New releases 12/5/17

Top Hits
Marjorie Prime (near-future speculative drama, Jon Hamm. Rotten Tomatoes: 89%. Metacritic: 82. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Glenn Kenny’s Times review: “Most fictions about artificial intelligence are not, of course, about artificial intelligence. They use the topic as a metaphor, a scale on which to weigh and measure the assets and liabilities of humanity itself. ‘Marjorie Prime,’ a new film written and directed by Michael Almereyda, adapted from Jordan Harrison’s acclaimed play, is an alternately stately and brisk story in which the metaphor poses questions about mortality, loss and who our imagined ‘best selves’ might turn out to actually be once they’re released from our own assessment.” Read more…)

Despicable Me 3 (animated feature, Steve Carell [voice]. Rotten Tomatoes: 60%. Metacritic: 49. From Andy Webster’s New York times review: “The latest animated ‘Despicable Me’ outing shows signs of wear even as its energy level escalates. This time, the reformed villain Gru [voiced by Steve Carell] is in domestic bliss with his fellow secret agent Lucy [Kristen Wiig] and the three orphans — cute Agnes, mischievous Edith and bespectacled Margo — when he and Lucy are dismissed from the Anti-Villain League for letting a bad guy, Balthazar Bratt [Trey Parker], escape.” Read more…)

Better Watch Out (home invasion holiday horror, Olivia DeJonge. Rotten Tomatoes: 91%. Metacritic: 66. From Noel Murray’s Los Angeles Times review: “In the long, sordid history of the ‘Christmas horror’ sub-genre, there’s never been a movie quite like ‘Better Watch Out,’ a consistently surprising and unusually well-acted thriller, which says pertinent things about suburbia, holiday entertainment and toxic masculinity.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
Despicable Me 3

New Foreign DVDs
Of Horses and Men (Iceland, comic vignettes, Ingvar Eggert Sigurdsson. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 74. From Nicolas Rapold’s New York Times review: “Set among hearty horse owners in ever-photogenic Iceland, Benedikt Erlingsson’s dryly witty ‘Of Horses and Men’ is like an animal documentary, but about people. Life revolves around mares and stallions in the film’s windswept terrain, but the animals’ orblike eyes direct us to the many follies of their owners, who are driven by petty desires and, occasionally, courage.” Read more…)

New British
Dickensian (period series based on Dickens characters)

New Television
Fargo: Season 3

New Documentaries
The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin (bio, gay rights, cultural history, Armistead Maupin. Rotten Tomatoes: 90%. fRom Andy Webster’s New York Times review: “‘I’m a writer who is gay,’ the novelist Armistead Maupin says in ‘The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin.’ ‘I’m not a gay writer. I write about heterosexuals as well.’ This fond documentary portrait, directed by Jennifer M. Kroot, makes it clear that Mr. Maupin’s mastery of assorted perspectives is his gift, evident in his masterpiece, ‘Tales of the City,’ a love letter to San Francisco comprising multiple characters. And yet the film offers an enlightening glimpse into how the gay experience informed Mr. Maupin’s art.” Read more…)

A Gray State (politics, conspiracy, paranoia. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 75. From Ben Kenigsberg’s New York Times review: “After serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, David Crowley began work on a spectacularly ambitious feature film called ‘Gray State.’ As we learn in the new documentary ‘A Gray State,’ Mr. Crowley’s movie was supposed to be a dystopian thriller designed as a warning against authoritarian control. Mr. Crowley made a concept trailer that appeared online in 2012 and garnered a huge following. But despite signs of progress, the film never happened. Mr. Crowley was found dead in January 2015, along with his wife and daughter, in what police concluded was a double homicide and suicide: He had shot his family and then himself. Perhaps because Mr. Crowley was drawn to the paranoid fringe [he is shown meeting and watching Alex Jones], the deaths became a cause for conspiracy theorists.” Read more…)