growth, go to battle over the soul of a 1960s Manhattan neighborhood.

A Quiet Passion, PG-13

  • Cynthia Nixon's portrayal of Emily Dickinson weaves the poetry paragon's complexities and convictions into a beautiful, dramatic biopic, by British director Terence Davies.

Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer, R

  • Small-time wheeler-dealer Norman Oppenheimer's life in New York  is transformed when a close friendship with a foreign dignitary called Eshel falls by the wayside after Eshel becomes prime minister of Israel.