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)

New releases 2/4/20

Top Hits
The Nightingale (adventure/thriller, Aisling Franciosi. Rotten Tomatoes: 87%. Metacritic: 77. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “Jennifer Kent, who wrote and directed this rigorous, relentless film, surveys this landscape with clear-eyed fury. ‘The Nightingale’ is a revenge story, one that draws on familiar Victorian Gothic and Hollywood western tropes. It’s the tale of a wronged woman, and of white men in hostile territory. Its themes are justice, innocence and the boundary between barbarism and decency. But to say that Kent offers a revisionist take on traditional genres would be like calling ‘The Babadook,’ her terrifying debut feature, a revisionist children’s movie. Part of her brilliance as a filmmaker lies in her mastery of the cinematic canons she subjects to thorough critical scourging.
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The Good Liar (suspense drama, Helen Mirren & Ian McKellen. Rotten Tomatoes: 64%. Metacritic: 55. From Ben Kenigsberg’s New York Times review: “‘The Good Liar’ requires something stricter than a standard spoiler warning. To avoid ruining the film, you should not only stop reading this review, but also pass on seeing the movie, which tips its hand practically from the moment the main characters meet.” Read more…)

Give Me Liberty (comedy, Chris Galust. Rotten Tomatoes: 91%. Metacritic: 82. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Manohla Dargis’ Times review: “‘Give Me Liberty’ is a jolt of a movie, at once kinetic and controlled. It’s an anarchic deadpan comedy that evolves into a romance just around the time the story explodes. It has moments of unembellished realism as well as a fictional story line that runs through the bedlam.” Read more…)

Last Christmas (romantic comedy, Emilia Clarke. Rotten Tomatoes: 47%. Metacritic: 50. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “[Paul] Feig is an adroit director of comedy and he gives ‘Last Christmas’ some fizz now and again. But he’s stymied by the romance and the gimmick, and the pairing of [Emilia] Clarke and [Henry] Golding proves an impossible hurdle, making even the seemingly simplest moments — an intimate walk, a heartfelt talk — feel badly labored.” Read more…)

Playing With Fire (family comedy, John Cena. Rotten Tomatoes: 21%. Metacritic: 24. From Teo Bugbee’s New York Times review: “The hero of ‘Playing With Fire,’ Jake Carson (John Cena), is forever pointing out that he’s not a firefighter. He’s a smokejumper, and with the help of his quirky crew, played by John Leguizamo and Keegan-Michael Key, Jake drops from helicopters to put out forest fires. With single-minded focus, he seeks out the most dangerous blazes. Unfortunately, the flat-footed family comedy around him fails to produce sparks.” Read more…)

Waves (drama, Kelvin Harrison Jr.. Rotten Tomatoes: 83%. Metacritic: 80. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Manohla Dargis’ Times review: “A domestic melodrama in an anguished key, ‘Waves’ is the story of a Florida family nearly undone by a shocking tragedy. It’s also a spectacular testament to the talents of the writer-director Trey Edward Shults, making just his third feature-length movie. As in his estimable debut, ‘Krisha’ [2016], about a woman having an epic meltdown at a family Thanksgiving, Shults has created a deep, at times overwhelming sensory experience.” Read more…)

Mrs. Lowry & Son (bio-pic/art, Vanessa Redgrave. Rotten Tomatoes: 60%. Metacritic: 42. From Guy Lodge’s Variety review: “Yet the disappointment of ‘Mrs. Lowry & Son’ is that it finds neither of its star attractions at the peak of their powers: Both Spall and Redgrave feel stifled and stiff-jointed, hemmed in by a thin, shallow-focus script that betrays its origins as a radio play all too easily. Every facet of this toxic mother-son relationship is spoken, repetitiously so, with nary a detail left to visual or sensory interpretation.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
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…)

New Foreign DVDs
Too Late to Die Young (Chile, drama/coming-of-age, Demian Hernández. Rotten Tomatoes: 98%. Metacritic: 80. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “‘Too Late to Die Young’ is above all an achievement in mood and implication. [Director] Dominga Sotomayor has a way of structuring scenes and composing images that makes everything perfectly clear but not obvious. Motives and actions are mysterious and relationships are ambiguous not because she wants to mystify anyone or anything, but because she’s a realist.” Read more…)

New Classic DVDs (pre-1960)
A Lost Lady (1934, drama, Barbara Stanwyck. From Andrbe Sennwald’s 1934 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Since Willa Cather’s novel happens to be a genuine American masterpiece, perhaps the screen edition of ‘A Lost Lady,’ which opened at the Strand last evening, is mediocre only by comparison. Irene Rich participated in a silent film version back in 1925. The present variation, to one who cannot forget the haunting beauty of the book, is like a stranger in the house. For the particular charm of Miss Cather’s work was her method, and that has been rather definitely lost in the process of transition to the screen.” Read more…)

Silver Lode (1954, western, Lizabeth Scott)

New American Back Catalog DVDs (post-1960)
Ordeal By Innocence (1984, Agatha Christie thriller, Donald Sutherland)

New British
Howard’s End (mini-series based on E.M. Forster novel, Hayley Atwell. Rotten Tomatoes: 87%. From Sophie Gilbert’s review at The Atlantic magazine: “The 1992 film adaptation of E.M. Forster’s novel ‘Howards End’ is still so sumptuous, so thrilling in its excavation of buried Edwardian desire, that you might question whether a new version is necessary. Yet Kenneth Lonergan’s four-part miniseries, which arrives Sunday on Starz, is its own masterpiece, visually lavish and narratively restrained. Lonergan and the director Hettie Macdonald find something profound in the story’s clash of cultures between the liberal, bourgeois Schlegels and the emotionally repressed, establishment Wilcoxes that feels vital in this particular moment. If people disagree on such fundamental levels, it asks, can they still love each other? Should they?” Read more…)

New Documentaries
The Disappearance of My Mother (art, feminism, family, bio, Benedetta Barzini. Rotten Tomatoes: 96%. Metacritic: 71. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “From time to time, in the course of this mesmerizing, tender, painful documentary [(director Beniamino) Barrese’s first feature], you may find yourself sympathizing with the filmmaker, who occasionally allows himself to slip into view. He clearly adores his mother and respects her as a subject, even when his devotion ensnares them both in a paradox. Barzini’s greatest wish, as the title suggests, is to vanish, to complete the final chapter of a highly visible life in a state of obscurity. Barrese at once supports this aspiration and sets out to thwart it, showing us someone who insists that she doesn’t want anyone to see her. The passionate clarity with which she asserts her views is persuasive, and her complicated charisma makes her an irresistible, unforgettable screen presence.” Read more…)

Serendipity (health, art, modern medicine, memoir, Prune Nourry. Rotten Tomatoes: 75%. Metacritic: 69. From Ben Kenigsberg’s New York Times review: “After the artist Prune Nourry received a diagnosis of breast cancer in 2016 at age 31, her experiences of treatment began to inform her art. ‘Serendipity’ is both a document and an extension of that process — a self-portrait in which Nourry showcases past projects and explores how her artistic impulses evolved.” Read more…)

Becoming Nobody (bio, New Age philosophy, Ram Dass, Richard Alpert. Rotten Tomatoes: 55%. Metacritic: 47. From Gary Goldstein’s Los Angeles Times review: “If you think becoming a ‘somebody’ in life is an uphill climb, it turns out, at least according to famed Boston-born spiritual teacher and truth seeker Dr. Richard Alpert (a.k.a. Ram Dass), that making oneself into a ‘nobody’ — that is, truly open and egoless — is a much harder road. He also considers it the way to go for real personal freedom and enlightenment. That’s just one of many life lessons and wise assertions imparted by Alpert in producer-director Jamie Catto’s enjoyable documentary ‘Becoming Nobody,’ which, though hardly a definitive look at the former Harvard psychologist and much-published author [including the 1971 bestseller ‘Be Here Now’], proves a strong and moving reminder of Alpert’s spiritual insight.” Read more…)

New releases 1/28/20

Top Hits
Terminator: Dark Fate (action, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Rotten Tomatoes: 70%. Metacritic: 54. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “There are a number of reasons to like “Terminator: Dark Fate” — Linda Hamilton’s scowl, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s stubble, MacKenzie Davis’s athleticism — but my favorite thing about this late addition to a weary franchise is how little it cares about timeline continuity.” Read more…)

Harriet (Harriet Tubman biopic, Cynthia Erivo. Rotten Tomatoes: 73%. Metacritic: 66. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “‘Harriet,’ directed by Kasi Lemmons [‘Eve’s Bayou,’ ‘Black Nativity’] and anchored by Cynthia Erivo’s precise and passionate performance in the title role, might not be exactly what my correspondent had in mind, but it is a rousing and powerful drama, respectful of both the historical record and the cravings of modern audiences. The story of Tubman’s escape from enslavement on a Maryland farm and her subsequent leadership in the underground railroad is conveyed in bold, emphatic strokes. Villainy and virtue are clearly marked, and the evil that Tubman resisted is illuminated alongside her bravery.” Read more…)

Ms. Purple (drama, Jake Choi. Rotten Tomatoes: 78%. Metacritic: 71. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ Times review: “Following two deeply damaged siblings, each lacking a place in the world, Justin Chon’s ‘Ms. Purple’ seems named not for a character, but for a state of mind that’s been a long time brewing. Purple is also the color of the traditional South Korean dress obediently worn one evening by Kasie [Tiffany Chu], 23, at the insistence of her rich, entitled boyfriend [Tony Kim]. But in the United States, where the film takes place, purple vividly signifies daring and defiance, independence and strength. That demands a personality to match, and Kasie is a woman controlled by the demands of men.” Read more…)

Motherless Brooklyn (drama/mystery, Edward Norton. Rotten Tomatoes: 62%. Metacritic: 60. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “Admirers of [Jonathan] Lethem’s novel may find themselves puzzled by what Norton has done with it. He has moved the action backward in time and dramatically expanded its scope, replacing modesty, irony and charm with earnest, sometimes overstrained ambition. But filmmakers don’t owe literary works their reverence, just their intelligence, and ‘Motherless Brooklyn’ is a very smart movie, bristling with ideas about history, politics, art and urban planning.” Read more…)

Battle of Jangsari (war drama, Kim Myung-min. Rotten Tomatoes: 50%.)

New Blu-Ray
Terminator: Dark Fate

New Foreign DVDs
Parasite (South Korea, comedy/drama, Kang-ho Song. Rotten Tomatoes: 99%. Metacritic: 96. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Manohla Dargis’ Times review: “Midway through the brilliant and deeply unsettling ‘Parasite,’ a destitute man voices empathy for a family that has shown him none. “They’re rich but still nice,” he says, aglow with good will. His wife has her doubts. “They’re nice because they’re rich,” she counters. With their two adult children, they have insinuated themselves into the lives of their pampered counterparts. It’s all going so very well until their worlds spectacularly collide, erupting with annihilating force. Comedy turns to tragedy and smiles twist into grimaces as the real world splatters across the manicured lawn. The story takes place in South Korea but could easily unfold in Los Angeles or London.” Read more…)

Museo (Mexico, crime/drama, Gael Garcia Bernal. Rotten Tomatoes: 87%. Metacritic: 86. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “In spite of a meandering story and some fuzzy passages, there is a touch of magic in ‘Museo,’ a sense of wonder and curiosity that imparts palpable excitement. Some of that is the intimation of a strong and original cinematic voice evolving toward the realization of its full potential — the feeling that you might be in the presence of someone who could become the next great Mexican filmmaker.” Read more…)

All About My Mother (Spain, 1999, Almodovar-directed drama, Criterion Collection, Cecilia Roth. Rotten Tomatoes: 98%. Metacritic: 87. From Janet Maslin’s 1999 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “This year’s New York Film Festival opens tonight with the marvelous ‘All About My Mother,’ a whole new order of Almodóvar extravaganza. It depends, as so many things do, upon the kindness of strangers. Starting at that place in Mr. Almodóvar’s great big heart where womanhood, artifice, Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote and ‘All About Eve’ collide, it weaves life and art into a rich tapestry of love, loss and compassion. This film’s assorted females — real, theatrical or would-be — move past the nervous breakdown stage and on to something much more forgiving.” Read more…)

New American Back Catalog DVDs (post-1960)
Fail Safe (1964, Cold War drama, Criterion Collection, Henry Fonda. Rotten Tomatoes: 95%. Metacritic: 75. From Bosley Crowther’s 1964 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “For ‘Fail Safe’ is definitely in the area of those films that are important and are going to be talked about. And it packs a melodramatic wallop that will rattle a lot of chattering teeth. As its title tells, it is based on the popular novel of Eugene Burdick and Harvey Wheeler, and it covers almost precisely the same ground, in a general way, as does ‘Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.’ That is to say, it is a story of what might happen in the secret chambers of our highest government and military personnel if a flight of American bombers should accidentally be directed to fly over the Soviet Union and drop nuclear bombs.” Read more…)

New British
Room at the Top (1959, “kitchen sink” drama, Laurence Harvey. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. From A.H. Weiler’s 1959 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “THE cynical, disenchanted and footloose post-war youths of England, who justifiably have been termed “angry,” never have been put into sharper focus than in ‘Room at the Top.’ The British-made import, which was unveiled at the Fine Arts Theatre yesterday, glaringly spotlights them in a disk of illumination that reveals genuine drama and passion, truth as well as corruption. Although it takes place 3,000 miles away, it is as close to home as a shattered dream, a broken love affair or a man seeking to make life more rewarding in an uneasy world.” Read more…)

My Life Is Murder: Series 1 (Australia detective series, Lucy Lawless)

New Documentaries
Midnight Traveler (human rights, Afghanistan war, refugees. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 79. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “To a degree, ‘Midnight Traveler’ is a diary movie, complete with regular time and place notations: ‘Day 51 Ovcha Kupel Refugee Camp, Bulgaria.’ The filmmakers are chronicling their own lives, of course. But they are also documenting a far larger catastrophe, one that comes in different languages and affects innumerable families. It’s easy to feel upset and recurrently outraged by what you see and hear. But at its best, this documentary asks something more of you. When a nationalist protest breaks out near one refugee camp, you are bluntly reminded that behind the accounts of the migration crisis are concrete, real-world choices that those of us with homes make each day about the lives of others.” Read more…)

New releases 1/21/20

Top Hits
Pain and Glory (Almodovar-directed drama, Antonio Banderas. Rotten Tomatoes: 97%. Metacritic: 88. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Manohla Dargis’ Times review: “One of Almodóvar’s talents is his transformational, near-alchemical use of blunt ideas, how he marshals crude gestures, gaudy flourishes and melodramatic entanglements. The emotions still sting here, and the colors glow like traffic lights — there are eye-popping bursts of stop-sign red and go-go green — and the movie is as visually striking as any Almodóvar has made. But the narrative is elegantly structured rather than clotted, and its tone is contemplative as opposed to frantic, as if he had turned down the volume.” Read more…)

The Addams Family (animated feature, Oscar Isaac [voice]. Rotten Tomatoes: 43%. Metacritic: 46. From Ben Kenigsberg’s New York Times review: “Although returning the Addamses to illustrated form brings them full circle [Charles Addams’s New Yorker cartoons long predated the 1960s TV series], this movie exists in the shadow of Barry Sonnenfeld’s live-action films from 1991 and 1993. As spot on as the casting of Isaac and Theron may sound, animation spares them from having to match the ingenious physical comedy of Raul Julia and Anjelica Huston.” Read more…)

Jay & Silent Bob Reboot (comedy, Kevin Smith. Rotten Tomatoes: 67%. Metacritic: 46. From Owen Gleiberman’s Variety review: “In a film culture overrun by Marvel epics, wild-stunt action flicks, and other grandiose juvenilia, it is often said that the mid-budget, script-driven movie for adults is becoming a thing of the past. But don’t tell that to Kevin Smith, whose ‘Jay and Silent Bob Reboot,’ a shaggy antic throwaway that premiered Tuesday in the first of two one-night shows at 600 theaters [it will travel out after that in a 65-city road-show release], stands [sort of] as a proud exception to the rule of corporate blockbuster overkill.” Read more…)

I See You (psychological thriller, Helen Hunt. Rotten Tomatoes: 72%. Metacritic: 65. From Rex Reed’s Observer review: “Helen Hunt is a good actress with an Oscar on her mantle and practically no ability to choose a decent movie script based on quality or entertainment value. She’s been absent from the screen far too long, so it’s a pleasure to welcome her back, but not in a labored, amateurish charade as bad as ‘I See You.’” Read more…)

Zombieland: Double Tap (horror/action, Woody Harrelson. Rotten Tomatoes: 68%. Metacritic: 55. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “Tallahassee, the senior zombie-killer played by Woody Harrelson in ‘Zombieland: Double Tap,’ has a catchphrase that’s a little too naughty for me to quote. You’ve probably heard it before, and you might agree with another character’s assessment: ‘That saying is very 2009.’ The whole movie is very 2009, which is amusing and puzzling and possibly kind of a relief, given what ‘very 2019’ might look like.” Read more…)

Mister America (comedy, Tim Heidecker. Rotten Tomatoes: 64%. Metacritic: 42. From Ben Kenigsberg’s New York Times review: “The jury is still out on whether 21st-century politics has reached a point beyond parody, but the one-note satire ‘Mister America’ proves that it’s still possible to get laughs out of a single gag — and just as possible to belabor the joke.” Read more…)

Jexi (comedy, Adam Devine. Rotten Tomatoes: 11%. Metacritic: 39. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “‘Jexi,’ a comedy written and directed by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, does not explicitly position itself as a parody of ‘Her,’ the poignant 2013 love story of a man and a very empathetic piece of software. But this movie’s clear play on the premise helps it get off to a fast start.” Read more…)

Songs My Brothers Taught Me (drama, John Reddy. Rotten Tomatoes: 91%. Metacritic: 63. From Stephen Holden’s 2016 New York Times review: “‘Songs My Brothers Taught Me,’ a melancholic portrait of Lakota Indian life on the Pine Ridge Reservation in the South Dakota Badlands, suggests a Native American answer to ‘The Last Picture Show.’ As in the dying Texas town where that movie is set, a demoralizing stasis prevails, along with a lingering pride in tribal rituals that preserve a sense of continuity. When the residents don traditional headdresses and dance around a bonfire, there is joy in the air.” Read more…)

Black + Blue (drama, Naomie Harris. Rotten Tomatoes: 52%. Metacritic: 54. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “Sometimes genre entertainment can illuminate troubling realities better than more earnest and self-seriously realistic films, and ‘Black and Blue’ belongs to that tradition. Its pulpy pop-cultural credibility is inseparable from its honest, brutal assessment of the state of the world. Its ideas about the nature and limits of heroism — about just how hard and terrifying the resistance to evil can be — are spelled out in vivid black and white.” Read more…)

Every Time I Die (mystery, Marc Menchaca. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%.)

New Blu-Ray
Pain and Glory
The Addams Family

New Foreign DVDs
Ever After aka Endzeit (Germany, zombies, Trine Dyrholm. Rotten Tomatoes: 87%. Metacritic: 63. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review; “We have met the walking dead, and they are us. That, at any rate, seems to be the bludgeoning point of all the screen zombies that keep walking and sometimes running in our direction. Since George A. Romero unleashed the zombie movie with ‘Night of the Living Dead’[1968], the departed and their annihilating hunger have proved unsurprisingly durable metaphors for the human condition. The German movie ‘Endzeit’ — ‘Ever After’ in English — approaches the subgenre by folding the undead into a fairy tale. It’s once upon a time in the apocalypse and zombies have taken over the country [and perhaps the rest of the world].” Read more…)

Le Petit Soldat (France, 1963, Godard-directed drama, Ana Karina. Rotten Tomatoes: 80%. From Howard Thompson’s 1967 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Technically, at least, the pcture is brilliant. In his typucal, mercurial manner, Mr. Godard has fabricated a candid-camera mosaic in flyting bits and pieces—as obtuse and splintery as can be imagined. This is the story of a fatalistic young Frenchman trapped between a rightist faction he refuses to kill for and a group of equally ruthless ‘rebels.’” Read more…)

Britt-Marie Was Here (Sweden, comedy, Pernilla August. Rotten Tomatoes: 76%. Metacritic: 53. From Teo Bugbee’s New York Times review: “‘Britt-Marie Was Here’ is a relatively unchallenging yet ultimately pleasant watch. Despite Britt-Marie’s outsized focus on cleanliness, the director Tuva Novotny forgoes exaggerated style and instead aims to deliver an earnest portrait of an older woman as she pursues happiness. The genial mood is aided by a plucky score, and a restrained performance from [actress Pernilla] August in the lead role.” Read more…)

The Freshmen (France, comedy, Vincent Lacoste. Rotten Tomatoes: 80%.)

Pain and Glory (Spain, Almodovar-directed drama, Antonio Banderas. Rotten Tomatoes: 97%. Metacritic: 88.)

New Documentaries
David Susskind: Interview with Nikita Khrushchev (historic 2-hour 1960 live TV interview)
David Susskind: Truman Capote Tells All (TV interview, literature, journalism, Truman Capote)

New releases 1/14/20

Top Hits
Gemini Man (action, Will Smith. Rotten Tomatoes: 26%. Metacritic: 38. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “I’m a little worried that the premise of ‘Gemini Man,’ which is the most interesting thing about it, might also count as a spoiler. So if you don’t want to know anything about this movie other than that Will Smith plays a super-lethal military assassin hunted by nefarious forces in his own government — which is too much of a cliché to count as a spoiler — then maybe you should move along. Or just watch the trailer, declare the whole thing spoiled, and go about your day.” Read more…)

Line of Duty (action Aaron Eckhart. Rotten Tomatoes: 63%. From Dennis Harvey’s Variety review: “High on energy if low on credibility, ‘Line of Duty’ stars Aaron Eckhart as a cop from Birmingham, Ala., whose day gets a lot more hectic when he’s caught up in a kidnapping whose victim is under immediate mortal threat. This latest from prolific genre helmer Stephen C. Miller is a little off-putting at times with its undercurrent of pro-police, anti-everyone-else rhetoric — though that may play well with some of the target demographic. In any case, action fans looking for a lot of forward motion could do worse than this lively, increasingly over-the-top feature-length chase.” Read more…)

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (adventure/family, Angelina Jolie. Rotten Tomatoes: 40%. Metacritic: 43. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “The happily ever after delivered by Disney’s ‘Maleficent’ has vanished like a puff of bilious smoke, as its unhappy, reactionary sequel makes depressingly clear. Released in 2014, the first movie is a satisfying rethink of ‘Sleeping Beauty’ — both Disney’s and Charles Perrault’s — that showed how intelligent intervention could upend centuries of oppressive ideas about women. In its revisionist take, the titular dark, dangerous fairy played by Angelina Jolie isn’t naturally evil or merely spiteful in bestowing a curse, but exerting her power with a vengeance.” Read more…)

The Death and Life of John F. Donovan (drama, Kit Harington. Rotten Tomatoes: 21%. Metacritic: 28. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “Of all the criticisms one might level at the films of Xavier Dolan, dullness is unlikely to be among them. Until now, perhaps: ‘The Death & Life of John F. Donovan’ isn’t just flat, it’s choppy and grandiose. From its contrived structure to its forced speechifying, this story about a yearslong correspondence between Donovan [Kit Harington], a closeted actor, and Rupert [Jacob Tremblay], a troubled prepubescent boy, never acquires the emotional potency or coherence its themes demand.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
Gemini Man

New Foreign DVDs
Cyrano, My Love (France, Thomas Solivérès. Rotten Tomatoes: 79%. Metacritic: 61. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “Concealing its lack of substance beneath a carapace of froth and a cascade of famous characters [with Clémentine Célarié making a magnificent Sarah Bernhardt], ‘Cyrano, My Love’ trips along happily enough. As the camera circles swirling skirts and sweeps through elegant cafes, the director, Alexis Michalik, whisks up a whirlwind of soapy declarations and backstage chaos.” Read more…)

Piranhas (Italy, crime drama, Francesco Di Napoli. Rotten Tomatoes: 55%. Metacritic: 57. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “[Roberto] Saviano’s book ‘Gomorrah’ was made into a bracing episodic film in 2009 by Matteo Garrone. The less satisfying ‘Piranhas,’ based on a subsequent Saviano book and directed by Claudio Giovannesi, is an ‘I Was a Teenage Gangster’ tale. In its reliance on a conventional narrative through-line, it’s more reminiscent of ‘The Public Enemy’ than ‘Goodfellas’ in spite of its stylings of contemporary cinematic realism.” Read more…)

New British
The Durrells in Corfu: Season 4 (drama, Keeley Hawes)

New TV
You: Season 1 (romantic thriller, Penn Badgley)

New Documentaries
The Price of Everything (contemporary art, Gerhard Richter, art market. Rotten Tomatoes: 92%. Metacritic: 76. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “‘There are a lot of people who know the price of everything and the value of nothing,’ the art collector Stefan Edlis remarks in Nathaniel Kahn’s new documentary. The words, unattributed in the film and the source of its title, come from ‘Lady Windermere’s Fan’ by Oscar Wilde, where they supply the definition of a cynic. But while this colorful and inquisitive cinematic essay on the state of the art world is occasionally skeptical and consistently thoughtful, cynicism isn’t really on its agenda.” Read more…)

May 15th in Paris (French history, politics, demagoguery, short film)

New releases 1/7/20

Top Hits
Joker (comic book drama, Joaquin Phoenix. Rotten Tomatoes: 69%. Metacritic: 59. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “To be worth arguing about, a movie must first of all be interesting: it must have, if not a coherent point of view, at least a worked-out, thought-provoking set of themes, some kind of imaginative contact with the world as we know it. ‘Joker,’ an empty, foggy exercise in second-hand style and second-rate philosophizing, has none of that.” Read more…)

Mine 9 (thriller, Terry Serpico. Rotten Tomatoes: 93%. Metacritic: 66. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “There’s some effective filmmaking in the central section of this picture written and directed by Eddie Mensore. These scenes depict the collapse of a section of a West Virginia coal mine, trapping nine men inside. Flooding and gas buildup combine with very cramped quarters as the men await rescue, unsure if anyone on the ground miles above them even knows they’re alive. The goings-on are grim, grueling and, eventually, grisly. Mensore shoots them with a sharp eye for maintaining coherent spatial relations, which enhances the suspense.” Read more…)

Girl on the Third Floor (horror, Phil “CM Punk” Brooks. Rotten Tomatoes: 81%. Metacritic: 65. From Simon Abrams’ RogerEbert.com review: “The impressive haunted house flick ‘Girl on the Third Floor’ is just as much a machine to produce seductive imagery as it is an effective deconstruction of those blatant symbols. Set in an abandoned home and mostly following a solitary character—ex-lawyer and expectant father Don [Phillip Jack Brooks, A.K.A. former pro-wrestler C.M. Punk]—this blackly comic horror movie is equally concerned with the repressed pleasures and anxieties that are embedded in fetish objects: faded tattoos, silk lingerie, and congealed blood.” Read more…)

The Lighthouse (drama/horror, Willem Dafoe. Rotten Tomatoes: 92%. Metacritic: 83. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “Much as he did in his shivery feature debut, ‘The Witch,’ about an isolated family of fundamentalists coming unglued in early 17th-century America, [director Robert] Eggers makes the secluded world in ‘The Lighthouse’ at once recognizable and eerily unfamiliar, a combination that draws you in but makes you feel unsettled. [He shares script credit with Max Eggers, his brother.] The image of the lighthouse evokes visions of high seas and storms as well as the promise of safe passage and harbor. But here, that romantic idea soon sours.” Read more…)

Chained for Life (drama, Jess Weixler. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 79. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Ben Kenigsberg’s Times review: “‘Chained for Life’ aims to complicate ideas about what constitutes beauty and sincerity onscreen. It even hints at a loose parallel between plastic surgery, which can be seen as helping people look the way they feel inside, and filmmaking; both are mechanisms for creating illusions, but also have the potential for revealing hidden truths.” Read more…)

Where’d You Go, Bernadette (comedy, Kate Blanchett. Rotten Tomatoes: 48%. Metacritic: 51. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “The human dark cloud churning violently over ‘Where’d You Go, Bernadette’ doesn’t much fit in anywhere, including in this comedy of crisis. That’s more or less intentional, but it presents a challenge for the director Richard Linklater, whose easygoing filmmaking style and vibe can feel out of sync with the gathering storm.’ Read more…)

The Goldfinch (drama, Ansel Elgort. Rotten Tomatoes: 24%. Metacritic: 40. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “In many ways, ‘The Goldfinch’ approximates what we normally think of as a movie. There are actors — some good ones, too, well known and less so. Nicole Kidman. Sarah Paulson. Jeffrey Wright. Denis O’Hare. Willa Fitzgerald. Ryan Foust. There is music. There is furniture. There are themes and feelings, like loss and grief and the love of beauty and the pleasures of taking drugs, smoking cigarettes and looking attractive. All at once and in succession. But like those dodgy antiques — ‘changelings,’ as their maker supposedly calls them — this film is inauthentic without being completely fake.” Read more…)

Wolf Children (Japanese animated feature. Rotten Tomatoes: 94%. Metacritic: 71.)

New Blu-Ray
Wolf Children

New Classic DVDs (pre-1960)
Holiday (1938, romantic comedy, Criterion Collection, Cary Grant & Katharine Hepburn. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%.)

New TV
Big Little Lies: Season 2 (crime/drama HBO series, Nicole Kidman. Rotten Tomatoes: 86%. Metacritic: 82.)

New Documentaries
Rothko: Pictures Must Be Miraculous (art history, bio, Mark Rothko)

New releases 12/31/19

New Foreign DVDs
Rojo (Argentina, drama/thriller, Dario Grandinetti. Rotten Tomatoes: 98%. Metacritic: 76. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “When a country falls under a dictatorship, who is guilty — or, rather, who is not? That’s the question that beats a steady rhythm — tap, tap, tap — throughout the striking moral thriller ‘Rojo,’ a vision of everyday life in mid-1970s Argentina. For a solid citizen like Claudio [Darío Grandinetti] that life looks entirely respectable, nice and quiet. He has a contented family, his own law firm and a handsome house. There, he and his wife sometimes entertain, eating cake and playing board games while pointedly avoiding any talk about state terror and disappearing compatriots.” Read more…)

New American Back Catalog DVDs
The Peanut Butter Solution (1985, action adventure, Mathew MacKay)

New Documentaries
Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin (bio, sci-fi, literature, Ursula K. Le Guin. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%.)

New releases 12/24/19

Top Hits
Judy (bio-pic about Judy Garland, Renee Zellweger. Rotten Tomatoes: 83%. Metacritic: 66. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “In ‘Judy,’ Renée Zellweger plays a few variations on Garland near the end of her life: worried mother, needy lover, disaster, legend. The woman who remains out of sight, though, is the sadder, scarier Judy who threw a butcher knife at one of her children and threatened to jump out a window in front of another. Even so, Zellweger is solid in a movie that derives its force from its central mythic figure and your own Yellow Brick Road memories: the Hollywood supernova with the inner-child vaudevillian named Frances Ethel Gumm, a.k.a. Baby.” Read more…)

Ready or Not (horror, Samara Weaving. Rotten Tomatoes: 88%. Metacritic: 64. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “In horror movies, it’s hard to go wrong if you’re carving up rich people. Unless you’re screening in a white-collar prison, the audience is likely to be immediately on board — especially if the blade is wielded by a disadvantaged Joe or Jane. That’s certainly the case with Grace (a fantastic Samara Weaving) in ‘Ready or Not,’ a blood-drenched, joke-sprinkled harpooning of soul-sucking greed and inbred family values.” Read more…)

Adopt a Highway (drama, Ethan Hawke. Rotten Tomatoes: 67%. Metacritic: 53. From Ken Jaworowski’s New York Times review: “‘Adopt a Highway’ doesn’t struggle to say something profound, nor does it generate lots of drama. Instead, like a spare short story, this little indie nurtures a few simple emotions, then hopes its audience will stick around to share in them. I’m glad I did.” Read more…)

Adam (comedy, Nicholas Alexander. Rotten Tomatoes: 74%. Metacritic: 64. From Teo Bugbee’s New York Times review: “But as thoughtful as ‘Adam’ is in presenting a fluid read of gender, the movie’s sweetness curdles as its trans characters [and by extension, the trans actors who portray them] are called on to welcome Adam into a community that he willfully manipulates.” Read more…)

The Weekend (romantic comedy, Sasheer Zamata. Rotten Tomatoes: 85%.)

New Blu-Ray
Judy

New releases 12/17/19

Top Hits
Downton Abbey: The Motion Picture (drama, Maggie Smith. Rotten Tomatoes: 84%. Metacritic: 64. From Jennette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “With barely enough plot to go around, most characters are served a tiny dollop. Lacking the nutritious story lines of the past, the cross-cultural liaisons and the odd inconvenient corpse in Lady Mary’s bedroom, the movie is mainly empty calories. Yet its screenwriter, Julian Fellowes [who created the TV series], knows his stories have always relied less on words than on the looks — arch and knowing, suspicious and appalled — that ricocheted around every social gathering. Choreographing those is the job of the director, Michael Engler, who stretches each raised eyebrow and pursed lip to big-screen proportions, miraculously without turning every close-up into a cartoon.” Read more…)

Ad Astra (sci-fi, Brad Pitt. Rotten Tomatoes: 84%. Metacritic: 80. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Manohla Dargis’ Times review: “In ‘Ad Astra,’ an adventure tale weighed down by the burdens of masculinity, Brad Pitt plays an astronaut in flight. The film is a lovely, sincere and sometimes dopey confessional about fathers and sons, love and loss that takes the shape of a far out if deeply inward trip. As in many expeditions, the journey doesn’t simply progress; it stutters and freezes and periodically backslides. Yet each step — the story begins on Earth and soon rockets to the dark side of the moon — is a reminder that in order to get found, you need to get lost.” Read more…)

Abominable (animated feature, Chloe Bennett [voice]. Rotten Tomatoes: 81%. Metacritic: 61. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “‘Abominable’ is an exceptionally watchable and amiable animated tale written and directed by Jill Culton. Its opening scene is like that of a first-person video game. From the point of view of something in captivity, we, the audience, break free, bouncing out of a cell and into a lab, where a red-haired female scientist informs us, in a plummy British accent, that we really ought not to be out and about.” Read more…)

Where’s My Roy Cohn (documentary, history/bio, Joe McCarthy, Roy Cohn. Rotten Tomatoes: 86%. Metacritic: 70. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “In a television interview near the end of his life, Roy Cohn predicted that his obituaries would lead with Senator Joseph McCarthy. He wasn’t wrong. Thanks partly to the televised Army-McCarthy hearings, Cohn’s role as the Wisconsin senator’s youthful counsel was imprinted on the public memory and seemed, when Cohn died of AIDS in 1986, to be the most significant episode in a contentious public career. Lately, the emphasis has shifted, in part thanks to Cohn’s association, in the ’70s and ’80s, with the New York real estate developer who is now the president of the United States.” Read more…)

The Mountain (drama, Jeff Goldblum. Rotten Tomatoes: 64%. Metacritic: 82. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “More times than I can count, I have thanked the movie gods for Jeff Goldblum, whose lanky, often loquacious presence can lighten almost any project. Even so, he has his work cut out in ‘The Mountain,’ Rick Alverson’s ferociously controlled, adamantly depressive story of a 1950s road trip taken by Andy [Tye Sheridan], a recently bereaved young man, and Dr. Wallace Fiennes [Goldblum], the itinerant psychiatrist who befriends him.” Read more…)

Overcomer (religion/sports drama, Alex Kendrick. Rotten Tomatoes: 50%. Metacritic: 17.)

New Blu-Ray
Ad Astra
Downton Abbey: The Motion Picture

New Foreign DVDs
Long Day’s Journey Into Night (China, drama/mystery, Huang Jue. Rotten Tomatoes: 93%. Metacritic: 89. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Glenn Kenny’s Times review: “Midnight movies are no longer the attraction they were back in the late ’70s and early ’80s. This sometimes seems like a shame. ‘Long Day’s Journey Into Night,’ the second feature by the Chinese director Bi Gan [whose 2016 debut ‘Kaili Blues’ made an impression in art houses the world over], would make exemplary late-night communal viewing. Very often, and particularly in its second half, watching it feels like dreaming with your eyes open.” Read more…)

Eldorado (Germany. documentary/refugee crisis. Rotten Tomatoes: 82%. From Peter Bradshaw’s Guardian review: “Markus Imhoof’s Eldorado is a deeply felt documentary essay on Europe’s refugee question. He has bold footage shot from an Italian warship picking up desperate people from the sea, and films, too, in a train where refugees are attempting to cross borders illegally. There are also segments shot in the camps and fields where refugees are exploited as labourers and sex workers by the ugly forces of organised crime, for whom the influx of desperate souls in southern Italy has been an economic game-changer.” Read more…)

The Harvesters (South Africa, drama/coming-of-age/gay, Brent Vermeulen. Rotten Tomatoes: 92%.)

New Documentaries
Barbara Rubin & The Exploding NY Underground (cultural history, Andy Warhol. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 82. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Glenn Kenny’s Times review: “If the arts in America ever produced an equivalent to the revolutionary French poet Arthur Rimbaud, it might have been the little-known but extremely influential filmmaker Barbara Rubin. The title of her magnum opus, the 1964 picture ‘Christmas on Earth,’ comes from a passage in Rimbaud’s ‘A Season in Hell,’ and the groundbreaking extremity of her work — and the actual trajectory of her life — can’t help but evoke the 19th-century poet. The comparison is made several times in ‘Barbara Rubin & the Exploding NY Underground,’ an informative and overdue documentary directed by Chuck Smith.” Read more…)

David Susskind: Interview with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (civil rights, Black history, David Susskind)
Survival of the Film Freaks (CT filmmaker, cult films, cinema history, Joe Bob Briggs)
Where’s My Roy Cohn (documentary, history/bio, Joe McCarthy, Roy Cohn)
Eldorado (Germany. documentary/refugee crisis)

New releases 12/10/19

Top Hits
Once Upon A Time In… Hollywood (drama/comedy, Brad Pitt & Leonardo DiCaprio. Rotten Tomatoes: 85%. Metacritic: 83. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “There is a lot of love in ‘Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood,’ and quite a bit to enjoy. The screen is crowded with signs of Quentin Tarantino’s well-established ardor — for the movies and television shows of the decades after World War II; for the vernacular architecture, commercial signage and famous restaurants of Los Angeles; for the female foot and the male jawline; for vintage clothes and cars and cigarettes. But the mood in this, his ninth feature, is for the most part affectionate rather than obsessive.” Read more…)

It: Chapter Two (horror, James McAvoy. Rotten Tomatoes: 62%. Metacritic: 58. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “That connection between the banal and the cosmic — the two-way metaphorical street that makes Derry a kind of World Heritage Site for terror — is central to the imagination of Stephen King, whose book is the source of both chapters of ‘It’ [and the earlier made-for-television version]. The director, Andy Muschietti, and the screenwriter, Gary Dauberman, have taken some narrative liberties, but they remain true to some of King’s major ideas: about how innocence can be corrupted and preserved by knowledge; about the hidden pathways between the unconscious and the natural world; about the ethical power of friendship. King’s brief on-screen appearance [playing the curmudgeonly proprietor of an antique store] can be taken as a seal of approval.” Read more…)

Hustlers (drama, Jennifer Lopez. Rotten Tomatoes: 88%. Metacritic: 79. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “‘Hustlers,’ a semisweet, half-flat cocktail of exposed flesh, fuzzy feminism and high-spirited criminality, overflows with of-the-moment pop-cultural signifiers — Cardi B makes an appearance, and Lizzo does, too — but it also strikes a note of nostalgia for the recent past. Specifically the movie, written and directed by Lorene Scafaria [‘The Meddler,’ ‘Seeking a Friend for the End of the World’], looks back fondly at 2007. Back then, before the financial crisis interrupted the fun, Wall Street guys were making a lot of money, a decent amount of which found its way into the hands and under the G-strings of New York strippers.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
It: Chapter Two
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

New Foreign DVDs
Until the End of the World (Germany, 1991, Wim Wenders-directed drama/fantasy, William Hurt. Rotten Tomatoes: 88%. From Vincent Canby’s 1991 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “When it comes to making movies, Wim Wenders is not your average wild and crazy guy. Antic fun for its own sake is not something for which he is known. The German-born director’s more recent films [‘Wings of Desire,’ ‘Paris, Texas,’ ‘Hammett’] have been schematic and dour, with hard surfaces encasing centers as soft as chocolate-covered cherries. For much of its nearly three-hour running time, ‘Until the End of the World’ is something else, a daffy, eccentric road movie that pursues its own inscrutable lighthearted logic through 15 cities in 8 countries on 4 continents.” Read more…)

New Classic DVDs (pre-1960)
All About Eve (1950, drama, Criterion Collection, Bette Davis. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 98. From Bosley Crowther’s 1950 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “The good old legitimate theatre, the temple of Thespis and Art, which has dished out a lot of high derision of Hollywood in its time, had better be able to take it as well as dish it out, because the worm has finally turned with a venom and Hollywood is dishing it back. In ‘All About Eve,’ a withering satire—witty, mature and worldly-wise — which Twentieth Century-Fox and Joseph Mankiewicz delivered to the Roxy yesterday, the movies are letting Broadway have it with claws out and no holds barred.” Read more…)

Now, Voyager (1942, drama/romance, Criterion Collection, Bette Davis. Rotten Tomatoes: 91%. From T.S.’s 1942 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Although it carries a professional bedside manner, ‘Now, Voyager,’ Bette Davis’s latest tribulation at the Hollywood, contains not a little quackery. For two hours of heartache and repeated renunciation, Miss Davis lays bare the morbidities of a repressed ugly duckling who finally finds herself as a complete woman. From the original novel, Casey Robinson has created a deliberate and workmanlike script which more than once reaches into troubled emotions. Director Irving Rapper has screened it with frequent effectiveness. But ‘Now, Voyager,’ either because of the Hays office or its own spurious logic, endlessly complicates an essentially simple theme.” Read more…)

New British
Doc Martin: Series 9 (dramedy series, Martin Clunes. Rotten Tomatoes: 60%.)
Line of Duty: Series 1 (thriller/police procedural, Lennie James. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%.)

New TV
The Loudest Voice (mini-series about conservative media mogul Roger Ailes, Russell Crowe. Rotten Tomatoes: 53%. Metacritic: 61.)

New Documentaries
Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice (music, bio, Linda Ronstadt. Rotten Tomatoes: 88%. Metacritic: 77 A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “[Singer Linda] Ronstadt was an unavoidable presence — not only on the airwaves but also on television talk shows and magazine covers. [Those things were also a much bigger deal back then, but I’ll stop with the Gen-X Grandpa Simpson routine.] She didn’t write her own songs, but she owned the ones she performed with rare authority. In ‘Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice,’ a new documentary by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, someone uses the word “auteur” to describe Ronstadt’s relationship to her material, and it doesn’t seem exaggerated.” Read more…)