New releases 7/11/17

Top Hits
A Quiet Passion (Emily Dickinson bio-pic, Cynthia Nixon. Rotten Tomatoes: 92%. Metacritic: 77. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “An admirer can be forgiven for approaching ‘A Quiet Passion,’ Terence Davies’s new movie about Dickinson’s life, with trepidation. The literalness of film and the creaky conventions of the biopic threaten to dissolve that strangeness, to domesticate genius into likable quirkiness. But Mr. Davies, whose work often blends public history and private memory, possesses a poetic sensibility perfectly suited to his subject and a deep, idiosyncratic intuition about what might have made her tick.” Read more…)

The Fate of the Furious (action, Vin Diesel. Rotten Tomatoes: 66%. Metacritic: 56. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “The new movie’s title, ‘The Fate of the Furious,’ seems like a nod to the lingering existential crisis created by Mr. Walker’s death, as do the tears that fall in the story. They’re shed over time but before they are, the movie does what’s expected, which is cut loose attractive characters in different choreographed formations in assorted machines and locales. Directed by F. Gary Gray [‘Straight Outta Compton’], this one opens in Havana, where the young local beauties swirling around Dom and Letty move and dress more or less like the other young beauties in the series, as if they were part of a continuing global house party, this time with Che Guevara and prettily peeling buildings.” Read more…)

The Lost City of Z (historic drama, Charlie Hunnam. Rotten Tomatoes: 87%. Metacritic: 78. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Manohla Dargis’ Times review: “In ‘The Lost City of Z,’ a lush, melancholic story of discovery and mystery, a mesmerizing Charlie Hunnam plays a British adventurer in the Amazon who is consumed by ‘all the glories of exploration,’ as Joseph Conrad once wrote of a different journey. Enveloped by the forest, the explorer and his crew face snakes, piranhas, insects and that most terrifying of threats: other people, who at times bombard the strangers with arrows. Undaunted, he perseveres, venturing more deeply into a world that first becomes a passion and then something of a private hallucination. It’s 1906, and while wonders like moving pictures are rapidly shrinking the world, the dream of unknown lands endures.” Read more…)

Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer (comedy/drama, Richard Gere. Metacritic: 75. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “It’s only after the plot has unfolded, with antic elegance and brazen unpredictability, that the risks involved become apparent. The dangers are everywhere: overly broad humor; obnoxiously shticky performances; sentimental tribalism; easy moral point-scoring. None materialize. It’s startling, given how much farce is on display — in the rise-and-fall structure of the narrative; in the madcap scenes of narrowly missed [or fully achieved] catastrophe; in the play of mistaken and forged identities — how much genuine feeling also comes through.” Read more…)

Their Finest (comedy/drama, Gemma Arterton. Rotten Tomatoes: 87%. Metacritic: 76. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Manohla Dargis’ Times review: “Love and laughter flow so naturally in ‘Their Finest’ that it is almost (almost) easy to forget there’s a war on. An unalloyed charmer, the movie tells a story of familiar British grit and resolve during World War II from an attractively different angle: that of an advertising copywriter, Catrin Cole [Gemma Arterton], who’s recruited by the government to join the film industry. Britain wants the United States to enter the war, and has decided cinematic propaganda is the way it can persuade the movie-mad Yanks to sign up. The world is facing a historic catastrophe, after all; but for this ambitious young woman it’s also a bittersweet opportunity.” Read more…)

A Woman, A Part (drama, Maggie Siff. Rotten Tomatoes: 90%. Metacritic: 66. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “Touching on issues of artistic survival and the porous boundary between work and pleasure, [director Elisabeth] Subrin, an accomplished visual artist and filmmaker, sifts addiction, celebrity and the plight of the aging actress into something rarefied yet real. A strong, intelligent screen presence, [actress Maggie] Siff can make the simplest line feel pregnant with possibility. And [supporting actress Cara] Seymour is the perfect counterpoint, giving Kate a warm vulnerability that’s never overplayed or milked for sentiment.” Read more…)

Smurfs: The Lost Village (animated feature/blues music, Demi Lovato [voice. Rotten Tomatoes: 37%. Metacritic: 40)

New Blu-Ray Discs
The Lost City of Z
The Fate of the Furious

New TV Series
The Affair: Seasons 2 & 3 (HBO drama series, Dominic West)

New Documentaries
The Best Democracy Money Can Buy: A Tale of Billionaires and Ballot Bandits (politics, elections, voter suppression, Kris Kobach, Koch Brothers, Greg Palast)