New releases 2/18/20

Top Hits
Jojo Rabbit (satire, Roman Griffin Davis. Rotten Tomatoes: 80%. Metacritic: 58. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “The make-believe Hitler is somehow both the most outlandish and the most realistic thing about ‘Jojo Rabbit,’ Taika Waititi’s new film. Based on the novel ‘Caging Skies’ by Christine Leunens — and featuring Waititi himself as Johannes’s goofball fantasy-Führer — the movie filters the banality and evil of the Third Reich through the consciousness of a smart, sensitive, basically ordinary German child. Veering from farce to sentimentality, infused throughout with the anarchic pop humanism Waititi has brought to projects as various as ‘Hunt for the Wilderpeople’ and ‘Thor: Ragnarok,’ it risks going wrong in a dozen different ways and manages to avoid at least half of them.” Read more…)

Midway (WWII war film, Ed Skrein. Rotten Tomatoes: 42%. Metacritic: 47. From Ben Kenigsberg’s New York Times review: “The film belongs to a particular lineage of World War II picture [‘Tora! Tora! Tora!’ and the 1976 ‘Midway’] that — unlike, say, Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dunkirk’ — prioritizes scope over individual drama. To cram all the complexities of geography and who was where when into less than two and a half hours, ‘Midway’ resorts to having its characters converse in exposition, sacrificing one form of verisimilitude for another.” Read more…)

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (Mr. Rogers bio-pic, Tom Hanks. Rotten Tomatoes: 95%. Metacritic: 80. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “‘A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood’ celebrates the virtues of patient listening, gentleness and the honest expression of feelings. It’s about how a man who has devoted his life to being kind helps a man with a professional investment in skepticism to become a little nicer. The appeal of such a movie at the present moment is obvious enough, and so perhaps are the risks. This modest, quiet story — based on a magazine article published more than 20 years ago — could easily have turned into something preachy, sentimental and overstated.” Read more…)

21 Bridges (crime/action, Chadwick Boseman. Rotten Tomatoes: 51%. Metacritic: 51. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “Hedging its bets, the manhunt movie ’21 Bridges’ both flatters and reviles the police. On the one hand, its somber hero, a remorseless homicide detective named Davis [Chadwick Boseman], is the closest thing the N.Y.P.D. has to a perp whisperer. On the other, Davis manages to shoot almost one suspect a month. Unapologetic about his kill rate, he explains to Internal Affairs that they all deserved their fates, so let’s move on, shall we?” Read more…)

Frankie (romance, Isabelle Huppert. Rotten Tomatoes: 58%. Metacritic: 56. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “The first shot in ‘Frankie,’ Ira Sachs’s new film, is an almost painterly study in color, like something by Hockney or Cézanne. The blue of a swimming pool, a spray of dense green foliage shrouding the creamy stones of the building [villa? hotel?] from which a woman emerges, her orange robe matching the tint of her hair. Leisure and languor, with a hint of intrigue, all of it beautifully rendered in Rui Poças’s mellow cinematography. Why set a movie in paradise unless you’re going to bring in some trouble?” Read more…)

Snatchers (horror/comedy, Mary Nepi. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%.)

New Blu-Ray
Jojo Rabbit

New Classic DVDs (pre-1960)
Bullfighter & The Lady (1951, drama/romance, Robert Stack. From Bosley Crowther’s 1951 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Hard on the heels of ‘The Brave Bulls,’ Robert Rossen’s film which opened here last week and is the most powerful picture ever fashioned by an American producer on bull-fighting, comes ‘The Bull-fighter and the Lady,’ a blissfully fanciful romance that scans more or less the same area. It opened at the Capitol yesterday.By comparison with ‘The Brave Bulls,’ this latest arrival might be said to bear just about the same relation as do the works of Burt Standish to those of Ernest Hemingway.” Read more…)

New British
Sanditon (mini-series based on unfinished last Jane Austen novel, Rose Williams. Rotten Tomatoes: 64%. Metacritic: 71.)

New TV
The Twilight Zone: Season 1 (suspense/supernatural series reboot, hosted by Jordan Peele. Rotten Tomatoes: 73%. Metacritic: 61. From James Poniewozik’s New York Times television review: “When Rod Serling opened ‘The Twilight Zone’ for business in 1959, it was a single, specific location. He defined it, in his signature Professor Spooky voice-over, as a place between light and shadow, science and superstition — you know the drill. But the twilight zone was also a safe space, an underground meeting place to talk about things you couldn’t talk about on TV. Serling, a playwright harried by network censors in the 1950s, saw that he could tell unsettling stories — about prejudice, conformity, human frailty — if he dressed them in monster masks and alien goo… So anyone remaking the series in 2019 has to answer, not just what is ‘The Twilight Zone’ 60 years later, but where is it? In an age when there’s little you can’t show on TV, where are the forbidden zones?” Read more…)

New Gay & Lesbian
Devil’s Path (LGBT thriller, J.D. Scalzo. Rotten Tomatoes: 57%.)

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