New Releases 08-16-22

Top Hits

Crimes of the Future (Sci-Fi; Dir: David Cronenberg, Starring: Kristen Stewart, Viggo Mortensen, Léa Seydoux; NYT Critic’s Pick)

“In its themes, body work and convulsions of violence, “Crimes of the Future” evokes some of Cronenberg’s other films, notably “Videodrome,” a shocker about (among other things) a man who loses his mind. This new movie feels more melancholic than many of the earlier ones, though perhaps I’m the one who’s changed. Once again, people are evolving and devolving, mutating into something familiar yet also something different and terrifying. Yet despite the morbid laughs and the beatific smile that can light up Saul’s face like that of St. Teresa of Ávila, “Crimes of the Future” feels like a requiem. Cronenberg has always been a diagnostician of the human condition; here, he also feels a lot like a mortician.” Read more…

Jurassic World Dominion (Action/Sci-fi; Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jeff Goldblum, Laura Dern & Sam Neill;Universal Studios; 5.7/10)
“Dominion,” directed by Colin Trevorrow, might be a little better than its two predecessors (“Jurassic World” and “Fallen Kingdom”), but in ways that underline the hectic incoherence of the whole enterprise.” Read more…

Last Seen Alive (Mystery/Suspense; Gerard Butler, Vertical Ent.; IMDb: 5.6/10)
Apparently, it wasn’t a lovefest with the reviewer below. Check out the movie and let us know what YOU think.

“The premise of Last Seen Alive isn’t a bad one, however, although it is a little familiar. It details the story of Will Spann whose wife Lisa (Jamie Alexander) mysteriously disappears at a gas station. Where did she go? Well, that would be telling, although there isn’t much of a mystery behind her vanishing as this movie is as generic as they come.” Read more…

New Foreign

Apples (Greece; Comedy, Dir: Christos Nikou, Starring: Aris Servetalis)
“Firmly in the tradition of the “Greek Weird Wave” that most viewers associate with the films of Yorgos Lanthimos,

“Apples” is a deadpan dramedy with an eerily familiar dystopian premise.” Read more…

Neptune Frost (Rwanda/US, Horror, Afrofuturist fantasy-musical Starring: Elvis Ngabo, then Cheryl Isheja; Kino Lorber)

“The plot of “Neptune Frost” is loose and suggestive. This isn’t a tight, tidy allegory of capitalism and colonialism so much as a collage of vivid images, sounds and words that punch the movie’s themes like hashtags. Williams and Uzeyman marry anarchist politics with anarchist aesthetics, making something thatfeels both handmade and high-tech, digital and analog, poetic and punk rock.” Read more…

Nitram (Australia, Drama, Dir: Justin Kerzel, Starring: Caleb Landry-Jones, Judy Davis; NYT Critic’s Pick)

“Tough and unflinching, “Nitram” is about the evolution of a killer. A lightly fictionalized portrait of events leading up to Australia’s 1996 Port Arthur murders, the film is terrifyingly controlled, tipping neither toward empathy nor judgment. The tone is instead coolly observational, the filmmakers betting everything on Caleb Landry Jones’s adamant yet impenetrable performance as the man known as Nitram — a derisivebackward spelling of his real name (never spoken in the film) and a loathed childhood nickname.” Read more…

New Blu-Ray

The Before Trilogy (2017, Drama, Dir: Richard Linklater, Starring: Ethan Hawke & Julie Delpy; Criterion Collection) – Blu-ray

From the 2017 Criterion review: “In his ambitious, decades-spanning The Before Trilogy, Richard Linklater captures the complexities of love and time through the story of Celine (Julie Delpy) and Jesse (Ethan Hawke), who fall for each other as twentysomethings on a train bound for Vienna. As their epic romance unfolds, the films stand witness not only to the shifting dynamics of the couple’s relationship, from the initial spark of desire to the challenges of long-term intimacy they experience in their forties, but to the evolving collaboration between Linklater and his actors, who age along with their characters. The supplemental features on our newly released edition of the trilogy offer an inside look at the chemistry among these three creative partners. In the below clip, Linklater, Hawke, and Delpy join New York Film Festival director Kent Jones for a conversation about how their writing process changed and deepened over time.” Read more…

New Horror

The Black Phone (Horror; Starring: Jeremy Davies & Ethan Hawke; Universal Studios; IMDb: 7/10)

“Revisiting elements of his own childhood and adolescence, Derrickson (who wrote the screenplay with C. Robert Cargill) evokes a time when Ted Bundy was on the news and “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” was at the drive-in. The movie’s images have a mellow, antique glaze that strengthens the nostalgic mood while softening the dread. (Compare, for instance, Finney’s kidnapping with Georgie’s abduction in the 2017 chiller “It”: both feature balloons and a masked monster, but only one is terrifying.) It doesn’t help that Hawke is stranded in a character whose torture repertoire consists mainly of elaborate hand gestures.

Leaning heavily into the familiar narrative obsessions of Hill’s father, Stephen King — plucky kids, feckless parents, creepy clowns and their accessories — “The Black Phone” feels unavoidably derivative. But the young actors are appealing, the setting is fondly imagined and the anxieties of adolescence are front and center. For most of us, those worries were more than enough to conjure the shivers.”  Read more…

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