New releases 10/14/14

Top Hits
X-Men: Days of Future Past (comic book action, Hugh Jackman. Rotten Tomatoes: 91%. Metacritic: 74. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “Even compared with other self-serious superhero franchises — the brooding “Dark Knight” saga, the agonized “Amazing Spider-Man,” the hectic “Avengers” house party — the X-Men series wears its allegorical heart on its sleeve. In chronicling the adventures of a despised minority with extraordinary powers, the movies, like the Marvel comic books before them, poke around in some interesting social and political hot zones. The central conflict is the endless moral and political argument between Professor X and Magneto: in other words, between the accommodationist idea that the mutants should fight for the moral redemption of the humans, and the militant insistence that they should defend their own interests by any means necessary.” Read more…)

Are You Here (comedy, Zach Galifianakis. Rotten Tomatoes: 7%. Metacritic: 37. From Ben Kenigsberg’s New York Times review: “This willfully messy movie stars Owen Wilson as Steve Dallas, a playboy weatherman in Annapolis, Md., who enjoys getting stoned with his bipolar buddy, Ben [Zach Galifianakis]. When Ben inherits a farm from his father, the change of scenery forces both friends to address their shortcomings. Mr. Weiner wrote ‘Are You Here’ in 2005. Viewers expecting the polish and sophistication of ‘Mad Men’ will get a work unrecognizably from the same hand: a film more Dick Whitman than Don Draper. Some comic jabs hit their marks, including a cameo from Peter Bogdanovich as a judge.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
X-Men: Days of Future Past

New Foreign
Venus In Fur (France, erotic drama, Emmanuelle Seigner. Rotten Tomatoes: 92%. Metacritic: 69. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “‘Venus In Fur’ Roman Polanski’s nimble film adaptation of play by David Ives, might provoke a lively post-viewing argument. Is it about sex or power? Art or life? The nature of theater or the logic of desire? Why choose? And why exclude the possibility that the movie is also about Mr. Polanski himself? Working from a French translation of the play [which was widely acclaimed when it ran on and off Broadway a few years ago], Mr. Polanski has marked the text with his own fingerprints. One of the two characters — the splendidly volatile Vanda, an actress — is played by Emmanuelle Seigner, his wife. Her foil — a writer and theater director named Thomas — is played by Mathieu Amalric in a performance that is very close to a Polanski impersonation.” Read more…)

New Television
Penny Dreadful: Season 1
Fargo: Season 1

New Documentaries
Whitey: United States of America vs. James J. Bulger (politics, crime, Whitey Bulger. Rotten Tomatoes: 77%. Metacritic: 74. From A.O. Scott’s New York times review: “James J. Bulger, better known as Whitey, was a notorious and widely feared criminal in Boston in the 1970s and ’80s. He disappeared after being tipped off about an impending arrest in 1994, and after that was a famous fugitive. Captured three years ago in California — where he had been living quietly with his longtime girlfriend — Mr. Bulger was tried last summer on a host of charges, including 19 counts of murder. His trial is the subject of ‘Whitey,’ a gripping and troubling new documentary by Joe Berlinger.” Read more…)

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