New releases 11/1/16

Top Hits
star_trek_beyondStar Trek Beyond (sci-fi/action, Chris Pine. Rotten Tomatoes: 84%. Metacritic: 68. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “So you can understand why [Captain] James T. [Kirk], a good soldier and also a bit of a loose cannon, might want to break out of the rut, and the title of the latest movie, ‘Star Trek Beyond,’ teases the audience with the promise of novelty and risk. It’s not necessarily a criticism to note that not much materializes. Directed by the action maven Justin Lin from a script by Simon Pegg and Doug Jung, the film answers the question ‘Beyond what?’ with a diffident ‘Well, nothing, really. Don’t worry!’ It should have been called ‘Star Trek Within’ in honor of its determination to color inside the lines, obeying the ironclad conventions of brand and genre. Which is not, in itself, a bad thing. Not every wheel needs reinventing, and one of the abiding pleasures of ‘Star Trek,’ in its old and newer iterations, lies in its balance of stubborn consistency and canny inventiveness.” Read more…)

Bad Moms (comedy, Mila Kunis. Rotten Tomatoes: 60%. Metacritic: 60. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “Are women trending? I guess they are! Suddenly, they seem to be just everywhere, onscreen and offscreen, in comic-book flicks, in childhood-destroying comedies and even in the presidential race. The latest big-screen evidence that women are hot [kind of], and not simply in a frat-boy way, is ‘Bad Moms,’ a funny, giddy, sentimental laugh-in from Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, who wrote the 2009 hit comedy ‘The Hangover.'” Read more…)

Nine Lives (family comedy, Kevin Spacey. Rotten Tomatoes: 11%. Metacritic: 11. From Neil Genzlinger’s New York Times review: “Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Garner and Christopher Walken at least chose to be in ‘Nine Lives.’ The cast member you really feel bad for is the cat. It presumably was forced into the job by its manager, or agent, or whatever. Its résumé may never recover.” Read more…)

anthropoidAnthropoid (World War II drama/thriller, Cillian Murphy. Rotten Tomatoes: 67%. Metacritic: 59. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Andy Webster’s Times review: “It takes Sean Ellis’s World War II thriller ‘Anthropoid’ a while to build steam, but once it does, hang on. An account of the true Czech-British mission to assassinate Reinhard Heydrich — the principal architect of the Final Solution, and often called the Butcher of Prague — the film follows Jozef Gabcik [Cillian Murphy] and Jan Kubis [Jamie Dornan], who parachute into Nazi-occupied territory near Prague in December 1941. They soon learn how untrustworthy certain locals can be. But a connection is made with an underground contact [Toby Jones] who aids their endeavor, as well as a Resistance leader [Marcin Dorocinski] who fears devastating reprisals if the goal is met.” Read more…)

The Sea of Trees (drama, Matthew McConaughey. Rotten Tomatoes: 10%. Metacritic: 23. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “‘The Sea of Trees’ is another name for the Aokigahara forest in Japan, such a popular spot for suicides that some believe that the spirits of the dead linger there to trap unwary wanderers. Or perhaps to snare incautious filmmakers, as it’s also the setting for Gus Van Sant’s movie of the same name, a numinous meditation on grief that’s more likely to inspire laughter than tears.” Read more…)

Imperium (thriller, Daniel Radcliffe. Rotten Tomatoes: 82%. Metacritic: 68. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Neil Genzlinger’s Times review: “Daniel Radcliffe might seem a long way from Hogwarts in ‘Imperium,’ a bleak movie about an F.B.I. agent’s undercover foray into the world of neo-Nazis, but then again, maybe not. In the child-friendly ‘Harry Potter’ films, Harry was perpetually doing battle against the wizarding world’s version of racism and a toxic hatred that seemed to grip those around him like a disease. The difference is that in ‘Imperium’ his character, Nate Foster, doesn’t have magic to fall back on.” Read more…)

The Young Messiah (family/religious, Adam Graves-Neal. Rotten Tomatoes: 47%. Metacritic: 33. From Andy Webster’s New York Times review: “Limping into theaters this weekend was yet another entry in the current avalanche of religious-themed movies: Cyrus Nowrasteh’s ‘The Young Messiah,’ which imagines the life of Jesus at age 7. Adapted from Anne Rice’s 2005 best seller ‘Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt’ [the reverent script is by Mr. Nowrasteh and his wife, Betsy Giffen Nowrasteh], and devoid of dramatic tension, the film hits New Testament basics as it depicts the flight of Joseph, Mary and their son from Alexandria, in Egypt, to Nazareth and eventually to Jerusalem.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
Star Trek Beyond
Bad Moms

New Foreign DVDs
no_home_movieNo Home Movie (Belgium, Chantal Akerman documentary/memoir. Rotten Tomatoes: 88%. Metacritic: 78. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Manohla Dargis’ Times review: “The last time the filmmaker Chantal Akerman appears in ‘No Home Movie’ she’s tying her shoelaces. Seated on a bed in a dark, sparsely furnished room with a single window, she doesn’t say anything. She just ties her shoes, draws the curtains and exits, letting the shot linger on the empty room. Her mother, Natalia, has been failing and Ms. Akerman’s melancholy hangs over the scene like funeral crepe. The first time I watched it, her heavy silence was painful to see; the second time, watching had turned into raw feeling because Ms. Akerman is now gone.” Read more…)

Ugly, Dirty & Bad (Italy, comedy, Nino Manfredi)

New British
The Battle of the Sexes (comedy, 1960, Peter Sellers. From A.H. Weiler’s 1960 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Since James Thurber’s heroes are startled and confused by the twentieth century’s uncommonly confident woman, docile dogs and even the spring’s first crocus, it has been debatable whether they could be shifted without damage from prose to pictures. That delicate trick has been turned fairly neatly in the British-made ‘The Battle of the Sexes,’ which began at the Murray Hill Theatre yesterday.” Read more…)
The Durrells in Corfu: Season 1 (feel-good Brit series, Keeley Hawes)

New Documentaries
gleasonGleason (sports, football, terminal illness,family dynamics, Steve Gleason. Rotten Tomatoes: 96%. Metacritic: 80. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “In a 2006 football game against the Atlanta Falcons, the New Orleans Saints safety Steve Gleason made a bold headlong leap that blocked a punt. The recovery of that ball led to a touchdown for the Saints, and Gleason and his team, representing the city that had been so terribly battered by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, became national symbols of indomitability. A major theme of ‘Gleason,’ a documentary directed by Clay Tweel about that athlete and philanthropist, is that indomitability is no walk in the park: In 2011, the retired footbsll player learned he had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or A.L.S. [The physicist Stephen Hawking also has what is commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.]” Read more…)
Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict (bio, modern art history, Peggy Guggenheim. Rotten Tomatoes: 93%. Metacritic: 68. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Daniel M. Gold’s Times review: “‘ Peggy Guggenheim: art Addict,’ Lisa Immordino Vreeland’s sleek, entertaining portrait of the collector and gallerist who assembled one of the great troves of Modern art, cannot be accused of hagiography. From curators to historians to biographers, art world denizens describe Guggenheim’s flaws and failings: She had no formal training; she used art to promote herself; she was a narcissist. And that’s just in the first five minutes.” Read more…)

Close To You: Remembering the Carpenters (music bio, Karen Carpenter)

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