New releases 8/29/17

Top Hits
Baywatch (action/comedy, Dwayne Johnson. Rotten Tomatoes: 18%. Metacritic: 37. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “The film, directed by Seth Gordon [‘Identity Thief,’ ‘Horrible Bosses’], can be viewed from several perspectives, most notably the abdominal, the pectoral and the gluteal. If torsos and tails are not your thing, other aspects of human anatomy are also available for study. Arms and legs, for example. But though acres of flesh are exposed to view — most of it pleasingly sculpted — there is very little outright nudity and no sex to speak of. You will, however, witness some rude and suggestive sight gags and an extended sequence in a morgue involving the genitals of a dead man. Those bits, and the energetic profanity in the script [written by Damian Shannon and Mark Swift], represent cosmetic alterations intended to secure an R rating, at the moment a mark of credibility in the world of big-screen comedy. Make no mistake, though: The project’s essential network prime-time DNA remains intact. Like its source material, “Baywatch” is sleazy and wholesome, silly and earnest, dumb as a box of sand and slyly self-aware. It’s soft-serve ice cream. Crinkle-cut fries. A hot car and a skin rash. Tacky and phony and nasty and also kind of fun.” Read more…)

Dean (drama/comedy/romance, Demetri Martin. Rotten Tomatoes: 63%. Metacritic: 58. From Neil Genzlinger’s New York Times review: “Demetri Martin joins the ranks of comics who have written and directed films with the movie “Dean,” a mild but respectable story about a father and son who react to grief differently and have to recalibrate their relationship as a result. Mr. Martin plays the title character, an illustrator who has been at sea personally and professionally since his mother’s death. Kevin Kline is Robert, Dean’s father, who also feels the loss but is reconciled to moving on. Among the ways he plans to do so is to sell the house where he still lives and where Dean grew up, a decision Dean is not ready to accept.” Read more…)

My Cousin Rachel (mystery/romance, Rachel Weisz. Rotten Tomatoes: 75%. Metacritic: 63. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “A young man, a strange woman and an unsettled death that may be a murder — “My Cousin Rachel” vibrates with possibility. That’s especially the case when Rachel arrives in Britain, sweeping into the family manor, wearing widow’s weeds and a Mona Lisa smile. The story’s gift and its lever, Rachel is the enigmatic, perhaps unknowable woman whose ambiguity is at once a kind of freedom (for her, at least in part) and a cause for suspicion (for everyone else, though chiefly Philip). She quickly pries open both the story and Philip, setting loose the emotions that had been straining beneath all the polite manners and smiles, the buttoned-up clothing and desires.” Read more…)

Inconceivable (thriller, Gina Gershon. Rotten Tomatoes: 29%.)
Batman and Harley Quinn (animated PG-13 superhero feature. Rotten Tomatoes: 50%.)

New Blu-Ray Discs
Baywatch

New Foreign
Heal the Living (France, drama, Emmanuelle Seigner. Rotten Tomatoes: 89%. Metacritic: 82. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “If you have ever been moved to tears by a television commercial, then prepare to be devastated by ‘Heal the Living,’ one of the most gorgeous and beautifully acted sales pitches you are ever likely to encounter. What you’re being asked to buy, however, is not cereal or sugary soda; no, this juggernaut of sentiment — whether intentionally or not — plays like nothing so much as a hugely expensive advertisement for organ donation.” Read more…)

A French Village: Seasons 3 & 4 (France, historical drama series, Audrey Fleurot)

New Classic DVDs (pre-1960)
The Breaking Point (1950, film noir, John Garfield. From Bosley Crowther’s 1950 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Warner Brothers, which already has taken one feeble swing and a cut at Ernest Hemingway’s memorable story of a tough guy, ‘To Have and Have Not,’ finally has got hold of that fable and socked it for a four-base hit in a film called ‘The Breaking Point,’ which came to the Strand yesterday. All of the character, color and cynicism of Mr. Hemingway’s lean and hungry tale are wrapped up in this realistic picture, and John Garfield is tops in the principal role.” Read more…)

New American Back Catalog DVDs (post-1960)
The Mechanic (1972, action thriller, Charles Bronson. Rotten Tomatoes: 40%. From Vincent Canby’s 1972 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “‘The Mechanic,’ which opened yesterday at the Victoria and other theaters, is about Arthur Bishop [Charles Bronson], a cool professional killer who lives in lonely splendor in the Hollywood hills, with a pool in his living room and an ache in his heart. Although Arthur is a genius at planning the accidental deaths of others [including an old associate, on whom a contract has been let], and although he spends a lot of time keeping fit [jogging, handball, karate, flying a plane], something is awfully wrong in Arthur’s life.” Read more…)

New British
Delicious: Series 1 (romance/drama, Dawn French)

New TV
Elementary: Season 4 (mystery series, Lucy Liu)
The White Princess (costume drama, Jodie Comer)

New Documentaries
Kiki (LGBTQ teens, race, dance, gender. Rotten Tomatoes: 83%. Metacritic: 73. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “Jennie Livingston’s 1991 film, ‘Paris Is Burning,’ was a vivid look at an influential gay subculture in New York before the term L.G.B.T.Q. even existed. The ‘Paris’ crew, made up largely of black and Hispanic transgender women and drag performers, took its outlandish ballroom competitions from Harlem to Times Square and the Village, jolting the pop culture of the time. It also chronicled their individual struggles to survive. More than 25 years later, ‘Kiki,’ a new documentary directed by the Swedish filmmaker Sara Jordeno [and credited as a film by Ms. Jordeno and Twiggy Pucci Garçon], explores the contemporary Harlem gay and transgender scene. Yet the absence of elder mentors is sadly conspicuous. It’s possible that many, maybe most, of that earlier generation is no longer with us.” Read more…)

The Seasons in Quincy: Four Portraits of John Berger (art, philosophy, politics, John Berger. Rotten Tomatoes: 67%. Metacritic: 56. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Times review: “The novelist, art critic, art historian, painter and poet John Berger, who turns 90 this year, is so much a Renaissance man that calling him one almost seems like damning him with faint praise. His 1972 novel, ‘G,’ won the Booker Prize. His screenplays have yielded several critically acclaimed films, including ‘Jonah Who Will Be 25 in the Year 2000’ [1976]. He was a widely seen television personality in 1960s and ’70s Britain. He is still active and prolific today, and the anthology film ‘The Seasons in Quincy: Four Portraits of John Berger’ is a challenging, sometimes poignant engagement with the man and his work.” Read more…)

[New Children’s DVDs
Toy Story That Time Forgot (Disney animated short)
Peanuts by Schulz: School Days (cartoons)