New releases 12/7/21

Top Hits
Cry Macho (western/drama, Clint Eastwood. Rotten Tomatoes: 58%. Metacritic: 58. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “Mike Milo is a former rodeo rider and horse trainer — an ornery old cuss with a complicated past and a soft spot for children and animals. He’s a grouch but also a professional, with a deep knowledge of his craft and a flinty sense of honor. To put it in simpler terms, he’s played by Clint Eastwood. Eastwood also directed ‘Cry Macho,’ in a stripped-down, laid-back style that perfectly suits Mike’s approach to life. “ Read more…)

Copshop (action, Gerard Butler. Rotten Tomatoes: 82%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 61. From Robert Daniels’ capsule New York Times review: “The director Joe Carnahan’s film is a throwback 1970s-style shoot-em-up that uses the tropes of a western with gangster flair… In ‘Copshop,’ which crescendos with a shootout in a police station, there’s plenty of blood, plenty of madness and lots of bullets to go around.” Read more…)

Ron’s Gone Wrong (animated feature, Zach Galifianakis. Rotten Tomatoes: 79%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 65. From Ben Kenigsberg’s New York Times review: “A computer-animated film that promotes the virtues of analog living and a would-be heartwarming story that plays as faintly terrifying after the revelations of a Facebook whistle-blower, ‘Ron’s Gone Wrong’ sends viewers out into a world that suddenly looks more dystopian than it did before. As family entertainment, it’s fine.” Read more…)

Surge (thriller, Ben Whishaw. Rotten Tomatoes: 77%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 51. From Peter Bradshaw’s Guardian review: “The movie’s title is well chosen. Almost each individual scene – and arguably the film itself – is a surge, an oppressive swelling of the meteorological pressure in Joseph’s head. Each sequence seems to be building, building, building to something, but then, instead of a climax, we enigmatically cut to another scene later and reset for another psycho-emotional surge. It’s a shrewd depiction of the banal day-to-day unhappiness that Joseph lives with.” Read more…)

Wild Indian (thriller, Michael Greyeyes. Rotten Tomatoes: 90%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 74. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Lisa Kennedy’s Times review: “‘Some time ago, there was an Ojibwe man, who got a little sick and wandered West,’ the intertitle at the start of ‘Wild Indian’ states. The camera finds a man stooped and slowly making his way through the woods and follows him for a spell. ‘Little’ is an understatement: His face is covered with pox blisters. This more-than-cautionary note sets the tone for the First Nations writer-director Lyle Mitchell Corbine Jr.’s symbolically rich and subtle thriller focused on two cousins who share a secret about a rending act of violence.” Read more…)

New TV
His Dark Materials: Season 2 (HBO fantasy series, Dafne Keen. Rotten Tomatoes: 85%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 71.)

New Classic DVDs (pre-1960)
Johnny Eager (1941, suspense/early noir, Lana Turner. From T.S.’s 1941 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Although gangster melodramas are not precisely the height of fashion right now, MGM’s scenario tailors have done a consummate fitting job for Robert Taylor and Lana Turner in ‘Johnny Eager,’ now at the Capitol. As another case history of a relentlessly bad boy riding high and handsome ‘straight for judgment day’ it is highly colored hokum in which women are ‘dames’ and guns are ‘gats.’ But it has been made with a flourish.” Read more…)

New American Back Catalog DVDs (post-1960)
Who Killed Teddy Bear? (1965, late noir, Sal Mineo, Juliet Prowse. From a post on crimereads.com about noir from the late 1950s and 1960s: “‘Who Killed Teddy Bear’ is a fascinating noir that feels very much ahead of its time in terms of its nods to the erotic psychological thriller genre that would emerge in the late 1970s.” Read more…)

New Documentaries
Whirlybird (journalism, LA history, helicopter reporting, Katy Tur. Rotten Tomatoes: 83%. Metacritic: 68. From Ben Kenigsberg’s New York Times review: “Drawing on an amazing video stockpile from the 1980s and ’90s, ‘Whirlybird’ is an editing feat. [The news clips and Marika consistently refer to Zoey by the name she was known by during the period recounted, before a gender transition.] The movie also has elements of a psychodrama: Building a family business around adrenaline turns out to be suboptimal for relationships and health.” Read more…)