New Releases – 08/30/22

Top Hits

Mr. Malcolm’s List (comedy, Starring: Freida Pinto, Sope Dirisu)
“The screenplay, by Suzanne Allain, adapting her own novel of the same name, seems to suggest that a marriage-minded society breeds shallow, superficial girls. Emma Holly Jones, the director, apparently agrees, layering images of pretty birds in cages next to shots of desperate debutantes in pink-plumed hats.” Read more…

New Foreign

Brian and Charles (British, comedy; Starring: David Earl) – avail. 8/30/22, Blu-Ray
“The pseudo-documentary “Brian and Charles,” an unevenly sentimental heart-tugger directed by Jim Archer, finds Brian in a corner of rural Wales feeling depressed and solitary despite the implied presence of documentarians, whom he addresses directly while facing the camera. There’s no evident reason for the mockumentary element, although it gives Earl a chance to mug for the lens.” Read more…

Hotel du Nord (1932, France; drama; Dir: Marcel Carné; Distr.: Criterion Collection)
“Yet, for all their sceptical, largely unsentimental empathy towards human behaviour, these newer postwar films that nail “realism” to their ideological and aesthetic mast lack the countervailing forces of seedy realism and sublimely heightened poetry, injected into theatrical melodrama, that make a film like Hôtel du Nord grow in stature as the years pass. A critical reappraisal is as long overdue as a new and sympathetic audience is deserved.” Read more…

Lux Aeterna (France; horror; Dir: Gaspar Noe; Starring: Charlotte Gainsborough & Beatrice Dalle) – avail. 8/30/22
“To put this demented doodle in context: In medieval times, the greatest art was commissioned by the Catholic Church, and the subjects were suitably devout. Today, the money flows from corporate pockets, and a psychotronic fashion show is just what the client ordered, audiences be damned.” Read more…

The Phantom of the Open (British, comedy; Starring: Mark Rylance,Sally Hawkins & Rhys Ifans) – avail. 8/30/22
“Inspired by Maurice Flitcroft’s attempts to qualify for the British Open in 1976, this comedy is also the sort of good-hearted movie the director Frank Capra would have liked to have taken a swing at.” Read more…

Relic (Australia, Horror; Dir: Natalie Erika James, Starring: Emily Mortimer)
“Described by James as a film about “the true terrors” of “grieving for the loss of someone while they’re still alive”, Relic (like its Australian stablemate The Babadook) is a horror movie with a heart, a film that uses a surreal narrative to tell a story absolutely rooted in reality. There’s a touch of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher in the psychogeography that James evokes, slipping subtly from the classic, naturalistic tones of early scenes into more expressionist darkness as we venture deeper into the lonely carnivals of Edna’s mind.” Read more…

The Sower (France, drama; Dir: Marine Francen, winner of the prestigious New Director competition at the San Sebastian Film Festival)
“The Beguiled meets Black Narcissus in debutante writer-director Marine Francen’s The Sower (Le semeur), a finely etched miniature of quietly cumulative emotional impact. Relating a fable-like but apparently true story of isolated farming women and the virile blacksmith who stumbles into their midst…” Read more…

                                                                                                The Spy (Norway, drama; Starring: Ingrid Bolsø Berdal) – avail. 8/30/22
“Directed by a Swede, Jens Jonsson, and scripted by two Norwegians, Harald Rosenlow-Eeg and Jan Trygve Royneland, it turns the (mostly) true adventures of Norwegian-Swedish actress Sonja Wigert (Ingrid Bolso Berdal), into a rollicking, border-hopping espionage thriller.” Read more

TV Series

Ghosts (British tv, comedy; Distr: BBC)
“In making us giggle at the supernatural, Ghosts is very British – a mashup of Noël Coward’s Blithe Spirit and Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased), not to mention the manifold sillinesses of Hammer horrors. But it is American in the sense of having a gag-to-airtime ratio much higher than British sitcoms normally manage these days.” Read more…

The Office: Season Nine. The Farewell Season (2012, comedy)
“The final season of The Office saw the show’s nine seasons long run come to an end in 2013. After Steve Carell left two seasons earlier, the ratings of the show kept fluctuating; however, season 9 of The Office mostly got good reviews from the critics and the audience alike. The season finale was extremely satisfying, especially for the fans of the show.” Read more…

Too Close: Series 1 (British tv, crime; Starring: Emily Watson & Denise Gough; Distr: Amc)
“…Too Close feels like the most woman-centred, woman-driven mainstream production we’ve yet seen. That’s a bonus. Too Close is a fantastically compelling, brilliantly scripted whydunnit that is unquantifiably better than it needs to be.” Read more…


New Blu-Ray

Belle (Japan, Anime; Dir: Mamoru Hosoda)
“Hosoda doesn’t offer a wholly new take on either the teenage romance format or online culture, and it’s sometimes grating that Suzu must learn to embrace her sense of agency while making room for a love interest that equally believes in her fragility. But the captivating animation and the potent meditations on emotional and physical trauma give “Belle” an aching, gentle spirit worth experiencing.” Read more…

New Cult

The Funhouse (Collector’s Edition) (1978, cult horror; Dir: Tobe Hooper)
From John Corry’s 1981 NYT review: “At times, in fact, Mr. Hooper almost persuades us that he is up to more than just gore, creepiness and trauma. He has photographed a carnival – freak show, girly show, grifters and geeks -with a sense of style. The carnival is a small vision of middle-America gone sour, reveling in mean gaiety, and it is not bad while it lasts. Then the monster comes in and drools.” Read more…

Miami Connection (1987, Action, Adventure, Cult, Martial Arts; Distr: Vinegar Syndrome) – avail. 8/30/22
” Throw in a drug deal gone wrong, a forbidden-romance subplot, and one character’s quest to find his father, and there’s just enough material to justify the onslaught of ass-kicking absurdity, which culminates in an intensely melodramatic climax too silly to take at face value yet too heartfelt to dismiss outright. Love it or hate it, it’s doubtful you’ll ever forget it, and it may just force you to redefine your definition of what constitutes “good” cinema.” Read more…

New Documentaries

Jazz Fest: A New Orleans Story (documentary, music)
“The movie’s opening montage, featuring familiar famous faces ranging from Tom Jones to Pitbull, is — happily — a bit of a fake out. These big names and others get some play (and in what some might consider an unfortunate feature, Jimmy Buffett gets a lot of play) but the movie is conscientiously attentive to the festival’s homegrown eclecticism.” Read more…

American Back Catalog (Post – 1960)

Mikey & Nicky (1976; Action/Adventure; Dir: Elaine May; Starring: Peter Falk & John Cassavetes; Distr: Criterion)
“May’s great theme is the abjectness of women and the idiocy of men. Unique among buddy movies, “Mikey and Nicky” shows bromance from the point of view of its victims.” Read more…

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