Jay Allen Sanford 1 p.m., May 4
Kill the Messenger
San Jose Mercury News investigative reporter Gary Webb sparked furious debate when a piece he wrote alleged that Nicaraguans, hired by CIA-supported Contras, smuggled cocaine into the U.S. which was later transformed into crack and distributed in African-American communities. (The story broke in January 1998, but was overshadowed by headline-grabbing news of Monica Lewinsky and a cigar.) Michael Cuesta (L.I.E., 12 and Holding) brings Webb’s story to the screen in the style of a briskly paced ‘70’s political thriller. Jeremy Renner, who also produced, stars as a beleaguered crusading journalist who falls victim to a malicious witch-hunt. (The real-life Webb was later found with 2 bullet holes to the head; his death was ruled a suicide.) The pace slackens a bit in the third act, and scenes of Webb and his son bonding over a motorcycle hammer home our heroes earlier-established Everyman status. Still, I wasn’t bored for a second. 2014.