New releases 9/5/17

Top Hits
Band Aid (romance/comedy, Zoe Lister-Jones. Rotten Tomatoes 85%. Metacritic: 67. From Ben Kenigsberg’s New York Times review: “And while the songs have adequate toe-tapping potential, they are primarily a storytelling device, a way of lending this couples-therapy comedy some distinction. [In addition to writing, directing and starring in the movie, Ms. Lister-Jones composed the music for the tunes, mostly with Kyle Forester, and wrote the lyrics.]” Read more…)

Paris Can Wait (romance, Diane Lane. Rotten Tomatoes 44%. Metacritic: 48. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “‘Paris Can Wait,’ a smugly affluent Euro trifle and the first narrative feature from Eleanor Coppola [the wife of Francis Ford Coppola], is little more than an indulgent wallow in gustatory privilege. By the time the final meal is devoured, you’ll be wanting nothing so much as an antacid.” Read more…)

Rough Night (comedy, Scarlett Johansson. Rotten Tomatoes 46%. Metacritic: 51. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “How low can she go? That’s the question in the soft vanilla comedy ‘Rough Night,’ about five women who blunder into disaster over the course of a carousing bachelorette weekend. If you’ve seen ‘The Hangover’ and its sequels or various other movies of this familiar ilk, you have more or less seen ‘Rough Night.'” Read more…)

Megan Leavey (war drama, Kate Mara. Rotten Tomatoes 84%. Metacritic: 66. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Neil Genzlinger’s Times review: “When the story you’re telling involves a Marine and her combat dog, you know it’s going to be high on emotion, both the pulse-pounding and the heartstring-tugging varieties. The key is to not overplay the hand. Gabriela Cowperthwaite seems to recognize that in her direction of ‘Megan Leavey,’ letting this irresistible real-life story tell itself with a minimum of manufactured sentiment.” Read more…)

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (true life drama, Oprah Winfrey. Rotten Tomatoes 66%. Metacritic: 64. From Neil Genzlinger’s New York Times television review: “One of the most acclaimed nonfiction books of 2010, ‘The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,’ began as an investigation of a medical miracle but became a gripping, poignant story about racism, shoddy scientific ethics and a sprawling family’s painful experiences with both. If it sounds as if effectively truncating such an intricate, provocative book into a 93-minute movie would be nearly impossible, well, the film version that has its premiere Saturday night on HBO proves the point. This fascinating tale really wanted to be a six- or eight-episode mini-series.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray Discs
Sherlock Holmes (1916 silent film restoration)
Army of Darkness

New Foreign
Raw (France, horror, Garance Marillier. Rotten Tomatoes 90%. Metacritic: 81. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ Times review: “‘Raw,’ Julia Ducournau’s jangly opera of sexual and dietary awakening, is an exceptionally classy-looking movie about deeply horrifying behavior. Infusing each scene with a cold, unwelcoming beauty, the Belgian cinematographer Ruben Impens makes his camera complicit in the trashy goings-on. Sneaking beneath bedsheets and sliding over young flesh, his lens takes us places we may not want to go.” Read more…)

The Wedding Plan (Israel, rom-com, Noa Koler. Rotten Tomatoes 85%. Metacritic: 72. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Ben Kenigsberg’s Times review: “The premise and the title of ‘The Wedding Plan’ suggest a bubbly rom-com, but this prickly, delicately layered film from Rama Burshtein — an ultra-Orthodoz director based in Israel — has the tangled ambiguity of a Talmudic lesson. Like Ms. Burshtein’s ‘Fill the Void’ [2013], the story of a religious woman who must decide whether to marry her dead sister’s husband, ‘The Wedding Plan’ manages to be respectful of traditions while at the same time feeling modern, even progressive.” Read more…)

Like Crazy (Italy, comedy/drama, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi. Rotten Tomatoes 81%. Metacritic: 74. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “Cultural sensitivity about mental illness has increased to the extent that using a psychiatric hospital or its residents as metaphors for society in general is considered in bad taste, at least. But either nobody has told this to the Italian film director Paolo Virzì, or he just doesn’t care. The analogy he draws between Italy and two initially opposed women in an institution is the linchpin of his ‘Like Crazy,’ an energetic, visually attractive but ultimately irritating comedy-drama.” Read more…)

New Classic DVDs (pre-1960)
Sherlock Holmes (1916, silent classic, William Gillette)

New American Back Catalog DVDs (post-1960)
The Birthday Party (1968, William Friedkin-directed version of Harold Pinter play, Robert Shaw. From Vincent Canby’s 1968 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “In this brief shot, which opens the movie adaptation of Harold Pinter’s ‘The Birthday Party,’ William Friedkin, the director, captures in simple visual terms the verbalized purgatory of Pinter’s stage play. There are both the hint of menace, never defined, and the suggestion of the dislocation of familiar things, which can be both terrifying and funny. Subsequently, however, the movie becomes an almost literal screen translation of material conceived for the stage. It is beautifully acted and photographed and its soundtrack has a kind of ferocious presence, but it’s a movie that doesn’t really have a life of its own.” Read more…)

New British
Endeavour: Season 4 (mystery series, Shaun Evans)