New releases 11/16/21

Top Hits
Candyman (horror series reboot, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II. Rotten Tomatoes: 84%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 72. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Manohla Dargis’ Times review: “It takes nothing away from [director Nia] DaCosta to note that ‘Candyman’ is of an intellectual and political piece with Peele’s earlier work, including ‘Get Out’ and ‘Us.’ Like those movies, ‘Candyman’ uses the horror genre to explore race (Peele gets under the skin), including ideas about who gets to play the hero — and villain — and why.” Read more…)

The Eyes of Tammy Faye (bio-pic, Jessica Chastain. Rotten Tomatoes: 67%. Metacritic: 55. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “The narrative beats — Tammy Faye’s temptation [in the presence of a hunky record producer played by Mark Wystrach], Jim’s betrayal, Falwell’s treachery — seem almost generic. The performances, while hardly subtle, feel smaller than life. Garfield mugs and emotes with sketch-comedy abandon, and while Chastain tries for more depth and nuance, she is trapped by a literal-minded script and overwhelmed by hair, makeup and garish period costumes.” Read more…)

Swan Song (drama/LGBTQ, Udo Kier. Rotten Tomatoes: 93%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 66. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “These days, more often than not, [actor Udo Kier]’s cast in character roles, rarely asked to carry a movie. For ‘Swan Song’ though, he’s in almost every frame. One could say he’s a revelation, but longtime Udo partisans always knew he had this kind of performance in him.” Read more…)

Flag Day (drama, Sean & Dylan Penn. Rotten Tomatoes: 41%. Metacritic: 54. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “As a director, Sean Penn seems drawn to stories featuring lost children of one sort or another, a proclivity that has resulted in some of his strongest work. His latest film, ‘Flag Day,’ tills similar soil: the awakening of a daughter whose adored father is not the demigod she believes him to be.” Read more…)

The Kid Detective (comedy/mystery, Adam Brody. Rotten Tomatoes: 84%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 74. From Michael Ordoña’s Los Angeles Times review: “There are definitely pieces there of a slacker, gonzo comedy or a weighty gaze into the abyss. Instead, Evan Morgan, making his feature writing-directing debut, finds a wire-walking balance that makes Abe’s struggle real, funny and dangerous. It’s a kind of gentle, daytime, Canadian noir that occasionally reminds you of the seriousness of the stakes. It is not for kids.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
It’s A Wonderful Life Blu-Ray (1946, holiday, James Stewart. Rotten Tomatoes: 94%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 89. From Bosley Crowther’s 1946 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “For it is really Mr. Stewart, who does most of the heavy suffering in this film, and it is he who, in the end, is most deserving of the white meat and the stuffing.That is because Mr. Capra, back from the war, has resumed with a will his previously manifest penchant for portraying folks of simple, homely worth. And in this picture about a young fellow who wants to break away from his small-town life and responsibilities but is never able to do so because slowly they close in upon him, Mr. Capra has gone all out to show that it is really a family, friends and honest toil that make the ‘wonderful life.’” Read more…)


New Foreign DVDs
Le Navire Night (France, 1979, drama/romance dir. by Marguerite Duras, Dominique Sanda)

New Documentaries
Karen Dalton: In My Own Time (folk music, biography, Karen Dalton. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 83. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Glenn Kenny’s Times review: “Musicians working in pop modes often navigate their careers using a combination of talent and calculation. Karen Dalton, a singer and instrumentalist who made a substantial impression on New York’s 1960s folk scene, and whose small body of recorded work moves and inspires listeners to this day, was someone for whom calculation was inconceivable. That’s one impression left by ‘Karen Dalton: In My Own Time,’ an excellent documentary directed by Richard Peete and Robert Yapkowitz.” Read more…)

The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart? (music, biography Bee Gees. Rotten Tomatoes: 96%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 78. From Natalia Winkelman’s New York Times review: “‘The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart’ pays tribute to the Gibb brothers with a tour of their pop music reign. Grooving through the decades, this entertaining documentary aspires to prove that the Bee Gees were more than a hitmaker for disco nightclubs. Rather, Barry, Maurice and Robin were master songwriters and chameleons, continually reinventing themselves to harmonize with the times.” Read more…)

The Lost Leonardo (documentary, real-life thriller, art. Rotten Tomatoes: 97%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 79. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Glenn Kenny’s Times review: “‘The Lost Leonardo,’ a documentary directed by the Danish filmmaker Andreas Koefoed, is a disquieting confirmation of this idea. It’s the story of how a painting purchased for a little over $1,000 was soon identified — if not wholly authenticated — as a Leonardo, and eventually wound up in the hands of a Saudi oligarch who spent more than $400 million on it. Among other things, this picture freshly demonstrates that a conventionally structured documentary can pack the fascination and wallop of an expertly executed fictional thriller.” Read more…)

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