New releases 8/8/17

Top Hits
King Arthur (myth/action, Jude Law. Rotten Tomatoes: 28%. Metacritic: 41. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “The galumphing digital elephants crashing through the hectic, murky opening of ‘King Arthur: Legend of the Sword’ are an early sign that this isn’t meant to be your granddad’s Arthurian legend. And, well, why should it be or how could it be, given who’s behind the camera? The director Guy Ritchie likes his action fast and frenetic, and he’s more focused on how things look — mostly, he’s chasing that certain something called cool — than in narrative coherency or plausibility. And, anyway, those angry elephants are magical, just like the dragons swooping through the HBO show ‘Game of Thrones.'” Read more…)

The Exception (war drama, Lily James. Rotten Tomatoes: 78%. Metacritic: 60. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “In recent years, some movies have reopened the World War II files — especially those parts dealing with the Nazi occupation of Europe and the resistance to it — in search of gray areas and moral puzzles rather than black-and-white tales of treachery and heroism. ‘The Exception,’ a new film based on a novel by Alan Judd, circles back to an older tradition. Apart from the swearing, the nudity and the nonmarital sex, it’s the kind of suspenseful, romantic melodrama of awakened conscience that might have been made in Hollywood or Britain in the early years of the war, before the worst of its horrors were widely known.” Read more…)

Jack Strong (2015, spy drama, Marcin Dorociński. Rotten Tomatoes: 28%. Metacritic: 41. From MIchael Rechstaffen’s Los Angeles Times review: “Fans of Cold War novelists John le Carré and Tom Clancy should warm up to ‘Jack Strong,’ a gripping political thriller based on the exploits of Ryszard Kuklinski, a high-ranking Polish army officer who shared top-secret Soviet documents with the CIA between 1972 and 1981. Effectively written and directed by Wladyslaw Pasikowski, the Polish- and English-language film stars Marcin Dorocinski as Kuklinski [code name: Jack Strong], a colonel who had played a significant role in the Warsaw Pact 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia.” Read more…)

Snatched (comedy, Amy Schumer. Rotten Tomatoes: 35%. Metacritic: 45. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “In the first few scenes of ‘Snatched,’ Emily Middleton [Amy Schumer] loses her retail job and her rock ’n’ roll boyfriend. Those are the high points of the movie, quick and nasty riffs to remind you of ‘Trainwreck’ and raise your hopes for something similar. Those hopes are both fulfilled and disappointed.” Read more…)

The Sea (drama, Ciaran Hinds. Rotten Tomatoes: 47%. Metacritic: 54.)

New Blu-Ray Discs
King Arthur

New Foreign
In the Shadow of Women (France, romance/drama, Clotilde Courau. Rotten Tomatoes: 88%. Metacritic: 74. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “Written by Mr. Garrel, Jean-Claude Carrière, Caroline Deruas [who is married to Mr. Garrel] and Arlette Langmann, the film has a curiosity about how women deal with a selfish and unreliable man that feels more gallant than empathetic. But Mr. Garrel is always worth attending to when he takes up the rhythms and paradoxes of love, and even though this is a minor entry in his canon of melancholy romances, it is brief, brisk and intermittently affecting.” Read more…)

New Documentaries
Notes on Blindness (writing, loss of sight, perseverance, John Hull. Rotten Tomatoes: 94%. Metacritic: 75. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Stephen Holden’s Times review: “In 1983, John M. Hull, a professor of religion at the University of Birmingham in England, lost his eyesight and began the agonizing personal journey to hell and back that he describes in the magnificent documentary ‘Notes on Blindness.’ Adapted from Professor Hull’s memoir, ‘On Sight and Insight: A Journey Into the World of Blindness,’ the film, using mostly his words, describes with extraordinary eloquence, precision and poetic sensitivity his physical and psychological metamorphosis as he felt the world retreat until it seemed mostly out of reach.” Read more…)

New Children’s DVDs
Diary of A Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul (children’s feature, Jason Drucker. Rotten Tomatoes: 20%. Metacritic: 39. From Neil Genzlinger’s New York Times review: “The ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ movie franchise has been dormant for five years, so the new installment, subtitled ‘The Long Haul,’ was an opportunity to rejuvenate this never very good series with some recasting. Unfortunately, the fresh blood has been saddled with a tired story, the family road trip that goes outlandishly awry, and the result is another forgettable film.” Read more…)