Political documentary looks back at Obama’s last months in office


Here’s a look at an interesting new release available to rent from cable and digital providers as well as some titles that have recently become available to stream.

Video on Demand

“The Final Year”: If the current administration is stressing you out, this new documentary from Greg Barker will allow you to slip back in time and gain some insight into President Barack Obama’s last nine months in office. The film focuses specifically on his foreign policy team and provides revealing access to former U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power, Secretary of State John Kerry and Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes. The filmmakers followed this team around on visits to 21 countries, and the end result is a fascinating slice of history that ultimately details the transition of power and tries to estimate the value of a legacy. We also get a sobering look at an Election Night 2016 party hosted at Power’s home that was obviously intended to celebrate an assumed Hillary Clinton victory. Currently available in a limited theatrical release and on VOD, you can also catch this HBO Documentary Films release on the premium cable network later this spring. (Cable and digital VOD)

Also on streaming services

“Ingrid Goes West”: Nominated for best first feature and best first screenplay at this year’s Independent Spirit Awards, Matt Spicer’s debut film is a piercingly dark comedy about obsession and the perils of social media. Aubrey Plaza is magnetic as the titular character, an unstable young woman who becomes fueled by Instagram likes and comments. She abandons her dreary real life for what is essentially a fake identity on social media where her carefully curated photographs present life as she wants it to be, not as it actually is. Ingrid begins to infiltrate the life of Taylor (Elizabeth Olsen), an “influencer” whose life appears to be “hashtag perfect,” and things only get weirder from there. Both leads are outstanding, but O’Shea Jackson Jr. (“Straight Outta Compton”) is the real MVP as Ingrid’s landlord/love interest. (Hulu)

“Wonderstruck”: If you are familiar with the work of Todd Haynes (“Carol,” “My Own Private Idaho”), a family film is probably not the first thing that comes to mind. He brings Brian Selznick’s book to life with stunning results by telling two stories intertwined — that of a young deaf girl named Rose (Millicent Simmonds) in 1927 on the hunt to find her favorite film star, and a young boy in 1977 who has lost his mother (Michelle Williams) and goes deaf after being struck by lightning. The different eras are represented by blending black-and-white and color film, while large chunks of the captivating story play out like a silent movie punctuated only by Carter Burwell’s breathtaking score. An overlooked gem. (Amazon Prime, 4K available)



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