Scott Marks 3:30 p.m., Dec. 24
The Armstrong Lie
Director Alex Gibney makes cinematic lemonade from lemons whose flavor was most likely enhanced through prohibited methods. Gibney had to shelve his documentary on seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong's miracle comeback in 2009, because, of course, it turned out it wasn't a miracle. Rather, it seems it was one last desperate lie from a cyclist who had built a legendary career out of them. You don't have to care about cycling to be captivated by The Armstrong Lie; Gibney uses the sport to provide dynamic visuals and a solid framework, but the story is very much about Lance Armstrong, barely-repentant fallen hero. Angry, driven, testy, intelligent, and a fine example of Shakespeare's "lean and hungry look," he savagely defended his deception even as he built a charitable foundation for fellow cancer survivors. And to hear him tell it, he's just the poster boy for a culture where competition invites corruption. An engrossing portrait of a complicated man. 2013.