Capsule reviews for Nov. 22

Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story

The title has a double meaning in this documentary about the glamorous actress nicknamed “The Most Beautiful Woman in Film” during the 1930s and 1940s, who also happened to invent a weapons communication device during World War II, which was later used by the U.S. Navy. Using fresh interviews and abundant archival footage, rookie director Alexandra Dean effectively combines these disparate elements, as well as other biographical tidbits about an Austrian immigrant who fled Nazi persecution for Hollywood, dated Howard Hughes, and later pioneered technology that eventually was incorporated into modern Wi-Fi. Even for those familiar with its subject, the film is compelling and insightful. (Not rated, 89 minutes).

 

Mr. Roosevelt

Some familiar concepts are given a fresh twist in this slight yet amusing character-driven comedy that marks a promising directorial debut for Noel Wells, who also wrote the screenplay and stars as a fledgling comedian who returns to her roots in Austin, Texas, to tend to family medical matters. But she’s forced to come to terms with her past while staying with her ex-boyfriend (Nick Thune), who now has a new girlfriend (Britt Lower). It’s not especially profound as an examination of self-discovery and modern relationships, but the film is sharply observed, with an endearing quirky sense of humor and a genuine affection for its setting. (Not rated, 90 minutes).

 

On the Beach at Night Alone

Although its excessively deliberate pace can be frustrating, this intimate Korean relationship drama rewards patience by evolving into a powerful meditation on loneliness and regret. Younghee (Kim Min-hee) is an actress rendered emotionally vulnerable after her affair with an older filmmaker is broken off, prompting her to sort out her feelings during a vacation with a friend before returning to confront him. Much of the emotional payoff is ambiguous in the screenplay by veteran director Hong Sang-soo (Right Now, Wrong Then), especially in the titular sequence. Yet the film also manages moments of unsettling and heartbreaking authenticity, thanks in part to Kim’s perceptive performance. (Not rated, 101 minutes).