New releases 1/29/19

Top Hits
The Wife (drama, Glenn Close. Rotten Tomatoes: 84%. Metacritic: 77. From Ben Kenigsberg’s New York Times review: “‘The Wife’ pulls off the not inconsiderable feat of spinning a fundamentally literary premise into an intelligent screen drama that unfolds with real juice and suspense. Adapted from Meg Wolitzer’s 2003 novel, the film pivots on the marriage between a celebrated author, Joe Castleman [Jonathan Pryce], and his wife, Joan [Glenn Close], whose symbiotic relationship has had profound implications for his success.” Read more…)

Madeline’s Madeline (drama, Helen Howard. Rotten Tomatoes: 86%. Metacritic: 76. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “One of the assumptions of this seductive, disturbing, exasperating movie — the third feature written and directed by Josephine Decker [after ‘Butter on the Latch’ and ‘Thou Wast Mild and Lovely’] — is that conventional distinctions don’t necessarily apply. Between fantasy and reality, certainly, but also between authenticity and artifice, theater and therapy, art and life. Madeline herself, a New York teenager played with bracing conviction by Helena Howard, is not much interested in separating those things. This is partly a sign of adolescent confusion, possibly a symptom of mental instability and very much a matter of creative principle, for both Madeline and Ms. Decker.” Read more…)

Boy Erased (drama, Lucas Hedges. Rotten Tomatoes: 80%. Metacritic: 71. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “Boy Erased,” adapted by Joel Edgerton from Garrard Conley’s memoir of the same title, is the second film this year to tackle the subject of conversion therapy, a technique that is a mix of religious dogma and dubious science whose cruelty and ineffectiveness have been amply documented. Like ‘The Miseducation of Cameron Post,’ directed by Desiree Akhavan and based on a young-adult novel by Emily Danforth, Edgerton’s film is set in the recent past, but its eye is very much on the present.” Read more…)

The Better Angels (historical drama, Jason Clarke. Rotten Tomatoes: 44%. Metacritic: 53. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “[Director Terrence] Malick didn’t make this movie, although it was a project that he was once interested in directing; rather, he has helped shepherd it into existence, giving his blessing by serving as a producer. ‘The Better Angels’ was written and directed by A. J. Edwards, who has worked on several of Mr. Malick’s recent titles, including ‘The New World,’ and has now for reasons that are at once understandable and baffling made his own Malickian movie.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
The Old Man & the Gun

New Foreign DVDs
Araby (Brazil, drama, Murilo Caliari. Rotten Tomatoes: 89%. Metacritic: 82. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Glenn Kenny’s Times review: “‘Araby’ is set in southeast Brazil, and its dialogue is in Portuguese. But the first words heard in it are in English. As a handsome teen, the movie’s presumed protagonist, bicycles down a stretch of thruway untroubled by auto traffic, the beautiful, moving 1965 folk ballad ‘Blues Run the Game,’ by Jackson C. Frank, plays on the soundtrack. ‘Wherever I have gone,’ Frank sings, ‘the blues are all the same.’ And this movie, written and directed by João Dumans and Affonso Uchôa, sees ‘the blues’ as a universal language and condition.” Read more…)

New British DVDs
Jamestown: Seasons 1 & 2 (colonial period drama, Sophie Rundle)

New TV
Kidding: Season 1 (comedy/drama, Jim Carrey. Rotten Tomatoes: 76%. Metacritic: 68.)

New Documentary DVDs
Studio 54: The Documentary (cultural history, disco, decadence, Ian Schrager. Rotten Tomatoes: 89%. Metacritic: 70. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Glenn Kenny’s Times review: “Does the world really need another cinematic retrospective on New York night life in the late 1970s? Depends on whom you ask. I went in to ‘Studio 54,’ a new documentary directed by Matt Tyrnauer, thinking definitely not. But the movie won me over. In part because Ian Schrager, who partnered with Steve Rubell to open the legendary and notorious nightclub in 1977 — and who with Rubell was sentenced to prison for tax evasion in 1980 — appears as the film’s primary interviewee.” Read more…)

The Workers Cup (sports, global economy, exploitation. Rotten Tomatoes: 80%. Metacritic: 67. From Ken Jaworowski’s New York Times review: “A sports documentary with a minor in economics, ‘The Workers Cup’ also adds a pinch of philosophy into its bittersweet story of migrant laborers who form a team to play soccer in and around the same stadiums they are building. Those laborers hail from among the world’s poorest areas — Africa, Bangladesh, India — and they have come to Qatar as it prepares for the 2022 World Cup. Foreign workers make up a large majority of the population yet, by law, many are confined to isolated camps.” Read more…)