New releases 10/10/17

Top Hits
Baby Driver (action, Ansel Elgort. Rotten Tomatoes: 93%. Metacritic: 86. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Manohla Dargis’ Times review: “In ‘Baby Driver,’ the director Edgar Wright is out to show you a most excellent time. He’s never been one of those filmmakers who expect you to be blinded by the bright sheen of his résumé, which includes comical genre rethinks like the zombie flick ‘Shaun of the Dead’ and the cop caper ‘Hot Fuzz.’ Mr. Wright works for your love, hard enough that you notice the whirring machinery if perhaps not the strain. He wants it easy and breezy, although mostly he wants it cool, whether the latest means to his end, Baby (Ansel Elgort), is smooth-moving like Gene Kelly or burning rubber like Steve McQueen.” Read more…)

The Dinner (thriller, Richard Gere. Rotten Tomatoes: 50%. Metacritic: 58. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “‘We’re gonna talk tonight,’ the politician Stan Lohman [Richard Gere] says at the beginning of the ridiculous restaurant meal that serves as the framework for ‘The Dinner.’ Stan’s determination is cheering, especially when we learn that one of his dinner guests — his brother, Paul [Steve Coogan] — is resolutely incapable of listening to any voice but his own. And that’s a huge problem for the movie, never mind for Stan.” Read more…)

The Beguiled (period thriller, Nicole Kidman. Rotten Tomatoes: 78%. Metacritic: 77. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “I have called the film a fairy tale but you could also describe it as a horror movie, a quasi-western and a revenge melodrama, perhaps too many things at once. Most effectively, though — and largely thanks to Ms. Kidman’s regal, witty performance — it’s a comedy, a country-house farce about the problems caused by an inconvenient guest.” Read more…)

Maudie (acclaimed drama, Sally Hawkins. Rotten Tomatoes: 88%. Metacritic: 65. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Manohla Dargis’ Times review: “‘Maudie’ is one of those movies that triumph over their worst instincts (and your well-honed doubts). There’s a lot to get past, including an opener that engages in some generic place-setting, and a pushy score that insistently tries to lighten the darker moods. But stick with the movie for its leads, Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke, a beautifully matched pair who open up two closed people, unleashing torrents of feeling.” Read more…)

47 Meters Down (action/thriller/sharks, Mandy Moore. Rotten Tomatoes: 54%. Metacritic: 52. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “Featuring multiple variations of ‘It’s gonna be fine!’ and ‘The shark almost got me!,’ the superlatively lame dialogue spoken by the heroines of’ ’47 Meters Down’ — two sisters who choose the wrong boat for their shark-cage diving expedition in Mexico — threatens to turn this would-be horror movie into a hoot. In the lulls between bouts of yammering, however, the director, Johannes Roberts, concentrates on building a solid atmosphere of desperation as a winch accident deposits the women unceremoniously on the ocean floor. Captured by Mark Silk’s darting camera, and in water so clouded that the computer-generated predators more than pass visual muster, their misadventures are casually entertaining.” Read more…)

Manifesto (drama/modern art/politics, Cate Blanchett. Rotten Tomatoes: 73%. Metacritic: 72. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Glenn Kenny’s Times review: “As an installation, ‘Manifesto’ may have seemed like a sensory onslaught. As a movie, it’s a very elaborate intellectual exercise, immaculate in every technical detail. [The sound design, by Fabian Schmidt and Markus Stemler, is particularly extraordinary.] And Ms. Blanchett’s work here is aptly cerebral. As virtuosic as her performances are, they’re purposely conscious of themselves. As an oblique examination and critique of political and art history and their various interactions over the 20th century, ‘Manifesto’ is both witty and provocative. It is not, however, a motion picture for people seeking a plot.” Read more…)

The House (comedy, Amy Poehler. Rotten Tomatoes: 17%. Metacritic: 30. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “Based on trailers and the durable, slightly stale charm of its stars, ‘The House’ might be mistaken for a genial, silly movie about nice people making questionable decisions. Instead, it is a dark, startlingly bloody journey into the bitter, empty, broken heart of the American middle class, a blend of farce and satire built on a foundation of social despair.” Read more…)

The Little Hours (comedy, Alison Brie. Rotten Tomatoes: 77%. Metacritic: 69. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “A randy handyman, naughty nuns and a clothing-optional coven cause no end of agita in ‘The Little Hours,’ a 14th-century farce that, given its comically credentialed players, ought to be a great deal funnier. Inspired by stories from Giovanni Boccaccio’s ‘The Decameron’ — seasoned with a sprinkling of Monty Python — the writer and director, Jeff Baena, turns an Italian convent into a hotbed of repressed desires. Boccaccio might have had medieval audiences rolling in the aisles, but Mr. Baena squanders an R rating and a roster of household names while managing to raise little more than a smile.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
Baby Driver

New Foreign DVDs
The Lure (Poland, horror/musical, Marta Mazurek. Rotten Tomatoes: 84%. Metacritic: 72. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “As folkloric Polish musical sex-comedy horror movies go, ‘The Lure’ is pretty interesting. The first feature directed by Agnieszka Smoczynska, the film follows two mermaid sisters onto land, where they look for love, feast on human flesh and find work singing and stripping at a nightclub that might have come from an early David Lynch movie or a vintage-’80s music video.” Read more…)

Le Gai Savoir (1969, France, Jean-Luc Godard-directed political drama, Jean-Pierre Léaud. From Vincent Canby’s 1969 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “In this time of increasingly personal cinema, the films of Jean-Luc Godard make those of most of his contemporaries look about as original and individual as monogramed Volkswagens… What Godard finally made is a kind of treatise on the need for de-education, particularly in relation to language and the meaning of words. It is a film whose style is very much its content, which, actually, is somewhat less revolutionary than a description of it makes it appear. I suspect that when Godard ultimately makes his most revolutionary movie, he will have found a way to dispense with camera, film, projector, screen and, perhaps, even audience. In ‘Le Gai Savoir’ Godard is still communicating with us by means of beautiful, comparatively conventional, if fragmented, images and sounds.” Read more…)

New Classic DVDs (pre-1960)
Othello (1952, Orson Welles Shakespeare adaptation, Orson Welles. From Bosley Crowther’s 1955 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “How much of Shakespeare’s Othello you are likely to be able to perceive in Orson Welles’s motion picture version of it, which came to the Paris yesterday, is something this dazzled reviewer would not like to have to guarantee. Shakespeare himself, set down before it, might have a tough time recognizing his play. For the great Mr. Welles apparently decided, when he set out to make and play this film in the authentic locale of Venice some six or eight years ago, that the text and even the plot of the original were incidental to the dark and delirious passions enclosed in its tormented theme.” Read more…)

New American Back Catalog DVDs (post-1960)
Enemy Mine (1985, sci-fi, Dennis Quaid. Rotten Tomatoes: 59%. From Janet Maslin’s 1985 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “THIS season’s ‘Dune’ is ‘Enemy Mine,’ a costly, awful-looking science-fiction epic with one of the weirdest story lines ever to hit the screen. The poster for ”Enemy Mine” may look slightly facetious, what with Dennis Quaid locked in a profile shot with what appears to be a giant lizard, as the man and the lizard exchange confrontational stares. However, this image is completely in earnest. What’s worse, it represents the movie perfectly.” Read more…)

Wuthering Heights (1992, costume drama, Juliette Binoche)

New Documentaries
Saving Pelican #895 (environmentalism, wildlife rescue)
Grateful Dead: Anthem to Beauty (VH-1 Classic Album series, music analysis, Grateful Dead)

New Music DVDs
Grateful Dead: Anthem to Beauty (VH-1 Classic Album series, music analysis, Grateful Dead)