THE DOG: A fearless lover, criminal, and one-of-a-kind American freak, the late John Wojtowicz had enough personality to fuel two feature films. The first, 1975's Dog Day Afternoon, earned Al Pacino an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Wojtowicz on the day of his infamous failed heist, when he sought to rob a Brooklyn bank to pay for his lover's gender reassignment surgery. The second, Allison Berg and Frank Keraudren's new documentary The Dog, lets Wojtowicz be Wojtowicz, drawing from interview footage shot over a quarter century. The result is a constantly surprising, sporadically horrifying, oddly loving portrait of a sociopath with a heart of gold. This golden heart is put on full display, mostly through Wojtowicz's profound love and acceptance of himself. Throughout the film, in the most straightforward manner possible, he reports the riotous series of events that turned him from a heterosexually married Republican to a passionate devotee of humans with big boobs and small penises, to a gay-rights activist, to a foiled bank robber getting raped in jail while his cinematic likeness earned raves on screens across America. Throughout, Wojtowicz's joie de vivre is so pure and palpable, it takes one of his sporadic, shocking proclamations—casually recounting how he forced himself sexually on a friend, or noting how the crack epidemic upped the quality of ass he could get for cheap—to remind us that we're dealing with a twisted criminal. It makes for a bracing cinematic experience, and no fan of deep human freakery should miss The Dog. DAVID SCHMADER

THE KILL TEAM: Adam Winfield is the only person in the documentary The Kill Team who seems genuinely upset not by what happened to Adam Winfield, but to the three Afghans murdered by members of Winfield's platoon. They were killed for kicks and for glory. They were not even armed—weapons were planted on them after they were blown up, shot and stabbed, then photographed with smiling soldiers and harvested for body parts to be kept as relics. Several soldiers went to prison for these events, including Winfield. Documentary director Dan Krauss was drawn to Winfield because he was both a whistle-blower and accused of murder—and how is a man both? In her New York Times review, Manohla Dargis argued the movie would have benefited if Krauss had admitted his off-screen closeness to the Winfield family; he even did pro bono work for Winfield's defense. She is probably right. While Winfield's story is the heart of Kill Team, Winfield's heart correctly remains in Afghanistan. (You will be stunned by the other soldiers' openly gruesome, callous interviews.) A movie about the Afghans, and the broader issues these soldiers raise in their interviews about the military culture of violence, cultural ignorance, youth, and masculinity—maybe considered in Afghanistan as well as the United States—is what this suspenseful 79-minute film makes you want. It probably wouldn't be as entertaining (damn, this is a gripping movie), but it's a good thing to have been made to want. Brace yourself and see this film. JEN GRAVES

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RICH HILL: Winner of the grand jury prize for documentary at Sundance 2014, Tracy Tragos and Andrew Palermo's Rich Hill chronicles the desperate lives of those left in Rich Hill, Missouri, a largely deserted former mining town 70 miles south of Kansas City. Our main characters are three middle-school-aged boys—two of them seriously troubled, one full of heartbreaking promise—who move through their days of fierce deprivation with alternating fury, nihilism, and hope. This narration-free documentary is full of quiet and not-so-quiet horror, along with oases of found lyricism. (One boy's father works sporadically as a Hank Williams Sr. impersonator.) What you'll remember is the point-blank footage of harsh facts—the furious and powerless kids, the desperate adults, and the sustaining moments of love and connection that arise even in the darkest situations. DAVID SCHMADER

CALVARY: Calvary opens with a priest sitting in a confessional. A man steps into the confessional and tells the priest that he's going to kill him a week from today. The rest of the film follows the priest around his small coastal town in Ireland as he visits its eccentric residents, trying to figure out what to do. It's too stagey—the film is directed and written by John Michael McDonagh, brother to playwright and filmmaker Martin McDonagh—and a bit too aimless, but the casting of the main character is perfect. Brendan Gleeson has to be one of the most watchable actors in cinema today; his Father James is a wry, optimistic creation, and you're happy to spend a hundred minutes with him. Unfortunately, the rest of Calvary fails to come close to or match Gleeson's considerable talents. The many citizens of Father James's town are a symphony played on a toy piano. They all share the Father's fascination with suicide and sin and forgiveness, but none of them contribute anything of value to his quest. It's all supremely Irish Catholic, and a bit too theatrical. On a stage, Gleeson could've dominated the audience's attention, but on a screen, it feels as though he's been abandoned by his cast and director. PAUL CONSTANT recommended

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