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)