New releases 8/9/16

Top Hits
Hologram_KingA Hologram for the King (comedy/drama, Tom Hanks. Rotten Tomatoes: 70%. Metacritic: 58. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Stephen Holden’s Times review: “It takes an actor with the finesse of Tom Hanks to turn a story of confusion, perplexity, frustration and panic into an agreeably uncomfortable comedy. But that’s what Mr. Hanks accomplishes in the German filmmaker Tom Tykwer’s easygoing screen adaptation of Dave Eggers’ novel ‘A Hologram for the King.’ This fanciful tale about Alan Clay, an American consultant visiting Saudi Arabia to sell a holographic teleconferencing system to the Saudi government, has been transformed through the force of Mr. Hanks’s nice-guy personality. His performance elevates an ominous, downbeat reflection on American decline and runaway technology into a subdued absurdist farce with dark geopolitical undercurrents.” Read more…)

Confirmation (historical drama, Kerry Washington. Rotten Tomatoes: 80%. Metacritic: 72. From James Poniewozik’s New York Times television review: “‘Confirmation,’ a conventional but smart HBO docudrama airing Saturday, features a persuasive Kerry Washington as Ms. Hill and a fiery Wendell Pierce as Mr. Thomas. But it is also about the forces massed behind each of them and sitting in uneasy judgment.” Read more…)

Gods of Egypt (action, Gerard Butler. Rotten Tomatoes: 16%. Metacritic: 25. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “Bosomy damsels and brawny slabs; cheering digital crowds; a lachrymose sphinx; a bedazzled Geoffrey Rush; a galactic cruise ship; an Egyptian god played by the Dane Nikolaj Coster-Waldau; the sword-and-sandals enabler Gerard Butler; a smoky monster that from one angle looks like a fanged doughnut and from another an alarmingly enraged anus — ‘Gods of Egypt’ attests that they do make them like they used to, or at least like the King of the Bs, Roger Corman, once did, except with far more money. If ‘Gods of Egypt’ were any worse, it might be a masterpiece.” Read more…)

11.22.63 (Stephen King mini-series, James Franco. Rotten Tomatoes: 80%. Metacritic: 69. From Neil Genzlinger’s New York Times review: “‘11.22.63,’ which begins Monday, is a capable adaptation of [author Stephen] King’s 2011 best seller, appealing enough to snag a general audience and yet different enough from the book to give hard-core King fans plenty to grouse about.” Read more…)

New Foreign
Sweet_BeanSweet Bean (Japan, drama, Kirin Kiki. Rotten Tomatoes: 87%. Metacritic: 60. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Glenn Kenny’s Times review: “Some of the most entertaining food-themed films ever made have arrived from Japan over the past 30 years. ‘Sweet Bean’ crosses this subgenre with the old-person-imparts-wisdom-to-younger-acolyte variety, but it is not typical of either kind of movie. As the two characters learn more about each other, sadness piles up at a pace that’s deliberate and relentless.” Read more…)

Parched (India, drama, Tannishta Chatterjee. Rotten Tomatoes: 92%. Metacritic: 67. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Glenn Kenny’s Times review: “The title of this movie, written and directed by Leena Yadav, is an apt description of the desert village in northwestern India which its three female leads toil and suffer. The women themselves, however, are thankfully not arid in any sense, though frequently starved for tenderness.” Read more…)

A Monster With a Thousand Heads (Mexico, drama, Jana Raluy. Rotten Tomatoes: 89%. Metacritic: 71. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Stephen Holden’s Times review: “The mounting frustrations of Sonia Bonet [Jana Raluy], a middle-aged Mexican woman with a gravely ill husband, as she navigates the impenetrable bureaucracy of an insurance company in ‘A Monster With a Thousand Heads’ add up to a nightmare of bureaucratic stonewalling. Sonia is determined to secure her dying husband, Guillermo, an expensive pain medication to which he’s entitled but that the company is reluctant to provide. Her struggle is an enraging depiction of the plight of an individual fighting a corrupt, greedy system.” Read more…)

New Classic DVDs (pre-1960)
The Mississippi Gambler (1953, Technicolor period drama, Tyrone Power)