New releases 10/4/16

Top Hits
Into the Forest (apocalyptic drama, Ellen Page. Rotten Tomatoes: 79%. Metacritic: 59. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “Set once upon a time in the apocalypse, ‘Into the Forest’ begins and ends with the volume turned down. A lot of contemporary doomsday flicks make a lot of noise, pummeling subwoofers and eardrums with screams, gunfire and the usual big bangs. For this dystopian fantasy, the Canadian director Patricia Rozema has gone for a singularly subdued mood and soundscape, which makes certain story sense given that power outages will soon silence most of the machines. About all that remains audible is the natural world’s whirring and buzzing, mixed in with some sisterly sniping.” Read more…)

Swiss Army Man (adventure/comedy, Paul Dano. Rotten Tomatoes: 67%. Metacritic: 64. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ Times review: “Weird and wonderful, disgusting and demented, ‘Swiss Army Man’ is about how one man’s dead body nudges another man back to life. Impossible to categorize, this stunningly original mix of the macabre and the magical combines comedy, tragedy, fantasy and love story into an utterly singular package that’s beholden to no rules but its own. As such, it demands complete surrender to a vision that veers from bewitching to irritating, sometimes within the same scene. Pay no attention to the frayed and porous plot; pull on a loose thread, and the spell will unravel.” Read more…)

The Purge: Election Year (horror/sci-fi, Frank Grillo. Rotten Tomatoes: 54%. Metacritic: 55. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “‘The Purge’ is a scrappy little franchise — three movies so far — built on a solid premise. In a dystopian future (the only kind we get these days), the American government has decreed that one night a year will be given over to lawlessness. Otherwise responsible citizens can unleash their blood lust in an orgy of mayhem without consequences. The films, written and directed by James DeMonaco and produced under the Blumhouse indie-horror label, are self-aware enough to know that they serve a similar function. While the stated moral may be that violence is terrible, the visceral message is that it’s a lot of fun, and Mr. DeMonaco is an able, if not always terribly original, painter of nightmarish, sanguinary tableaus.” Read more…)

X-Men: Apocalypse (comic book action, Jennifer Lawrence. Rotten Tomatoes: 48%. Metacritic: 52. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “The bombast of the opening sequence — which ends with the pyramid sabotaged into collapse, obliging the movie’s eventual mutant villain to cool his heels for about five millenniums — leaves no doubt that the viewer is in for more of the superhero same old, same old. Directed by Bryan Singer, ‘X-Men: Apocalypse,’ the ninth film in the X-Men franchise, indeed hews hard to all the genre verities. Including, as its title more than implies, an end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it threat.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
X-Men: Apocalypse
The Purge: Election Year

New Foreign DVDs
The Wailing (Korea, supernatural thriller, Woo-hee Chun. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 80. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Glenn Kenny’s Times review: “‘The Wailing’ is an expansive and often excruciating horror film from South Korea. It is the work of the director Na Hong-jin, whose 2009 debut feature, the action thriller ‘The Chaser,’ made a huge impression not least for its almost staggering flouting of genre convention. ‘The Wailing,’ about demonic possession, is similarly uncompromising.” Read more…)

Beck (Sweden, detective series, Peter Haber)

New American Back Catalog (post-1960)
The Trial (1963, drama based on Kafka novel, Anthony Perkins. Rotten Tomatoes: 89%. From Bosley Crowther’s 1963  New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Whatever Franz Kafka was laboriously attempting to say about the tyranny of modern social systems in his novel, ‘The Trial’ is still thoroughly fuzzy and hard to fathom in the film Orson Welles has finally made from the 40-year-old novel. “The Trial” opened at the Guild and the new R.K.O. 23d Street Theatre yesterday. Evidently it is something quite horrisic about the brutal, relentless way in which the law as a social institution reaches out and enmeshes men in its complex and calculating clutches until it crushes them to death. At least, that is what this viewer gathers from the crazy and symbolistic stuff that Mr. Welles and an excellent cast of actors have regurgitated on the screen.” Read more…)

New Documentaries
Tab Hunter Confidential (cinema history, gay & lesbian, Tab Hunter. Rotten Tomatoes: 88%. Metacritic: 60. From Stephen Holden’s New York Times review: “Jeffrey Scwarz’s documentary portrait ‘Tab Hunter Confidential’ is as mild-mannered and blandly likable as its subject, the blond screen heartthrob who in the 1950s embodied the quintessential pretty boy next door. Mr. Hunter, now 84, was seemingly every teenage girl’s dream date. Gay and closeted, he was protected from exposure by Warner Bros., the studio to which he was under contract. The biggest career mistake of his life, he recalls, was securing his release from Warner, a decision he soon regretted when his movie career all but died.” Read more…)

New Gay & Lesbian
Tab Hunter Confidential (cinema history, gay & lesbian, Tab Hunter. Rotten Tomatoes: 88%. Metacritic: 60. From Stephen Holden’s New York Times review: “Jeffrey Scwarz’s documentary portrait ‘Tab Hunter Confidential’ is as mild-mannered and blandly likable as its subject, the blond screen heartthrob who in the 1950s embodied the quintessential pretty boy next door. Mr. Hunter, now 84, was seemingly every teenage girl’s dream date. Gay and closeted, he was protected from exposure by Warner Bros., the studio to which he was under contract. The biggest career mistake of his life, he recalls, was securing his release from Warner, a decision he soon regretted when his movie career all but died.” Read more…)