"Into the Cold" (unrated, 87 minutes, Shelter Island): Sebastian Copeland, an award-winning photographer, Arctic explorer and environmental activist, retraces and commemorates the centennial of Robert E. Peary's successful April 1909 expedition to the North Pole with guide Keith Heger. Copeland documented his rigorous pre-trek training regimen and didn't flinch from the mistakes made (food shortage, a fall through ice) during the 400-mile hike to the North Pole. Some of the impressive footage included the Arctic "treadmill" of drift and the groaning and crunching of ice as shelves are formed. As he faces harsh temperatures to minus 50 degrees, his film is a bone-chilling story of bravery, determination and Copeland's desire to raise awareness about global warming. The same trip may be impossible in the next 10 to 20 years as the Arctic landscape changes and disappears.
"Hyde Park on the Hudson" (R, 95 minutes, Universal): Choosing Bill Murray to play Franklin D. Roosevelt is an inspired choice, his combination of natural appeal and oddly recessive diffidence melding flawlessly with FDR's own hidden depths. The political capital Murray has earned with audiences over the years turns out to be crucial in this alternately charming and unsettling story, which transpires over a pivotal summer weekend in 1939, when Britain's King George VI visited Roosevelt's Hudson Valley estate to gain the U.S. president's support in the coming war. That also was a time, the movie suggests, when Roosevelt was pursuing one of a number of extramarital affairs, in this case with a distant cousin named Daisy Suckley (Laura Linney). Suckley narrates the film, which begins with her being unexpectedly summoned to take tea with the 32nd president. The problem with the film isn't its suggestion of FDR's dark side; that complexity, and Murray's spot-on portrayal of a man juggling myriad pressures and demands, marks one of the film's greatest strengths. It's that Daisy rarely comes into her own as more than the pliant emotional helpmeet to the Great Man.
"We Are Egypt" (unrated, 85 minutes, The Disinformation Company): Going behind the headlines, this documentary, filmed in the 14 months leading up to the 2011 revolution, highlights the years of mounting resentment against the ruling regime. A former video news producer for Thomson Reuters in Cairo, director Lillie Paquette was embedded inside the turmoil. She followed key opposition figures and young democracy activists such as "Facebook girl" Esraa Abdel Fattah and Basem Fathy, co-founder of the April 6 Youth Movement, as they struggled against great odds to displace the Mubarak regime.
Also released Tuesday
"The Last Flight of Petr Ginz"
"Vietnam: The Ten Thousand Day War"