New releases 11/28/17

Top Hits
Logan Lucky (action, Daniel Craig. Rotten Tomatoes: 93%. Metacritic: 78. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “‘Logan Lucky,’ Steven Soderbergh’s gravity-defying, ridiculously entertaining new film — one that ends a blessedly brief retirement from big-screen directing — concerns itself with a desperate attempt to even the odds. It’s a caper movie, a modern-day Robin Hood tale organized around an elaborate, improbable but curiously plausible heist. A gang that includes a wounded veteran, an unemployed former coal miner, a hairdresser and other motley members of the noncoastal nonelite conspires to knock over a Nascar race sponsored by Coca-Cola. The event sucks a lot of cash from people like them, and the thieves quite literally set out to suck it right back up.” Read more…)

Crown Heights (drama, Lakeith Stanfield. Rotten Tomatoes: 76%. Metacritic: 64. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “This story inspired a gripping, enraging episode of ‘This American Life,’ and ‘Crown Heights,’ written and directed by Matt Ruskin, tries to adhere both to the factual record and a careful, detail-focused documentary ethos. Like its protagonist, sensitively and shrewdly played by Lakeith Stanfield, the film is soft-spoken and thoughtful, with sweet, lyrical touches that alleviate some of the grimness without blunting the cruelty and injustice of what happened.” Read more…)

Woodshock (drama, Kirsten Dunst. Rotten Tomatoes: 19%. Metacritic: 38. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “Unlike their spring 2018 fashion collection, Kate and Laura Mulleavy’s first foray into moviemaking, ‘Woodshock,’ is depressingly dull and terminally inarticulate. Oh, it’s pretty enough, in the superficially embellished style of a perfume ad or fashion video — the gifted Finnish cinematographer Peter Flinckenberg virtually empties his bag of tricks. But it’s more lacking in substance than a yard of silk chiffon.” Read more…)

Leap! (animated feature, Elle Fanning [voice]. Rotten Tomatoes: 37%. Metacritic: 48. From Ken Jaworowski’s New York Times review: “Nit-picking will get you nowhere with the target audience of ‘Leap!,’ an animated movie for tweens — they’re unlikely to care about critical quibbles. As for the adults who’ll get dragged to the theater: You’ve seen it all before, though it’s pleasant enough to watch again.” Read more…)

The Ottoman Lieutenant (historical drama/romance, Michael Huisman. Rotten Tomatoes: 19%. Metacritic: 26. From Neil Genzlinger’s New York Times review: “Forbidden love! Two men fighting over a woman! Panoramic horse rides though golden meadows while danger lurks! The film, written by Jeff Stockwell and directed by Joseph Ruben, has all the elements of a type of female fantasy that has seemed out of step since the 1950s. It aims to be an epic in the ‘Doctor Zhivago’ mold, but somehow the crashing score and picture-postcard images only diminish the world-shaking events swirling around this romantic triangle.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
Logan Lucky
Leap
Disconnected (1984, cult/slasher, directed by Gorman Bechard, Vinegar Syndrome 2K restoration)

New Foreign DVDs
Clash (Egypt, drama, Nelly Karim. Rotten Tomatoes: 93%. Metacritic: 78. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “Sitting through ‘Clash’ is largely a miserable experience, and that’s deliberate. The movie is set in the aftermath of the 2013 overthrow of Egypt’s first democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi, of the Muslim Brotherhood movement. Directed by Mohamed Diab from a script he wrote with his brother Khaled Diab, “Clash” begins in the back of an empty police truck.” Read more…)

Machines (India, documentary, work conditions, textiles. Rotten Tomatoes: 91%. Metacritic: 76. From Ben Kenigsberg’s New York Times review: “Following in the footsteps of other documentaries from the last decade and a half — including ‘Behemoth,’ ‘Darwin’s Nightmare’ and ‘Workingman’s Death’ — Rahul Jain’s ‘Machines’ casts an unflinching eye on dire poverty, trafficking in the disjunction between surreal, aesthetically striking images and sounds and the squalor those images depict… ‘Machines’ is at its strongest when interviewing the workers, who aren’t named and who, the film not so subtly implies, have become cogs in the machinery themselves.” Read more…)

Daguerréotypes (France, Agnes Varda-directed documentary. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%.)

New Classic DVDs (pre-1960)
The Southerner (1945, Jean Renoir-directed drama, Zachary Scott. From Bosley Crowther’s 1945 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “The poor, white sharecropper, probably as unfashionable a subject for screen treatment as could be contemplated, has been given forthright, sympathetic and seemingly honest expression in ‘The Southerner.’ For the drama, which came to the Globe on Saturday, has invested its persevering farm family not only with the blights of poverty, pellagra and crop-destroying storm but also with dignity, humility, indigenous humor and a vestige of hope. Essentially the story of one man’s overpowering love of the good earth in the face of bitter adversity and despite the prospects of a different, easier way of life, ‘The Southerner’ is a worthy addition to the year’s roster of fine films.” Read more…)

New American Back Catalog (post-1960)
Cop-Out (1967, drama, James Mason)
Disconnected (1984, cult/slasher, directed by Gorman Bechard—his first film, Vinegar Syndrome 2K restoration)

New Television
Fargo: Season 3

New Documentaries
I Called Him Morgan (jazz. Bio, Lee Morgan. Rotten Tomatoes: 96%. Metacritic: 90. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “In February 1972, in the midst of a blizzard, the jazz trumpeter Lee Morgan died after being shot in a Manhattan nightclub by his common-law wife, Helen. The shooting was tragic and traumatic for those who were there — one of Morgan’s band mates stayed away from New York for many years after — but for the rest of the world, it has the qualities of a sad, strange, faded tabloid story. ‘I Called Him Morgan,’ a suave and poignant documentary by Kasper Collin, dusts off the details of Morgan’s life and death and brushes away the sensationalism, too. This is not a lurid true-crime tale of jealousy and drug addiction, but a delicate human drama about love, ambition and the glories of music.” Read more…)

Watermark (documentary, art, water uses, environment. Rotten Tomatoes: 77%. Metacritic: 68. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ Times review: “So goes much of ‘Watermark,’ Jennifer Baichwal and Edward Burtynsky’s second investigation [after ‘Manufactured Landscapes’ in 2007] into the impact of human beings on the natural world. Driven by the question “How does water shape us, and then how do we shape water?,” Ms. Baichwal and Mr. Burtynsky, a photographer noted for his large-scale industrial panoramas, travel across 10 countries and countless human activities, seeking an answer. From the denatured Colorado River delta to abalone fisheries along China’s Fujian coast, the filmmakers find a species in thrall to H2O and largely heedless of the consequences of its unnatural manipulation.” Read more…)

Machines (India, documentary, work conditions, textiles. Rotten Tomatoes: 91%. Metacritic: 76. From Ben Kenigsberg’s New York Times review: “Following in the footsteps of other documentaries from the last decade and a half — including ‘Behemoth,’ ‘Darwin’s Nightmare’ and ‘Workingman’s Death’ — Rahul Jain’s ‘Machines’ casts an unflinching eye on dire poverty, trafficking in the disjunction between surreal, aesthetically striking images and sounds and the squalor those images depict… ‘Machines’ is at its strongest when interviewing the workers, who aren’t named and who, the film not so subtly implies, have become cogs in the machinery themselves.” Read more…)

No Gods, No Masters (political history, anarchism, Sacco & Vanzetti)
Who Is Lydia Loveless (music bio, Lydia Loveless, by local filmmaker Gorman Bechard)
Mr. Civil Rights: Thurgood Marshall & the NAACP (civil rights, American history, bio, Thurgood Marshall)

New Children’s DVDs
Leap! (animated feature, Elle Fanning [voice])