New releases 11/9/21

Top Hits
Pig (drama/thriller, Nicolas Cage. Rotten Tomatoes: 97%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 83, Must-See. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ Times review: “‘Pig,’ Michael Sarnoski’s stunningly controlled first feature, is a mournful fable of loss and withdrawal, art and ambition. Told in three chapters and a string of beautifully delineated scenes, the movie flirts with several genres — revenge drama, culinary satire — while committing to none.” Read more…)

The Banishing (horror, Jessica Brown Findlay. Rotten Tomatoes: 61%. Metacritic: 48. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “Silliness trumps scares in Christopher Smith’s ‘The Banishing,’ a bewildering haunted-house tale larded with Nazis, mad monks, fallen women and a tango-dancing occultist. Why no one thought to include a zombie or two is anyone’s guess.” Read more…

Respect (music bio-pic about Aretha Franklin, Jennifer Hudson. Rotten Tomatoes: 67%. Metacritic: 61. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “The new drama ‘Respect’ is a march-of-time fictionalization of Franklin’s life. Attractively cast and handsomely mounted — Jennifer Hudson plays the queen — it is a solid, sanitized, unfailingly polite portrait. It conforms to the familiar biopic arc: the artist begins humbly; reaches towering heights [artistic, commercial, maybe both]; suffers a setback [bad lovers, addiction]; only to rise higher still.” Read more…)

Reminiscence (sci-fi, Hugh Jackman. Rotten Tomatoes: 37%. Metacritic: 46. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “Highfalutin, lightly enjoyable mush, ‘Reminiscence’ is one of those speculative fictions that are at once undernourished and overcooked. It makes no sense (despite all the explaining), but it draws you in with genre beats, pretty people and the professional polish of its machined parts. It’s shiny and pricey and looks good on the big screen; it is also the newest addition to what now plays like the Nolan Family Extended Universe.” Read more…)

Old Henry (western/action, Tim Blake Nelson. Rotten Tomatoes: 95%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 69 From Ben Kenigsberg’s New York Times review: “‘Old Henry’ makes a solid, honorable go of proving once again that the foursquare western isn’t dead, though in paying homage to its forebears, it inevitably stands in their very long shadows. While the basic standoff scenario is tautly limited in time and place, it’s hard to imagine Budd Boetticher, who made seven fantastically economical westerns with Randolph Scott, burning nearly 40 minutes bringing the opposing sides together.” Read more…)

My Salinger Year (drama, Sigourney Weaver. Rotten Tomatoes: 71%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 50. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “As ‘My Salinger Year’ proves, making a successful movie about introspection is more than a little challenging. Muted almost to the point of effacement, this limp adaptation of Joanna Rakoff’s 2014 memoir, written and directed by Philippe Falardeau, only affirms that what might work on the page doesn’t always pop on the screen.” Read more…)

Coming Home in the Dark (thriller/horror, Daniel Gillies. Rotten Tomatoes: 92%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 64. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “Not infrequently, films set and shot in the Antipodes make a convincing case that one ought to never leave one’s house. Think of the scenarios of ‘Wake In Fright’ [kangaroos and lunatics running amok], ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock’ [girls-school adventurers disappear’, ‘A Cry in the Dark’ [dingo, baby]. Directed by James Ashcroft from a script he wrote with Eli Kent [based on a short story by Owen Marshall], ‘Coming Home in the Dark’ doesn’t take long in demonstrating that sometimes a day trip to high New Zealand spaces is not worth the views.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray

New Foreign DVDs
Hope (Norway, drama, Stellan Skarsgard. Rotten Tomatoes: 98%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 90, Must See. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ Times review: “For audiences seeking escapism, this may not be the best time to tout a movie about terminal illness. Yet it might help to know that ‘Hope,’ a largely autobiographical drama from the Norwegian writer and director Maria Sodahl, is neither miserabilist nor sappily sentimental. Instead, it’s an almost brutally honest observation of a calcified relationship forced to adjust to a terrifying new reality.” Read more…)

The Fever (Brazil, drama, Regis Myrupu. Rotten Tomatoes: 91%. Metacritic: 79. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Devika Girish’s Times review: “‘The Fever’ colors in the experiences of Brazil’s Indigenous community through the casual racism Justino and Vanessa face at work, including taunts about the shapes of their eyes and ignorance about the diversity of Native languages. The characters are stoic in public, but at home, Justino responds with his own judgments. ‘They don’t even know how to look into dreams,’ he says of white doctors.” Read more…)

Who You Think I Am (France, drama, Juliette Binoche. Rotten Tomatoes: 86%. Metacritic: 70. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “It’s understandable that the director Safy Nebbou, who shares script credit with Julie Peyr, keeps his focus and camera so relentlessly on Claire. [The movie is adapted from a novel by Camille Laurens.] Yet because much of the rest of the story is so underdeveloped — notably Claire’s intimate life with her frustratingly generic children — the character overwhelms everything, including the fragile realism.” Read more…)

New TV
Emily In Paris: Season 1 (Netflix rom-com series from creator of “Sex and the City,” Lily Collins. Rotten Tomatoes: 63. Metacritic: 58. From Rebecca Nicolson’s Guardian review: “At times, I wondered what the French had done to deserve ‘Emily in Paris’ [Netflix]. This comedy-drama – although it is light on both – is a vehicle for Lily Collins to waltz around Paris in fabulous clothes, refusing to speak French, largely expecting to be seen as adorable for it. If it is a metaphor for American imperialism, then it is an effective one, but if it is an attempt to fluff up the romcom for the streaming age, then it falls over on its six-inch heels.” Read more…)

New Classic DVDs (pre-1960)
Born To Be Bad (1950, Nicholas Ray-directed film noir, Joan Fontaine. From T.M.P.’s 1950 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Comfortably barricaded between the covers of a book or imprisoned on celluloid, the predatory female can be a fascinating creature. At least she has lived a long life in fiction and, in the case of the screen, has become established as a stable sales commodity. In “Born to Be Bad,” which opened yesterday at the Capitol, Joan Fontaine is demonstrating how a honey-voiced demon can have her cake and eat it too up to the point where the Production Code cries out for retribution.” Read more…)

The Secret Garden (1949, drama/family, Margaret O’Brien)

New American Back Catalog DVDs (post-1960)
Permanent Record (1988, drama, Keanu Reeves. Rotten Tomatoes: 50%. From Walter Goodman’s 1988 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Why should popular, talented, good-looking, success-bound David jump into the Pacific Ocean? If the writers of ”Permanent Record” know, they are not telling. Anyhow, the event creates great distress among David’s high school classmates, especially his best pal and musical collaborator, the sexpot whose favors he has been enjoying, and a shy, serious-minded girl who admires him. All are played by young folks dressed in jeans and acting-school mannerisms.” Read more…)

New Documentaries
Muhammad Ali (Ken Burns bio, sports history, race, Muhammad Ali. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 88. From Finn Cohen’s fall preview in the New York Times: “Nearly three decades later, Burns; his oldest daughter, Sarah; and her husband, David McMahon, have stitched together a sweeping portrait of Ali’s impact from more than 40 years of footage and photographs. ‘Muhammad Ali,’ a four-part documentary series that premieres Sept. 19 on PBS, follows the arc of a man whose life intersected with many of modern America’s most profound changes — and who was also not as widely revered in his prime as he is now.” Read more…)

Tina (music, bio, Tina turner. Rotten Tomatoes: 92%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 81, Must See. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Glenn Kenny’s Times review: “You may believe you know Turner’s tale. And you may be right. It is retold well here, but the most moving portions — and they could bring tears to your eyes — come as Turner, almost 80 at the time of this interview [and as beautiful as she has ever been], wearing a tailored black suit, sits and discusses where she’s at now.” Read more…)

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