New releases 10/27/20

Top Hits
Fourteen (drama, Tallie Medel. Rotten Tomatoes: 98%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic:79. From Teo Bugbee’s New York Times review: “The bittersweet character drama ‘Fourteen’ examines a friendship that seems like it should last forever. Despite their differences, Mara [Tallie Medel] and Jo [Norma Kuhling] have been close since childhood. They’ve been friends long enough to have secrets from each other, and they’re close enough to know those secrets don’t really matter. The film around them is like their friendship — intellectual and loving, with a little too much left unsaid.” Read more…)

Fleabag: Season 2 (comedy, Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 96. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From James Poniewozik’s Times review: “She’s remarkably good: good at charm, at lacerating honesty and at artful concealment. [There are, in fact, secrets she won’t tell even her therapist, though she’ll confide them to us.] And the new, evidently final, season of ‘Fleabag,’ arriving Friday, demonstrates that [Phoebe] Waller-Bridge, as a writer, observer and nimble performer, is flipping terrific at this — even better than the last time.” Read more…)

New Foreign DVDs
Babylon Berlin: Seasons 1 & 2 (Germany, period drama, Volker Bruch. From Mike Hale’s joint New York Times television review of the shows “My Brilliant Friend” and Babylon Berlin”: “But watching them has similar pleasures, both stimulating and narcotic, and you begin to notice what they have in common. Each show devotes uncommon attention and expense to its period details — costumes, décor, automobiles and even large sets and soundstages — recreating Weimar Berlin and postwar Naples, the better to envelop us in the illusion. Both shows also have a solid structure, a reassurance of narrative logic and psychological consistency — no matter what extreme course events may take — which they probably owe to their literary underpinnings: the mystery novels of Volker Kutscher for ‘Babylon Berlin’ and the wildly popular ‘Neapolitan novels’ by Elena Ferrante for ‘My Brilliant Friend.’” Read more…)

Fatima (Portugal, faith drama, Sonia Braga. Rotten Tomatoes: 90%. Metacritic: 51. From Ben Kenigsberg’s New York Times review: “By making Lucia’s visions visible to viewers [Joana Ribeiro plays Mary], the movie — directed by Marco Pontecorvo, a son of the filmmaker Gillo Pontecorvo [‘The Battle of Algiers’] — clearly signals that it is not on the side of skeptics. That is a valid choice, but from a dramatic standpoint, it’s also a dodge. The film would be more powerful if it required moviegoers to take their own leap of faith and accept what they could not see.” Read more…)

Papicha (France/Algeria, drama, Lyna Khoudri. Rotten Tomatoes: 90%. Metacritic: 68. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ Times review: “Marked by a fierce vitality and vivid emotional authenticity, ‘Papicha’ thrives on the heat of Nedjma’s anger and the glorious bond among the mostly young female performers. [Male characters are unfortunately drawn far more thinly.] Terrible things happen; but by celebrating the women’s intimacy and naïve exuberance, Meddour eases the suffocating noose of religious extremism.” Read more…)

New British DVDs
Mr. Topaze (1961, restored British comedy, Peter Sellers. Rotten Tomatoes: 40%. From Bosley Crowther’s 1962 New York Times review of the film, which went by the title “I Like Money” in the U.S. [requires log-in]: “Mr. Sellers performs in this opaque fellow with a great deal of ponderosity, which at times, and in certain little details, emits a glint of nimble wit. For instance, it is tickling to see him suddenly pounce upon a naughty boy in his class after patiently and ponderously enduring a lot of outrageous impudence from his lads. Or it is fun to see him sozzled on brandy after a quick dissolve from a scene in which he has shyly responded to the unctuous baiting of a couple of cool conspirators. But, for the most part, Mr. Sellers keeps himself too rigidly in hand—and the blame is his, because he is also the fellow who directed the film.” Read more…)

Hidden: Season 2 (crime/mystery, Sian Reese-Williams)

New TV
Fleabag: Season 2 (comedy, Phoebe Waller-Bridge)

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