New releases 12/1/20

Top Hits
Beeswax (drama, Tilly & Maggie Hatcher. Rotten Tomatoes: 74%. Metacritic: 69. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “‘Beeswax,’ at first glance a modest, ragged slice of contemporary life, turns out to be a remarkably subtle, even elegant movie. Its leisurely scenes and hesitant, circling conversations conceal both an ingenious comic structure and a rich emotional subtext. [Director Andrew] Bujalski, who has been compared at times to John Cassavetes, at times to Eric Rohmer, has, with an anthropologist’s sympathetic detachment and a novelist’s eye, discovered some of the hidden codes and rituals that govern modern behavior.”)

Words on Bathroom Walls (drama/romance, Charlie Plummer. Rotten Tomatoes: 89%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 61. From Nell Minow’s RogerEbert.com review: “But at its essence it is a story about what all teenagers—and all people—want: to be independent, to have satisfying work, and to love and be loved. The specifics work, with superb performances from an exceptional cast, and that illuminates the universal themes of identity and intimacy.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
The Irishman

New Foreign DVDs
Purple Noon (France, 1960, drama, Criterion Collection, Alain Delon. Rotten Tomatoes: 95%. From Bosley Crowther’s 1961 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Against some sparkling backgrounds of the blue Tyrrhenian Sea, a fishing port on the Gulf of Salerno and the tree-shaded avenues of Rome, French director Rene Clement has done the incongruous thing of unfolding a murder thriller that is as fascinating as it is dazzlingly beautiful.” Read more…)

New American Back Catalog DVDs (post-1960)
Crash (1996, David Cronenberg-directed cult drama, Criterion Collection, James Spader. Rotten Tomatoes: 61%. Metacritic: 50. From Janet Maslin’s 1997 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “[Director David] Cronenberg, who will now rattle audiences even more powerfully than he did with ‘Dead Ringers’ or ‘Naked Lunch,’ cannot be dismissed as a twisted panderer despite the clear leanings of ‘Crash’ in that direction. As Mr. [novelist J.G.] Ballard did [in the book from which the movie was adapted], he envisions a work of sexually charged science fiction. The ‘Crash’ characters sleepwalk through this story in a state of futuristic numbness, seeking extreme forms of sensation because familiar feelings have long since failed them.” Read more…)

New Documentaries
Desolation Center (music, punk, underground culture, history. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. From Bill Pearis’ Brooklyn Vegan review: “‘You know, in Europe you don’t have the same access to explosives and weapons that Americans do,’ Einstürzende Neubauten’s Blixa Bargeld said of his band’s truly incendiary 1984 performance in the California desert, one of a series of totally DIY shows put on by the Desolation Center collective during the Reagan Years. Desolation Center was the brainchild of Stuart Swezey who, nearly 40 years later, has made a wonderful documentary about the concerts and the time. It’s not often that a film leaves you totally envious of the people who were there, but this is one of them.” Read more…)