With Hollywood starting the weekend on Wednesday – with “The Lone Ranger,” “Despicable Me 2” and the concert doc “Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain” – there are only a couple of art-house movies opening today in Salt Lake City.
The documentary “20 Feet From Stardom” is a lively look at back-up singers, the talented performers who give their all to make the stars sound good. Director Morgan Neville introduces some of the greats – including Darlene Love (whose anonymous vocals led many Phil Spector girl groups), Merry Clayton (who famously provided the female counterpoint to Mick Jagger on the Stones' “Gimme Shelter”) and up-and-comer Judith Hill (who worked with Michael Jackson). The movie lets these singers have the spotlight for a change, and they don't waste the opportunity.
“The Attack” is a thoughtful thriller that examines the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and discovers – as so many others have – how intractible the situation is. It starts with a Palestinian surgeon (Ali Suliman) living the good life in Tel Aviv, until he learns that his wife (Reymonde Ansellem) was responsible for a suicide bombing that left 17 people dead. The doctor travels to the occupied Palestinian city of Nablus to seek answers, with disquieting results. Director Ziad Doueiri steeps the story in the realities on the ground, and draws a strong performance from Suliman as a man discovering his wife's secret life.