New releases 10/2/18

Top Hits
Leave No Trace (drama, Ben Foster. Rotten Tomatoes 100%. Metacritic: 88. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Manohla Dargis’ Times review: “In ‘Leave No Trace,’ [director Debra] Granik explores what it means to be so far on the margins you might as well not exist at all, at least as far as the larger world is concerned. It’s a familiar concern for Ms. Granik, who’s drawn to American outsiders — intentional and unintentional exiles alike — living in what are often blandly called poor and marginalized communities. These are the people who populate her stories and bring them to tangibly real life in dramatic movies like ‘Winter’s Bone,’ set in the Ozark Mountains in rural Missouri, and in her documentary ‘Stray Dog,’ which centers on a gruffly warm biker and Vietnam veteran who radically defies stereotype.” Read more…)

Sicario: Day of the Soldado (action/thriller, Benicio Del Toro. Rotten Tomatoes 63%. Metacritic: 61. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “‘Sicario: Day of the Soldado,’ directed by Stefano Sollima from a script by Taylor Sheridan, is an unusual kind of sequel. Dumber, less inventive and not as pretentious as ‘Sicario’ [released in 2015, directed by Denis Villeneuve and written by Mr. Sheridan], it both advances and retreats, expanding on the original and narrowing its scope.” Read more…)

The Catcher was a Spy (true-life spy story with baseball, Paul Rudd. Rotten Tomatoes 34%. Metacritic: 49. From Glenn Kdnny’s New York Times review: “‘The Catcher Was a Spy’ is a character drama and an espionage thriller with a premise so peculiar that a fiction writer would be hard pressed to contrive it. As it happens, the story line is plucked from the marginalia of World War II history. And from the history of American baseball.” Read more…)

Breath (Australia, coming-of-age, Simon Baker. Rotten Tomatoes 77%. Metacritic: 71. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “Surging waves, churning foam, seductively glistening bodies — the surf movie ‘Breath’ has them all. A sustaining pleasure of this alluring subgenre, of course, is the spectacle of mostly male, mostly naked bod’es miraculously sliding over and through the water. In “Breath,” the narrator recalls that on seeing surfers when he was young he thought: “Never had I seen men do something so beautiful, so pointless and elegant, as if dancing on water was the best and brightest thing a man could do.’ So there’s that, too.” Read more…)

Three Identical Strangers (documentary, family, social services, triplets. Rotten Tomatoes 97%. Metacritic: 81. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Manohla Dargis’ Times review: “The title ‘Three Identical Strangers’ is somewhat of a giveaway in a documentary that’s best watched knowing as little as possible about its specifics. So, tread [and read] lightly! Engrossing, and sometimes enraging, the movie tells of triplets who, after being adopted separately at birth, were reunited by happenstance. None of the men — or their families — knew about the others, which naturally led to questions and has inspired the director Tim Wardle to turn their mysterious history into a detective story in reverse, one that begins with the seeming denouement [the happy reunion] and then moves back and forth across time.” Read more…)

Damsel (western, Robert Pattinson. Rotten Tomatoes 71%. Metacritic: 63. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ Times review: “A counterfeit preacher, shoulders wreathed in dynamite and neck encircled by a makeshift noose, ponders his probable demise. As the camera crawls backward, we see a miniature horse standing calmly between his legs. The image — bizarrely comic and mildly menacing — occurs during the later stages of ‘Damsel,’ but it handily encapsulates the tone of a movie that turns the classic western into something wackily eccentric and entertainingly original.” Read more…)

The 12th Man (World War II drama, Jonathan Rhys Meyers. Rotten Tomatoes 85%. Metacritic: 76. From Teo Bugbee’s New York Times review: “The reward of [director Harald] Zwart’s attention to the unique details of this historical account is that Jan’s path to safety frequently shocks, offering scenes of defiance that are unfamiliar or unexpected. In a familiar genre, ‘The 12th Man’ preserves the element of surprise by understanding its terrain.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
Sicario: Day of the Soldado
Rear Window

New Foreign DVDs
Andrei Rublev (USSR, 1966, Tarkovsky-directed historical; drama, Criterion Collection, Nikolai Burlyaev. Rotten Tomatoes: 94%. From Vincent Canby’s 1992 New York Times review on the re-release of a restored, augmented version of the movie [requires log-in]: “When Tarkovsky made ‘Andrei Rublev,’ he conceived it as a boldly free-form consideration of the responsibility of the artist (any artist) to himself and to the world that gave him life. It was thus almost inevitable that the completed film would go on to illustrate everything that can happen to an artist, in this case Tarkovsky, when he refuses to mind the strictures of authoritarian rule.” Read more…)

New American Back Catalog DVDs (post-1960)
Aloha, Bobby & Rose (1975, romance/drama, Paul Le Mat. From Vincent Canby’s 1975 new York Times review [requires log-in]: “‘Aloha, Bobby and Rose,’ which opened yesterday at the Columbia 2 Theater, is a sentimental, noisy, very bad movie about a young Los Angeles couple whom Floyd Mutrux, the director and writer of the screen play, describes as star-crossed though they seem less star-crossed than accident-prone.” Read more…)

I Heard the Owl Call My Name (1973, drama, Tom Courtenay)

New TV
Barry: Season 1 (HBO dark comedy, Bill Hader. Rotten Tomatoes 98%. Metacritic: 83.)

New Documentaries
Strangers on the Earth (music, pilgrimage, Camino de Santiago. Rotten Tomatoes 83%. Metacritic: 54. From Ben Kenigsberg’s New York Times review: “The sensations that ‘Strangers on the Earth’ means to evoke are not well suited to the cinematic medium, at least not to a documentary that barely runs more than an hour and a half. To get into the proper contemplative frame of mind, you would need to spend a month walking the Camino de Santiago across Spain, the same journey — a famous Catholic pilgrimage — that its principal subject takes. Dane Johansen, an American cellist, sets out to hike a route that extends from the Pyrenees in the east to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, regarded as the final resting place of St. James, in the west, playing Bach’s suites in 36 ancient churches along the way.” Read more…)

Children’s DVDs
Quarterback Princess (1983, sports/feminism, Helen Hunt)