New releases 8/15 and 8/22/17

Top Hits
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (comic book action, Chris Pratt. Rotten Tomatoes: 82%. Metacritic: 67. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ has all the digital bells and whistles as well as much of the likable, self-aware waggery of the first. In many respects, it’s not much different except it all feels a bit strained, as if everyone were trying too hard, especially its writer-director, James Gunn.” Read more…)

The Monster (horror, Zoe Kazan. Rotten Tomatoes: 78%. Metacritic: 69. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “Monstrous motherhood has never gone out of fashion, including in movies — recent examples include ‘The Babadook’ and ‘Goodnight Mommy’ — that are more obvious fodder for art houses than for multiplexes. ‘The Monster’ is cleverly pitched somewhere in between, with the kind of generous splatters that evoke the good old nasty days of grindhouse horror and enough sleek, self-conscious moves for festival play dates. Part of the ticklish enjoyment in ‘The Monster’ is how the director, Bryan Bertino [‘The Strangers’], plays with genre registers and how, after opening with disquieting stillness and an isolated child, he slowly yet surely turns up the shrieks.” Read more…)

Alien: Covenant (sci-fi, Michael Fassbender. Rotten Tomatoes: 71%. Metacritic: 65. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “To complain about its lack of ambition would be to misconstrue its intentions. Rather than setting out to conquer new worlds or excavate primal fears, this “Alien” is content to uphold a long-lived and well-regarded brand. Correcting some of the previous film’s mistakes — not enough alien! too much mythological mumbo-jumbo best left to movies with “Star” in the title! — Mr. Scott parcels out carefully measured portions of awe, wonder and terror on the established installment plan. This episode needs to satisfy you just enough to make sure you come back for the next one.” Read more…)

The Wall (war, Aaron Taylor-Johnson. Rotten Tomatoes: 69%. Metacritic: 57. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “Combine two Army Rangers and one pile of stones, throw in a disembodied voice and a whole heap of sand, and you have almost the entirety of ‘The Wall,’ a compressed thriller from Doug Liman that’s more psychological standoff than traditional war game. Working with an unusually small budget [this is no ‘Edge of Tomorrow’] and an uncomfortably tight shooting schedule [14 days in the California desert], Mr. Liman answers the siren song of minimalism with gusto if not complete success. In lieu of flying shrapnel and fancy production design, the director ramps the intensity to 11, then breaks the dial.” Read more…)

Chuck (boxing/sports, Liev Screiber. Rotten Tomatoes: 79%. Metacritic: 68. From Glenn Kenny’s new York Times review: “[Actor Liev] Schreiber has almost no physical resemblance to [boxer Chuck] Wepner, in his heyday a burly, mustachioed redhead. Mr. Schreiber is a terrific actor, however, and he pulls it off. His portrayal works partly because of its understatement. He doesn’t try to Jersey things up too much, so to speak; nor does Elisabeth Moss, as the philandering boxer’s long-suffering wife. Naomi Watts, on the other hand, playing a later love of Wepner’s, clearly relishes the opportunity to perform in a vintage glitter sweater and painted-on jeans.” Read more…)

Everything, Everything (romance, Amandla Sternberg. Rotten Tomatoes: 47%. Metacritic: 52. From Neil Genzlinger’s New York Times review: “With a pair of irresistible leads and a straightforward love-overcomes-adversity story, ‘Everything, Everything’ scores a direct hit on the teenage-girl market. Others might find it pretty enjoyable as well. Stella Meghie directed this adaptation of Nicola Yoon’s young-adult novel about a teenager, Maddy, who has spent her life inside a sterile house because of an immune system disorder that leaves her catastrophically vulnerable to diseases. [Did you just have a flashback to ‘Bubble Boy’? Rest easy; this movie is a completely different animal.]” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray Discs
Alien: Covenant
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

New Foreign
Goodnight Mommy (Germany, horror/thriller, Georg Deliovsky. Rotten Tomatoes: 86%. Metacritic: 81. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ Times review: “Like many foreign movies that venture outside their home countries, ‘Goodnight Mommy’ must live with an English title far inferior to its Austrian original, which literally translates as ‘I see, I see.’ Eyes — and what we think they see — are everything in this carefully controlled creep-out, gazing into mirrors and peering through shutters and tightly wrapped gauze. When it’s over, even those who have guessed its final twist (because we have seen it before) will immediately want to watch again, if only to check the logic of its shifting points of view.” Read more…)

La Poison (France, 1951, black comedy, Michel Simon)

Francofonia (Russia, documentary/drama, Benjamin Utzerath. Rotten Tomatoes: 84%. Metacritic: 71. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “The fate of art is the main concern of ‘Francofonia,’ which takes place mostly in and around the Louvre. Its museum setting makes the film a companion piece of sorts to ‘Russian Ark,’ [director Alexander] Sokurov’s single-shot tour of the Hermitage in St. Petersburg and something of an American art house hit in 2002. But while that film was a 99-minute sprint through the Russian past, this one lingers over a particular episode during the Nazi occupation of France. It takes the form of an extended cinematic essay, blending fictionalized re-enactments of plausible events with excursions into scholarship and fantasy.” Read more…)

After the Storm (Japan, drama, Hiroshi Abe. Rotten Tomatoes: 96%. Metacritic: 84. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Glenn Kenny’s Times review: “[Director Hirokazu] Kore-eda, whose most noteworthy family dramas include ‘Still Walking’ [2009] and ‘Like Father, Like Son’ [2014], works in a quiet cinematic register, and the slightest error in tone could upend the whole enterprise. Slow-paced, sad, rueful and sometimes warmly funny, ‘After the Storm’ is one of his sturdiest, and most sensitive, constructions.” Read more…)

New American Back Catalog DVDs (post-1960)
The Savage Innocents (1960, Nicholas Ray-directed drama/adventure, Anthony Quinn. Rotten Tomatoes: 90%. From Eugene Archer’s 1961 new York Times review [requires log-in]: “By working with a visual style emphasizing violent eruptive motion rather than smoother, more graceful techniques, and by deliberately concealing his symbolic meanings beneath the bewildering surface level of his plot, Mr. Ray has simultaneously sacrificed his chances for popular acceptance and allied himself with such difficult and controversial European filmmakers as Michelangelo Antonioni [‘L’Avventura’] and Jean-Luc Godard [‘Breathless’].” Read more…)

New Documentaries
Homo Sapiens (human existence, architecture, landscapes, post-apocalypse. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 84. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Glenn Kenny’s Times review: “The latest film from the meticulous, provocative Austrian director Nikolaus Geyrhalter could be described as an environmental documentary. Its form is as simple as death. A stationary camera takes in, one after the other, a single image of a space constructed (or simply scarred) by humankind, and subsequently abandoned. In the first minutes of “Homo Sapiens,” we see railroad tracks, a bicycle rack and the rudiments of a train station.” Read more…)

Betting on Zero (pyramid scheme, Herbalife, financial skullduggery, Bill Ackman. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 72. From Ben Kenigsberg’s New York Times review: “Even without an upbeat ending, though, ‘Betting on Zero’ would be persuasive advocacy. [hedge fund manager William A.] Ackman comes across as sincere in his outrage and cogent in his presentations. Even more valuable is the opportunity to meet and learn about Herbalife’s purported victims, from Queens to Chicago to Oklahoma.” Read more…)

Vita Activa: The Spirit of Hannah Arendt (bio/history, Hannah Arendt. Rotten Tomatoes: 94%. Metacritic: 66. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “‘Vita Activa: The Spirit of Hannah Arendt,’ a vigorous and thoughtful new documentary by Ada Ushpiz, frames its inquiry into Arendt’s career with her encounter with Eichmann. But its focus is much wider than the still-potent debate over ‘Eichmann in Jerusalem,’ which was widely and fiercely attacked for what critics took to be its trivialization of Eichmann’s deeds and its lack of sympathy for his victims. Though both Arendt’s defenders and detractors are heard from, Ms. Ushpiz’s film situates the Eichmann episode within a broad and rich portrait of an intellectual determined to use the tools of rationality to comprehend historical events that seem to defy all reason.” Read more…)

Francofonia (Russia, documentary/drama, Benjamin Utzerath. Rotten Tomatoes: 84%. Metacritic: 71. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “The fate of art is the main concern of ‘Francofonia,’ which takes place mostly in and around the Louvre. Its museum setting makes the film a companion piece of sorts to ‘Russian Ark,’ [director Alexander] Sokurov’s single-shot tour of the Hermitage in St. Petersburg and something of an American art house hit in 2002. But while that film was a 99-minute sprint through the Russian past, this one lingers over a particular episode during the Nazi occupation of France. It takes the form of an extended cinematic essay, blending fictionalized re-enactments of plausible events with excursions into scholarship and fantasy.” Read more…)

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…)

New releases 8/1/17

Top Hits
Colossal (action/fantasy/comedy, Anne Hathaway. Rotten Tomatoes: 80%. Metacritic: 70. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “Except that … frankly, I’m reluctant to say, though the movie is, to some extent, spoiler-proofed by its loose, make-it-up-as-we-go-along structure. A giant, lizardlike creature — a kaiju, if you insist — is terrorizing Seoul, halfway around the world from wherever Oscar and Gloria are. Eventually, it will battle a giant robot. What this has to do with two self-absorbed Americans is at first baffling, then intriguing, and finally obvious. Which doesn’t ruin anything. We learned back in ninth-grade English that monsters are metaphors, and it’s an insight that never gets old.” Read more…)

Going In Style (comedy, Michael Caine. Rotten Tomatoes: 46%. Metacritic: 50. From Neil Genzlinger’s New York Times review: “Call it the old-dudes-acting-up genre. It’s always good for a pleasant, nontaxing romp, and that’s precisely what the caper film ‘Going In Style’ delivers.” Read more…)

The Circle (thriller/drama, Emma Watson. Rotten Tomatoes: 15%. Metacritic: 43. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “Credit ‘The Circle’ with ambition, at least. This film, directed by James Ponsoldt, is an adaptation of Dave Eggers’ 2013 novel, and the two collaborated on the screenplay. Mr. Eggers’s book is both a satire and a cautionary tale, grafting surveillance-state mechanisms to a faux-progressive vision with pronounced cult leanings — a lot of its ‘join us’ vibe feels passed down from Philip Kaufman’s 1978 version of ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers,’ a tale set, like the one here, in the San Francisco Bay Area.” Read more…)

The Lovers (drama, Debra Winger. Rotten Tomatoes: 86%. Metacritic: 76. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “If all middle-aged marrieds were having as much sex as Mary and Michael [Debra Winger and Tracy Letts] in ‘The Lovers,’ then the ratings for ‘NCIS’ would go into a tailspin. Yet the extracurricular bonking that they gingerly enjoy — she with a needy writer [Aidan Gillen] and he with a neurotic ballet dancer [Melora Walters] — appears to bring only marginally more pleasure than their sclerotic union.” Read more…)

The Drowning (psychological thriller, Josh Charles. Rotten Tomatoes: 50%. Metacritic: 43. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “The term ‘psychological thriller’ is often applied, with varying degrees of aspiration or hope, I suppose, to movies that have very little to do with either category. The psychological component is frequently the one more egregiously lacking. ‘The Drowning,’ directed by Bette Gordon from Stephen Molton and Frank Pugliese’s adaptation of Pat Barker’s 2001 novel, ‘Border Crossing,’ distinguishes itself by applying a depth of psychological observation that yields a genuinely unsettling vision.” Read more…)

Buster’s Mal Heart (thriller, Rami Malek. Rotten Tomatoes: 76%. Metacritic: 63. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “Filmed with an alienating elegance by Shaheen Seth, ‘Buster’s Mal Heart’ is about the making of a madman. It also aspires, with less success, to philosophically query the void at the center of modern life and Christianity’s failure to fill it. Religious homilies and paranoid exhortations spill from television sets where cartoons of men trapped in endlessly whirring machines dance dishearteningly. And if the story is too tricky to realize its themes or welcome the impatient, it also contains enough empathy to humanize a character who’s part man, part spiritual symbol.” Read more…)

No Pay, Nudity (drama/comedy, Gabriel Byrne. Rotten Tomatoes: 71%. From a capsule New York Times review by Neil Genzlinger: “The title of the year award goes to ‘No Pay, Nudity,’ a bittersweet movie about actors, aging and unemployment that didn’t have a New York theatrical release even though plenty of New Yorkers would identify with it… Backstage stories about young actors in search of their first big break are common, but this film, directed by Lee Wilkof [the original stage Seymour in ‘Little Shop of Horrors’], considers the other end of the spectrum: older actors who find that the work has dried up. Gabriel Byrne does heartstring-tugging work as the central figure, and he’s surrounded by a cast of other well-known stars, including Donna Murphy, Frances Conroy, Boyd Gaines and a wonderful Nathan Lane.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray Discs
Colossal

New Foreign
Amnesia (France, drama, Marthe Keller. Rotten Tomatoes: 72%. Metacritic: 59. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “Inner peace and reconciliation — as well as historical memory and its burden — are at the heart of Barbet Schroeder’s drama ‘Amnesia.’ The story is simple, the emotions complex. It takes a while for the true depth of all the complicated, confusing feelings to surface, partly because the movie’s most interesting character, the German-born Martha [Marthe Keller], has done a good job of barricading off part of her being.” Read more…)

Wondrous Boccaccio (Italy, comedy/drama, Lello Arena. From New York Times critic J. Hoberman’s capsule DVD reviews: “The Taviani brothers tackle Boccaccio’s ‘Decameron’ in this visually sumptuous adaptation of five stories. Never released here, the movie was included in the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival, cited by the Times critic Stephen Holden among the festival’s most notable offerings.”)

Un Padre No Tan Padre aka From Dad To Worse (Spain, comedy, family comedy, Hector Bonilla. Rotten Tomatoes: 75%.)

New Television
Big Little Lies (HBO series, Reese Witherspoon. Rotten Tomatoes: 92%. Metacritic: 75.)

New Documentaries
Eva Hesse (artist bio, Eva Hesse. Rotten Tomatoes: 76%. Metacritic: 69. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “‘Eva Hesse,’ Marcie Begleiter’s conscientious and moving documentary, tells the full story of its subject’s tragically foreshortened life, but it focuses on those years of artistic emergence, a period of rapid development and furious productivity, with few parallels in the history of art. Hesse herself is both a ubiquitous presence in the film and something of a specter — an animating spirit and a ghost haunting the frames.” Read more…)

Obit (culture, journalism, The New York Times, Bruce Weber. Rotten Tomatoes: 93%. Metacritic: 72. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Gene Seymour’s Times review: “Somehow — and this may be the movie’s most impressive feat — ‘Obit’ shapes the tension and tedium of the writing process itself into engaging narrative drama as it lets us watch the veteran writer Bruce Weber assemble a 2014 obituary of William P. Wilson, a media consultant who provided vital cosmetic and staging tips to the 1960 Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kennedy before his first televised debate with Richard M. Nixon.” Read more…)

Classic Albums: Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (making of album, Elton John)

New Music
Classic Albums: Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (making of album, Elton John)

New releases 7/25/17

Top Hits
Ghost In the Shell (sci-fi/action, Scarlett Johansson. Rotten Tomatoes: 44%. Metacritic: 52. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “Like the greatest screen goddesses, Scarlett Johansson rises above it all. In the thrill-free science-fiction thriller “Ghost in the Shell,” her character comes at you in pieces, emerging first during the opening credits in the form of a metallic skeleton. It’s a good look — it evokes the original Terminator — but soon the skeleton is being dipped like a chip in whitish goo. This technological soup gives the metallic frame a humanoid cladding, making it more reassuringly and pleasantly familiar, from bosomy top to round bottom. It looks like a giant dream Barbie, hairless pubis and all. Enjoy these credits because they offer some of the more arresting, inventive images in this visually cluttered yet often disappointingly drab movie. A live-action version of a famed Japanese manga by Shirow Masamune, “Ghost in the Shell” is one of those future-shock stories that edges around the dystopian without going full-bore apocalyptic.” Read more…)

The Boss Baby (animated feature, Alec Baldwin [voice]. Rotten Tomatoes: 52%. Metacritic: 50. From Neil Genzlinger’s New York Times review: “The animated feature ‘The Boss Baby’ has some hilarious moments. If, that is, you’re a grown-up. It’s a movie whose story is aimed at the siblings of newborns — the 8-and-under crowd, more or less. They’ll follow the plot for most of the way; they just might be puzzled by their accompanying parent’s reactions. ‘What’s so funny, Dad?’ That’s because the title character is voiced by Alec Baldwin, and all of his various past personas, especially the one from ’30 Rock,’ somehow make hearing his distinctive voice coming from a cartoon infant all that much funnier.” Read more…)

Gifted (family drama, Chris Evans. Rotten Tomatoes: 69%. Metacritic: 60. From Nicole Herrington’s New York Times review: “What’s in a child’s best interest? It depends on who’s answering the question. That’s the crux of ‘Gifted,’ the director Marc Webb’s return to small-scale features after tangling with Spidey. The gifted child here is a 7-year-old math prodigy, Mary [Mckenna Grace, charmingly precocious], who is being raised by her uncle Frank [an impressive Chris Evans]. He wants a normal life for Mary; her mother, also a math genius, was under pressure and committed suicide when Mary was a baby.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray Discs
Ghost In the Shell

New Foreign
I, Olga Hepnarova (Czech Republic, drama, Michalina Olszanska. Rotten Tomatoes: 71%. Metacritic: 57. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “Anchored by a startling performance by Michalina Olszanska, the Czech film ‘I, Olga Hepnarova’ is an austere, hypnotic story of sadness, madness and murder. The filmmakers piece together a fictionalized account of the life of Olga Hepnarova, who on July 10, 1973, drove a truck onto a sidewalk in Prague and hit at least 20 people, eight of whom died. Before committing her crime, she explained her actions in a letter, which the film shows her composing. It’s a deeply discomfiting document.” Read more…)

New American Back Catalog (post-1960)
Who’s Crazy? (1966, avant-garde cult film, The Living Theatre, soundtrack by Ornette Coleman Trio. Rotten Tomatoes: 71%. Metacritic: 77. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “In the film, a group of psychiatric patients becomes stranded in the countryside after a bus breaks down. The patients take up residence in a farmhouse, forming a microcosmic civilization that soon falls prey to varied discontents. The opening credits, a series of still photos in which a woman in sunglasses strikes wacky poses while text announces the soundtrack, may lead you to expect hippie whimsy of the worst sort. But the movie, shot mostly in crisp, sometimes smoky black and white, is far better, a quirky but purposeful grafting of Mack Sennett to the French New Wave.” Read more…)

New releases 7/18/17

Top Hits
Free Fire (action comedy, Brie Larson. Rotten Tomatoes: 67%. Metacritic: 63. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Glenn Kenny’s Times review: “The cinema innovator and iconoclast Jean-Luc Godard never actually said, ‘All you need to make a movie is a girl and a gun,’ but it has become a well-known adage, anyway — because it’s true. ‘Free Fire,’ directed by Ben Wheatley from a script he wrote with Amy Jump, applies a more-is-more ethos to the formula: The ingredients here include a best actress Academy Award winner, Brie Larson; dozens of firearms; and a slew of male characters of varying levels of smugness and idiocy to help out with the shooting. The film is a formal exercise in spectacle under constraint: An extended standoff in a contained space surprisingly full of hazards.” Read more…)

Kong: Skull Island (action/sci-fi, Tom Hiddleston. Rotten Tomatoes: 76%. Metacritic: 62. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “In ‘Kong: Skull Island,’ the big guy has a new look and a new gal pal, Mason Weaver [Brie Larson], who’s somewhat feistier and certainly more sensibly dressed than her predecessors. She points and she shoots, and not just her camera. ‘Skull Island’ pretty much exhumes the same story conceived for the 1933 classic. This time, the adventurers include a group of government-backed scientists run by Bill Randa [John Goodman], who has his glinting eyes on a mysterious, seemingly unexplored island. Mysteries were made for solving, and this island, Randa reasons, may contain all manner of wonders, or perhaps something beyond human imagining.” Read more…)

The Promise (historical epic, Oscar Isaac. Rotten Tomatoes: 50%. Metacritic: 49. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “Weighed down by the worthiness of its intentions, ‘The Promise’ is a big, barren wartime romance that approaches the Armenian genocide with too much calculation and not nearly enough heat. It can happen all too easily. An otherwise highly competent director [in this case, Terry George] succumbs to the lure of addressing a real-life atrocity [here, the still-contested slaughter of more than a million peaceful Armenians by the Ottoman Empire during World War I]. Somewhere along the way, though, the need to do justice to the slain and call out the perpetrators becomes a pillow that smothers every spark of originality.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray Discs
Kong: Skull Island
The Promise

New American Back Catalog (post-1960)
Who’s Minding the Mint (1967, comedy, Jim Hutton. From Bosley Crowther’s 1967 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “‘Who’s Minding the Mint?’ is all nonsense, and most of it fun. Like the other picture, it also happens to be clean. It has to do with a young Bureau of Engraving clerk who accidentally destroys $50,000 and sneaks in the building one night to mint it back with some money minded pals. The first two-thirds of this romp is snugly amusing and perkily turned, as written by R. S. Allen and Harvey Bullock and nimbly directed by Norman Maurer. The performances of an unglittery cast are dandy, from Jim Hutton and Dorothy Provine to old-timer Walter Brennan and back to Milton Berle.” Read more…)

New British
A Room With a View (1986, Merchant Ivory adaptation of E.M. Forster novel  Helena Bonham Carter. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 80. From Vincent Canby’s 1986 New york Times review [requires log-in]: “Because common sense triumphs, ”A Room With a View” is not only uncharacteristically benign for Forster, but also blithely, elegantly funny, which is a fit description of the first-rate film adaptation that opens today at the Paris. As they’ve been doing now for over 20 years, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, who wrote the screenplay for ”A Room With a View”; James Ivory, who directed it, and Ismail Merchant, the producer, have created an exceptionally faithful, ebullient screen equivalent to a literary work that lesser talents would embalm.” Read more… [Of note is what Canby wrote about Daniel Day Lewis, who recently announced his retirement from acting: “Spectacular, too, is a new young actor named Daniel Day Lewis, who plays the insufferable Cecil Vyse with a style and a wit that are all the more remarkable when compared to his very different characterization in ‘My Beautiful Laundrette.'”])

Grantchester: Season 3 (mystery series, Janes Norton)
My Mother & Other Strangers (romance/historical drama mini-series, Hattie Morahan)

New Documentaries
With Great Power (comic book history, Marvel Comics, Stan Lee)
Plastic Paradise: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch (environment, waste, plastics)

New releases 7/11/17

Top Hits
A Quiet Passion (Emily Dickinson bio-pic, Cynthia Nixon. Rotten Tomatoes: 92%. Metacritic: 77. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “An admirer can be forgiven for approaching ‘A Quiet Passion,’ Terence Davies’s new movie about Dickinson’s life, with trepidation. The literalness of film and the creaky conventions of the biopic threaten to dissolve that strangeness, to domesticate genius into likable quirkiness. But Mr. Davies, whose work often blends public history and private memory, possesses a poetic sensibility perfectly suited to his subject and a deep, idiosyncratic intuition about what might have made her tick.” Read more…)

The Fate of the Furious (action, Vin Diesel. Rotten Tomatoes: 66%. Metacritic: 56. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “The new movie’s title, ‘The Fate of the Furious,’ seems like a nod to the lingering existential crisis created by Mr. Walker’s death, as do the tears that fall in the story. They’re shed over time but before they are, the movie does what’s expected, which is cut loose attractive characters in different choreographed formations in assorted machines and locales. Directed by F. Gary Gray [‘Straight Outta Compton’], this one opens in Havana, where the young local beauties swirling around Dom and Letty move and dress more or less like the other young beauties in the series, as if they were part of a continuing global house party, this time with Che Guevara and prettily peeling buildings.” Read more…)

The Lost City of Z (historic drama, Charlie Hunnam. Rotten Tomatoes: 87%. Metacritic: 78. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Manohla Dargis’ Times review: “In ‘The Lost City of Z,’ a lush, melancholic story of discovery and mystery, a mesmerizing Charlie Hunnam plays a British adventurer in the Amazon who is consumed by ‘all the glories of exploration,’ as Joseph Conrad once wrote of a different journey. Enveloped by the forest, the explorer and his crew face snakes, piranhas, insects and that most terrifying of threats: other people, who at times bombard the strangers with arrows. Undaunted, he perseveres, venturing more deeply into a world that first becomes a passion and then something of a private hallucination. It’s 1906, and while wonders like moving pictures are rapidly shrinking the world, the dream of unknown lands endures.” Read more…)

Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer (comedy/drama, Richard Gere. Metacritic: 75. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “It’s only after the plot has unfolded, with antic elegance and brazen unpredictability, that the risks involved become apparent. The dangers are everywhere: overly broad humor; obnoxiously shticky performances; sentimental tribalism; easy moral point-scoring. None materialize. It’s startling, given how much farce is on display — in the rise-and-fall structure of the narrative; in the madcap scenes of narrowly missed [or fully achieved] catastrophe; in the play of mistaken and forged identities — how much genuine feeling also comes through.” Read more…)

Their Finest (comedy/drama, Gemma Arterton. Rotten Tomatoes: 87%. Metacritic: 76. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Manohla Dargis’ Times review: “Love and laughter flow so naturally in ‘Their Finest’ that it is almost (almost) easy to forget there’s a war on. An unalloyed charmer, the movie tells a story of familiar British grit and resolve during World War II from an attractively different angle: that of an advertising copywriter, Catrin Cole [Gemma Arterton], who’s recruited by the government to join the film industry. Britain wants the United States to enter the war, and has decided cinematic propaganda is the way it can persuade the movie-mad Yanks to sign up. The world is facing a historic catastrophe, after all; but for this ambitious young woman it’s also a bittersweet opportunity.” Read more…)

A Woman, A Part (drama, Maggie Siff. Rotten Tomatoes: 90%. Metacritic: 66. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “Touching on issues of artistic survival and the porous boundary between work and pleasure, [director Elisabeth] Subrin, an accomplished visual artist and filmmaker, sifts addiction, celebrity and the plight of the aging actress into something rarefied yet real. A strong, intelligent screen presence, [actress Maggie] Siff can make the simplest line feel pregnant with possibility. And [supporting actress Cara] Seymour is the perfect counterpoint, giving Kate a warm vulnerability that’s never overplayed or milked for sentiment.” Read more…)

Smurfs: The Lost Village (animated feature/blues music, Demi Lovato [voice. Rotten Tomatoes: 37%. Metacritic: 40)

New Blu-Ray Discs
The Lost City of Z
The Fate of the Furious

New TV Series
The Affair: Seasons 2 & 3 (HBO drama series, Dominic West)

New Documentaries
The Best Democracy Money Can Buy: A Tale of Billionaires and Ballot Bandits (politics, elections, voter suppression, Kris Kobach, Koch Brothers, Greg Palast)

New releases 7/4/17

Top Hits
The Zookeeper’s Wife (World War II-era drama set in Poland, Jessica Chastain. Rotten Tomatoes: 61%. Metacritic: 57. From Stephen Holden’s New York Times review: “‘Schindler’s List’ With Pets’: That’s my suggested alternate title for ‘The Zookeeper’s Wife.’ This mild-mannered Holocaust film probably wasn’t conceived as family fare but is so timid and sanitized it almost feels safe for children. Except for its scenes involving animals, this handsome, excessively fastidious screen adaptation of Diane Ackerman’s 2007 nonfiction best seller is a polite but pallid recycling of Holocaust movie tropes with epic pretensions. The book tells the true story of a Polish couple who rescued about 300 Jews from the Warsaw ghetto during the Holocaust and sheltered them in their zoo.” Read more..)

Song to Song (romance/music, Rooney Mara. Rotten Tomatoes: 46%. Metacritic: 53. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Manohla Dargis’ Times review: “One of the loveliest images in ‘Song to Song,’ the latest from Terrence Malick, is of ripples expanding across a small pool of water, echoes of a woman’s quick step. Mr. Malick, one of cinema’s philosopher kings, embraces fluidity as a visual principle and his films are filled with life’s ebb and flow — its swirling waters, swooping birds, stirring trees, billowing curtains, and gliding people and cameras. He loves silence and stillness, and the image of sunlight caressing a woman’s motionless face. But he is a searcher, and that searching informs his visual style with its restless, moving pictures.” Read more…)

New releases 6/27/17

Top Hits
T2 Trainspotting (Scottish drama/sequel, Ewan McGregor. Rotten Tomatoes: 78%. Metacritic: 67. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ Times review: “Ghosts of the past, both literal and figurative, haunt ‘T2 Trainspotting,’ Danny Boyle’s droll and wistful return to the Scottish reprobates who, 21 years ago in ‘Trainspotting,’ made heroin addiction a blast and bodily waste a metaphor for squandered lives. Excremental flourishes notwithstanding, that gloriously scabrous picture also kick-started the careers of its director and stars, most of whom are back to illustrate the consequences of a misspent youth. Renton [Ewan McGregor] has returned to Edinburgh from Amsterdam, ready to face the music for absconding with his pals’ share of the loot from the previous movie’s drug deal. Simon [Jonny Lee Miller] is still scraping by on the criminal fringes, trying to transform his rundown bar into an upscale brothel. And Begbie [Robert Carlyle] — whose drug of choice has always been violence — has just wangled an appropriately bloody escape from prison.” Read more…)

Saban’s Power Rangers (comic book action, Elizabeth Banks. Rotten Tomatoes: 46%. Metacritic: 44. From Andy Webster’s New York Times review: “‘Ai-yi-yi-yi-yi!,’ says Alpha 5, the robot sidekick to Zordon, in ‘Saban’s Power Rangers,’ uttering his signature exclamation. Alpha 5 [voiced by Bill Hader] is not the only holdover in this slick repackaging of ‘Mighty Morphin Power Rangers,’ the shrill and unfathomably popular 1990s Fox Kids’ series [adapted by Haim Saban from a Japanese TV show] about teenage superheroes in color-coded costumes. But Mr. Hader’s dialed-down take reflects the movie’s tempered refinement of the original.” Read more…)

CHIPS (action/comedy, Dax Shepard. Rotten Tomatoes: 16%. Metacritic: 28. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “A fascination with posteriors — both human and feline — isn’t the worst thing about ‘CHIPS,’ but it’s up there. Borderline incoherent and unrepentantly lewd, this buddy-cop comedy [based on the 1977-83 television series of the same name] substitutes cars, ’copters and motorcycles for actual characters. The language might be mature, but don’t be misled: There’s nothing here that rises above the level of the playground.” Read more…)

The Belko Experiment (horror, John Gallagher Jr.. Rotten Tomatoes: 53%. Metacritic: 44. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “Directed by Greg McLean [whose 2005 film, ‘Wolf Creek,’ had a similar morbid interest in bullying its audience] from a script by James Gunn [currently relegated to delighting adolescents of all ages with the ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ franchise], the movie might have been better served by a director not hellbent on rubbing pretty much every head wound in the viewer’s face. Mr. McLean, perhaps determined to leave no cliché unturned, also wallows in the cheap and hackneyed irony of choreographed slaughter accompanied by Dvorak and Tchaikovsky.” Read more…)

The Autopsy of Jane Doe (horror, Emile Hirsch. Rotten Tomatoes 87%. Metacritic: 65. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ Times review: “Unheralded and unhyped, ‘The Autopsy of Jane Doe’ sneaks into theaters like a chilly treat among the Christmas comedies and Force-fed mythologizing. The first solo English-language feature from the Norwegian director André Ovredal — an infinitely more disciplined follow-up to his 2011 film, ‘Trollhunter’ — this shivery tour through a young woman’s innards turns putrefaction into a puzzle.” Read more…)

This Beautiful Fantastic (romance, Jessica Findlay Brown. Rotten Tomatoes 69%. Metacritic: 51. From Neil Genzlinger’s New York Times review: “With spring imminent, backyard putterers are turning their thoughts to the garden, which makes ‘This Beautiful Fantastic,’ a charming tale about one, all that much sweeter. Gardens, of course, must be cultivated, and thus they are rich allegorical territory for storytellers of all sorts. Simon Aboud, the writer and director here, works some obvious parallels as he tells the story of a timid young woman, her cranky old neighbor and the garden that separates them, but enjoyable performances keep the tale from becoming too heavy-handed.” Read more…)

Life (sci-fi, Jake Gyllenhaal. Rotten Tomatoes: 67%. Metacritic: 54. From Ben Kenigsberg’s New York Times review: “In an opening sequence, ‘Life’ allows viewers to float through an international space station. The camera zips around corners and turns upside-down in a feat of impossible [and most likely effects-massaged] cinematography. It’s tempting to tune out the exposition and simply concentrate on the director Daniel Espinosa’s dazzling imagery, even if it now looks familiar from ‘Gravity’ and ‘Avatar.'” Read more…)

Wilson (comedy, Woody Harrelson. Rotten Tomatoes 46%. Metacritic: 49.From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “The movie version of ‘Wilson.’ directed by Craig Johnson [‘The Skeleton Twins’] from a screenplay by [graphic novelist Daniel] Clowes, illustrates the difficulty of translating an idiosyncratic temperament from one visual medium to another. The dark, comic poignancy of the book is drowned in garish, self-conscious whimsy, and the work of a talented ensemble is squandered on awkward heartstring snatching.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
T2 Trainspotting

New Foreign DVDs
Detective Montalbano: Episodes 29 & 30 (Italy, detective series, Luca Zingaretti)

New Classic DVDs (pre-1960)
Rhapsody in Blue (1945, musical, Robert Alda. Rotten Tomatoes: 20%.)

New Documentaries
Off the Rails (mental illness, justice system, mass transit, Darius McCollum. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 80. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Neil Genzlinger’s Times review: “The documentary ‘Off the Rails,’ Adam Irving’s first film, is an assured and thoughtful debut. He presents the story of Darius McCollum, a man with a long history of taking New York City subway trains and buses for joy rides even though he is not a transit employee. But Mr. Irving’s subtext is a criminal justice system that has no way to deal with an offender like Mr. McCollum, who has Asperger’s syndrome, other than to keep throwing him in prison.” Read more…)

New releases 6/20/17

Top Hits
Morgan (thriller, Kate Mara. Rotten Tomatoes: 40%. Metacritic: 48. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “That ‘Morgan’ is a movie about genetics is somehow appropriate, given that the origins of its director, Luke Scott, will be an inescapable component of any discussion of its merits. Unveiling a first feature seems stressful enough; but when your father is peeking over your shoulder as one of the producers, and he’s none other than Ridley Scott — who, with ‘Alien’ and ‘Blade Runner,’ gave us two of the most memorable science-fiction films of the past 40 years — then the weight of expectation must be especially daunting.” Read more…)

Bitter Harvest (historic drama set in 1930s Ukraine/romance, Max Irons. Rotten Tomatoes: 10%. Metacritic: 34. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “Politics, romance, faith and famine are mashed into a single misshapen meatball in ‘Bitter Harvest,’ which follows two Ukrainian lovebirds through a mass starvation in the early 1930s known as the Holodomor.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
Life (sci-fi, Jake Gyllenhaal. Rotten Tomatoes: 67%. Metacritic: 54. From Ben Kenigsberg’s New York Times review: “In an opening sequence, ‘Life’ allows viewers to float through an international space station. The camera zips around corners and turns upside-down in a feat of impossible [and most likely effects-massaged] cinematography. It’s tempting to tune out the exposition and simply concentrate on the director Daniel Espinosa’s dazzling imagery, even if it now looks familiar from ‘Gravity’ and ‘Avatar.'” Read more…)

New releases 6/13/17

Top Hits
The Lego Batman Movie (animated feature, Will Arnett [voice]. Rotten Tomatoes: 90%. Metacritic: 75. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “As gateway drugs go, ‘The Lego Batman Movie’ is pretty irresistible. It’s silly without being truly strange or crossing over into absurdity. Along the way it pulls off a nifty balancing act: It gives the PG audience its own Batman movie [it’s a superhero starter kit] and takes swipes at the subgenre, mostly by gently mocking the seriousness that has become a deadening Warner Bros. default. ‘The Lego Batman Movie’ can’t atone for a movie as grindingly bad as the studio’s ‘Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice,’ which stars Ben Affleck as the Gotham City brooder, but at least someone on that lot gets the joke.” Read more…)

The Sense of An Ending (drama, Jim Broadbent. Rotten Tomatoes: 73%. Metacritic: 61. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times Review: “Adapted from a brief but emotionally potent 2011 novel by Julian Barnes, ‘The Sense of an Ending’ initially honors its source material by taking clever, inventive cinematic liberties with it. The book, a first-person account of its aged protagonist, Tony Webster, has a bifurcated structure: ‘how I remembered these events’ and ‘what really happened.’ Flashbacks arrive in blink-and-you-miss-them bursts that then expand to explain the significance of a look or a gesture; memory becomes a form of time travel, putting Tony [Jim broadbent] inside his own recollections, taking the place of his young self.” Read more…)

John Wick: Chapter Two (action, Keanu Reeves. Rotten Tomatoes: 89%. Metacritic: 75. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “They just couldn’t leave it alone. The original ‘John Wick,’ about an über assassin who’s reluctantly drawn out of retirement, was a near perfect synergy of simple premise and intricate movement — an action movie that danced. But the lightness and winking quality that softened the slaughter are less evident in ‘John Wick: Chapter 2,’ an altogether more solemn affair weighed down by the philosophy that more is always more.” Read more…)

Growing Up Smith (coming-of-age story, Roni Akurati. Rotten Tomatoes: 70%. From Neil Genzlinger’s New York Times review: “The nostalgic haze that used to be associated with the 1950s seems to have drifted forward in time in recent years, with the latest example being ‘Growing Up Smith,’ a gentle cross-cultural film about a 10-year-old boy from India who is navigating childhood with his immigrant family in a generic American suburb in 1979.” Read more…)

Akron (gay romance/coming-of-age, Matthew Frias)

New Blu-Ray
The Lego Batman Movie
John Wick: Chapter Two

New Foreign DVDs
Neruda (Chile, historical drama/biopic, Luis Gnecca. Rotten Tomatoes: 94%. Metacritic: 82. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “‘Neruda,’ Pablo Larraín’s semifantastical biopic, is a warmhearted film about a hot-blooded man that is nonetheless troubled by a subtle, perceptible chill. Blending fact with invention, it tells the story of a confrontation between an artist [the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda] and an emerging dictatorship, and more generally illuminates the endless struggle between political authority and the creative imagination. For anyone who believes that poetry and democracy spring from the same source and provoke the same enemies, this movie provides both encouragement and warning.” Read more…)

The Son of Joseph (France, drama, Victor Ezenfis. Rotten Tomatoes: 92%. Metacritic: 75. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Ben Kenigsberg’s Times review: “Eugène Green, a nearly five-decade resident of France born in New York, makes films that draw as much on architecture, paintings, music and theater as on cinema. If his unadorned high-art allusions can make him an acquired taste, his latest farce, ‘The Son of Joseph,’ is his most accessible film since ‘The Living World,’ from 2003.” Read more…)

Frantz (France, post-World War I period drama, Paula Beer. Rotten Tomatoes: 89%. Metacritic: 73. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Stephen Holden’s Times review: “Can carefully constructed lies heal the emotional wounds of war? That unsettling question goes to the heart of ‘Frantz,’ François Ozon’s sleek, somber adaptation of Ernst Lubitsch’s 1932 antiwar film, ‘Broken Lullaby,’ set in Germany and France in the aftermath of World War I. I won’t reveal the lie that propels the story except to say that it’s a whopper: a big one invented to comfort the aggrieved at a moment when the Great War seemed to have undermined the sanity of a world thrown into chaos by mass slaughter.” Read more…)

Suntan (Greece, comedy/drama/romance, Makis Papadimitriou. Rotten Tomatoes: 74%. Metacritic: 59. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Glenn Kenny’s Times review: “‘Suntan’ opens as a dumpy, raccoon-eyed but generally agreeable middle-aged physician named Kostis [Makis Papadimitriou] arrives on the Greek island of Antiparos. It’s a rainy winter, but a local roué promises that with the tourist season, opportunities for amorous activity will be overwhelming. Kostis seems unconcerned. Then summer comes, and with it one spectacularly attractive young patient. Entranced, Kostis takes to the island’s nude beaches to find the woman, Anna [Elli Tringou], and once he does, tries to ingratiate himself into her hedonistic band, which adopts him as both a quasi-mascot and an emotional punching bag.” Read more…)

New Classic DVDs (pre-1960)
They Live By Night (1948, Criterion Collection Nicholas Ray-directed film noir, Farley Granger. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. From Bosley Crowther’s 1949 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Based on a novel by Edward Anderson, which, in turn, was no doubt inspired by the two or three real-life sagas that we’ve had of ‘boy bandits’ and their brides, this well-designed motion picture derives what distinction it has from good, realistic production and sharp direction by Nicholas Ray. Mr. Ray has an eye for action details. His staging of the robbery of a bank, all seen by the lad in the pick-up car, makes a fine clip of agitating film. And his sensitive juxtaposing of his actors against highways, tourist camps and bleak motels makes for a vivid comprehension of an intimate personal drama in hopeless flight. As the young bandit, Farley Granger gives a genuine sense of nervous strain and is wistful and appealing in his brave approach to a piteous romance.” Read more…)

Stanley and Livingstone (1939, adventure/historical drama, Spencer Tracy. From an unsigned 1939 New York Times review [requires log-in}: “The motion picture which Darryl Zanuck and Company have fabricated on the theme of Henry M. Stanley’s successful search for the unlost missionary, Dr. David Livingstone, is one which, on the whole, celebrates worthily the story of perhaps the toughest news assignment in journalistic history. Intelligent and restrained and dignified, even to the point of playing down the moment which brought forth that favorite quotation: ‘Dr. Livingstone, I presume?’, ‘Stanley and Livingstone’ [at the Roxy] is the best break the Fourth Estate has had on the screen since the beginning of the Stereotype Era.” Read more…)

New American Back Catalog DVDs (post-1960)
From Noon Till Three (1976, comedy/western, Charles Bronson. From Vincent Canby’s 1976 new York Times review [requires log-in]: “‘From Noon Till Three’ is neither a conventionally comic Western nor a conventional comedy, and it certainly isn’t a conventional Bronson film. More than anything else, I suppose, it is an ebulliently cheerful satire of contemporary myth-making and celebrity, cast as a fable of the Old West. Not all of it is equally successful, and it takes its time making certain points, which, being made, are made again; yet its intelligence and its narrative shape are immensely satisfying.” Read more…)

New TV Series

Versailles: Season 1 (period drama, George Blagden. Rotten Tomatoes: 88%. Metacritic: 55.)

New Documentaries
American Epic (music, folk music, American history, recording technology)
I Am JFK, Jr. (biography, politics, John F. Kennedy Jr.)

New Gay & Lesbian
Akron (gay romance/coming-of-age, Matthew Frias)

New Music
American Epic (music, folk music, American history, recording technology)