New releases 8/30/16

Top Hits
Jungle_BookThe Jungle Book (new Disney live action adventure, Neel Sethi. Rotten Tomatoes: 95%. Metacritic: 77. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “Studios are in the recycling business, and while this ‘The Jungle Book’ is lightly diverting, it is also disappointing, partly because it feels like a pumped-up version of Disney’s 1967 animated film, with more action and less sweetness. It also feels strangely removed from our moment. About the only thing that feels of today is that its lush and arid environments and padding paws were digitally created. The resulting look, pitched between photorealism and impressionism, hovers between the realistic and the uncanny. It turns out that the movie was shot in a Los Angeles warehouse, which paradoxically seems like an old-fashioned way to make worlds.” Read more…)

Me Before You (romance/drama, Emilia Clarke. Rotten Tomatoes: 58%. Metacritic: 51. A little more than half the critics liked this movie. New York Times critic A.O. Scott was in the other half. From Scott’s Times review: “A recent screening of ‘Me Before You’ concluded with audible sniffles and even a sob or two. Why not gales of laughter or quiet snores? These are the mysteries that trouble a critic’s uneasy mind. This floppy British romance, directed by Thea Sharrock and adapted by Jojo Moyes from her best-selling novel, sits at the point where tedium, ridiculousness and heartfelt sentiment converge, separated by an all-but-imperceptible distance. You can’t really argue with someone else’s tears. You can, however, find yourself mystified by them.” Read more…)

The Phenom (sports drama, Ethan Hawke. Rotten Tomatoes: 77%. Metacritic: 66. From Neil Genzlinger’s New York Times review: “‘The Phenom’ is a baseball movie with virtually no baseball, which would be fine if the thing it relied on instead — lots and lots of talking — exhibited zest and originality. It doesn’t.” Read more…)

God’s Not Dead 2 (faith-based drama, Melissa Joan Hart. Rotten Tomatoes: 9%. Metacritic: 22.)

New Blu-Ray
The Jungle Book

New British
The Night Manager (6-part miniseries thriller, Tom Hiddleston. Rotten Tomatoes: 92%. Metacritic: 82. From Mike Hale’s New York Times review: “The novels of John le Carré are steeped in shadows and ambiguity. So it’s a little disconcerting that ‘The Night Manager,’ the first television adaptation of a le Carré novel in 25 years, is so bright and straightforward and that, despite a few nasty but necessary killings, it’s so clear who we’re supposed to root for. If TV shows had jaws, this one’s would be square.” Read more…)

Documentaries
Bolshoi Babylon (Russian ballet, dance, intrigue. Rotten Tomatoes: 78%. Metacritic: 61. From Brian Seibert’s New York Times review: “In its Soviet years and after, the Bolshoi Ballet earned a reputation for valuing spectacle over substance, offering heroic force in place of refined artistry. ‘Bolshoi Babylon,’ a documentary about the Moscow troupe that has its debut on HBO on Monday at 9 p.m., upholds that reputation without fully exploiting it. The film, directed by Nick Read, is full of sumptuous images — it’s more attractive than illuminating — yet despite the tabloid-bait subject matter provided by recent scandals, it’s surprisingly short on drama.” Read more…)

Recent Highlights: The Nice Guys, The Huntsman: Winter’s war, The Man Who Knew Infinity, Sunset Song, Maggie’s Plan, Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong, A Taste of Honey, inspector Lewis: Season 8, Endeavour: Season 3, Roots (re-make), Weiner, The Brainwashing of My Dad, Dark Horse, The Other Side, Paths of the Soul, Papirosen, The Angry Birds Movie , 11 Minutes , Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moo, Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words , The Lobster, Mother’s Day, Keanu, Mr. Right, Last Days in the Desert, Batman: The Killing Joke, April and the Extraordinary World, Marguerite, Key & Peele: Complete Series, The Knick: Season 2, The Girlfriend Experience: Season 1, Barbershop: The Next Cut, The Boss, Born to Be Blue, Criminal, I Am Wrath, Hardcore Henry, Sing Street, L’Attesa, River, Deadline-U.S.A., Pioneers of African-American Cinema, Evils of the Night, Jack Irish: Season 1, Jack Irish: The Movies, The Russian Woodpecker, The Winding Stream: The Carters, the Cashes and the Course of Country Music, Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice , Elvis & Nixon, Miles Ahead