New movies to stream this week: ‘Alan Pakula: Going for Truth’

In his observant, deeply affecting documentary “Alan Pakula: Going for Truth,” filmmaker Matthew Miele begins at the end: in 1998, when director Alan J. Pakula lost his life at age 70 in a freak car accident on the Long Island Expressway. Using clips from interviews with stars from Pakula’s movies — Harrison Ford, Kevin Kline, Brian Dennehy, Julia Roberts and others — Miele captures the enormous loss of Pakula’s premature death, a tragedy that still reduces his collaborators to wordless grief. With the meaning of Pakula’s life and career eloquently established, Miele proceeds to examine the extraordinary career of a director who may not be a household name to most but is worshiped by filmmakers and any film lover who came of age in the 1970s. Best known for his “paranoia trilogy” — “Klute,” “The Parallax View” and “All the President’s Men” — Pakula wasn’t the type of auteur who bullied material into his own artistic vision; instead, he used his native taste, intelligence and humanistic curiosity to create just the right tone and mood for whatever story he was telling. “Going for Truth” illuminates Pakula’s fascination with psychology (Bob Woodward, the real-life inspiration for Robert Redford’s character in “All the President’s Men,” recalls how the director managed to coax out some of his most repressed family secrets simply sitting in silence), as well as his marriages to actress Hope Lange and author Hannah Boorstin Pakula, with whom he created a devoted blended family. Perhaps the most revelatory voices in “Going for Truth” belong to women: Roberts (“The Pelican Brief”), Meryl Streep (“Sophie’s Choice”), Jane Fonda (“Klute”) and others note that Pakula was a champion of female characters, a generous collaborator and an instinctive feminist. “Going for Truth” is a valuable primer on one of the most important filmmakers of the 20th century and, most important, the chronicle of a surpassingly decent man. Unrated. Available on Apple TV and Prime Video. Contains brief strong language and suggestive material. 98 minutes. — A.H.

The two-part docuseries “Pretty Baby: Brooke Shields” takes a surprisingly broad look at the themes of child sexualization in popular culture, the objectification of women and girls in general, and sex abuse in entertainment — all through the lens of Brooke Shields’s life. Structured around a sit-down interview with the actress and model, and moving chronologically through the milestones of Shields’s life — from her role as a child prostitute in “Pretty Baby” to her adult experience of sexual assault by an unnamed showbiz figure and beyond, the film is more a fascinating exploration of hot-button issues than a glossy celebrity profile. Of course, it spends time on Shields’s mother and manager Teri Shields, as well as the actress’s love life, detailing her relationships with actor Dean Cain and singer Michael Jackson, and her marriages to tennis player Andre Agassi and her current husband, writer-producer Chris Henchy. But it’s the presence of film historians, cultural critics and sociologists, in addition to insights from Hollywood friends Drew Barrymore, Laura Linney, Ali Wentworth, Judd Nelson and others, that lend the film heft and relatability. As one of the film’s academic talking heads puts it, “Everyone has a little Brooke Shields narrative stuck in them, because what happened to her and the way people talked about her and the perception of her isn’t really about her as an individual — it’s just about women.” Unrated. Available on Hulu. Contains nudity, discussion of sexuality and sexual assault. Part 1: 66 minutes; Part 2: 70 minutes. — M.O.

A two-part docuseries from Alex Gibney, “Boom! Boom! The World vs. Boris Becker” frames the career of the tennis great from two vantage points: first in a 2019 interview, when allegations of financial misdeeds were just starting to surface, and the second in 2022, just before Becker was sentenced to 2½ years in prison for hiding assets and to avoid paying debts. According to the Hollywood Reporter, “Gibney uses some of his documentaries as a way of venting spleen and some as a means of coming to terms with his own uncertainties. ‘Boom! Boom! The World vs. Boris Becker’ is in that second mode, but while there’s much to enjoy here, the formal uncertainty nags.” TV-MA. Available on Apple TV Plus. Part 1: 98 minutes; Part 2: 112 minutes.

The documentary “The First Step” looks at lawyer/activist/political commentator Van Jones and the bipartisan coalition that fought to pass the 2018 First Step Act, a piece of landmark criminal justice legislation. The New York Times writes: “At once a story of legislative struggle and an admiring profile of a crusader, ‘The First Step’ sometimes gets bogged down in bromides about community and common ground rather than unpacking the specifics of Jones’s approach and how it differs from his detractors’.” Unrated. Available on multiple streaming platforms. 89 minutes.

Mena Suvari, Casper Van Dien and Mickey Rourke star in “Hunt Club,” a thriller about a group of captive women who turn the tables on the male hunters who have gathered them together as quarry. 16+. Available on multiple streaming platforms. 87 minutes.

The documentary “Jason Isbell: Running With Our Eyes Closed” examines the creative process of the four-time Grammy winner, as well as his relationship with his wife and creative partner, singer, songwriter and musician Amanda Shires. Rolling Stone says that, while the film centers on the making of Isbell’s 2020 album “Reunions,” it’s the interplay between Isbell and Shires that “should prove to be most fascinating.” Unrated. Available on HBO Max. 96 minutes.

Charlotte Rampling stars in “Juniper,” a drama about the relationship between Rampling’s Ruth, an alcoholic former war correspondent, and her self-destructive teenage grandson (George Ferrier). The New York Times writes: “This balancing act between sentimentality and cynicism often feels wobbly. Nevertheless, Ruth’s send-off is a powerful one, and Rampling proves to be the ideal vessel for its provocative implications.” Unrated. Available on Apple TV and Prime Video. 94 minutes.

Directed by Kyra Elise Gardner, the daughter of special effects artist Tony Gardner — known for his work on horror films, including those in the Child’s Play franchise — the personal documentary “Living With Chucky” looks at the making of the popular movies about a murderous devil-doll named Chucky. The New York Times says that, despite the franchise’s” influential history,” the film “feels like hagiographic DVD featurettes meanderingly stitched together.” Unrated. Available on multiple streaming platforms. 100 minutes.

Scott Caan, J.K. Simmons, Frank Grillo and Virginia Madsen star in “One Day As a Lion,” a crime comedy about an inept hit man (Caan) and his irritated quarry (Simmons). “What starts out as pulpy violence transitions into a story about connection and broken justice systems,” according to Flickering Myth. R. Available on multiple streaming platforms. Contains pervasive coarse language, some violence and sexual references. 87 minutes.

The romantic drama “Praise This” follows an aspiring musician (Chloe Bailey) who enters a national religious singing competition. Unrated. Available on Peacock. 113 minutes.

Dermot Mulroney and Anne Heche are featured in “You’re Killing Me,” a horror comedy about a high school student (McKaley Miller) obsessed with getting into an elite college, amid the search for a missing student. TV-MA. Available on multiple streaming platforms. 95 minutes.

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