New releases 8/19/14

Top Hits

Only Lovers Left Alive (vampire drama, Tilda Swinton. Rotten Tomatoes: 85%. Metacritic: 77. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “Yes, another vampire movie. But Mr. Jarmusch is not Stephenie Meyer, Ms. Swinton is not Kristen Stewart, and, despite its title, Only Lovers Left Alive is less about sex than about art. Vampirism, in other words, serves in this film as a metaphor not for insatiable desire (as it has, to different effect, in the ‘Twilight’ movies and the HBO series ‘True Blood’), but for passionate creativity. Mr. Jarmusch imagines the tribe of the blood-consuming undead as a kind of aesthetic aristocracy, counting in their ranks most of the world’s geniuses of painting, fiction, cinema and music.” Read more…)

The Sacrament (horror, Joe Swanberg. Rotten Tomatoes: 63%. Metacritic: 51. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “The director Ti West, whose credits include the very fine horror movie The House of the Devil, has a talent for dread. He’s so good at raising the little hairs on your neck and keeping them on alert that you can only feel let down when he doesn’t deliver a movie that makes good on his setup. That’s the case with his latest, The Sacrament, a neo-exploitation flick that shifts from the unnerving to the hollow after it becomes evident that Mr. West is more interested in showing how his characters die than how they lived.” Read more…)

Breathe In (drama/romance, Guy Pearce. Rotten Tomatoes: 55%. Metacritic: 60. From Stephen Holden’s New York Times review: “What distinguishes Breathe In from countless similar movies about marital discontent and disruption is the restraint with which the story is handled, the subtlety of its performances and its almost perverse refusal to turn into a prurient, heavy-breathing examination of adultery and its consequences. It offers few vicarious thrills. The would-be lovers in “Breathe In” exchange longing glances but no ravenous kisses.” Read more…)

Toy Story of Terror (animated short, in Top Hits. Rotten Tomatoes: 90%. Metacritic: 79.)

New Blu-Ray
The Amazing Spider-Man 2

New British
My Boy Jack (period war drama, Daniel Radcliffe)
37 Days (period political thriller, Ian McDiarmid)

New Television
The Good Wife: Season 5 (legal drama, Julianna Margulies. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%.)
The Mindy Project: Season 1 (comedy, Mindy Kaling. Rotten Tomatoes: 81%.)
The Mindy Project: Season 2 (comedy, Mindy Kaling. Rotten Tomatoes: 87%.)
The Millers: Season 1 (comedy, Will Arnett. Rotten Tomatoes: 46%.)

New Documentaries
Manakamana (religion, Nepal, travelogue. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 86. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Manohla Dargis’ Times review: “The faces in Manakamana, a transporting ethnographic film set in a green sliver of Nepal, stare into the camera, out into space and, perhaps, into the great beyond. The faces are sometimes creased and weathered, sometimes smooth as pebbles. A few look etched with worry, as if they were weighed down by a heavy burden, although they may also be seized with fear. That’s because for 10 or so minutes at a time, these faces are floating hundreds of feet above a lush Nepali forest in a cable car that takes pilgrims to and from the temple that gives this film its rhythmic title.” Read more…)

Dancing in Jaffa (dance, Israeli-Arab relations. Rotten Tomatoes: 90%. Metacritic: 775. From Andy Webster’s New York Times review: “Pierre Dulaine, a teacher and former champion in ballroom dancing, is the founder of Dancing Classrooms, a nonprofit organization behind the events in Marilyn Agrelo’s 2005 documentary, Mad Hot Ballroom. That film concerned Dancing Classrooms’ work with New York students; in Hilla Medalia’s charming Dancing in Jaffa, Mr. Dulaine heads to Israel to try to instill mutual respect in 10- and 11-year-old Jewish and Palestinian Israelis through a 10-week course in the movements [and courtesies] of Latin dance.” Read more…)

The Amish (society, religion)
Every Everything: Music, Life & Times of Grant Hart (music bio, Husker Du, Grant Hart, Gorman Bechard, in New Music)