New releases 2/25/20

Top Hits
Frozen II (Disney animated feature, Kristen Bell [voice]. Rotten Tomatoes: 77%. Metacritic: 64. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “The ensuing adventure is lively, amusing and predictably predictable with revelations, reconciliations and some nebulous politics for the grown-ups. It’s never surprising, yet its bursts of pictorial imagination — snowflakes that streak like shooting stars — keep you engaged, as do Elsa and Anna, who still aren’t waiting for life to happen. They’re searching, not settled, both active and reactive, which even today makes them female-character outliers on the big screen.” Read more…)

Daniel Isn’t Real (horror, Patrick Schwarzenegger. Rotten Tomatoes: 81%. Metacritic: 61. From Teo Bugbee’s New York Times review: “If the thriller ‘Daniel Isn’t Real’ were a recipe, it would call for unappealing ingredients — psychiatric stereotypes, jumpy editing, a mopey protagonist — simmered together until they crackle, pop and blister. What starts as a mediocre psychological thriller finishes as a surprisingly toothsome and creative horror film, complete with creature features and journeys into the abyss.” Read more…)

Knives Out (murder mystery, Daniel Craig. Rotten Tomatoes: 97%. Metacritic: 82. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review; “A sleek game of cat and mouse, ‘Knives Out’ begins the hunt with a mysterious pool of blood and ends, well, telling wouldn’t be fair. The press screening that I attended was preceded by a brief video in which the writer and director Rian Johnson asked viewers not to spill the movie’s secrets. The entreaty suggests how seriously Johnson takes his own cleverly deployed twists and the challenges of keeping ostensible spoilers under wraps. The twists are kinked and amusing, although far less striking than the obvious pleasure he had making this exactingly machined puzzle box.” Read more…)

Color Out of Space (H.P. Lovecraft horror/sci-fi, Nicolas Cage. Rotten Tomatoes: 77%. Metacritic: 64. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ Times review: “‘Color Out of Space,’ apparently, is blindingly bright and magnificently malevolent. In this bonkers yet weirdly beautiful science fiction-horror hybrid [directed, with retro panache, by the great Richard Stanley], the light is a throbbing lilac and blood is Schiaparelli pink. And if I tell you that Nicolas Cage’s eyeballs will turn into ultraviolet high-beams, then you’ll know immediately if you’re in or out. Lovers of aberrant, gooey B-movies will be all in.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
Frozen II
Knives Out

New British
Years and Years (mini-series, drama, Emma Thompson. Rotten Tomatoes: 89%. Metacritic: 78. From James Poniewozik’s New York Times television review: “Ever feel like there’s too much happening? That the news is out of control? That there’s barely time to process one outrage before another replaces it, leaving just the faint memory and a little bit of scar tissue from the previous Worst Thing to Ever Happen? ‘Years and Years’ is not the escape for you. The HBO limited series, from the British writer Russell T Davies, is about a lot of ideas: runaway technology, European nationalism, the failure of liberal democracy. But its overarching idea, driven home by its pell-mell narrative, is, ‘Man, there’s a lot of crazy stuff going on these days.’” Read more…)

Ray & Liz (drama, Richard Ashton. Rotten Tomatoes: 96%. Metacritic: 81. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “Written and directed by the artist Richard Billingham, ‘Ray & Liz’ is an extension of his work as a photographer, which subsists largely of portraits of his own family. This is a fiction film, with actors playing all the real-life characters, but Billingham has crafted it with a documentary concern for detail. Ray’s life in his lonely room is the frame for two extended flashback sequences.” Read more…)

New TV
Yellowstone: Season 1 (western series, Kevin Costner. Rotten Tomatoes: 69%. Metacritic: 54. From James Poniewozik’s New York Times television review: “The surface layer of ‘Yellowstone’ is part modern-day Western, part family business saga — a kind of cowboy ‘Dynasty’ with some dark-cable ambitions. Standing atop it is the flinty personage of John Dutton [Kevin Costner, in ornery-cuss mode], the owner of Yellowstone Ranch, an expanse of grass, hills and testosterone the size of Rhode Island.” Read more…)