New releases 11/26/19

Top Hits
Official Secrets (Iraq War thriller, Keira Knightley. Rotten Tomatoes: 83%. Metacritic: 63. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “It takes real directing talent to make offices look exciting, what with all those computer screens and carceral cubicles. In ‘The Post,’ the 2017 nail-biter about The Washington Post’s decision to publish the Pentagon Papers, Steven Spielberg turned offices into war zones, and Xeroxing into a heart-thumping race to save democracy. The whistle-blower in ‘Official Secrets’ has only one memo to print out, a modest if mighty task that here looks like, well, a woman anxiously using an office printer in bad lighting. One of those ripped-from-the-headlines jobs, ‘Official Secrets’ revisits how a British intelligence officer, Katharine Gun [Keira Knightley], tried to stop a war.” Read more…)

Angel Has Fallen (action, Gerard Butler. Rotten Tomatoes: 39%. Metacritic: 45. From Ben Kenigsberg’s New York Times review: “You might think that by now, Mike Banning [Gerard Butler] has risked enough to be beyond suspicion. In ‘Olympus Has Fallen,’ the indomitable Secret Service agent took down an army of terrorists holding the president hostage in the White House. In ‘London Has Fallen,’ he escorted the commander in chief through the British capital during an attack that killed several world leaders. But you’re only as good as your last rescue, and the one that jump-starts ‘Angel Has Fallen’ — lethal drones target the president [Morgan Freeman] during a fishing excursion, slaughtering his security detail except for Mike — raises eyebrows. The F.B.I. thinks Mike masterminded the assassination attempt.” Read more…)

Papi Chulo (cross-cultural buddy comedy, Matt Bomer. Rotten Tomatoes: 74%. Metacritic: 45. From Teo Bugbee’s New York Times review: “The writer-director John Butler emphasizes the exploitative dynamics underlying Sean’s assumption of friendship with Ernesto. Sean projects romantic fantasies onto their interactions, while Ernesto asks his wife for guidance with the ‘gringo’ who pays for his company. Strangers make references to ‘Driving Miss Daisy,’ which calls attention to Ernesto’s role serving the white, wealthy Sean. This self-awareness has limitations.” Read more…)

New Foreign DVDs
Genèse aka Genesis (France, romance, Théodore Pellerin. Rotten Tomatoes: 89%. Metacritic: 87. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Ben Kenigsberg’s Times review: “To call your movie ‘Genèse’ [‘Genesis’], as the rising French Canadian director Philippe Lesage has, takes a healthy ego. So does abruptly abandoning your main narrative line nearly two hours in, sans explanation, to revisit a character from another movie you made that few people saw. [It’s called ‘Les Démons,’ and Film at Lincoln Center is helpfully showing it alongside ‘Genèse’ through Aug. 29.] But “Genèse” is unusual enough that those gambits seem bold rather than foolhardy.” Read more…)

New British
The Chaperone (Jazz Age drama, Elizabeth McGovern. Rotten Tomatoes: 43%. Metacritic: 48. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “Yet despite a thoroughly modern central character, this impeccably costumed, wishy-washy period piece feels like it emerged from a PBS storage trunk, wrapped in tissue paper and reeking of mothballs. [Elizabeth] McGovern is a lovely actor, but she’s too gentle and self-effacing to convince as a Prohibition-supporting scold or provide an effective foil for a teenage tearaway. Most of the time she’s simply repurposing her performance as the mild-mannered Lady Cora in ‘Downton Abbey.’” Read more…)

New TV
Elementary: Season 7 (final season, mystery series, Jonny Lee Miller)

New Documentaries
Chasing Portraits (art history, Holocaust history. Rotten Tomatoes: 88%. Metacritic: 56. From Ken Jaworowski’s New York Times review: “Elizabeth Rynecki, here directing her first feature, grew up surrounded by paintings made by her great-grandfather Moshe Rynecki, who died in 1943 in a concentration camp. He produced about 800 pieces in his life, many of them scenes from his Jewish community in Poland. His works were scattered during the war; dozens are now in museums, others are in private collections. Ms. Rynecki has endeavored for years to catalog the art works, and this film follows her to Canada, Poland and Israel as she tracks down several of them and speaks with, or is rebuffed by, their current owners.” Read more…)

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