New Releases 11/25/14

Top Hits
The Expendables 3 (action, Sly Stallone. Rotten Tomatoes: 33%. Metacritic: 35. From Nicolas Rapold’s New York Times review: “Walking past Madame Tussauds after a preview screening of ‘The Expendables 3’ on 42nd Street in Manhattan brought on a mysterious feeling of déjà vu, until I realized that both franchises share an operating principle: Cram a bunch of famous faces together and bank on the immediate joys of recognition.” Read more…)

War Story (drama, Catherine Keener. Rotten Tomatoes: 47%. Metacritic: 50. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “Buried beneath a shlubby wardrobe and a sulky demeanor, Catherine Keener drags herself through ‘War Story’ like one of those exhausted mothers in a missing-child movie. What her character has lost, though, isn’t her offspring — it’s her marbles.” Read more…)

What If (romantic comedy, Daniel Radcliffe. Rotten Tomatoes: 69%. Metacritic: 59. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “A balloon of cuteness that makes you yearn for a pin, ‘What If’ is Saturday night comfort food for those who need to believe that even the most curdled among us can find a mate.” Read more…)

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas (comedy/holiday, Tyler Perry. Rotten Tomatoes: 19%. Metacritic: 28. From Nicolas Rapold’s New York Times review: “What makes it a Madea Christmas? In the latest visit from Tyler Perry’s multimillion-dollar-grossing action-hero auntie, this modern-day Malaprop helps save a school, an interracial relationship, a bullied boy and a divided family, all while making fast friends with the white-trash royalty Larry the Cable Guy. She’d save a man from a burning wreck, but somebody else takes care of that.” Read more…)

The Giver (drama/sci-fi, Brenton Thwaites. Rotten Tomatoes: 36%. Metacritic: 47. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “Adapted from Lois Lowry’s book for young readers, the story involves an isolated society that, with its cubistic dwellings, mindless smiles, monochromatic environs and nebulous communitarianism, seem modeled on a Scandinavian country or an old Mentos commercial.” Read more…)

Mercy (supernatural thriller, Frances O’Connor. Rotten Tomatoes: 33%. Metacritic: 35.)
Stretch (action comedy, Patrick Wilson. Rotten Tomatoes: 89%.)

New Blu-Rays
The Expendables 3

New Foreign
Manuscripts Don’t Burn (Iran, political drama. Rotten Tomatoes: 96%. Metacritic: 87. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ Times review: “Depicting his combustible material with a cool head and a steady hand, the Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof — defying a 20-year government ban on his work — makes ‘Manuscripts Don’t Burn’ a slow-motion explosion of anti-authoritarian rage. Perhaps too slow, as the film’s methodical pacing and often elliptical dialogue [these are characters who have learned to choose their words very carefully] demand a commitment to the early scenes that takes a while to pay off. By the midway point, however, we feel the clammy grip of a measured political thriller as the story hops between the comfortable Tehran home of a chronically disabled writer and the unsavory road trip of two government-hired killers.” Read more…)

New British
The Johnny Worricker Trilogy Part 2: Turks and Caicos (espionage series, Bill Nighy)
The Johnny Worricker Trilogy Part 3: Salting the Battlefield (espionage series, Bill Nighy)
Inspector Lewis: Series 7 (mystery series, Kevin Whately)
The Crimson Petal and the White (miniseries drama based on Michel Faber novel, Chris O’Dowd)

Children’s DVDs
Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return (animated feature, Dan Ackroyd)

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