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Friday movie roundup: Armstrong, under the microscope

Published December 6, 2013 9:48 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

It's a light week at the movies, but the two new films arriving this weekend are worthwhile.

The documentary "The Armstrong Lie" offers a modern corollary to the famous dictum that one should never pick a fight with someone who buys his ink by the barrel: One should never lie to a guy who pumps out investigative documentaries. Cyclist Lance Armstrong lied about his use of performance-enhancing drugs to filmmaker Alex Gibney, who was making a positive film about Armstrong's 2009 comeback — so when Armstrong's lies finally blew up on him, Gibney came back to the subject with a hard-hitting expose of the cyclist's doping and cover-up. The resulting film is both great journalism and a thoughtful commentary about our need for heroes.

The crime thriller "Out of the Furnace" is a bare-bones and gritty tale of an ex-convict (Christian Bale) who seeks rough justice when his brother (Casey Affleck) disappears after contact with a backwoods meth dealer (Woody Harrelson). The story is predictable and downbeat, but Bale's lead performance is electrifying.