New releases 6/28/16

Top Hits
Eye in the Sky (war drama, Helen Mirren. Rotten Tomatoes: 95%. Metacritic: 73. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Stephen  Holden’s Times review: “An alternative title to ‘Eye in the Sky,’ a riveting thriller about drone warfare and its perils, might be ‘Passing the Buck.’ When urgent life-or-death decisions are required in a race against time to kill terrorists preparing a suicide attack, officials, wary of being held responsible for civilian casualties, repeatedly “refer up” to higher authorities for final approval.” Read more…)

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (comedy, Tina Fey. Rotten Tomatoes: 68%. Metacritic: 57. From Nicolas Rapold’s New York Times review: “Based on Kim Barker’s memoir, ‘The Taliban Shuffle,’ ‘Whiskey Tango Foxtrot’ contains the fondly, proudly recalled details of battle-tested experience. Kim — last name ‘Baker’ in the film — goes from typing TV news in an office to a tour of duty as a journalist in war-ravaged Afghanistan. She dashes into a shootout to get video, parries the clumsy advances of an Afghan government official and frequents the hormone-addled expat party scene. Somewhere along the way, she also finds herself and cracks a few jokes. That’s not entirely unexpected, because Kim is played by Tina Fey, an old hand at portraying the self-deprecating, nerdy workaholic getting a handle on her personal life.” Read more…)

Kung Fu Panda 3 (animated feature, Jack Black [voice]. Rotten Tomatoes: 86%. Metacritic: 66. From Neil Genzlinger’s New York Times review: “That give this entry in the franchise [directed by Alessandro Carloni and Jennifer Yuh Nelson] a darker feel than the first two — young viewers will have to process not only the scary Kai, but also thoughts of mortality, absence, selfhood, afterlife. But if they’re familiar with the earlier movies, they’ll know that the tenacious Po is not about to let his beloved teacher, Shifu [Mr. Hoffman], or his five fighting sidekicks [voiced by Ms. Jolie, Ms. Liu, Seth Rogen, Jackie Chan and David Cross] be turned into trinkets.” Read more…)

Mistress America (comedy, Greta Gerwig. Rotten Tomatoes: 83%. Metacritic: 75. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Stephen  Holden’s Times review: “Noah Baumbach’s ‘Mistress America’ advertises itself as a screwball comedy. But this smart, fast-paced film is not really the zany, lighter-than-air divertissement that the term usually conjures. There are scattered sharp one-liners, but not enough to infuse the movie with a sustained bonhomie. It’s fair to say that “Mistress America” revises and subverts this most buoyant of genres with a steady undertow of anxiety, dread and anger.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
Eye in the Sky

New Foreign
RamsRams (Iceland, drama, Sigurdur Sigurjonsson. Rotten Tomatoes: 95%. Metacritic: 82. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “Even though they live in rural Iceland, thousands of miles from the Holy Land, and in a modern reality of computers and mechanized farm equipment, Gummi and Kiddi have a decidedly Old Testament vibe. It’s not just the untended beards and the well-tended sheep. The two men, who live on neighboring farms in a quiet valley, are feuding brothers, locked in a sibling rivalry that recalls Jacob and Esau or Cain and Abel. The sources of the bad blood are never specified, but it trickles though ‘Rams,’ Grimur Hakonarson’s new film, like an icy stream.” Read more…)

Rabin: The Last Day (Israel, docudrama, Yitzhak Hizkiya. Rotten Tomatoes: 65%. Metacritic: 66. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review of Israeli director Amos Gitai’s movie about the assassintion of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin: “Rabin” is not merely an expression of political pessimism, though it certainly is that. In movie terms, it is radically negative, undermining any of the genre categories that might make sense of it. It’s a political thriller with an almost infinite tolerance for tedium, a detective story with an obvious culprit, a courtroom procedural caught up in irrelevant details. It’s a profoundly frustrating movie, which is to say that it’s an authentic expression of profound frustration.” Read more…)

Detective Montalbano: Episodes 27 & 28 (Italy, detective series, Luca Zingaretti)
Young Montalbano: Episodes 7-9 (Italy, detective series, Michele Riondino)
Margarita with a Straw (India/United States, drama/romance, Kalki Koechlin. Rotten Tomatoes: 92%. Metacritic: 63.)

New American Back Catalog DVDs (post-1960)
Dr. Strangelove Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964, legendary Stanley Kubrick Cold War black comedy in Criterion edition, Peter Sellers. Rotten Tomatoes: 99%. Metacritic: 96. From Bosley Crowther’s 1964 New York Times review[requires log-in]: “Stanley Kubrick’s new film, called ‘Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb,’ is beyond any question the most shattering sick joke I’ve ever come across. And I say that with full recollection of some of the grim ones I’ve heard from Mort Sahl, some of the cartoons I’ve seen by Charles Addams, and some of the stuff I’ve read in Mad magazine. For this brazenly jesting speculation of what might happen within the Pentagon and within the most responsible council of the President of the United States if some maniac Air Force general should suddenly order a nuclear attack on the Soviet Union is at the same time one of the cleverest and most incisive satiric thrusts at the awkwardness and folly of the military that has ever been on the screen.” Read more…)

Really Weird Tales (1987, made-for-TV comedy genre spoofs, John Candy)

New Documentaries
Elstree 1976 (Star Wars extras, pop culture, movie history. Rotten Tomatoes: 81%. Metacritic: 66. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Neil Genzlinger’s Times review: “‘Elstree 1976,’ a documentary both sweet and bittersweet, might sound as if it’s only for “Star Wars” nerds. But in telling a small story of bit players, the director, Jon Spira, captures a more universal picture of the droplets of fame created by a pop-culture tidal wave.” Read more…)

Dream/Killer (criminal justice, wrongful conviction. From Ken Jaworski’s New York Times review: “I won’t reveal the end of ‘dream/killer,’ but I will predict what you’ll feel after watching it: This documentary elicits large measures of incredulity, frustration and astonishment.” Read more…)

Fastball (sports, baseball, physics, Narrated by Kevin Costner. Rotten Tomatoes: 89%. Metacritic: 74. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Neil Genzlinger’s Times review: “The narration, read by Kevin Costner, finds a certain elemental beauty in the confrontation that takes place when a good hitter is challenged by a good fastball pitcher. It is, Mr. Costner says, ‘a showdown between the fastest it’s humanly possible to throw a ball and the fastest it’s humanly possible to react to it.’ This appealing documentary makes you understand why aficionados regard baseball as a form of poetry.” Read more…)

Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan (movie history, sci-fi/fantasy, stop motion animation. Rotten Tomatoes: 91%.)

New Gay & Lesbian DVDs
Margarita with a Straw (India/United States, drama/romance, Kalki Koechlin)

New Children’s DVDs
Kung_Fu_Panda_3Kung Fu Panda 3 (animated feature, Jack Black [voice]. Rotten Tomatoes: 86%. Metacritic: 66. From Neil Genzlinger’s New York Times review: “That give this entry in the franchise [directed by Alessandro Carloni and Jennifer Yuh Nelson] a darker feel than the first two — young viewers will have to process not only the scary Kai, but also thoughts of mortality, absence, selfhood, afterlife. But if they’re familiar with the earlier movies, they’ll know that the tenacious Po is not about to let his beloved teacher, Shifu [Mr. Hoffman], or his five fighting sidekicks [voiced by Ms. Jolie, Ms. Liu, Seth Rogen, Jackie Chan and David Cross] be turned into trinkets.” Read more…)