New releases 10/24/17

Top Hits
War for the Planet of the Apes (sci-fi/action, Andy Serkis. Rotten Tomatoes 93%. Metacritic: 82. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “‘War for the Planet of the Apes,’ directed by Matt Reeves, is the grimmest episode so far, and also the strongest, a superb example — rare in this era of sloppily constructed, commercially hedged cinematic universes — of clear thinking wedded to inventive technique in popular filmmaking. The distinction of this run of ‘Planet of the Apes’ movies has been its commitment to the venerable belief that science fiction belongs to the literature of ideas, and its willingness to risk seeming to take itself too seriously. Each episode has pursued a stark ethical or political problem, and each has shifted the moral ground from human to ape… Really, though, it’s a lot of fun, in spite of the somber picture I’ve been painting. Mr. Reeves, who also directed ‘Dawn,’ has a dark vision, but also a light touch when necessary, and, above all, a commitment to creating a world that is coherent as well as fantastical.” Read more…)

The Emoji Movie (animated feature, T.J. Miller [voice]. Rotten Tomatoes 10%. Metacritic: 12. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “For a long time, Hollywood has been propagating the idea that the panderingly, trendily idiotic can be made to seem less so, by polishing it up with bright shiny gloss and enlisting engaging talented performers and writers. I can’t be entirely certain of this, but I would say ‘The Emoji Movie’ takes this notion to the outer limits of credibility.” Read more…)

Landline (comedy, Edie Falco. Rotten Tomatoes 74%. Metacritic: 66. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “‘Landline’ was directed by Gillian Robespierre, who wrote it with Elisabeth Holm. They also collaborated on ‘Obvious Child,’ which starred Ms. Slate, and which was notable for the mixture of sweetness and candor it brought to the subject of abortion. There was something bracing, as well as brave, about that film’s honesty. Oddly, the new one is much more cautious and decorous in its treatment of the emotional dynamics of a complicated family.” Read more…)

Annabelle: Creation (horror, Stephanie Sigman. Rotten Tomatoes 69%. Metacritic: 62. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “‘is the third cinematic outing for the demon-hosting doll of the title, after a guest spot on ‘The Conjuring’ in 2013 and a star turn the next year in ‘Annabelle.’ The narratives lurch backward, with each film acting as a prequel to its predecessor. Should this trend continue, we could very well see one of Annabelle’s ancestors causing catastrophic delays in the building of the pyramids.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
War for the Planet of the Apes

New Foreign DVDs
Personal Shopper (France, supernatural drama, Kristen Stewart. Rotten Tomatoes 79%. Metacritic: 77. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “If ‘Personal Shopper,’ Mr. Assayas’s new movie, is a supernatural thriller and an unnerving inquiry into the drift and mystery of modern life, it is also a raw and smoldering study in grief. Kristen Stewart, who plays Maureen, has something in common with other stars of Mr. Assayas’s films, notably Maggie Cheung in ‘Irma Vep’ and ‘Clean’ — a quality of self-enclosed detachment that becomes its own peculiar form of intensity. She possesses an uncanny ability to turn her natural charisma into diffidence. You can’t take your eyes off her, even as she seems to be making every effort to deflect your attention, to obscure her radiance, to disappear onscreen.” Read more…)

Heartstone (Iceland, drama/coming of age/LGBT, Baldar Einarsson. Rotten Tomatoes 86%. Metacritic: 70.)
Center Of My World (Germany, coming of age/LGBT, Louis Hofmann. Rotten Tomatoes 100%.)

New American Back Catalog (post-1960)
River of Grass (1995, Kelly Reichardt’s directorial debut, comedy, Lisa Bowman. Rotten Tomatoes 93%. Metacritic: 69. From Stephen Holden’s 1995 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “‘River of Grass’ has the look and feel of a sophisticated home movie featuring everyday people instead of actors, and it is wonderful at conveying a sense of suffocating ennui. Too wonderful, since the story is so sketchily told and the dialogue is so fragmentary that it doesn’t quite cohere. The characters remain hazy ciphers in the torpid atmosphere of a place you’ll never want to visit.” Read more…
From Brian Tallerico’s review on RogerEbert.com on the release of the restored version of “River of Grass” on DVD: “The kind of meandering apathy that Reichardt is going for in ‘River of Grass’ can be tough to connect to as a viewer, and it’s interesting that her films became more resonant when they switched from what is kind of a comedy to drama. How do we deal with our insignificance? Cozy and Lee don’t really deal with anything. We barely care about Cozy and Lee because it feels like Reichardt barely cares about Cozy and Lee. There are enough times when Reichardt’s wit and skill comes through to make it worth a look in its restored version, especially if you’re a fan of her later work, but it’s almost too ethereal, it slips through your fingers when you try to grab it.” Read more…)

New British
The Durrells in Corfu: Season 2 (bio/drama series, Keeley Hawes. Rotten Tomatoes 100%. Metacritic: 77.)

New Documentaries
An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power (environment, climate change, advocacy, Al Gore. Rotten Tomatoes 78%. Metacritic: 68. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Ben Kenigsberg’s Times review: “In a summer movie landscape with Spider-Man, a simian army waging further battle for the planet and Charlize Theron as a sexy Cold War-era superspy, it says something that one of the most compelling characters is Al Gore. ‘An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power,’ a follow-up to ‘An Inconvenient Truth,’ Davis Guggenheim’s Oscar-winning documentary from 2006, is a reboot that justifies its existence — and not just because Mr. Gore has fresh news to report on climate change since his previous multimedia presentation played in multiplexes.” Read more…)

New Gay & Lesbian
Heartstone (Iceland, drama/coming of age/LGBT, Baldar Einarsson. Rotten Tomatoes 86%. Metacritic: 70.)
Center Of My World (Germany, coming of age/LGBT, Louis Hofmann. Rotten Tomatoes 100%.)