— Ann Hornaday
If you hear the title of the documentary “Crock of Gold: A Few Rounds with Shane MacGowan” and think to yourself, “Wait — Shane MacGowan is still alive?” this affectionate look at the life and career of the legendarily booze-addled Anglo-Irish singer of the Pogues will answer that and many other questions you never thought to ask. Example: How in the heck does one start drinking at 5 years old? Now using a wheelchair after a 2015 fall in which he fractured his pelvis, and with a mouthful of fake teeth replacing the notoriously rotten ones he lost many years ago, MacGowan talks — over drinks, and in a slurred voice (with subtitles) punctuated by laughter that sounds like metal gears grinding against each other — to a variety of admirers: his friend (and the film’s producer) Johnny Depp; his wife, Victoria Mary Clarke; the former president of Sinn Fein, Gerry Adams; director Julien Temple; and miscellaneous family members. MacGowan is a fascinating subject: brilliant, dissolute and as self-destructive as he is self-aware. His music both subverted and confirmed the worst and the best stereotypes of Irish culture — drunkenness, literary genius, humor and pathos — and the movie, like its subject, is a messy and beautiful jumble of contradictions. Unrated. Available at afisilver.afi.com. 124 minutes.
— Michael O'Sullivan
Billed as a throwback to 1980s horror, “Beast Mode” tells the story of a Hollywood producer (C. Thomas Howell) who, after he accidentally kills an actor, inadvertently unleashes a horde of shapeshifting beasts when he tries to resuscitate the dead man with an ancient elixir. Eye for Film calls watching the film a “miserable experience.” TV-MA. Available on various streaming platforms. 87 minutes.
The life and career of talented, troubled singer Billie Holiday is the focus of the documentary “Billie.” According to Variety, the film “passes the test for any doomed-singer documentary: There’s a creditable emphasis on the gift, not just the grubbiness.” Unrated. Available on various streaming platforms. 96 minutes.
The documentary “The Changin’ Times of Ike White” tells the strange story of a singer who, championed by the likes Stevie Wonder, recorded an acclaimed album while serving a life sentence for murder in the early 1970s, only to disappear for more than 40 years after his release. Unrated. Available at afisilver.afi.com. 78 minutes.
In the drama “Elyse,” the title character (Lisa Pepper) is a woman suffering from psychological trauma, under the treatment of a doctor (Anthony Hopkins). The performances, according to Movie Nation, are “seemingly molded from single-use plastic” in a “story that goes nowhere and does so at an excruciating pace.” Unrated. Available on various streaming platforms. 95 minutes.
From LeBron James’s production company, the documentary “Gap Year” follows basketball player Darius Bazley from high school graduation to the NBA draft. Unrated. Available on various streaming platforms. 60 minutes.
Mel Harris (“Thirtysomething”) and Gene Pope play a married couple with adult daughters in “King of Knives.” According to the Film Junkies, the family dramedy is a “mildly entertaining film with a few memorable supporting performances.” Unrated. Available on various streaming platforms. 95 minutes.
Originally shown during this year’s Spooky Movie International Horror Film Festival, “Minor Premise” is a sci-fi thriller about a neuroscientist whose attempts to unlock the mysteries of the human brain and memory awaken dangerous personas. According to Backseat Mafia, the film offers a “masterclass of how to make an enthralling genre movie on a low budget.” Unrated. Available at afisilver.afi.com. 95 minutes.