New releases 7/9/19

Top Hits
Pet Sematary (Stephen King horror remake, Jason Clarke. Rotten Tomatoes: 57%. Metacritic: 57. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “”[Stephen] King’s novel was adapted for the screen in 1989. Directed by Mary Lambert, that ‘Pet Sematary’ was a squirrelly, wild-eyed movie. This version is more Hollywood smooth. It’s very well-acted by Jason Clarke, Amy Seimetz, John Lithgow and especially Jeté Laurence as young Ellie. Directors Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer, showing puzzling distrust of their strong source material, overload the movie with arbitrary jump scares. And they replace King’s despairing, tragic denouement with something altogether more glib.” Read more…)

Saint Judy (legal drama, Michelle Monaghan. Rotten Tomatoes: 58%. Metacritic: 51. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “Judy Wood is a real-life lawyer who — after moving to California and getting a job with an immigration law firm — discovered a passion that, by this film’s telling, led her to a case that changed asylum policies in the United States. Directed by Sean Hanish from a script by Dmitry Portnoy, ‘Saint Judy’ begins by underscoring the title character’s resourcefulness, then playing up her pluckiness and single-mom status.” Read more…)

Mia and the White Lion (family drama, Daniah De Villiers. Rotten Tomatoes: 88%. Metacritic: 52. From Gary Goldstein’s Los Angeles Times review: “There are several uniquely impressive elements to the adventure drama ‘Mia and the White Lion,’ but they’re undermined by a choppy, at times contrived and implausible script by Prune de Maistre [wife of director Gilles de Maistre] and William Davies.” Read more…)

Little (comedy, Regina Hall. Rotten Tomatoes: 46%. Metacritic: 49. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “‘Little’ is about what happens when an adult woman [Regina Hall] is punished for her bullying, vainglorious ways by turning into her 13-year-old self [Marsai Martin]. As the premise for a comedy, this kind of body switch is just about foolproof. ‘Big,’ ’13 Going on 30,’ the several variations on the ‘Freaky Friday’ theme — it’s almost always fun to watch grown-up souls inhabiting immature physiques, and vice versa. And so it is here, even if this go-round leaves a lot of potential hilarity on the table.” Read more…)

The Kid (western, Ethan Hawke. Rotten Tomatoes: 46%. Metacritic: 51. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “Starting as violently as it plans to continue, Vincent D’Onofrio’s ‘The Kid’ drops us into a savage altercation as Rio [Jake Schur], 13, kills his abusive father before slicing the face of his scummy uncle, Grant [Chris Pratt]. Primed by the boy’s affectless narration (here, when characters aren’t practicing brutality, they’re talking about it), we intuit that what will follow for Rio and his older sister, Sara [Leila George], is unlikely to be pretty. Set in the American Southwest in 1879, ‘The Kid’ feels less like an actual movie than a table-napkin idea for one.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
High Life (sci-fi from French director Claire Denis, Robert Pattinson. Rotten Tomatoes: 82%. Metacritic: 77. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “As is often the case in [director Claire] Denis’s movies, ‘High Life’ vibrates with low-key erotic energy that can feel exciting, a little dangerous. [She wrote it with Jean-Pol Fargeau.] One reason is the obvious seductive appeal of performers like [Robert] Pattinson, [Juliet] Binoche and [Andre] Benjamin, whose faces and bodies are alternately flooded with flattering light or eye-straining washes of red and blue. But Denis doesn’t just prettify her actors: She lingers on their forms, their skin, stressing texture that becomes tactile.” Read more…)

Pet Sematary

New Foreign
3 Faces (Iran, drama, Behnaz Jafari. Rotten Tomatoes: 98%. Metacritic: 78. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Manohla Dargis’ Times review: “A road movie that opens into a political allegory, ‘3 Faces’ is filled with unexpected turns. It is the latest from the Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi, a master of narrative diversion, who again has taken the twinned roles of director and driver, as he did in the documentary “Taxi” (2015). Here, playing himself, or a version of the filmmaker Jafar Panahi, he spends a large part of the movie behind the wheel of an S.U.V., motoring through the Iranian countryside to help an actress find a missing, possibly dead woman. They succeed but also find other women, including one who’s a ghost in a haunted world.” Read more…)

New British
Dead of Night (1945, horror anthology, Michael Redgrave. Rotten Tomatoes: 97%. From Bosley Crowther’s 1946 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Such folks as like to drag their friends into the parlor, turn out the lights and swap tales of the weird and supernatural will certainly enjoy the new film at the Winter Garden, the British-made ‘Dead of Night.’ For this is precisely a package of those curious and uncanny yarns designed to raise secret goose-pimples and cause the mind to make a fast check on itself. And although the stories here related are probably familiar to all who are devotees of such mysticisms, they are tightly and graphically told.” Read more…)

New Classic DVDs (pre-1960)
The General (1926, silent film comedy classic, Buster Keaton. Rotten Tomatoes: 92%. From a 1971 Vincent Canby New York Times review on the occasion of a screening of The General” on public television [requires log-in]: “The General” really is a masterpiece, pure though by no means simple. If you can see only one movie this week [to paraphrase a rather bossy friend], at home or in a theater, then there is no doubt that it should be ‘The General,’ which is a farce, a history, a romance and, principally, a triumph of one man’s movie art, which, in turn, enriches the possibilities of all movies.” Read more…)

The Rising of the Moon (1957, Irish comedy/drama vignettes dir. by John Ford, Tyrone Power. From Bosley Crowther’s 1957 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “With the reticence of a true Hibernian, John Ford has publicly proclaimed he considers his current picture, ‘The Rising of the Moon,’ the best thing he has ever done. This is, indeed, a modest reckoning, in the light of Mr. Ford’s previous films—such classics as ‘Stagecoach,’ ‘The Informer,’ ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ and ‘The Long Voyage Home’ However, it may be agreed with him that “The Rising of the Moon,” which came yesterday to the Fifty-fifth Street Playhouse, is a little picture with lively humor and exceptional charm.” Read more…)

New American Back Catalog DVDs (post-1960)
Code of Silence (1985, action, Chuck Norris. Rotten Tomatoes: 63%. From Janet Maslin’s 1985 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Chuck Norris goes upscale in ‘Code of Silence,’ as a big-city police inspector who stalks through art galleries and public libraries to catch his prey. Mr. Norris hasn’t abandoned his usual fans; this film has a body count as high as that of ‘Missing in Action,’ and a climactic sequence in which Mr. Norris, as a one-man army, is helped by a heavily armed miniature tank. But ‘Code of Silence,’ which opens today at the UA Twin and other theaters, is Mr. Norris’s bid for a wider audience, and it succeeds to a considerable degree.” Read more…)

The Presidio (1988, action thriller, Sean Connery. Rotten Tomatoes: 53%. From Janet Maslin’s 1988 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Sean Connery is a fine actor under any circumstances, but he doesn’t do much acting in ‘The Presidio,’ which opens today at Loews 84th Street and other theaters. What he does is to recite his lines while staring over Mark Harmon’s shoulder. For his part, Mr. Harmon does much the same thing, staring past Mr. Connery to deliver the other half of the leading men’s back-and-forth banter in a style that the director Peter Hyams obviously intends as gutsy and crisp.” Read more…)

New Documentaries
Eternity Has No Doors of Escape: Encounters with Outsider Art (art history, art brut, outside art)

New Gay & Lesbian DVDs
Tell It to the Bees (romance/drama, Anna Paquin. Rotten Tomatoes: 57%. Metacritic: 53.)

New releases 7/2/19

Top Hits
The Best of Enemies (civil rights drama, Taraji P. Henson. Rotten Tomatoes: 53%. Metacritic: 49. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “In 1971, C.P. Ellis was the Exalted Cyclops of the Durham, N.C., klavern of the United Klans of America. Ann Atwater was a fair-housing activist, advocating for better treatment for the city’s African-American residents. The beginning of their unlikely real-life friendship is the subject of ‘The Best of Enemies,’ the latest muddled and well-meaning big-screen attempt to find solace in the history of American racism. Don’t get me wrong. The facts of the story, chronicled in a book by Osha Gray Davidson, are eye-opening and inspiring, and the film, written and directed by Robin Bissell, includes some fascinating details about the granular challenges of local politics. As Ellis and Atwater, Sam Rockwell and Taraji P. Henson do what you expect Oscar-nominated actors to do: They clarify and complicate their characters, paying attention to their individuality even as the movie loads them up with symbolic baggage.” Read more…)

Storm Boy (Australia, coming-of-age, Geoffrey Rush. Rotten Tomatoes: 66%. Metacritic: 67. From Teo Bugbee’s New York Times review: “‘Storm Boy’ tries to present itself as a modern fable, where the lessons learned relate directly to present-day concerns over the environment, industrialization and the marginalization of indigenous cultures. But these themes come across as didactic rather than moving. The cinematography is frequently beautiful, in large part because of the majesty of South Australia’s Coorong region, where the movie was shot. But the ham-fisted dialogue saps the energy from the images, drawing attention to the thinness of archetypal characters. And the centrality of white characters who learn from a noble native undermines the film’s attempts at political relevance.” Read more…)

The Public (drama, Alec Baldwin. Rotten Tomatoes: 61%. Metacritic: 46. From Ben Kenigsberg’s New York Times review: “Apart from Frederick Wiseman’s ‘Ex Libris: The New York Public Library,’ few movies have celebrated book-lending institutions as havens of fair-mindedness and pluralism, so it’s tempting to give a pass to ‘The Public’ as a rousing, lovingly made civics lesson, even if its screenplay does not seem fated for shelves. Emilio Estevez wrote, directed and served as a producer on the film; he is also its star. Inspired by an essay that appeared in The Los Angeles Times in 2007, the movie isn’t the actor-filmmaker’s first brush with earnest Americana. [His ensemble piece ‘Bobby’ (2006) tried to capture the optimism at the Ambassador Hotel in 1968 as admirers of Robert F. Kennedy awaited his arrival.] But it may be his most substantive.” Read more…)

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral (comedy, Tyler Perry. Rotten Tomatoes: 12%. Metacritic: 39. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “What Perry lacks in filmmaking rigor — like its predecessors, ‘Family Funeral’ is a bit of a mess, formally and technically — he makes up for in generosity. The movie is the usual plateful of low humor and high melodrama, in no particular hurry to make its way through a busy plot.” Read more…)

The Case for Christ (religious/inspirational, Mike Vogel. Rotten Tomatoes: 58%. Metacritic: 50.)
Okko’s Inn (Japanese animated feature. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 68.)

New Blu-Ray
Taking Tiger Mountain (1983, dystopian adventure, Bill Paxton [first role])

New Foreign
Styx (Germany, adventure, Susanne Wolff. Rotten Tomatoes: 94%. Metacritic: 78. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “A taut moral thriller, ‘Styx’ is a story of what happens when self-reliance runs into other people’s desperation. The lives of others don’t seem of much concern to a German doctor, Rike [Susanne Wolff], when she sets off on her adventure. Alone on a 30-foot sailing yacht, she is headed to Ascension Island, a mid-Atlantic speck roughly halfway between Africa and South America. With grit, provisions and a pretty coffee-table book about the island that suggests her romanticism, or perhaps naïveté, Rike is following Charles Darwin to Ascension. It’s a dream journey that will slam into the refugee crisis. One woman’s dream can look like someone else’s worst nightmare, even if the director Wolfgang Fischer initially makes Rike’s passage into existential isolation seem inviting.” Read more…)

A Man and A Woman: 20 Years Later (France, 1986, romance, Anouk Aimee. Rotten Tomatoes: 33%.)
Detective Montalbano: Eposodes 33 & 34 (Italy, detective series, Luca Zingaretti)
Spiral: Seasons 4, 5 (France, gritty cop procedural series, Caroline Proust)

New British
Endeavour: Season 6 (mystery series, Shaun Evans. Rotten Tomatoes: 89%. Metacritic: 80.)
Orphan Black: Season 5 (sci-fi, Tatiana Maslany. Rotten Tomatoes: 95%. Metacritic: 83.)

New TV
My Brilliant Friend: Season 1 (HBO drama set in Italy, Valentina Acca. Rotten Tomatoes: 94%. Metacritic: 87. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From James Poniewozik’s Times review: “HBO’s new series ‘My Brilliant Friend,’ based on the wildly popular Neapolitan novels of Elena Ferrante, is a different but no smaller challenge [than adapting ‘Game of Thrones’]. The story of a febrile and rivalrous friendship between two girls in a working-class Italian neighborhood in the 1950s, it is as intimate as “Game of Thrones” is sweeping.” Read more…)

New American Back Catalog DVDs (post-1960)
Taking Tiger Mountain (1983, dystopian adventure, Bill Paxton [first role])
The Big Fix (1978, mystery/comedy, Richard Dreyfuss. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%.)

New Documentaries
The River and The Wall (documentary, adventure, immigration. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 89. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ Times review: “‘The River and the Wall’ comes on as innocent and glossy as a travelogue, but its scenic delights are the sugar coating on a passionate and spectacularly photographed political message. Traveling 1,200 miles along the Rio Grande, from El Paso to the Gulf of Mexico, the director, Ben Masters, and four friends slowly and genially build an ecologically devastating case against the construction of President Trump’s much-ballyhooed border wall.” Read more…)

Combat Obscura (Marine-made war documentary, re-purposing of footage shot for official purposes. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 56. From Ben Kenigsberg’s New York Times review: “‘Combat Obscura’ opens with multiple disclaimers stating that nothing onscreen reflects official policy or has Defense Department endorsement. Given that the next moment the screen shows an explosion — and someone shouts ‘that’s the wrong building!’ — the reason for the warnings is immediately apparent. As a United States Marine in Afghanistan, Miles Lagoze, the director, worked as a videographer, documenting scenes of war for official release. [We see a clip of such material on CNN midway through the film.] Somehow, Lagoze kept his hands on unreleased footage he and others shot in Afghanistan in 2011 and 2012, and made it the basis for this film.” Read more…)

Hale County This Morning, This Evening (African-American life in Hale County, Alabama. Rotten Tomatoes: 97%. Metacritic: 85. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Glenn Kenny’s Times review: “The Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky famously defined the work of a filmmaker as ‘sculpting in time.’ In his book of that title, Tarkovsky elaborated that the filmmaker, starting with ‘an enormous, solid cluster of living facts,’ ought to discard what is not needed and keep only what is ‘integral to the cinematic image.’ For the director RaMell Ross’s first feature, ‘Hale County This Morning, This Evening,’ he has carved a film of less than 80 minutes out of 1,300 hours of footage shot over several years. The particularity and power of the larger cinematic image he has created through a multiplicity of moments are impossible to adequately describe in critical prose.” Read more…)

Active Measures (Russian espionage, 2016 election. Rotten Tomatoes: 80%. Metacritic: 68. From Ken Jaworowski’s New York Times review: “Eager to make you uncomfortable, ‘Active Measures’ piles on the ire as it outlines Russian efforts to manipulate world events, particularly the 2016 American presidential election. Directed by Jack Bryan, this documentary starts by summarizing Vladimir V. Putin’s career through the time of his election as Russia’s president. In the heaps of interviews, video clips and flow charts that follow, we hear of links between Mr. Putin and Donald J. Trump; of extensive work done by Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump’s former campaign chairman, for Russia; and of foreign shell companies that launder funds for organized crime.” Read more…)

The Russian Five (sports, hockey, Russian players. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 75. From Ken Jaworowski’s New York Times review: “This documentary, directed by Joshua Riehl, recounts the story of the Detroit Red Wings of the 1980s and the early- to mid-90s. The team was a study in calamity. It hadn’t won a championship since 1955, and morale was abysmal, hence its nickname, the Dead Wings. The franchise was sold in 1982 to Mike Ilitch, the founder of the Little Caesars pizza chain, and the team’s management moved forward with a risky plan: To recruit star athletes from the Soviet Union.” Read more…)

New releases 6/25/19

Top Hits
Dumbo (live action remake of Disney elephantine classic, Colin Farrell. Rotten Tomatoes: 47%. Metacritic: 51. From Manohla Dargis New York Times review: “In his live-action remake of Disney’s ‘Dumbo,’ Tim Burton plays with a legacy that he has helped burnish for decades, only to set it gleefully ablaze. Ho-hum until it takes a turn toward the fascinatingly weird, the movie is a welcome declaration of artistic independence for Burton, who often strains against aesthetic and industrial restrictions. Watching him cut loose (more recklessly than his flying baby elephant) is by far the most unexpected pleasure of this movie, which dusts off the 1941 animated charmer with exhilaratingly demented spirit.” Read more…)

Giant Little Ones (coming-of-age, Josh Wiggins. Rotten Tomatoes: 92%. Metacritic: 67. From Teo Bugbee’s New York Times review: “The film’s saving grace turns out to be the range of experiences that Franky and Ballas are allowed to explore. As they provoke each other, they also carry out ardent relationships with girls, and they each have friends and family members who are gay or who experiment with gender. Where many coming-of-age films build their stories around the discovery of a fixed selfhood, ‘Giant Little Ones’ succeeds when it chooses to treat youthful identity as open to shift with accumulated experience.” Read more…)

They Shall Not Grow Old (World War I documentary, colorized & brought to life by Peter Jackson. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 91. From Ben Kenigsberg’s New York Times review: “Having sold out at event screenings since December, ‘They Shall Not Grow Old,’ which opens for a full run this week, is poised to become the only blockbuster this year that was filmed from 1914 to 1918, on location on the Western Front. Commissioned to make a movie for the centennial of the Armistice, using original footage, Peter Jackson has taken a mass of World War I archival clips from Britain’s Imperial War Museum and fashioned it into a brisk, absorbing and moving experience.” Read more…)

The Hummingbird Project (thriller, Jesse Eisenberg. Rotten Tomatoes: 57%. Metacritic: 58. From Ben Kenigsberg’s New York Times review: “For ‘The Hummingbird Project,’ a sturdy, involving thriller set in the financial realm, the writer-director Kim Nguyen has cited heady inspirations like Michael Lewis’s book ‘Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt’ [2014] and a Wired magazine article from 2012 on high-speed trading. But strip away the topical trappings and what is left is another variation on the obstacle course tension and male bonding of ‘The Wages of Fear’ — or a dark variation on marathon road-trip goofs such as ‘It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World’ and ‘Death Race 2000.’” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
Ishtar (1987, comedy, Warren Beatty & Dustin Hoffman. From Janet Maslin’s 1987 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “It’s impossible to discuss ‘Ishtar,’ which opens today at the Ziegfeld and other theaters, without noting the extravagant rumor-mongering that has surrounded its making. Much has been said about the film’s enormous cost [undisclosed, but somewhere in the vicinity of $40 million], its delayed release and Miss May’s reported fussiness in casting her camels and shaping her sand dunes. Thanks to Miss May’s perfectionism and the sizable egos of her two male stars, it was noisily anticipated that this version of a Bob Hope-Bing Crosby ‘Road’ movie might amount to a ‘Road to Ruin.’ But ‘Ishtar’ isn’t ‘Heaven’s Gate.’ It isn’t ‘Heaven Can Wait,’ either, since it lacks the self-destructiveness of the former and the latter’s more effortless charm. It’s a likable, good-humored hybrid, a mixture of small, funny moments and the pointless, oversized spectacle that these days is sine qua non for any hot-weather hit. The worst of it is painless; the best is funny, sly, cheerful and, here and there, even genuinely inspired.” Read more…)

Dumbo
They Shall not Grow Old

New Foreign
Peppermint Soda (France, 1977, Diane Kurys-directed drama set in 1960s France. Rotten Tomatoes: 89%. From Janet Maslin’s 1979 New York Times review: “The only thing more impressive than the wit and talent Diane Kurys demonstrates in her writing and direction of ‘Peppermint Soda’ — an expert, utterly charming movie that miraculously happens to be her first — is Miss Kurys’s memory. Here is a letter-perfect recollection of what it’s like to be a 13-year-old, in this case a French schoolgirl, with skinny legs and a bossy sister and a mother who doesn’t understand she may be ruining her’ daughter’s life if she keeps on refusing to let the kid wear stockings. Miss Kurys presents details like these, and enough others to span an entire school year, with a flawless understanding of how the events most earth-shattering to a girl in her early teens can mean not a fig to anyone around her.” Read more…)

Panique (France, 1946, nourish drama, Michel Simon. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%.)
Luisa Spagnoli (Italy, bio-pic, Luisa Ranieri)

New British
Manhunt (3-episode mystery mini-series, Martin Clunes. Rotten Tomatoes: 91%.)

New Classic DVDs (pre-1960)
Detour (1945, film noir classic, Criterion Collection, Tom Neal. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. From Vincent Canby’s 1992 New York Times reflection on ‘Detour,” on the occasion of a revival screening at Film Forum [requires log-in]: “[‘Detour’] set in a world in which man’s condition is no less absurd, although a little more cartoonlike, than it is in the seminal Albert Camus novel, ‘The Stranger.’ The Camus protagonist is also able to think with some clarity, while [director Edgar g.] Ulmer’s Al Roberts [Tom Neal] remains a victim of fate and his own half-baked attempts both to do the right thing and to save his neck. Just as Ulmer’s direction demonstrates the extraordinarily evocative mise en scene that can sometimes be achieved with virtually no money at all, Martin Goldsmith’s script is a model of film narrative pared down to essentials. It is short, concise, rich in character and almost viciously detached from the grim events it relates.” Read more…)

New American Back Catalog DVDs (post-1960)
Metropolitan (1990, Whit Stillman, comedy of manners, Christopher Eigeman. Rotten Tomatoes: 91%. From Roger Ebert’s 1990 review: “The movie was written and directed by Whit Stillman, who, in his mid-30s, obviously still is fascinated by the coming-of-age process he went through as a preppie. He has made a film Scott Fitzgerald might have been comfortable with, a film about people covering their own insecurities with a facade of social ease. And he has written wonderful dialogue, words in which the characters discuss ideas and feelings instead of simply marching through plot points as most Hollywood characters do.” Read more…)

The Tamarind Seed (1974, romantic espionage drama, Julie Andrews. From Vincent Canby’s 1974 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “‘The Tamarind Seed’ is not gothic fiction, technically speaking. It has the form of a contemporary love story set against a background of cold war intrigue stretching from London and Paris to Barbados and Canada. But don’t be fooled by the time and places. The game is given away by the film’s total absorption in the chastity of its heroine, a woman who considers a goodnight kiss as the first, irrevocable step toward total degradation.” Read more…)

New Documentaries
Bisbee ’17 (American history, labor history, immigrants rights, human rights. Rotten Tomatoes: 94%. Metacritic: 87. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “Bisbee, Ariz., not far from the Mexican border, is a quiet former mining town, one of many such places scattered across the American West. Tombstone, site of the gunfight at the O.K. Corral and a popular tourist destination, is just up the road. Bisbee has a notably violent episode in its past as well, an event that is the subject of ‘Bisbee ’17,’ Robert Greene’s clearsighted and gratifyingly complicated new documentary. Starting on July 12, 1917 — a few months after the United States entered World War I and in the midst of labor agitation across the mining industry — sheriff’s deputies rounded up around 1,200 people thought to be union activists, forced them into boxcars and transported them to the New Mexico desert. What came to be known as the Bisbee Deportation lingered at the margins of local memory, not forgotten but not much discussed either.” Read more…)

New releases 6/18/19

Top Hits
Us (horror, Lupita Nyong’o. Rotten Tomatoes: 94%. Metacritic: 81. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Manohla Dargis’ Times review: “Jordan Peele’s new horror movie, ‘Us,’ is an expansive philosophical hall of mirrors. Like his 2017 hit, ‘Get Out,’ this daring fun-until-it’s-not shocker starts from the genre’s central premise that everyday life is a wellspring of terrors. In ‘Get Out,’ a young black man meets a group of white people who buy — at auction — younger, healthier black bodies. What makes ‘Get Out’ so powerful is how Peele marshals a classic tale of unwilling bodily possession into a resonant, unsettling metaphor for the sweep of black and white relations in the United States — the U.S., or us. ‘Us’ is more ambitious than ‘Get Out,’ and in some ways more unsettling.” Read more…)

Lords of Chaos (bio/drama, Rory Culkin. Rotten Tomatoes: 74%. Metacritic: 48. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “The director Jonas Akerlund works hard to deliver on the title of ‘Lords of Chaos,’ a tale of bad music and terrible deeds. Inspired by a true story, the movie ladles up lots of pulpy bits and buckets of blood to tell a depressing, depressingly familiar story about what happens when young men with apparent means and a whole lot of free time get together to build their own precariously hermetic world. In this case, their clubhouse was the Norwegian black-metal scene of the 1980s and early ’90s, which combined anomie with face paint, speed metal and Linda Blair’s devilish vocalizations from ‘The Exorcist.’” Read more…)

J.T. Leroy (bio-pic, Kristen Stewart. Rotten Tomatoes: 57%. Metacritic: 58. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “‘J.T. LeRoy’ is a tougher, better movie than [2016 documentary] ‘Author’ and generally comes off as more honest. Directed by Justin Kelly, who wrote the script with Knoop, it focuses on Savannah’s role in the fraud, peeling back the details — physical, psychological — in a masquerade that rather astonishingly lasted some half-dozen years. Anchored by its two excellent leads, the movie is sympathetic and, for the most part, unsentimental.” Read more…)

The Beach Bum (comedy, Matthew McConnaughey. Rotten Tomatoes: 55%. Metacritic: 55. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “‘That’s great poetry,’ Moondog says near the end of ‘The Beach Bum,’ delivering a verdict on his own work. A bit later, after a literally explosive bacchanal during which bales of cash and a sailboat are set alight, he declares the evening ‘a blast,’ inserting an expletive for emphasis. Those two statements pretty much sum up what this movie, the latest from Harmony Korine, thinks of itself. Chronicling a hectic season in the life of its hero [a defiantly unkempt Matthew McConaughey], ‘The Beach Bum’ is intoxicated by its own shaggy lyricism and committed to an ethic of unapologetic hedonism.” Read more…)

Under the Silver Lake (neo-noir, Andrew Garfield. Rotten Tomatoes: 55%. Metacritic: 59. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “At one point, an issue of Spider-Man attaches itself to [lead character] Sam’s hand by means of an errant wad of bubble gum, which is a funny coincidence — no coincidence at all, in other words — because Sam is played by Andrew Garfield, who used to be Spidey. Most of the other allusions in this shaggy-dog tale of wild conspiracism and male petulance are not quite so blatantly meta. Sam and the director are both steeped in classic Hollywood, ’90s indie rock, and various kinds of vintage memorabilia. The mood borrows from Hitchcock [whose grave figures in one scene], and also from Nicholas Ray, David Lynch, and the Southern California noir tradition more generally. Also Thomas Pynchon, Robert Altman and Raymond Chandler. These aren’t esoteric references yielding themselves up to a connoisseur’s prying. They are part of the movie’s surface, and part of its point.” Read more…)

Hotel Mumbai (true-life terror thriller, Dev Patel. Rotten Tomatoes: 76%. Metacritic: 64. From Ben Kenigsberg’s New York Times review: “Anthony Maras, making his first feature, interweaves these threads with precision and clarity, conveying an impressive sense of the hotel layout, the confusion of the circumstances and the visceral fear of hiding from the gunmen. [The opulent hotel was re-created in both Mumbai and Adelaide, Australia.] But the more involving ‘Hotel Mumbai’ plays in the moment, the queasier it seems in retrospect. It reduces the randomness of real-life bloodshed to the slick thrills of a popcorn movie.” Read more…)

Wonder Park (animated feature, Jennifer Garner [voice]. Rotten Tomatoes: 34%. Metacritic: 45. From Teo Bugbee’s New York Times review: “‘Wonder Park’ thrives when it emphasizes the practical pleasures of creativity. The movie visualizes the gears and pulleys of June’s creations, producing exciting action scenes that make fantasies function efficiently. [Its uncredited director, Dylan Brown, was removed from the film after allegations surfaced of what The Hollywood Reporter and other outlets described as ‘inappropriate and unwanted conduct.’ Brown disputed the allegations.] But when these sequences fall back to accommodate the narrative, the shabbiness of the visual design drains energy from the screen.” Read more…)

Captain Marvel (superhero action, Brie Larson. Rotten Tomatoes: 78%. Metacritic: 64. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “The last and least surprising thing we learn about her is that ‘Captain Marvel will return in “Avengers: Endgame,”’ a scrappy little picture that will be released in seven weeks, if you can stand to wait that long. Directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck from a script they wrote with Geneva Robertson-Dworet, ‘Captain Marvel’ is an origin story, which is to say a résumé check for the newest member of popular culture’s biggest, most heavily capitalized corporate team. As such, it’s pretty good fun, and could almost be described without sarcasm as a scrappy little picture, like most of Boden and Fleck’s other work. [Their résumé includes ‘Half Nelson,’ ‘Sugar’ and ‘It’s Kind of a Funny Story’].” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
The Running Man (1963, Carol Reed-directed thriller, Laurence Harvey. From Bosley Crowther’s 1963 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Despite all the ostentatious running that a dyed-haired Laurence Harvey does as a fleeing insurance embezzler in the new melodrama, “The Running Man,” he simply goes around in circles and, as a consequence, this Carol Reed film… makes no real dramatic progress or give the viewer a sense of getting any place.” Read more…)

Us
Wonder Park

New Foreign
L’Humanité (France, 1999, Criterion Collection, mystery, Emmanuel Schotté. From Stephen Holden’s 2000 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “If it’s possible for a film to convey a physical sensation of the world that is more intense than everyday life, Bruno Dumont’s flawed masterpiece, ‘Humanité,’ does a disquietingly good job. The raw sensory effect this transfixing movie produces might almost be described as psychedelic. Surrendering to its vision feels a little like being exposed to the sun after losing a layer of skin. In its relentlessly biological mind, what we think of as civilization is portrayed as a fragile membrane that barely prevents us from acting on our most brutal instincts.” Read more…)

La Vie De Jésus (France, 1997, Criterion Collection, drama/romance, David Douche. From Janet Maslin’s 1997 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “In a northern French village as quiet as a ghost town, trouble is brewing. It develops slowly and precisely in ‘La Vie de Jesus,’ the first film by Bruno Dumont, who works with grim exactitude to capture the essence of unhappiness in this becalmed setting. His film’s main character, with a sad, inexpressive face and a brutish skinhead look, is Freddy (David Douche). Gradually adding layer upon layer of vague dread, Mr. Dumont finally conveys the full misery of Freddy’s world.” Read more…)

Hélas Por Moi (France, 1993, directed by Godard, comedy/drama, Gerard Depardieu. From Caryn James’ 1994 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “‘Helas Pour Moi’ is about the search for faith, memory, truth and love: the deep human emotions ordinarily masked by the rigorous intellectual form of Jean-Luc Godard’s films. But here is Mr. Godard in a strangely lyrical and contemplative mood. The film opens today at the Joseph Papp Public Theater, with its title awkwardly translated on screen as ‘Woe Is Me.’ A better alternative would be ‘Alas for Me,’ which captures Mr. Godard’s meditative tone. Like his 1985 film, ‘Hail Mary,’ this new work depicts the possible appearance of the divine in ordinary contemporary lives. But where ‘Hail Mary’ outraged some Christians by reinventing one of their most sacred myths, here Mr. Godard plays it safe by reaching back to Greek mythology for his god figure.” Read more…)

New British
Killing Eve: Season 2 (thriller, Sandra Oh. Rotten Tomatoes: 93%. Metacritic: 85. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Margaret Lyons’ Times television review: “This emotionality is one among many reasons “Killing Eve,” which begins its second season Sunday on BBC America, feels so fresh. Jodie Comer gives Villanelle a liveliness that almost feels like a sport. ‘Is it hard being bad?’ a child hostage asks her in Season 1. ‘Not if you practice,’ she replies brightly. She must have practiced a lot. She is great at being bad.” Read more…)

Patrick Melrose (drama, Benedict Cumberbatch. Rotten Tomatoes: 90%. Metacritic: 80. From Mike Hale’s New York Times television review: “‘Patrick Melrose,’ a Showtime mini-series … starring Benedict Cumberbatch, isn’t really able to do either side [British social satire or the recovery story, the two genres at play in novelist Edward St. Aubyn’s five Patrick Melrose novels] justice. Part of that is compression: Five hours may seem like plenty of time to tell one life’s story, but it means that each novel is squished into just an hour of screen time.” Read more…)

Kidnapped (1971, adventure, Michael Caine)

New Classic DVDs (pre-1960)
All My Sons (1948, Arthur Miller drama, Burt Lancaster. From Bosley Crowther’s 1948 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “In the light of the recent Congressional investigation of Hollywood, exposing as it did, among other things, the desperate caution of the higher echelons controlling films, it is not surprising that the stage play, ‘All My Sons,’ should have undergone a major alteration in its transfer to the screen.The play, as we understand it, made the sharp and unmistakable point that there is something horribly rotten about a system which permits huge profits to be made out of war. And in showing the ultimate come-uppance of a man who made a personal pile by selling defective materials to the Air Forces, through the failure of which young fliers died, it clearly indicated that the individual was not alone to blame, but also the whole social structure which tolerates and even encourages private greed. But that is a rather forward idea and, extended a bit, it might suggest that there are faults in the capitalist system—which, of course, would be downright treasonable. So, in putting together the screen play, Chester Erskine very carefully left out—no doubt, on higher instructions—any such general hints and confined the drama’s indictment to the greed and narrow-mindedness of one man.” Read more…)

New American Back Catalog DVDs (post-1960)
Between the Lines (1977, newly remastered indie comedy set at alternative weekly, Jeff Goldblum. Rotten Tomatoes: 90%. From Vincent Canby’s 1977 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “‘Between the Lines’ is, technically, I suppose, a newspaper film, but what distinguishes it is the gently perceptive way it captures the emotional confusions of its characters. They are young, talented, ambitious people who once had the great good fortune to be enthusiastically committed and to have had professional lives that were the same as their private lives. Just how lucky they were they begin to realize only now that the time has passed. The 1960’s have become their roaring 20’s. ‘Between the Lines’ is about growing up after you’ve already grown up.” Read more…)

The Secret War of Harry Frigg (1967, comedy/satire, Paul Newman. From Roger Ebert’s 1968 review: “‘The Secret War of Harry Frigg’ must have been made against its own will. I’ve seen lousy movies before, but never one that seemed ashamed of itself. At times the actors seem to be in pain, and the movie itself is down-at-the-mouth and desperately boring. It is doing great business.” Read more…)

Angus (1995, coming-of-age/comedy, Charlie Talbert. From Janet Maslin’s 1995 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “As directed by Patrick Read Johnson with amiable intelligence but not a lot of dramatic verve, ‘Angus’ is an easygoing if predictable alternative to more gimmicky teen-age fare. [George C.] Scott and [Kathy] Bates help dignify the film without condescending to their material, and help bring home the universality of its familiar ideas about fitting in.” Read more…)

Huckleberry Finn (1975, Mark Twain classic, Ron Howard)

New Documentaries
The Brink (bio, politics, fascism, Steve Bannon. Rotten Tomatoes: 82%. Metacritic: 69. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “The war as [former Trump adviser Steve Bannon] understands it extends beyond particular battleground states or congressional districts, though he pays close attention to those. What Bannon calls the nationalist-populist movement — there are other, more precise names for it — has scored victories in Hungary, Poland, the Philippines and Brazil, and his current project is to knit together like-minded, far-flung rightists in an antiliberal, anti-immigrant counterglobalism. There is a lot of money behind this, and it would be interesting to know whose. But money is one topic around which Bannon insists on discretion, shooing Klayman away when terms are being talked.” Read more…)

To A More Perfect Union: U.S. v. Windsor (gay rights, marriage equality, social justice, Edie Windsor)

New releases 6/11/19

Top Hits

The Mustang (drama, Matthias Schoenaerts. Rotten Tomatoes: 94%. Metacritic: 77. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “It shouldn’t work — none of it — not the metaphor, not the wild horse, not what it all means for the wild man at the center. It does. That’s partly because redemption stories exert their own magnetic pull, but also because the French director Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre goes all in, embracing simplicity and sincerity without hesitation or self-consciousness. [She shares script credit with Mona Fastvold and Brock Norman Brock.] ‘The Mustang’ is direct and almost perilously familiar — it draws from both westerns and prison movies — yet it is also attractively filigreed with surprising faces, unusual genre notes and luminous, evanescent beauty.” Read more…)

Captive State (sci-fi, John Goodman. Rotten Tomatoes: 45%. Metacritic: 54. From Bilge Ebiri’s Rolling Stone review: “It may seem like a fool’s errand to find a new angle on the alien invasion thriller — ‘Captive State,’ however, is determined to give it a shot. Rupert Wyatt’s science-fiction movie is less interested in futuristic spectacle and more in the human drama of what happens after the bad guys win. It barely shows us the extraterrestrials themselves; our clearest view comes when we glimpse them in the opening moments, during the initial hostile takeover.” Read more…)

Five Feet Apart (coming-of-age drama, Haley Lu Richardson. Rotten Tomatoes: 54%. Metacritic: 53. From Ben Kenigsberg’s New York Times review: “Promoted by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation as an awareness tool, ‘Five Feet Apart’ is better made than a synopsis suggests. To maintain the illusion of intimacy, the director, Justin Baldoni, plays tricks with focal lengths, often framing [actress Haley Lu] Richardson and [actor Cole] Sprouse so that they appear close together before cutting to a wide shot that shows them far apart. Richardson, previously wonderful with good material [‘Columbus,’ ‘Support the Girls’], here cements her genius status by finding depths beyond the contrived screenplay.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
Captain Marvel (superhero action, Brie Larson. Rotten Tomatoes: 78%. Metacritic: 64. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “The last and least surprising thing we learn about her is that ‘Captain Marvel will return in “Avengers: Endgame,”’ a scrappy little picture that will be released in seven weeks, if you can stand to wait that long. Directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck from a script they wrote with Geneva Robertson-Dworet, ‘Captain Marvel’ is an origin story, which is to say a résumé check for the newest member of popular culture’s biggest, most heavily capitalized corporate team. As such, it’s pretty good fun, and could almost be described without sarcasm as a scrappy little picture, like most of Boden and Fleck’s other work. [Their résumé includes ‘Half Nelson,’ ‘Sugar’ and ‘It’s Kind of a Funny Story’].” Read more…)

The Stepfather (thriller, 1986, Terry O’Quinn. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. From Janet Maslin’s 1987 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Jerry Blake [Terry O’Quinn] is first seen in a bathroom, showering, shaving, changing his clothes and significantly altering his appearance. He has just killed his family. When he is finished washing, Blake descends the stairway to the living room, walks past the bodies and strides confidently out into the street on his way out of town. Actually, Jerry Blake is not his name yet. He will become Jerry Blake in his next life, in the next pleasant small-town setting with the next family he plans to murder. With that beginning, ‘The Stepfather,’ which opens today at the Gemini, most certainly gets your attention.” Read more…)

New Foreign
Day for Night (France, 1973, directed by Francois Truffaut, Criterion Collection, Jacqueline Bisset. From Vincent Canby’s 1973 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Movie-making is a strange business, says Severine [Valentina Cortese], an actress who steadies her nerves by sipping champagne on the set of ‘Meet Pamela,’ a rather tacky melodrama being made within François Truffaut’s exhilarating new comedy about movie-making, ‘Day for Night.’ ‘As soon as we grasp things,’ says Severine, ‘they’re gone.’ In one way and another, almost all of Truffaut’s films have been aware of this impermanence, which, instead of making life and love seem cheap, renders them especially precious.” Read more…)

Spiral: Season 3 (France, cop thriller, Caroline Proust)

New TV
I Am The Night (drama/thriller mini-series, Chris Pine. Rotten Tomatoes: 74%. Metacritic: 59. From Mike Hale’s New York Times television review: “There’s no mystery surrounding how ‘I Am the Night,’ TNT’s new truthy-crime mini-series, came to be. The director Patty Jenkins met and befriended Fauna Hodel, author of a memoir, ‘One Day She’ll Darken,’ about her difficult youth. Not quite a decade later Jenkins made ‘Wonder Woman,’ which made more than $821 million. Et voilà: ‘I Am the Night,’ a long-gestating project ‘inspired by the life of Fauna Hodel’ with Jenkins as a director and executive producer. It’s less clear how the six-episode mini-series [beginning Monday], which was created and written by Jenkins’s husband, Sam Sheridan, and stars her ‘Wonder Woman’ collaborator Chris Pine, turned out to be such a lackluster and derivative affair.” Read more…)

New releases 6/4/19

Top Hits
Gloria Bell (romance/drama, Julianne Moore. Rotten Tomatoes: 91%. Metacritic: 80. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Manohla Dargis’ Times review: “‘Gloria Bell’ is filled with quicksilver tone shifts. It’s often quietly funny and then a little [or very] sad and then funny again. The humor is sometimes as obvious as the hairless cat that looks like a wizened extraterrestrial and the Velcro crackle of a girdle being hastily removed in a dark bedroom. [Chilean writer-director Sebastián] Lelio is acutely sensitive to the absurdities of everyday life, including the comedy of humiliation, both petty and wounding. But while his characters can be cruel, he never succumbs to meanness. His generosity is animated by Moore’s limpid, precise performance.” Read more…)

Mapplethorpe (bio-pic, Matt Smith. Rotten Tomatoes: 31%. Metacritic: 42. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “‘Mapplethorpe,’ directed by Ondi Timoner, is a fictionalized biography of the photographer that is most alive when it’s putting its subject’s pictures on the screen, which it does often. And should have done more, because the movie is otherwise as timid as its subject was bold. “ Read more…)

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (comedy/drama directed by Terry Gilliam, Adam Driver. Rotten Tomatoes: 63%. Metacritic: 58. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “Surely a movie so long in gestation, inspired by a doorstop-thick novel that has beguiled and baffled readers for several centuries, would turn out to be either a world-class catastrophe or a world-historical masterpiece. With a mixture of relief and regret, I must report that the movie is neither. ‘The Man Who Killed Don Quixote’ has moments of slackness and chaos [the book does, too], but for the most part it’s a lively, charming excursion into a landscape claimed by [director Terry] Gilliam in the name of Miguel de Cervantes, the Spanish gentleman who gave Don Quixote life back in the early 1600s. The filmmaker’s devotion to the novelist adds luster and vigor to the images, but this is more than just an act of literary-minded reverence. It’s a meeting of minds — a celebration of artistic kinship across the gulfs of history, culture and technology.” Read more…)

New Foreign
Mellow Mud (Latvia, coming-of-age drama, Elina Vaska. From Alissa Simon’s 2016 Variety review: “Harsh circumstances force a resourceful and determined Latvian lass to mature beyond her years in ‘Mellow Mud,’ a compelling, bittersweet coming-of-ager from first-time feature helmer-writer Renars Vimba. This evocatively shot realist tale benefits from a spare yet credible script and a knockout performance from big-screen debutant Elina Vaska, who conveys her character’s feelings of anger, abandonment, responsibility and first love with conviction and authenticity. Although named best film by the youth jury in the Berlin Film Festival’s Generation 14plus section, this is a title that will be appreciated by arthouse fans of all ages; extensive fest travel is guaranteed.” Read more…)

Woman At War (Iceland, drama, Haldora Geirhardsdottir. Rotten Tomatoes: 97%. Metacritic: 81. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ Times review: “Approaching weighty themes with a very light touch, Benedikt Erlingsson’s ‘Woman at War’ is an environmental drama wrapped in whimsical comedy and tied with a bow of midlife soul-searching. The package is lumpy at times, but not unwieldy, thanks to an engaging central performance and a cinematographer, Bergsteinn Bjorgulfsson, whose sweeping shots of frozen heath and lowering Icelandic skies wash the screen — and our minds — of extraneous distractions.” Read more…)

New Classic DVDs (pre-1960)
Her Twelve Men (1954, drama, Greer Garson. From Bosley Crowther’s 1954 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “The particular brand of golden sunshine that Greer Garson is called upon to shed in ‘Her Twelve Men,’ a little M-G-M confection that was delivered yesterday to the Sixtieth Street Trans-Lux, is so obviously manufactured and falls on such artificial ground that it scorches rather than nurtures any blossoms in this choking hothouse dust. This time, the glowing Miss Garson performs in the thoroughly barren role of an inexperienced but magically intuitive teacher and house mother to a gang of 10-year-olds, in a conspicuously starchy and repulsive boarding school for rich people’s boys. And the extent of her evident contribution to the health and education of her kids is the doing of a few little favors and the casting about of her smile.” Read more…)

New American Back Catalog DVDs (post-1960)
Bachelorette (2013, comedy, Kirsten Dunst. Rotten Tomatoes: 56%. Metacritic: 53. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Stephen Holden’s Times review [requires log-in]: “This film version of Leslye Headland’s successful Off Broadway play — part of a projected cycle covering the Seven Deadly Sins, it dealt with gluttony — ‘Bachelorette’ comes at you with the crackling intensity of machine-gun fire. Maybe the safest way to watch it is by peeking out from a behind a sandbag.” Read more…)

The Fourth Protocol (1987, action, Michael Caine. Rotten Tomatoes: 72%. From Janet Maslin’s 1987 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “It might reasonably be expected that the sight of two Soviet spies assembling a nuclear device, which they plan to detonate near an American Air Force base in Britain to fake an accident that could destroy NATO, would be more than a little chilling. But in ‘The Fourth Protocol,’ which opens today at the Ziegfeld and other theaters, even the threat of Armageddon has a business-as-usual air. Espionage stories as crisp as this one have a way of finding exceptional fascination in the ordinary, but in the process they may reduce the unimaginable to its nuts and bolts.” Read more…)

Blue Velvet (1986, David Lynch-directed weird drama, Kyle MacLachlan. Rotten Tomatoes: 94%. Metacritic: 76. From Janet Maslin’s 1986 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Other directors labor long and hard to achieve the fevered perversity that comes so naturally to David Lynch, whose ‘Blue Velvet’ is an instant cult classic. With ‘Eraserhead,’ ‘The Elephant Man’ and ‘Dune’ to his credit, Mr. Lynch had already established his beachhead inside the realm of the bizarre, but this latest venture takes him a lot further. Kinkiness is its salient quality, but ”Blue Velvet” has deadpan humor too, as well as a straight-arrow side that makes its eccentricity all the crazier. There’s no mistaking the exhilarating fact that it’s one of a kind.” Read more…)

New TV
Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan: Season 1 (action, John Krasinski. Rotten Tomatoes: 74%. Metacritic: 66.)
Batman: The Complete Series (comic book 1960s series, Adam West. Rotten Tomatoes: 93%.)

New releases 5/28/19

Top Hits
Her Smell (drama, Elisabeth Moss. Rotten Tomatoes: 85%. Metacritic: 69. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “Can you separate the artist from the art? Lately that dusty theoretical question has been revived in reference to certain problematic men. How do we respond when greatness and awfulness coexist, or when talent is used as an alibi for gross misbehavior? Usually by fighting among ourselves. ‘Her Smell,’ Alex Ross Perry’s relentless new film, poses the problem in a different register, and not only because the difficult artist in question is a woman.” Read more…)

A Vigilante (action/thriller, Olivia Wilde. Rotten Tomatoes: 87%. Metacritic: 69. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “The writer-director Sarah Daggar-Nickson shrewdly doesn’t lead with politics in ‘A Vigilante,’ instead letting them surface as a matter of course as she fills in the satisfyingly lean, mean story. It centers on Sadie [Olivia Wilde, all in physically], who after fleeing her husband has become a lone-wolf avenger of other abuse victims.” Read more…)

Greta (suspense/thriller, Chloe Grace Moretz. Rotten Tomatoes: 59%. Metacritic: 54. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “Having seen it, I will say that ‘Greta,’ directed by the always-estimable Neil Jordan [‘The Crying Game,’ ‘Michael Collins,’ ‘The End of the Affair’], is a mixed bag, a skillfully executed psychological thriller with not quite enough in the way of psychology or thrills to be as disturbing or diverting as it should be. And maybe not enough Isabelle Huppert, either, though she is the major and almost sufficient reason to bother with the film in the first place.” Read more…)

What Men Want (rom-com, Taraji P. Henson. Rotten Tomatoes: 45%. Metacritic: 49. From Ben Kenigsberg’s New York Times review: “Directed by Adam Shankman, this comedy flips the script on Nancy Meyers’s ‘What Women Want’ [2000], in which a Chicago chauvinist [Mel Gibson] gets his comeuppance after gaining the power to hear women’s thoughts. This time, the mind reader is an Atlanta sports agent, Ali [Taraji P. Henson], who works at a boy’s club of a company and is repeatedly passed over for partner status. Her boss, Nick [Brian Bosworth], tells her, ‘You’re doing great in your lane.’” Read more…)

Room 37: The Mysterious Death of Johnny Thunders (drama/bio-pic, Leo Ramsey)

New Foreign

Birds of Passage (Colombia, drama based on the origins of the drug trade, Carmiña Martínez. Rotten Tomatoes: 95%. Metacritic: 85. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “In modern movie terminology, ‘epic’ usually just means long, crowded and grandiose. ‘Birds of Passage,’ Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra’s follow-up to their astonishing, hallucinatory, Oscar-nominated ‘Embrace of the Serpent,’ earns the label in a more honest and rigorous manner. Parts of the story are narrated by a blind singer — a literally Homeric figure — and the story itself upholds Ezra Pound’s definition of the epic as ‘a poem containing history.’ It’s about how the world changes, about how individual actions and the forces of fate work in concert to bring glory and ruin to a hero and his family.” Read more…)

Never Look Away (Germany, drama, Tom Schilling. Rotten Tomatoes: 76%. Metacritic: 69. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “[Director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck] is not a man to choose nuance when a statement of the obvious, preferably accompanied by an orchestra and tasteful nudity, is available. ‘Never Look Away’ traffics in all kinds of thorny, ambiguous material: It’s about family secrets, psychological misdirection, the sometimes uncanny harmonies between artifice and reality. But its methods are almost defiantly literal, engineered for accessibility and sentimental impact. This is not entirely a bad thing.” Read more…)

One Sings, The Other Doesn’t (France, 1977, feminist musical dir. by Agnes Varda, Thérèse Liotard. Rotten Tomatoes: 82%. From J. Hoberman’s New York Times review of the film’s restored re-release in 2018: “Despite its amiable spirit of inclusion, Agnès Varda’s pop paean to sisterhood, ‘One Sings, the Other Doesn’t,’ proved divisive from the night it opened the 1977 New York Film Festival. One feminist critic, Molly Haskell, wrote that, were she given to blurbs, she’d have called it ‘the film we have been waiting for!’ Another, Amy Taubin, found the movie insufficiently radical. Writing in The New York Times, Vincent Canby compared it to Soviet-style propaganda; The New Yorker’s Pauline Kael imagined that the film could have been made by ‘a big American advertising agency.’ Some critics thought ‘One Sings’ paid too much attention to men. Others thought that the male characters were unfairly consigned to the periphery. Reviews complained about the songs or objected to the melodrama.” Read more…)

La Prisonnière (France, 1968, drama, Elisabeth Wiener)

New Classic DVDs (pre-1960)
Notorious (1946, Hitchcock suspense classic, Criterion Collection, Ingrid Bergman & Cary Grant. Rotten Tomatoes: 97%. From Bosley Crowther’s 1946 New York Times review: “It is obvious that Alfred Hitchcock, Ben Hecht and Ingrid Bergman form a team of motion-picture makers that should be publicly and heavily endowed. For they were the ones most responsible for ‘Spellbound,’ as director, writer and star, and now they have teamed together on another taut, superior film. It goes by the name of ‘Notorious’ and it opened yesterday at the Music Hall. With Cary Grant as an additional asset, it is one of the most absorbing pictures of the year.” Read more…)

New American Back Catalog DVDs (post-1960)
Chappaqua (1966, psycho-drama cult film, Jean-Louis Barrault. From an unsigned 1967 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “The framework of the picture is simplicity itself. [Writer/director Conrad] Rooks goes to Paris to kick the habit, is bedded down in a clinic run by Jean-Louis Barrault and eventually emerges cured and at one with the universe. The essence of the picture, though, is not what happens to Mr. Rooks at the clinic, but what goes through his mind while he is there — memories, fantasies, desires, revulsions, good and bad dreams, all that his unconsciousness can dredge up. The images have special relevance in that Mr. Rooks is undergoing a ‘sleep cure.’ ‘Chappaqua’ tries to capture these images in their pre-logical, associational flow and thus send its audience on the same inner voyage that ended so happily for Mr. Rooks.” Read more…)

New British
Penny Points to Paradise (1951, comedy, Peter Sellers)
Blood: Season 1 (murder mystery, Carolina Main)

New TV
Outlander: Season 4 (drama/fantasy, Catriona Balfe. Rotten Tomatoes: 88%. Metacritic: 71.)

New Documentaries
Stonewall Uprising (gay rights, American history. Rotten Tomatoes: 83%. Metacritic: 74. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Stephen Holden’s Times review: “The most thorough documentary exploration of the three days of unrest beginning June 28, 1969, when patrons of the Stonewall Inn, a seedy Mafia-operated gay bar in Greenwich Village, turned on the police after a routine raid, ‘Stonewall Uprising’ methodically ticks off the forms of oppression visited on gays and lesbians in the days before the gay rights movement. ‘Before Stonewall there was no such thing as coming out or being out,’ says Eric Marcus, the author of ‘Making Gay History: The Half-Century Fight for Lesbian & Gay Equal Rights.’ ‘People talk about being in and out now; there was no out, there was just in.’” Read more…)

That Way Madness Lies (family dynamics, mental health. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “This film lays bare how the American health care system seems designed, at every level, to fail the mentally ill and those who try to be of genuine service to them. It does so with such credibility and coherence that the movie’s very plain style and [director] Sandra Luckow’s occasional Candide-like displays of naïveté as a player in this story — ‘{Her brother] Duanne had stopped cc-ing me on his emails, and he was absent from social media,’ she narrates late in the movie, ‘so I suspected there may be something wrong’ — don’t matter at all. If this is a subject matter that has touched your life even minimally, you ought to see this movie.” Read more…)

Kevin Roche: The Quiet Architect (bio, architecture, Kevin Roche. Not a review. Rather, the lengthy, admiring New York Times obituary for architect Kevin Roche, a titan of Modernist architecture who lived in Connecticut and passed away in March: “Kevin Roche, the Dublin-born American architect whose modernist buildings, at once bold and refined, gave striking new identities to corporations, museums and institutions around the world, died on Friday at his home in Guilford, Conn. He was 96. His architectural firm, Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates, in Hamden, Conn., announced his death on its website. Mr. Roche was one of the rare architects who was admired and trusted by corporate executives, museum boards and government officials, who allowed him wide leeway in expressing his restless formal imagination.” Read more…)

New releases 5/21/19

Top Hits
The Upside (comedy/drama based on French film The Intouchables, Bryan Cranston. Rotten Tomatoes: 40%. Metacritic: 46. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “What a difference a cast makes. If the director Neil Burger’s decision to have Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart play the leads in the odd-couple comedy ‘The Upside’ — a remake of the 2012 French film ‘The Intouchables’ — doesn’t erase the original’s sins, it blurs them just enough. As a result, this impolitic [some might say offensive] tale of Phillip [Cranston], a wealthy, white quadriplegic, and Dell [Hart], the black parolee who restores his will to live, is surprisingly winning. Some squinting will be required to block out the race and class stereotyping, as well as the puddles of sentiment scattered throughout the highly predictable plot. Yet Jon Hartmere’s script has genuinely funny moments and is blessedly short on crassness” Read more…)

Isn’t It Romantic (rom-com, Rebel Wilson. Rotten Tomatoes: 69%. Metacritic: 60. From Ben Kenigsberg’s New York Times review: “[Actress Rebel] Wilson, leaning on her comic persona to compensate for the script’s lack of wit or inventiveness, is a reliable deadpanner. Her one-liners — calling the alternate universe she’s trapped in ‘“The Matrix” for lonely women,’ for example — are funny enough to carry this featherweight movie as far as it can go, which isn’t far. The film’s reliance on conventions even as it snickers at them gives it the faint air of a con.” Read more…)

How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (animated feature, Jay Baruchel [voice], Rotten Tomatoes Certified Fresh. Rotten Tomatoes: 91%. Metacritic: 71. From Ben Kenigsberg’s New York Times review: “‘How to Train Your Dragon’ may not be the most beloved of computer-animated franchises, but it is one of the most reliable. The latest installment, ‘How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,’ gives the now-trilogy a pleasing arc.” Read more…)

New Foreign
Let the Sunshine In (France, romance/drama dir. by Claire Denis, Juliette Binoche. Rotten Tomatoes Certified Fresh. Rotten Tomatoes: 87%. Metacritic: 79. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “[Director Claire] Denis, consistently the most interesting French filmmaker of the 21st century [see ‘Beau Travail,’ ‘White Material’ and ’35 Shots of Rum,’ among others], focuses her attention on a subject that could easily have been rendered sad, sensational or sentimental. The sexuality of middle-aged women, when it comes up at all in Hollywood, tends to be treated with either pity or condescending encouragement. As played by Juliette Binoche, Isabelle is defiantly immune to both of those, and even, at times, to the audience’s sympathy.” Read more…)

Sorry Angel (France, drama/romance/gay, Pierre Deladonchamps Rotten Tomatoes Certified Fresh. Rotten Tomatoes: 80%. Metacritic: 73. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Glenn Kenny’s Times review: “It took a while for this digressive movie to get its hooks in me, but once it did, ‘Sorry Angel’ didn’t let go. A big part of it is Jacques, who in [actor Pierre] Deladonchamps’s hands is one of the most layered film characters I’ve experienced in some time. Egotistic, mercurial, erudite, recklessly affectionate, careless, vindictive, impulsive, he can turn from exasperating to heartbreaking in seconds flat.” Read more…)

The Image Book (France, film essay by Jean-Luc Godard, Rotten Tomatoes Certified Fresh. Rotten Tomatoes: 88%. Metacritic: 76. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “This moment feels right for ‘The Image Book,’ composed [like much other late Godard] of video clips counterpointed with literary texts and classical music, all of it partitioned into numbered, cryptically titled chapters. I found it haunting, thrilling and confounding in equal measure. It is a work of ecstatic despair, an argument for the futility of human effort that almost refutes itself through the application of a grumpy and tenacious artistic will.” Read more…)

Trouble Every Day (France, 2001, drama/horror dir. by Claire Denis, Vincent Gallo. Rotten Tomatoes: 50%. Metacritic: 40. From Stephen Holden’s 2002 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “To describe the sex scenes in Claire Denis’s erotic horror film ‘Trouble Every Day’ as indelible isn’t to say they are the least bit inviting or easy to watch. This daring, intermittently beautiful failure of a movie, by the director who emerged with ‘Beau Travail’ as one of France’s greatest filmmakers, explores with gruesome explicitness the metaphor of sex as cannibalism. The squeamish are strongly advised to avoid the film, which created a minor scandal when it was shown last spring at the Cannes Film Festival.” Read more…)

The Weissensee Saga: Season 3 (Germany, historical drama in 1980s East Germany, Uwe Kockisch)

New Classic DVDs (pre-1960)
Above and Beyond (1952, Enola Gay pilot war drama, Robert Taylor. From Bosley Crowther’s 1953 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Having already dramatized the story of the development of the atomic bomb and its fateful delivery on Hiroshima in ‘The Beginning or the End,’ Metro is now concentrating on a personal aspect of that history in ‘Above and Beyond,’ a fervent romance that arrived at the Mayfair yesterday. This is the documented story of Col. Paul W. Tibbets Jr., then man the Air Forces carefully selected to organize the first atomic bomb crew and lead that first strike against Hiroshima, which he courageously did. For the purpose of strong dramatic interest, Metro has taken the tale of Colonel Tibbets’ historic adventure and built it up as a poignant account of the physical and mental burdens imposed upon the man. Above and beyond the pressures of the military responsibilities involved, including those of maintaining the strictest secrecy, the studio has put particular emphasis upon the grave domestic tensions that occurred—or are said to have occurred—when the colonel had to conceal his assignment from his wife.” Read more…)

New American Back Catalog DVDs (post-1960)
American Anthem (1986, sports drama, Mitch Gaylord. Rotten Tomatoes: 0%. From Walter Goodman’s 1986 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “‘American Anthem,’ which opens today at the Ziegfeld and other theaters, is a disco sound-and-light show about gymnastics. The nonstop sound goes from heavenly choruses to demonic rock but never manages to drown out the dialogue; the hyped-up lighting invests people with halos, and the colors must have been compounded by a punk hairdresser.” Read more…)

No Holds Barred (1989, sports/action, Hulk Hogan. Rotten Tomatoes: 11%. From Stephen Holden’s 1989 New York Times review [requires log-in]: ”The fact that nothing about Mr. Hogan really adds up no doubt helps account for his popularity. His sober speaking voice outside of the ring does not match his wild roars when doing battle. The amused gleam in his eye hints at a canny intelligence behind the sinew and sweat. And his exaggeratedly stagy bouts make only a token attempt to look real. More than Sylvester Stallone or Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mr. Hogan behaves like a self-invented comic-book character sprung to life. ‘No Holds Barred,’ which opened yesterday at the Criterion 1 and other local theaters, is as cartoonish as its star.” Read more…)

New British
Robbery (1967, gangster/crime, Stanley Baker. From Roger Ebert’s 1968 review: “’Robbery,’ an unheralded British film about the Great Train Robbery of 1963, has crept into neighborhood theaters under cover of night. It works, it’s good. It doesn’t get sidetracked by a lot of cute dialog and psychoanalysis, like ‘The Thomas Crown Affair’ [1968]. We don’t need to be told why a man would rob a bank; we just want to know how he gets away with it, right? John Dillinger was not a folk hero in vain.” Read more…)

Les Misérables (Victor Hugo mini-series, Dominic West. Rotten Tomatoes: 96%. Metacritic: 79. From Roslyn Sulcas’ New York Times preview: “There is not much that’s looking up for any character in Victor Hugo’s epic 1862 novel ‘Les Misérables,’ which has provided the subject matter for dozens of theater, television and film adaptations, most famously the blockbuster musical that zillions of fans affectionately call ‘Les Miz.’ But this six-part television adaptation, which first aired in Britain from December to February and arrives on Masterpiece on Sunday, might come as a surprise to those who only know the musical. This version hews much more closely to Hugo’s book, a five-volume, 365-chapter novel that over the course of its complex plot explores history, law, politics, religion and ideas about justice, guilt and redemption.” Read more…)

New Documentaries
Chef Flynn (coming-of-age, food, culinary culture. Rotten Tomatoes: 73%. Metacritic: 63. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “Before his teenage years, Flynn McGarry contrived a fully functional kitchen in his bedroom. Nurtured by parents who were professionals in creative fields, he enlisted his school pals to “staff” his increasingly elaborate meals, made in a style heavily influenced by the elegant minimalism of restaurants like New York’s Eleven Madison Park… ‘Chef Flynn’ is an engaging documentary about McGarry’s boy-to-man journey, which concludes as he prepares to open his own restaurant in Manhattan. [Our restaurant critic, Pete Wells, awarded his place, Gem, two stars over the summer, citing some reservations about the service.]” Read more…)

New releases 5/14/19

Top Hits
Fighting With My Family (family/sports, Dwayne Johnson. Rotten Tomatoes: 92%. Metacritic: 68. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Manohla Dargis’ Times review: “The brood in ‘Fighting With My Family’ is a rambunctious crowd. There’s mum and dad Knight, and a handful of adult kids [one’s doing time]. Professional wrestlers all, they grapple with one another in and out of the ring while running a gym in Norwich, England. They know how to put on a good show, how to turn the mat into a stage with thumps and grunts, stomps and smashes. The family that smacks down together stays together, or at least that’s the idea in this charmer about love and choreographed war.” Read more…)

Happy Death Day 2U (horror, Jessica Roth. Rotten Tomatoes: 68%. Metacritic: 57. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “Jessica Rothe as Tree is still an appealing presence. But the film is overstuffed with unfunny self-parodying gore slapstick, half-felt sentimentality and semi-meta sci-fi — characters mention ‘Inception’ and ‘Back to the Future,’ just to let you know that they know that we know.” Read more…)

Cold Pursuit (action, Liam Neeson. Rotten Tomatoes: 69%. Metacritic: 57. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “The wintertime Liam Neeson sad-dad action thriller for 2019, ‘Cold Pursuit,’ is just like most of the previous specimens and also completely different. This time, instead of rescuing a daughter, as he did in ‘Taken’ — the bellwether of this beloved or at least unavoidable subgenre — Neeson is avenging a son. His character, Nels Coxman, is not a globe-trotting assassin with a highly specialized set of skills, but rather a humble Colorado snowplow driver. For an amateur, Nels is awfully good at killing, and he takes to it with a grim determination that could easily be mistaken for enthusiasm. Neeson’s recent revelation, in a newspaper interview, that he once came close to acting out his own racist revenge fantasies might spoil some of the fun.” Read more…)

Never Grow Old (western, John Cusack. Rotten Tomatoes: 91%. Metacritic: 62.)

New Blu-Ray
Fighting With My Family

New TV
Veep: Season 6 (HBO comedy series, Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Rotten Tomatoes: 94%.)

New Documentaries
Apollo 11 (moon mission, technology, Neil Armstrong. Rotten Tomatoes: 98%. Metacritic: 87. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Glenn Kenny’s Times review: “The documentary ‘Apollo 11,’ directed and edited by Todd Douglas Miller, is entirely awe-inspiring. Which is something of a surprise. As world events of the 20th century go, Apollo 11, the NASA mission of 1969 that put two men on the moon, has been thoroughly documented. It’s also been fictionally dissected, most recently by Damien Chazelle, whose 2018 film, ‘First Man,’ is a portrait of Neil Armstrong, the mission’s commander and, yes, the first man to walk on the moon. In addition to chronicling that triumph, that film examines Armstrong’s emotional reticence. Miller’s documentary indirectly points out why such a quality is valued in astronauts.” Read more…)

Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow (2011, art, Anselm Kiefer. Rotten Tomatoes: 79%. Metacritic: 66. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “The movie ‘Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow’ is a portrait of the artist at work, though one that says as much about its British director, Sophie Fiennes, as about its stated subject, the German-born artist Anselm Kiefer. In 1993 Mr. Kiefer, perhaps the most celebrated and divisive artist of his generation — he was born in 1945 shortly before the end of World War II — moved to a swath of land outside Barjac, a town in the South of France. He and his assistants then began creating installations on the property that, at least to judge from this movie, are a monument to the human will to self-annihilation and a rehearsal for the apocalypse.” Read more…)

What Is Democracy? (society, political theory. Rotten Tomatoes: 95%. Metacritic: 71. From Ben Kenigsberg’s New York Times review: “An all-nighter spent skimming Plato’s “Republic” would be a less hurried undertaking than “What Is Democracy?,” a hugely ambitious documentary from the Canadian director Astra Taylor (“Zizek!”). Like democracy itself, the movie assumes such a broad mandate and has such noble intentions that indicating its shortcomings seems almost beside the point. The overarching concept here is to explore the philosophical underpinnings of democracy by talking with scholars and visiting the present-day sites of Plato’s Academy and the Agora in Athens.” Read more…)

Hillbilly (stereotype, society, rural communities. Rotten Tomatoes: 88%. Metacritic: 67. From Kevin Crust’s Los Angeles Times review: “Los Angeles-based journalist and filmmaker Ashley York, born and raised in the mountains of eastern Kentucky [the evocatively named Meathouse Holler to be specific], returns to Appalachia to question the media depiction of the region’s residents, while also tracking the 2016 U.S. presidential election, in the documentary ‘Hillbilly.’ Co-written and co-directed with Sally Rubin, the film is a far more sympathetic portrait than J.D. Vance’s best-selling ‘Hillbilly Elegy,’ taking a more descriptive than analytical approach.” Read more…)

Stay Human (music, community, inspiration, Michael Franti & Spearhead. Rotten Tomatoes: 92%. Metacritic: 73.)

New releases 5/7/19

Top Hits
Blaze (bio-pic/country music, Ben Dickey. Rotten Tomatoes: 95%. Metacritic: 75. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “‘Blaze,’ Ethan Hawke’s new movie [he directed, co-wrote the screenplay and appears onscreen a handful of times], whetted an appetite I wasn’t aware I had, though my Apple Music streaming history might have provided a clue. Even if the film were no good at all — and I’m relieved to say that it’s pretty darn good — I would be 100 percent here for a biopic about Blaze Foley, a Texas-based singer-songwriter who died in 1989. [His real name was Michael Fuller.] Furthermore, I would not be sad if ‘Blaze’ kicked off a trend, and I could look forward to sad, smoky, whiskey-saturated movies about the lives and times of Guy Clark, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Robert Earl Keen and of course the great Townes Van Zandt.” Read more…)

The Lego Movie: The Second Part (animated feature, Chris Pratt. Rotten Tomatoes: 87%. Metacritic: 65. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “The new animated Lego movie is pretty much like the last one. Or maybe I’m thinking of another one, not that it much matters. There are differences between editions, most fairly negligible. The unifying factor, to note the obvious about the state of big-screen children’s entertainment, is that they are all feature-length commercials.” Read more…)

To Dust (comedy/drama, Matthew Broderick. Rotten Tomatoes: 88%. Metacritic: 66. From Wesley Morris’ New York Times review: “‘To Dust’ runs an hour and a half, and that feels right for a buddy movie whose comedy is as stubborn as this one’s. But the movie is also trying — daring — to seriously consider grief, and that movie could have gone on for much longer. You can feel the script, by Jason Begue and Shawn Snyder, straining to tickle an audience. So it has a bereft widowed Hasidic cantor named Shmuel [Geza Rohrig] team up with Albert, a dumpy, mildly grizzled community college biology professor — and complete stranger — played by Matthew Broderick.” Read more…)

The Prodigy (thriller/horror, Taylor Schilling. Rotten Tomatoes: 45%. Metacritic: 45. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “Directed by Nicholas McCarthy and set in a weirdly depopulated Philadelphia [played by Toronto and its environs], ‘The Prodigy’ features the usual buzzing flies and de rigueur jump scares [the best of which is in the trailer]. Taylor Schilling is perfect as Miles’s distraught mother, who catches on so slowly that she seems a little dense. And because fathers are often sidelined in movies like this, Peter Mooney’s restraint in the role, when the camera does find him, is to be heartily commended.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
Suspiria (2018, horror remake, Dakota Johnson. Rotten Tomatoes: 66%. Metacritic: 64. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “As the first hour of ‘Suspiria’ grinds into the second and beyond [the movie runs 152 minutes], it grows ever more distended and yet more hollow. Unlike Argento, who seemed content to deliver a nastily updated fairy tale in 90 or so minutes, [director Luca] Guadagnino continues casting about for meaning, which perhaps explains why he keeps adding more stuff, more mayhem, more dances.” Read more…)

The Lego Movie: The Second Part
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

New Foreign
Everybody Knows (Spain, thriller, Penelope Cruz. Rotten Tomatoes: 78%. Metacritic: 68. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “[Director Asghar] Mr. Farhadi’s intention is to investigate the way secrets bind and divide the people who share them. The plot turns several times on mistaken assumptions about what is and isn’t common knowledge, and on the disruptive, destructive power of unspoken grudges and half-buried memories.” Read more…)

Sobibor (Russia, war drama, Konstantin Khabensky. Rotten Tomatoes: 75%. From Robert Abele’s Los Angeles Times review: “Movies dramatizing the Holocaust play a peculiar role in memorializing history, in that the barbarism of the subject defies attempts to aestheticize it. The Russian epic ‘Sobibor’ is actually about defiance, however: a noteworthy chapter from 1943 in which hundreds of the titular death camp’s prisoners revolted, killing Nazi guards and escaping into the surrounding Polish forest. But director-star Konstantin Khabensky’s movie suffers from that same artistic pressure, only it’s in the service of meshing the trappings of history with the rudiments of the vengeance-driven escape flick.” Read more…)

Permanent Green Light (France, drama, Theo Cholbi.)
The Weissensee Saga: Season 2 (Germany, period drama set in East Germany, Uew Kockisch)

New American Back Catalog (post-1960)
Maniac Cop (1987, action, Bruce Campbell. Rotten Tomatoes: 46%. From Caryn James’ 1996 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “There was an intriguing half-minute during a showing of ‘Maniac Cop’ yesterday, when the film broke. The flaring orange on screen at least livened up this amateurish effort about a monstrously strong uniformed policeman – or is he a civilian in costume? – who roams the streets of New York killing innocent people. The acting is stiff, the dialogue is stiffer and the action scenes are laborious. Even the presence of professionals like Sheree North and Richard Roundtree, in small roles, tend to diminish them rather than improve the film.” Read more…)

Bone (1972, dark comedy, Yaphet Kotto. Rotten Tomatoes: 67%.)
The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover (1977, drama, Broderick Crawford)

New British (Commonwealth) DVDs
Unforgotten: Season 3 (mystery series, Nicole Walker. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%.)

New TV
Better Call Saul: Season 4 (crime/drama series, Bob Odenkirk. Rotten Tomatoes: 99%. Metacritic: 87.)

New Documentaries
My Scientology Movie (exposé, Louis Theroux. Rotten Tomatoes: 89%. Metacritic: 62. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “With a quirky résumé that includes two documentaries about the Westboro Baptist Church, the British journalist and filmmaker Louis Theroux has proved himself a seasoned chronicler of human eccentricity. His style can best be described as inoffensively resolute: He doesn’t badger, but neither does he back off. That chummy persistence serves him well in “My Scientology Movie,” an offbeat attempt to illuminate the church’s psychological grip on its members.” Read more…)