New releases 6/23/20

Top Hits
Never Rarely Sometimes Always (drama, Sidney Flanigan. Rotten Tomatoes: 99%. Metacritic: 91. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Manohla Dargis’ Times review: “A low-key knockout, ‘Never Rarely Sometimes Always’ tells a seldom-told story about abortion. And it does so without cant, speeches, inflamed emotions and — most powerfully — without apology. At its most obvious, it follows a 17-year-old as she tries to terminate her pregnancy. It’s a seemingly simple objective that proves [no surprise given the battles over abortion] logistically difficult, forcing her to marshal her modest resources and navigate perilous twists and turns. Here, a woman’s right to self-determination has become the stuff of a new and radical heroic journey.” Read more…)

Burden (drama/race, Forest Whitaker. Rotten Tomatoes: 50%. Metacritic: 57. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “Never underestimate the power of love — and the mind-blowing kindness of a by-the-book preacher — to lead a man to salvation. At least, that’s the message of ‘Burden,’ the third recent movie [after last year’s ‘Best of Enemies’ and ‘Skin’ a few months later] to feature a Klan member being coaxed into the light.” Read more…)

Extra Ordinary (comedy/fantasy, Maeve Higgins. Rotten Tomatoes: 98%. Metacritic: 72. From Ben Kenigsberg’s New York Times review: “Nothing in ‘Extra Ordinary,’ a comedy from Mike Ahern and Enda Loughman, suggests that ghosts have gravitated specifically toward Ireland. But they have a way of finding Rose [the comedian Maeve Higgins], a driving instructor who does her best to deny her knack for communicating with them. It’s complicated: Her father [Risteard Cooper] hosted a video series on supernatural occurrences, and she was his partner in all things paranormal. Then he died in a freak accident involving a dog and a haunted pothole, an incident for which Rose blames herself.” Read more…)

The Last Full Measure (drama/war, Christopher Plummer. Rotten Tomatoes: 59%. Metacritic: 51. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “The movie is written and directed, with undeniable sincerity, by Todd Robinson. While its story mechanics are creaky, the valor of [Air Force medic William] Pitsenbarger is evoked cogently, in well-executed battle sequences. And not one soul in the stellar cast, which also includes Samuel L. Jackson, Ed Harris, Amy Madigan and, in one of his last screen roles, Peter Fonda, chooses to phone it in.” Read more…)

A Good Woman Is Hard to Find (crime/thriller, Sarah Bolger. Rotten Tomatoes: 91%. Metacritic: 65. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “Like the vibrator that facilitates a turning point for its owner in ‘A Good Woman Is Hard to Find,’ this remorseless revenge story is a particularly blunt implement. Yet the director, Abner Pastoll, finds a measure of delicacy and nuance in the telling: Working from a script [by Ronan Blaney] that’s a minor miracle of austerity and pacing, he layers gangland grift, domestic drama and female fury into a satisfying lasagna of mounting violence.” Read more…)

New Foreign DVDs
Portrait of a Lady on Fire (France, drama/romance, Noémie Merlant. Rotten Tomatoes: 98%. Metacritic: 51. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times article: “What follows is a subtle and thrilling love story, at once unsentimental in its realistic assessment of women’s circumstances and almost utopian in its celebration of the freedom that is nonetheless available to them. Céline Sciamma, the writer and director — her previous features include ‘Waterlilies’ and ‘Girlhood’ — practices a feminism without dogma or illusion. She takes as given the constraints facing Héloïse and Marianne and the burdens of inequality that affect Sophie [Luana Bajrami], a young household servant, but resists the temptations of melodrama or didacticism.” Read more…)

Detective Montalbano: Ep. 35 & 36 (Italy, detective series, Luca Zingaretti)

New Documentaries
The Ghost of Peter Sellers (cinema history, biography, Peter Sellers. Rotten Tomatoes: 96%. Metacritic: 74. From Todd McCarthy’s Hollywood Reporter review: “The excruciating experience of making a film that never should have been put before the cameras is revisited in ghastly, jaw-dropping detail in The Ghost of Peter Sellers. While viewers will inwardly gasp and cringe at the unseaworthiness of the comic pirate saga that was produced only because the then-red hot Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan were involved, for Peter Medak, the director of the unreleased 1973 farce and of this unvarnished look at its production 45 years later, this can’t-take-your-eyes-off-it documentary feels like both a mea culpa and a purge of lingering ghosts.” Read more…)

New releases 6/16/20

Top Hits
Wildlife (drama, Criterion collection, Carey Mulligan. Rotten Tomatoes: 94%. Metacritic: 80. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “‘Wildlife’ is a domestic drama both sad and terrifying. The entire cast does exceptional work [(Ed) Oxenbould is an exciting find], but the movie is anchored by [actress Carey] Mulligan, who gives the best performance of any I’ve seen in film this year. The stiff simulation of determined cheer with which Jeanette often speaks has a vehemence to it, particularly in the sibilants she pronounces. Her physical bearing is also striking: In this role, Mulligan can say more by just tensing her neck than most actors can with a lengthy, impassioned soliloquy.” Read more…)

Bad Boys for Life (Action comedy, Will Smith. Rotten Tomatoes: 77%. Metacritic: 59. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “The comedic chemistry of Martin Lawrence and Will Smith has to do a lot of heavy lifting in ‘Bad Boys for Life,’ the third buddy-cop action movie to feature the pair as maverick Miami detectives. They get the job done — delivering a mildly enjoyable movie that committed fans of the franchise will rate a lot higher — but they have to hack through a lot of by-the-numbers plotting and indolent characterizations to get there.” Read more…)

South Mountain (drama, Talia Balsam. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 79. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Glenn Kenny’s Times review: “Talia Balsam is a paragon of acting talent who doesn’t get nearly as many opportunities to fully stand out as she ought. So it’s probable that ‘South Mountain,’ a relatively rare starring vehicle for Balsam, would be worth seeing even if it were not so sharply observed and well-constructed. Fortunately, we are not obliged to split any differences here.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
Bad Boys for Life

New Foreign DVDs
One Cut of the Dead (Japan, horror, Takayuki Hamatsu. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 86. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Elisabeth Vincentelli’s Times review: “The mood is oddly goofy, though, and the cut-free gambit is a lot less grim than in Sam Mendes’s ‘1917,’ which aims for the same breathless effect on a much larger scale and in a much somber way. But the trick is actually more narratively justified in this inventive low-budget Japanese comedy, which quickly turns out to be an uproarious backstage farce about the perils of live television rather than a mere zombie spoof.” Read more…)

Young Ahmed (Belgium, Dardennes Brothers-directed drama, Idir Ben Atti. Rotten Tomatoes: 58%. Metacritic: 65. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “‘Young Ahmed’ is suspenseful and economical, with a clear sense of what’s at stake, but something crucial — perhaps a deeper insight into the character or the contradictions that ensnare him — is missing. This film feels thinner and more schematic than Dardenne masterpieces like ‘Rosetta,’ ‘L’Enfant’ or ‘Two Days, One Night,’ as if the story had been molded from a set of arguments and assumptions rather than chiseled from the hard stone of reality.” Read more…)

15 Years (Israel, gay & lesbian drama, Oded Leopold. Rotten Tomatoes: 60%. From Kristen Yoonsoo Kim’s New York Times review: “Yoav becomes such an oppressive presence that it is difficult to empathize with him. ’15 Years’ is overstuffed with symbolism about his existential woes, but the narrative would have been better served by mirroring the film’s sleek, minimalistic shots, with more understated depictions of anxiety.” Read more…)

New Classic DVDs (pre-1960)

Show Boat (1936, musical, Criterion Collection, Paul Robeson. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. From Frank S. Nugent’s 1936 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “It is, of course, the music that makes ‘Show Boat,’ but James Whale, who directed the picture, has had the perception to hold to its melodic qualities without losing sight of the cinema’s insistent need for action. Here is one of the few musical shows which is not merely a screened concert. The picture has a rhythmic pace and a balanced continuity of movement which is as exceptional as it is welcome.” Read more…)

The Cameraman (1928, Buster Keaton silent comedy, Criterion Collection, Buster Keaton. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%.)

New American Back Catalog DVDs (post-1960)
Secret Ceremony (1968, Joseph Losey-directed drama/thriller, Elizabeth Taylor. Rotten Tomatoes: 45%. From Renata Adler’s 1968 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “‘Secret Ceremony,’ which opened yesterday at the Sutton and New Embassy Theaters, is Joseph Losey’s best film in years—incomparably better than ‘Accident.’ The opulent, lacquered decadence works well this time, with Mia Farrow as a rich, mad orphan, whose mother Elizabeth Taylor pretends to be and, in effect, becomes. Robert Mitchum is good as Miss Farrow’s stepfather, in a relationship as violent and complicated as relationships in movies like ‘Accident’ and ‘Reflections in a Golden Eye’ tend to be.” Read more…)

An Unmarried Woman (1978, drama, Criterion Collection, Jill Clayburgh. Rotten Tomatoes: 91%. From Vincent Canby’s 1978 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “As [actress Jill] Clayburgh plays this scene [wherein her husband tells her that he is leaving her], one has a vision of all the immutable things that can be destroyed in less than a minute, from landscapes and ships and reputations to perfect marriages. The scene is beautifully written by Mr. Mazursky. It is high comedy of a sharp, bitter kind, and Michael Murphy is fine as the weasel husband named Martin, but Miss Clayburgh is nothing less than extraordinary in what is the performance of the year to date.” Read more…)

Connecting Rooms (1970, drama, Bette Davis)

New Documentaries
Rewind (autobiography, child abuse. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 87. From Ben Kenigsberg’s New York Times review: “Early in ‘Rewind,’ a documentary directed by Sasha Joseph Neulinger, the filmmaker’s father, Henry, says that people historically shot home movies to remember happy occasions, not to capture bad ones. That appears to have been the case in the Neulinger clan. But in ‘Rewind,’ the filmmaker draws on an impressive cache of home videotapes to call attention to what lay beyond the frame: a pattern of sexual abuse by multiple members of his extended family.” Read more…)

What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael (biography, movie criticism, culture, Pauline Kael. Rotten Tomatoes: 87%. Metacritic: 68. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “Unlike its subject, the documentary ‘What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael’ merely feints toward criticism. A numbing torrent of largely unidentified film clips and poorly labeled commentary, Rob Garver’s overstuffed tribute to the life and work of America’s best-known — and most written about — film critic is at times barely coherent.” Read more…)

When Lambs Become Lions (wildlife conservation, poaching, ivory trade. Rotten Tomatoes: 94%. Metacritic: 75. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “Ivory poaching is a practice no one could possibly approve of: To further endanger the elephant species by killing individual animals is immoral. Some will tell you this isn’t just conventional wisdom; it’s a bedrock truth. Maddeningly, the ivory trade exists nevertheless. So the documentarian Jon Kasbe gave himself a particularly daunting challenge when he set out to make ‘When Lambs Become Lions,’ a picture about ivory poaching told largely from the perspective of those who do it.” Read more…)

Nova: Cuba’s Cancer Hope (health, politics)

New releases 6/9/20

Top Hits
Emma (Jane Austen adaptation, Anya Taylor-Joy. Rotten Tomatoes: 86%. Metacritic: 71. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “Your first instinct while watching ‘Emma’ may be to lick the screen [or perhaps blanch]. This latest adaptation of Jane Austen has been candied up with the sort of palette you see in certain old-fashioned confectionaries and in fussy Georgian-era restorations. With a rosy blush in her cheeks, her satiny ribbons and bows, Emma [Anya Taylor-Joy] herself looks as lovingly adorned and tempting as a Christmas delectable, though whether she bears any relation to Austen’s Emma is another matter.” Read more…)

Call of the Wild (wilderness adventure, Harrison Ford. Rotten Tomatoes: 61%. Metacritic: 47. From Ben Kenigsberg’s New York Times review: “’The Call of the Wild,’ Jack London’s gripping 1903 novel, tells the story of a California house dog who discovers his inner wolf. The latest movie adaptation, directed by Chris Sanders, is, strictly speaking, the saga of a human performer who channels his inner pooch. Buck, the heroic St. Bernard-Scotch shepherd mix of the book, is now a computer-generated creation.” Read more…)

Vivarium (thriller, Jesse Eisenberg. Rotten Tomatoes: 72%. Metacritic: 64. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “Directed by Lorcan Finnegan, from a script by Garret Shanley, “Vivarium” depicts Gemma and Tom becoming increasingly unglued, tormented by a tidy little boy who can speak in each of their voices. He has other irritating traits, too. The movie expands upon its echoes of the classic TV series “The Prisoner” with admirable purposefulness.” Read more…)

1BR (thriller, Nicole Brydon Bloom. Rotten Tomatoes: 84%. Metacritic: 57. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “Drawing on a fascination with cults and utopian communities, the director and writer, David Marmor, has created a mildly entertaining survival story whose depiction of psychological indoctrination far outstrips its generic dips into torture.” Read more…)

Premature (drama/romance, Zora Howard. Rotten Tomatoes: 94%. Metacritic: 81. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ Times review: “‘Premature’ isn’t original, but it feels that way. A tender, naturalistic romance set in Harlem, this sophomore feature from Rashaad Ernesto Green takes a slight story and packs it with attitude and feeling. Every moment rings true, the vividly textured locations and knockabout relationships more visited than created.” Read more…)

Standing Up, Falling Down (comedy/drama, Billy Crystal. Rotten Tomatoes: 85%. Metacritic: 70. From Michael Rechstaffen’s Los Angeles Times review: “A throwback buddy movie that would have been no stranger to 1980s cinemas, Matt Ratner’s ‘Standing Up, Falling Down’ shows how a well-worn premise need not impact enjoyment when there’s a terrific cast and crisp writing at your disposal.” Read more…)

Ride Like a Girl (bio/drama/sport, Teresa Palmer. Rotten Tomatoes: 61%. Metacritic: 44. From John DeFore’s Hollywood Reporter review: “A sense of inevitability hovers over ‘Ride Like a Girl,’ despite the film hinging on an underdog theme: It’s about one of the family’s daughters, after all, and girls don’t win the Melbourne Cup. Making her debut as director with a true story from her native Australia, actor Rachel Griffiths gives the pic a workmanlike, generic feel that would play well on family-centric cable channels. Horse lovers will be the moviegoers most vulnerable to its modest charms.” Read more…)

Buffaloed (comedy, Zoe Deutsch. Rotten Tomatoes: 77%. Metacritic: 61. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ Times review: “Simultaneously rowdy and slick, ‘Buffaloed’ is exuberantly paced and entirely dependent on [actress Zoey] Deutch’s moxie and pell-mell performance. Brian Sacca’s script is zippily entertaining as Peg starts her own shop and hires a misfit crew of money-grabbers whose success ignites an interagency war.” Read more…)

Driveways (drama, Brian Dennehy. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 83. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ Times review: “Slow and sweet and unassuming, ‘Driveways,’ the second feature from the Korean-American director Andrew Ahn, tackles major themes in a minor key. And with little to mark its quiet accumulation of life-changing events, this small-town character study is perpetually in danger of drifting past without pulling you in. Which would be a shame, as its performances are among the most affecting I’ve seen in quite a while.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
The Lodge (horror, Richard Armitage. Rotten Tomatoes: 74%. Metacritic: 64. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “You’ll want nothing so much as a woolly sweater when you see ‘The Lodge,’ a film so wintry in tone and setting that no movie-theater thermostat will banish its chill. Even so, the directors, Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala [the Austrian pair who made ‘Goodnight Mommy’ in 2015], have coaxed only a disappointingly timorous horrorscape from that marvelously glacial mood. There’s no denying their competence — they have style to burn — and their cinematographer, Thimios Bakatakis, is a wonder at painting dark and dread-filled interiors and ominously snow-blanketed surroundings.” Read more…)

Call of the Wild

New Foreign DVDs
My 20th Century (Hungary, 1989, comedy/drama, Dorota Segda. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. From J. Hoberman’s New York Times review upon the film’s re-release last year: “‘My 20th Century’ — a first feature by Ildiko Enyedi, made in the waning days of Hungarian Communism — looked back to the last fin-de-siècle even as it heralded a new beginning. The movie, revived at the Museum of the Moving Image in a shimmering new digital restoration, was among the most acclaimed debuts of its day, winner of the Camera d’Or for best first film at the same 1989 Cannes Film Festival where another debut, Steven Soderbergh’s ‘Sex, Lies, and Videotape,’ won the Palme d’Or. Vincent Canby, who reviewed ‘My 20th Century’ in The New York Times [and later named it as one of the 10 best movies of 1990], called it ‘wondrous’ and ‘even more impressive when one realizes that it is the first feature by Miss Enyedi.’” Read more…)

The Young Karl Marx (German, bio-pic, August Diehl. Rotten Tomatoes: 60%. Metacritic: 62. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “The history of the world may be the history of class struggle, but the history of class struggle — at least the decisive chapter chronicled in ‘The Young Karl Marx’ — turns out to be a buddy movie. Marx [August Diehl], a scruffy journalist, and his sidekick Friedrich Engels [Stefan Konarske], a renegade rich kid, meet in Cologne, Germany, in 1844 and overcome some initial wariness by bonding over their shared contempt for the Young Hegelians… By the time the revolutions of 1848 are ready to happen, Marx and Engels are the Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of the European left, rock stars for an age of revolution. Scrupulously faithful to the biographical record, ‘The Young Karl Marx,’ directed by Raoul Peck [from a script he wrote with Pascal Bonitzer], is both intellectually serious and engagingly free-spirited.” Read more…)

New British DVDs
Pool of London (1951, Basil Dearden-directed British film noir, Earl Cameron. From Bosley Crowther’s 1951 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Produced by Michael Balcon and directed by Basil Dearden with a sharpness in action and photography that suggests actuality, ‘Pool of London’ has the flavor of the dockside, or saloons and cheap music halls, and it possesses the movement and vigor of a well-constructed melodrama that thrives on ‘chase.’ As it turns, it is stronger in action, thanks to direction, to the script and to an excellent performance by Mr. Colleano, who is at his best when he is frightened and on the run.” Read more…)

New Documentaries
Advocate (human rights, Israel/Palestine, Lea Tsemel. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 77. From Ben Kenigsberg’s New York Times review: “The lawyer Lea Tsemel is a contentious figure in Israel. She is known for representing Palestinian defendants, especially in cases in which Israeli sentiment appears starkly stacked against her, such as those that involve violent attacks. Depending on your perspective, Tsemel is either a principled believer in the concept of presumed innocence or an apologist for bloodshed. To judge from ‘Advocate,’ an engrossing, largely pro-Tsemel profile from Rachel Leah Jones and Philippe Bellaïche, the truth may be a little of each.” Read more…)

Rudeboy: The Story of Trojan Records (reggae, music, Jamaican & British culture. From Stephen Dalton’s Hollywood Reporter review: “Commissioned by Trojan’s current parent company BMG to commemorate the label’s 50th anniversary, ‘Rudeboy’ is a visually slick, celebratory affair directed by Nicolas Jack Davies, previously best known for making longform videos with the folk-pop band Mumford and Sons. Aimed squarely at a general audience, the film contains little that fans of the label, or reggae music in general, will not already know. All the same, this love letter to one of Britain’s first multicultural pop movements is an effortlessly enjoyable viewing experience with a rich, sunny, consistently uplifting soundtrack.” Read more…)

New releases 3/24-5/26/20

Top Hits
The Gentlemen (action comedy, Matthew McConaughey. Rotten Tomatoes: 75%. Metacritic: 51.)
Little Women (Louisa May Alcott adaptation, Saiorse Ronan. Rotten Tomatoes: 95%. Metacritic: 91.)
Birds of Prey (comic book action, Margot Robbie. Rotten Tomatoes: 78%. Metacritic: 60.)
The Invisible Man (psychological thriller, Elisabeth Moss. Rotten Tomatoes: 92%. Metacritic: 72.)
Onward (Pixar animated feature, Chris Pratt [voice]. Rotten Tomatoes: 88%. Metacritic: 61.)
Sonic the Hedgehog (family action adventure, Jim Carrey. Rotten Tomatoes: 64%. Metacritic: 47.)
Ordinary Love (drama/romance, Liam Neeson. Rotten Tomatoes: 93%. Metacritic: 73.)
Greed (comedy/drama, Steve Coogan. Rotten Tomatoes: 48%. Metacritic: 52.)
The Photograph (drama/romance, LaKeith Stansfield. Rotten Tomatoes: 74%. Metacritic: 62.)
Like A Boss (comedy, Tiffany Haddish. Rotten Tomatoes: 21%. Metacritic: 33.)
The Assistant (drama, Julia Garner. Rotten Tomatoes: 91%. Metacritic: 79.)

Gretel & Hansel (fantasy/horror, Sophia Lillis. Rotten Tomatoes: 64%. Metacritic: 64.)
Every Secret Thing (mystery/drama, Diane Lane. Rotten Tomatoes: 32%. Metacritic: 46.)
Underwater (sci-fi thriller, Kristen Stewart. Rotten Tomatoes: 48%. Metacritic: 48.)
Guns Akimbo (action comedy, Daniel Radcliffe. Rotten Tomatoes: 52%. Metacritic: 43.)
The Way Back (drama, Ben Affleck. Rotten Tomatoes: 84%. Metacritic: 68.)
Cats (acclaimed musical, James Corden. Rotten Tomatoes: 21%. Metacritic: 32.)
Just Mercy (true-life drama, Michael B. Jordan. Rotten Tomatoes: 83%. Metacritic: 68.)

Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker (action/sci-fi, John Boyega. Rotten Tomatoes: 52%. Metacritic: 53.)
Sadie (drama, Sophia Mitri Schloss. Rotten Tomatoes: 76%. Metacritic: 62.)

New Blu-Ray
Emma (Jane Austen adaptation, Anya Taylor-Joy. Rotten Tomatoes: 86%. Metacritic: 71.)
Wildlife (drama, Carey Mulligan. Rotten Tomatoes: 94%. Metacritic: 80.)
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Vivarium
The Gentlemen
Birds of Prey
Onward
Sonic the Hedgehog
The Invisible Man

New Foreign DVDs
The Traitor (Italy, Mafia drama, Pierfrancesco Favino. Rotten Tomatoes: 82%. Metacritic: 64.)

End of the Century (Spain, gay romance, Juan Barberini. Rotten Tomatoes: 95%. Metacritic: 80.)
Duet for Cannibals (Sweden, directed by Susan Sontag, psychological serio-comedy, Adriana Asti. Rotten Tomatoes: 80%.)

New Classic DVDs (pre-1960)
Dance, Girl, Dance (1940, Criterion Collection, feminist backstage melodrama, Lucille Ball. Rotten Tomatoes: 80.)
The Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933, horror classic, Fay Wray)

New American Back Catalog DVDs (post-1960)
The Great Escape (1963, war drama, Criterion Collection, Steve McQueen. Rotten Tomatoes: 94%. Metacritic: 86.)

Jenny (1969, drama/romance, Marlo Thomas, Alan Alda)
Scorsese Shorts (1963-74, short films by Martin Scorsese)

New Documentaries
Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson & The Band (music,bio, The Band. Rotten Tomatoes: 81%. Metacritic: 62.)
Rembrandt’s J’Accuse (dir. by Peter Greenaway, history, art history. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 76.)
I Wish I Knew (China, history, urbanism. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 83.)
Amazon Empire: The Rise & Reign of Jeff Bezos (commerce, bio, monoply, economics, bio)
The Venerable W (dir. by Barbet Schroder, human rights, Myanmar, genocide. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 79.)

What’s My Name: Muhammad Ali (sports, bio, Muhammad Ali. Rotten Tomatoes: 95%. Metacritic: 85.)
Citizen K (Russian politics, corruption, Vladimir Putin, Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Rotten Tomatoes: 95%. Metacritic: 76.)

New releases 3/17/20

Top Hits
Jumanji: Next Level (family adventure/comedy, Dwayne Johnson. Rotten Tomatoes: 71%. Metacritic: 58. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “It’s perhaps unfair to call this a turkey. It’s got some sweet moments, and the cast, as it did in the previous picture, enjoys itself at least semi-infectiously. But the action sequences are lifeless; the lessons valid but arguably stale; and the trimmings, mere bloat.” Read more…)

Black Christmas (horror, Imogen Poots. Rotten Tomatoes: 38%. Metacritic: 49. From Ben Kenigsberg’s New York Times review: “If all you wanted for Christmas was a smarter Black Christmas,’ you are in luck. The director Sophia Takal, who wrote the screenplay with the film critic April Wolfe, has taken the 1974 Canadian sorority slasher standard — remade once before, in 2006 — and run with it, emerging with a movie significantly different in style and tone from its source. This ‘Black Christmas’ speaks to an era of campus curriculum debates and a national reckoning over the reporting of sexual assault.” Read more…)

Superman: Red Son (unrated animated feature, Jason Isaacs [voice]. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%.)

New Blu-Ray
Jumanji: Next Level

New Classic DVDs (pre-1960)
The Intrigue (1916, silent film w/screenplay by pioneering women filmmaker Julia Crawford Ivers)
Alice Guy Blaché Vol. 1: The Gaumont Years (pioneering woman filmmaker)
Alice Guy Blaché Vol. 2: The Solax Years (pioneering woman filmmaker)

New TV
Modern Family: Season 7 (comedy, Ed O’Neill)

New Documentaries
Celebration: Yves St. Laurent—The Final Show (fashion, bio, personality. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 79. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Glenn Kenny’s Times review: “Early in this century, the documentary director Olivier Meyrou, at the invitation of Pierre Bergé, spent two and a half years filming the couturier Yves Saint Laurent and his employees and associates. Bergé, of course, was one of them: Saint Laurent’s longtime business manager, hard-nosed where Saint Laurent was dreamy, is a central figure in ‘Celebration,’ which chronicles the creation of what would be Saint Laurent’s final collection.” Read more…)

New releases 3/10/20

Top Hits
Uncut Gems (crime/drama, Adam Sandler. Rotten Tomatoes: 92%. Metacritic: 90. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Manohla Dargis’ Times review: “‘Uncut Gems,’ the latest from the brothers Josh and Benny Safdie, blows in like a Category 4 hurricane. It’s a tumult of sensory extremes, of images and sounds, lurching shapes, braying voices, intensities of feeling and calculated craziness. So, naturally it stars — why not? — Adam Sandler as a cheat, liar, loving dad, bad husband, jealous lover and compulsive gambler who can’t stop, won’t stop acting the fool. The Safdies, two of the more playfully inventive filmmakers working in American cinema, won’t stop, either, which makes ‘Uncut Gems’ fun if also wearying and at times annoying.” Read more…)

Charlie’s Angels (action remake, Kristen Stewart. Rotten Tomatoes: 52%. Metacritic: 52. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “In the interest of due diligence, I recently reread my review from 2000 of the first big-screen ‘Charlie’s Angels.’ I opened that appraisal with a fast takedown and a sincerely posed question: ‘Of course, it’s terrible — but did it have to be this bad?’ Two decades later, I hopefully watched the new big-screen version of ‘Charlie’s Angels,’ which turns out to be another egregious stinker. Perhaps that isn’t a surprise, though it serves as another reminder that you can’t overturn the master’s house simply by rearranging the furniture. You need to burn the whole thing down.” Read more…)

Bombshell (drama, Nicole Kidman. Rotten Tomatoes: 70%. Metacritic: 64. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “Bright and bouncy until it turns grim, ‘Bombshell’ is a fictionalized account of the women who brought down Roger Ailes, the chairman and chief executive of Fox News. Helped bring him down is probably more accurate given that he was ousted by Rupert Murdoch, who founded Fox News in 1996 before handing the reins to Ailes. Since then, the network has become a ratings powerhouse and hothouse of right-wing talking points, a sea of white faces and dolled-up women in skirts and high heels. Ailes is now gone but the talking points, high ratings, skirts and heels remain.” Read more…)

The Wolf Hour (thriller, Naomi Watts. Rotten Tomatoes: 50%. Metacritic: 42. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “More than anything, ‘The Wolf Hour’ suggests an unfinished ‘Twilight Zone’ episode, one that teases an explosive, possibly supernatural payoff before fizzling out. Set in the South Bronx in the sweltering summer of 1977, this psychological drama centers on June [Naomi Watts], an agoraphobic writer four years into spending a hefty advance for her second novel. Tormented by trauma that’s somehow linked to her celebrated debut, June smokes and paces, her whole body crackling with distress.” Read more…)

Spies In Disguise (animated feature, Will Smith [voice]. Rotten Tomatoes: 75%. Metacritic: 54. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “Will Smith voices an ‘is there anything he can’t do?’ secret agent whose massive skills are dwarfed by his humongous ego in ‘Spies in Disguise,’ a colorful but not very eye-opening animated offering from Blue Sky, the studio that brought us the ‘Ice Age’ diversions. The character is an amiable-to-the-point-of-toothless sendup of Smith’s celebrity persona and many of the roles he’s played.” Read more…)

Little Joe (horror/sci-fi, Emily Beecham. Rotten Tomatoes: 66%. Metacritic: 60. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “Directed by the Austrian filmmaker Jessica Hausner with a detachment more professorial than wry, ‘Little Joe’ manages to exert a peculiar pull in spite of being constructed with material you’ve likely seen elsewhere.” Read more…)

Ne Zha (animated feature. Rotten Tomatoes: 87%. Metacritic: 54. From Ben Kenigsberg’s New York Times review: “‘Ne Zha,’ a computer-animated feature of bright hues, hectic action and only occasional charm, has already been a huge hit in China, where the title character is a familiar figure from mythology, literature, television and other films. The movie [directed by Jiao Zi], which assumes a passing acquaintance with that history — and has been trumpeted in its home country for its elaborate effects — offers an origin story for the boy hero.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
Bombshell
Uncut Gems

New TV
The Affair: Season 5 (drama, Dominic West. Rotten Tomatoes: 88%. Metacritic: 77.)

New Documentaries
Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project (media, history, personality, bio. Rotten Tomatoes: 97%. Metacritic: 75. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Glenn Kenny’s Times review: “Can one become a historian merely by pressing a button? The documentary ‘Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project’ says yes. It also demonstrates that pressing a button is not such a mere thing.” Read more…)

5B (health care, AIDS crisis, compassion, 1st AID ward. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 69.)
Lifeline: Clyfford Still (art, bio, abstract expressionism)

New releases 3/3/20

Top Hits
Dark Waters (true life corporate crime thriller, Mark Ruffalo. Rotten Tomatoes: 90%. Metacritic: 72. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “Outrage mixes with despair in ‘Dark Waters,’ an unsettling, slow-drip thriller about big business and the people who become its collateral damage. It’s a fictional take on a true, ghastly story about a synthetic polymer that was discovered by a chemist at DuPont, which branded it Teflon.” Read more…)

Playmobil the Movie (animated feature, Adam Lambert [voice]. Rotten Tomatoes: 17%. Metacritic: 25. From Peter Bradshaw’s Guardian review: “The Lego Movie franchise has been one of the funniest, smartest things in the cinema and even the Angry Birds movies were pretty good – so hopes were counterintuitively pretty high for ‘Playmobil: The Movie.’ Disappointingly, it is a borderline dopey, sentimental children’s adventure mostly without the wit and spark that converted grownups and kids to the Lego films.” Read more…)

Queen & Slim (crime/romance, Daniel Kaluuya. Rotten Tomatoes: 82%. Metacritic: 74. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “‘Queen & Slim’ is full of violence and danger, but it isn’t a hectic, plot-driven caper. Its mood is dreamy, sometimes almost languorous, at least as invested in the aesthetics of life on the run as it is in the politics of black lives. Not that the two are separable. The image of Queen and Slim that is reproduced on protest T-shirts and murals shows them striking stylized poses in borrowed clothes, leaning against the vintage Pontiac that carries them on the second half of their journey.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
Queen & Slim
Dark Waters

New Foreign
By the Grace of God (France, crime/drama based on pedophile priests controversy, Melvil Poupaud. Rotten Tomatoes: 96%. Metacritic: 75. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Glenn Kenny’s Times review: “Ozon’s approach in ‘By the Grace of God’ is not plain, but it is straightforward. The movie is not replete with what you’d call stylistic flourishes — although when one character ascends a spiral staircase, Ozon doesn’t restrain himself from doing as he always does in this situation, which is to include an overhead shot of the structure. And Ozon exerts his command of cinematic language throughout, in ways that are less immediately obvious. He crafts a film that is engrossing from the start, while building to something greater and more emotionally encompassing.” Read more…)

Max & The Junkmen (France, 1971, crime/romance, Michel Piccoli. From A.O. Scott’s 2012 New York Times review on the film’s belated American opening [requires log-in]: “Shot [by René Mathelin] in harsh, grainy color in grubby, workaday locations in and around Paris, ‘Max et les Ferrailleurs,’ adapted from a novel by Claude Néron, has the matter-of-fact look and careful pace of a precinct-house procedural. The film’s central crime is the robbery of a bank branch by a gang of small-timers, and most of the cops are beleaguered, cynical bureaucrats.” Read more…)

Line of Demarcation (France, 1966, French occupation, Jean Seberg)

New British DVDs
Perfect Friday (1971, crime/comedy, Ursula Andress. From Vincent Canby’s 1970 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “In ‘Perfect Friday,’ [director Peter] Hall and his script writers observe all the conventions of the genre, up to and including the final obligatory twist that must always be a variation on failure. It’s this obligation to fail that makes the caper movie, ultimately, so tiresome. Without it, the movie is left open-ended, without shape, but with it, the movie can only hope to be a basic exercise.Within these very important limitations, Mr. Hall has made an intelligent and quietly funny film about three eccentrics, who are as attractively written as they are played.” Read more…)

New Documentaries
Scream, Queen: My Nightmare on Elm Street (bio, film history, gay & lesbian, Mark Patton. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 61. From Michael Ordoña’s Los Angeles Times review: “Horror movies usually end with the hero facing down the big, bad demon that has haunted him or her for the previous 90 minutes. For ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge’ star Mark Patton, it took 30 years, but that catharsis finally happened in real life. The new documentary ‘Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street,’ directed by Roman Chimienti and Tyler Jensen, was there.” Read more…)

New releases 2/25/20

Top Hits
Frozen II (Disney animated feature, Kristen Bell [voice]. Rotten Tomatoes: 77%. Metacritic: 64. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “The ensuing adventure is lively, amusing and predictably predictable with revelations, reconciliations and some nebulous politics for the grown-ups. It’s never surprising, yet its bursts of pictorial imagination — snowflakes that streak like shooting stars — keep you engaged, as do Elsa and Anna, who still aren’t waiting for life to happen. They’re searching, not settled, both active and reactive, which even today makes them female-character outliers on the big screen.” Read more…)

Daniel Isn’t Real (horror, Patrick Schwarzenegger. Rotten Tomatoes: 81%. Metacritic: 61. From Teo Bugbee’s New York Times review: “If the thriller ‘Daniel Isn’t Real’ were a recipe, it would call for unappealing ingredients — psychiatric stereotypes, jumpy editing, a mopey protagonist — simmered together until they crackle, pop and blister. What starts as a mediocre psychological thriller finishes as a surprisingly toothsome and creative horror film, complete with creature features and journeys into the abyss.” Read more…)

Knives Out (murder mystery, Daniel Craig. Rotten Tomatoes: 97%. Metacritic: 82. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review; “A sleek game of cat and mouse, ‘Knives Out’ begins the hunt with a mysterious pool of blood and ends, well, telling wouldn’t be fair. The press screening that I attended was preceded by a brief video in which the writer and director Rian Johnson asked viewers not to spill the movie’s secrets. The entreaty suggests how seriously Johnson takes his own cleverly deployed twists and the challenges of keeping ostensible spoilers under wraps. The twists are kinked and amusing, although far less striking than the obvious pleasure he had making this exactingly machined puzzle box.” Read more…)

Color Out of Space (H.P. Lovecraft horror/sci-fi, Nicolas Cage. Rotten Tomatoes: 77%. Metacritic: 64. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ Times review: “‘Color Out of Space,’ apparently, is blindingly bright and magnificently malevolent. In this bonkers yet weirdly beautiful science fiction-horror hybrid [directed, with retro panache, by the great Richard Stanley], the light is a throbbing lilac and blood is Schiaparelli pink. And if I tell you that Nicolas Cage’s eyeballs will turn into ultraviolet high-beams, then you’ll know immediately if you’re in or out. Lovers of aberrant, gooey B-movies will be all in.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
Frozen II
Knives Out

New British
Years and Years (mini-series, drama, Emma Thompson. Rotten Tomatoes: 89%. Metacritic: 78. From James Poniewozik’s New York Times television review: “Ever feel like there’s too much happening? That the news is out of control? That there’s barely time to process one outrage before another replaces it, leaving just the faint memory and a little bit of scar tissue from the previous Worst Thing to Ever Happen? ‘Years and Years’ is not the escape for you. The HBO limited series, from the British writer Russell T Davies, is about a lot of ideas: runaway technology, European nationalism, the failure of liberal democracy. But its overarching idea, driven home by its pell-mell narrative, is, ‘Man, there’s a lot of crazy stuff going on these days.’” Read more…)

Ray & Liz (drama, Richard Ashton. Rotten Tomatoes: 96%. Metacritic: 81. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “Written and directed by the artist Richard Billingham, ‘Ray & Liz’ is an extension of his work as a photographer, which subsists largely of portraits of his own family. This is a fiction film, with actors playing all the real-life characters, but Billingham has crafted it with a documentary concern for detail. Ray’s life in his lonely room is the frame for two extended flashback sequences.” Read more…)

New TV
Yellowstone: Season 1 (western series, Kevin Costner. Rotten Tomatoes: 69%. Metacritic: 54. From James Poniewozik’s New York Times television review: “The surface layer of ‘Yellowstone’ is part modern-day Western, part family business saga — a kind of cowboy ‘Dynasty’ with some dark-cable ambitions. Standing atop it is the flinty personage of John Dutton [Kevin Costner, in ornery-cuss mode], the owner of Yellowstone Ranch, an expanse of grass, hills and testosterone the size of Rhode Island.” Read more…)

New releases 2/18/20

Top Hits
Jojo Rabbit (satire, Roman Griffin Davis. Rotten Tomatoes: 80%. Metacritic: 58. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “The make-believe Hitler is somehow both the most outlandish and the most realistic thing about ‘Jojo Rabbit,’ Taika Waititi’s new film. Based on the novel ‘Caging Skies’ by Christine Leunens — and featuring Waititi himself as Johannes’s goofball fantasy-Führer — the movie filters the banality and evil of the Third Reich through the consciousness of a smart, sensitive, basically ordinary German child. Veering from farce to sentimentality, infused throughout with the anarchic pop humanism Waititi has brought to projects as various as ‘Hunt for the Wilderpeople’ and ‘Thor: Ragnarok,’ it risks going wrong in a dozen different ways and manages to avoid at least half of them.” Read more…)

Midway (WWII war film, Ed Skrein. Rotten Tomatoes: 42%. Metacritic: 47. From Ben Kenigsberg’s New York Times review: “The film belongs to a particular lineage of World War II picture [‘Tora! Tora! Tora!’ and the 1976 ‘Midway’] that — unlike, say, Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dunkirk’ — prioritizes scope over individual drama. To cram all the complexities of geography and who was where when into less than two and a half hours, ‘Midway’ resorts to having its characters converse in exposition, sacrificing one form of verisimilitude for another.” Read more…)

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (Mr. Rogers bio-pic, Tom Hanks. Rotten Tomatoes: 95%. Metacritic: 80. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “‘A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood’ celebrates the virtues of patient listening, gentleness and the honest expression of feelings. It’s about how a man who has devoted his life to being kind helps a man with a professional investment in skepticism to become a little nicer. The appeal of such a movie at the present moment is obvious enough, and so perhaps are the risks. This modest, quiet story — based on a magazine article published more than 20 years ago — could easily have turned into something preachy, sentimental and overstated.” Read more…)

21 Bridges (crime/action, Chadwick Boseman. Rotten Tomatoes: 51%. Metacritic: 51. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “Hedging its bets, the manhunt movie ’21 Bridges’ both flatters and reviles the police. On the one hand, its somber hero, a remorseless homicide detective named Davis [Chadwick Boseman], is the closest thing the N.Y.P.D. has to a perp whisperer. On the other, Davis manages to shoot almost one suspect a month. Unapologetic about his kill rate, he explains to Internal Affairs that they all deserved their fates, so let’s move on, shall we?” Read more…)

Frankie (romance, Isabelle Huppert. Rotten Tomatoes: 58%. Metacritic: 56. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “The first shot in ‘Frankie,’ Ira Sachs’s new film, is an almost painterly study in color, like something by Hockney or Cézanne. The blue of a swimming pool, a spray of dense green foliage shrouding the creamy stones of the building [villa? hotel?] from which a woman emerges, her orange robe matching the tint of her hair. Leisure and languor, with a hint of intrigue, all of it beautifully rendered in Rui Poças’s mellow cinematography. Why set a movie in paradise unless you’re going to bring in some trouble?” Read more…)

Snatchers (horror/comedy, Mary Nepi. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%.)

New Blu-Ray
Jojo Rabbit
Midway

New Classic DVDs (pre-1960)
Bullfighter & The Lady (1951, drama/romance, Robert Stack. From Bosley Crowther’s 1951 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Hard on the heels of ‘The Brave Bulls,’ Robert Rossen’s film which opened here last week and is the most powerful picture ever fashioned by an American producer on bull-fighting, comes ‘The Bull-fighter and the Lady,’ a blissfully fanciful romance that scans more or less the same area. It opened at the Capitol yesterday.By comparison with ‘The Brave Bulls,’ this latest arrival might be said to bear just about the same relation as do the works of Burt Standish to those of Ernest Hemingway.” Read more…)

New British
Sanditon (mini-series based on unfinished last Jane Austen novel, Rose Williams. Rotten Tomatoes: 64%. Metacritic: 71.)

New TV
The Twilight Zone: Season 1 (suspense/supernatural series reboot, hosted by Jordan Peele. Rotten Tomatoes: 73%. Metacritic: 61. From James Poniewozik’s New York Times television review: “When Rod Serling opened ‘The Twilight Zone’ for business in 1959, it was a single, specific location. He defined it, in his signature Professor Spooky voice-over, as a place between light and shadow, science and superstition — you know the drill. But the twilight zone was also a safe space, an underground meeting place to talk about things you couldn’t talk about on TV. Serling, a playwright harried by network censors in the 1950s, saw that he could tell unsettling stories — about prejudice, conformity, human frailty — if he dressed them in monster masks and alien goo… So anyone remaking the series in 2019 has to answer, not just what is ‘The Twilight Zone’ 60 years later, but where is it? In an age when there’s little you can’t show on TV, where are the forbidden zones?” Read more…)

New Gay & Lesbian
Devil’s Path (LGBT thriller, J.D. Scalzo. Rotten Tomatoes: 57%.)

New releases 2/11/20

Top Hits
Ford V Ferrari (true life drama.action, Matt Damon. Rotten Tomatoes: 92%. Metacritic: 81. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “Quick: Who won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966? If you know the answer without Googling, then I probably don’t have to sell you on ‘Ford v Ferrari,’ James Mangold’s nimble and crafty reconstruction of a storied moment in the annals of auto racing. You will probably go in prepared to spot torque differentials and historical discrepancies that escaped my notice. [Please let me know what you find.] If, on the other hand, you are [like me] a bit of a motor-sport ignoramus, then you might want to stay away from web-search spoilers and let the film surprise you. It is, all in all, a pleasant surprise.” Read more…)

Doctor Sleep (Stephen King “The Shining” sequel, Ewan McGregor. Rotten Tomatoes: 98%. Metacritic: 80. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “‘Doctor Sleep,’ Mike Flanagan’s adaptation of the novel by Stephen King, catches up with Danny Torrance, who as a child was terrorized by demons and his own father at a spooky Rocky Mountain hotel. That was in ‘The Shining,’ published by King in 1977 and filmed by Stanley Kubrick in a movie released in 1980. The new film, depending on how you look at it, is a sequel, an update, a corrective or a disaster. King was never a fan of Kubrick’s cold, meticulous gothic, which has nonetheless gathered a sturdy cult following. Flanagan, while hewing more closely to the novelist’s ideas about evil, innocence and addiction, pays tribute to some of Kubrick’s visual signatures.” Read more…)

Wild Nights with Emily (comedy, Molly Shannon. Rotten Tomatoes: 90%. Metacritic: 74. From Teo Bugbee’s New York Times review: “In Madeleine Olnek’s ‘Wild Nights With Emily,’ the life and work of Emily Dickinson are subject to a delightfully droll — even gay — reinterpretation. For believers in the legend of the hermetic poet who never left her bedroom, it may come as a surprise that the Emily [Molly Shannon] of Olnek’s film is not a melancholic recluse, but the heroine of a romantic comedy. Olnek’s version of events is supported by studies of Dickinson’s poems which revealed that references to possible lovers were covered up.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
Ford V Ferrari
Roma

New Foreign DVDs
Roma (Mexico, 2018, drama, Oscar winner, Yalitza Aparicio. Rotten Tomatoes: 96%. Metacritic: 96. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Manohla Dargis’ Times review: “In ‘Roma,’ the Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón uses a large canvas to tell the story of lives that some might think small. A personal epic set in Mexico City in the early 1970s, it centers on a young indigenous woman who works as a maid for a middle-class white family that’s falling apart. Cuarón uses one household on one street to open up a world, working on a panoramic scale often reserved for war stories, but with the sensibility of a personal diarist. It’s an expansive, emotional portrait of life buffeted by violent forces, and a masterpiece.” Read more…)

First Love (Japan, martial arts, Shota Sometani. Rotten Tomatoes: 97%. Metacritic: 76. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Glenn Kenny’s Times review: “The ultra-prolific director Takashi Miike already had about 30 films under his belt at the end of the 1990s, when the one-two punch of the art-horror date picture ‘Audition’ and the ultraviolent art-horror gangster movie ‘Dead or Alive’ wowed Western audiences. Now he’s beyond his 100th movie. Not all of his efforts make it to the States but his latest, ‘First Love,’ demonstrates that his energy and inventiveness are still intact.” Read more…)

La Barraca (Mexico, 1945, drama, Domingo Soler)

New Documentaries
What You Gonna Do When the World’s on Fire (racial justice. Rotten Tomatoes: 87%. Metacritic: 68. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Ben Kenigsberg’s Times review: “In ‘The Other Side,’ the Italian-born filmmaker Roberto Minervini, who makes movies that exist on the edge of the documentary genre, presented an alarming portrait of life on the margins of Louisiana. He embedded with drug addicts and anti-government extremists who seemed to exist apart from society at large, perhaps oblivious even to the camera’s presence. Viewed one way, ‘What You Gonna Do When the World’s on Fire?’ is a companion piece. Filmed largely in New Orleans in 2017 — with brief detours to Baton Rouge and Jackson, Miss. — it offers an urban-Louisiana counterpart to the rural setting of ‘The Other Side.’ Its subjects are African-American, unlike the men and women of ‘The Other Side,’ who were white.” Read more…)

Toxic Beauty (chemicals, makeup, health. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%.)
McCarthy (bio, politics, Joseph McCarthy)