New releases 10/12/21

Top Hits
Free Guy (action/comedy, Ryan Reynolds. Rotten Tomatoes: 80%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 62. From Maya Phillips’ New York Times review: “‘Free Guy’ is as agreeable as its main actor; Reynolds taps into his endless well of nice-guy charisma to deliver an adorable brand of humor that feels like ‘Deadpool’ Lite. And the various comic-relief characters [Lil Rel Howery as Guy’s clueless best friend, Waititi as the toxic boss] and cameos [a priceless Channing Tatum and a Marvel surprise] make for a perfectly enjoyable experience.” Read more…)

Cruella (live action Disney family/adventure/comedy, Emma Stone. Rotten Tomatoes: 74%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 59. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “‘Cruella’ is a vaguely retro costume party with a doggedly retro playlist — a treat for fashion-curious kids whipped up by the boomers and Gen Xers who hold the keys to the Disney I.P. storage locker. And there’s a millennial Oscar winner in the titular role. When I say it has something for everyone I’m not being sarcastic, though I’m also not being entirely complimentary.” Read more…)

The Green Knight (fantasy/adventure, Dev Patel.) Rotten Tomatoes: 88%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 85. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “From Wagner to ‘Game of Thrones’ and back again, pop-cultural medievalism has a habit of leavening sublimity and solemnity with heavy doses of intended or inadvertent silliness. The most sincere compliment I can pay ‘The Green Knight’ is that it often feels like a tribute to ‘The Seventh Seal’ by way of ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail.’ Or maybe vice versa, with some Led Zeppelin deep cuts thrown in.” Read more…)

Sweet Thing (drama, Lana Rockwell. Rotten Tomatoes: 89%. Metacritic: 73. From Teo Bugbee’s New York Times review: “What makes this simple story special is the style that the writer and director Alexandre Rockwell brings to the screen. Rockwell cast his wife and two children as Eve, Billie and Nico, and their ease and familiarity lends the film naturalistic warmth. His high contrast black-and-white film photography captures the shimmer of light in Billie’s hair. The shadows of her mother’s home sink into oblivion. The movie’s eclectic soundtrack — with songs from Billie Holiday, Van Morrison and Arvo Pärt — sets a nostalgic mood.” Read more…)

The Vigil (horror, Dave Davis. Rotten Tomatoes: 90%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 69. From Kristen Yoonsoo Kim’s New York Times review: “What could go wrong with just a few hours spent next to a dead body, anyway? So much. Keith Thomas’s slim but effective ‘The Vigil’ milks terror from a minimalistic setup, relying on the shapes we make out with squinted eyes in the shadows.” Read more…)

The Inheritance (drama, Chris Jarell. Rotten Tomatoes: 91%. Metacritic: 86. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Lovia Gyarkye’s Times review: “‘The Inheritance,’ Ephraim Asili’s debut feature film, beautifully abandons genre to consider questions about community, art and Black liberation. The experimental film opens with the story of Julian [Eric Lockley], a young Black man who has recently inherited his grandmother’s house in West Philadelphia. Inspired by his partner, Gwen [Nozipho Mclean], Julian turns the house into a collective, and it quickly becomes a site of robust intellectual exchange, inspired artistry, joy and humor.” Read more…)

Fried Barry (horror/comedy, Gary Green. Rotten Tomatoes: 79%, Certified Fresh. From Nick Allen’s RogerEbert.com review: “‘Fried Barry’ wants to look at the world from the inside of a kicked-over garbage can. That’s a noble idea, given that you usually don’t get people studies mixed with Midnight movie muck, which includes all of the gore, chewed up hot dogs, and heroin needles with which you can accompany a droning synth score. But viewers with either interest, of getting dirty or getting mindful, will be short-changed.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
Cruella
Free Guy
The Green Knight

New Foreign DVDs
Charlatan (Czech Republic, historical drama, Ivan Trojan. Rotten Tomatoes: 87%. Metacritic: 66. From Nicolas Rapold’s New York Times review: “As the world’s biggest fan of Peter Watkins’s twisted and superb ‘Edvard Munch,’ I harbor a soft spot for filmmakers who muss up the perfectly coifed looks and reassuring habits of biographical films. The great writer-director Agnieszka Holland — a connoisseur of those deemed “difficult” by society — does not disappoint with ‘Charlatan,’ her fictionalized story of the persecuted Czech herbalist Jan Mikolasek.” Read more…)

Spring Blossom (France, romance, Suzanne Lindon. Rotten Tomatoes: 93%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 68. From Beatrice Loayza’s New York Times review: “Lindon wrote ‘Spring Blossom’ at the age of 15 while attending high school in Paris and directed it at age 19. The movie owes a debt to naturalistic coming-of-age dramas by French directors like Maurice Pialat, but Lindon’s interpretation of that work occasionally feels like a pastiche. At the same time, she rejects the trope of the angsty teenager, capturing adolescent alienation with buoyancy and subtle whimsy.” Read more…)

New Documentaries
Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain (bio, personality, food, Anthony Bourdain. Rotten Tomatoes: 91%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 79. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ Times review: “There’s scarcely a dry eye in the frame at the conclusion of Morgan Neville’s vivid, jam-packed documentary, ‘Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain,’ but this isn’t a hagiography. Bourdain, who died almost exactly three years ago at the age of 61, was many things — chef, sensualist, addict, world traveler — any one of which could have served as the movie’s lodestar. Yet it was as a writer that he found renown, and it is around his words that ‘Roadrunner’ constructs its ominous, uneasy shape.” Read more…)

Can You Bring It: Bill T. Jones and D-Man in the Waters (dance, bio, Bill T. Jones. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 87. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Glenn Kenny’s Times review: “What happens to a work of art when time displaces it from its original context, and from the impetus that inspired it? That’s a question that can elicit dry theories. But in ‘Can You Bring It?: Bill T. Jones and D-Man in the Waters,’ a new documentary directed by Tom Hurwitz and Rosalynde LeBlanc Loo, the answer is passionate and moving.” Read more…)