New releases 4/26/22

Top Hits
Jackass Forever (comedy, Johnny Knoxville. Rotten Tomatoes: 86%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 74. Believe it or not, a New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Amy Nicholson’s Times review: “‘Jackass’ remains the most shocking theatrical experience since the mythic mid-1890s screening of the Lumière brothers’ ‘Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat Station.’ As a test of resolve, it has no rivals. The performers fling themselves into dumb and painful stunts on purpose, and blissfully weak-willed audience members cackle knowing that their laughter is proof that they haven’t grown up either.” Read more…)

Moonfall (sci-fi/disaster, Halle Berry. Rotten Tomatoes: 38%. Metacritic: 41. From Ben Kenigsberg’s New York Times review: “In the disaster movie ‘Moonfall,’ the moon goes out of orbit and starts coiling its way toward Earth, causing environmental disasters and setting the clock on humanity. Scientists calculate ellipses; screenwriters ready their exclamations. ‘Everything we thought we knew about the nature of the universe has just gone out the window,’ a N.A.S.A. official [Halle Berry] proclaims. But for the director Roland Emmerich [‘Independence Day,’ ‘The Day After Tomorrow,’ ‘2012’], who treats the planet to potentially life-ending cataclysms with the regularity of dental checkups, it’s not much new under the sun.” Read more…)

Superintelligence (comedy, Melissa McCarthy. Rotten Tomatoes: 31%. Metacritic: 41. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “‘Jexi’ meets ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’ it is, then. Carol’s task is to revive her failed romance with George, a good-natured academic played good-naturedly by Bobby Cannavale. The countdown to extinction hooks up with what film scholars call the ‘comedy of remarriage.’ [That is, the happy relitigation of a stalled alliance.] And the movie saunters between these two modes with minimal rhyme or reason.” Read more…)

V/H/S/94 (horror, Anna Hopkins. Rotten Tomatoes: 90%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 63. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Calum Marsh’s Times review: “‘V/H/S’ is a series of found-footage horror anthologies whose constituent shorts are made to seem like the contents of old, and possibly haunted, videocassettes. The problem to date has been that, like most omnibus films, the quality of the segments ranges wildly, so that the odd effective short winds up sandwiched between shorts that are decidedly second-rate. ‘V/H/S/94,’ the fourth movie in the franchise, is the first wholly successful one, for the simple reason that each of its four unique, 1990s-set segments is a winner.” Read more…)

Bleed With Me (horror, Lee Marshall. Rotten Tomatoes: 82%. From Erik Piepenberg’s New York Times review: “In her intense feature, the writer-director Amelia Moses lets stillness and bewitching atmospherics, not gore and gotchas, drive her slow-burn, deeply creepy study of codependency and female friendship. The mysteries steadily and ominously build over 80 hallucinatory minutes, unfolding like an intimate play, until a finale that’s strange, bloody and mesmerizing.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray &Ultra HD 4K
Singin’ In the Rain 4K UHD (1952, musical, Gene Kelly. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 99, Must See. From Bosley Crowther’s 1952 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Spring came with a fresh and cheerful splatter to the Music Hall yesterday with the arrival of Metro’s new musical, ‘Singin’ in the Rain,’ along with the Glory-of-Easter pageant and a vernal revue on the stage. Compounded generously of music, dance, color, spectacle and a riotous abundance of Gene Kelly, Jean Hagen and Donald O’Connor on the screen, all elements in this rainbow program are carefuly contrived and guaranteed to lift the dolors of winter and put you in a buttercup mood.” Read more…)

New Foreign DVDs
Stop-Zemlia (Ukraine, coming-of-age drama, Yana Isaienko. Rotten Tomatoes: 88%. Metacritic: 60. From Katie Walsh’s Los Angeles Times review: “It’s tempting to compare ‘Stop-Zemlia’ to the HBO series ‘Euphoria,’ as these teens also wear colorful makeup and experiment with drinking, drugs, sex and self-harm [the one main difference: gun-safety classes to prepare for military training]. But there’s something rather innocent about this depiction, which isn’t trying to be a scandalous or searing portrait of youth but to create an emotionally authentic representation of this hypercharged and sensitive age.” Read more…)

The Long Walk (Laos, dystopia/drama, Yannawoutthi Chanthalungsy. Rotten Tomatoes: 95%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 72. From Teo Bugbee’s New York Times review: “The Laotian drama ‘The Long Walk’ takes a languid look around a near-future dystopia where fighter jets leave smoke trails in the sky and government authorities track missing people using microchips embedded in their bodies. In this reality, a spiritual, occult world exists underneath the noses of officials.” Read more…)

Miracle in Milan (1951, Italy, fantasy, dir. by Vittorio De Sica, Criterion Collection, Emma Gramatica. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. From Bosley Crowther’s 1951 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “The rich vein of sly, compassionate humor that Charlie Chaplin and Rene Clair used to mine with unparalleled genius when they were turning out their best satiric films, has been tapped by Vittorio De Sica in his ‘Miracle in Milan,’ the widely proclaimed Italian picture that arrived at the World yesterday. And although this uncommon vein of fancy is a way from De Sica’s previous line, the great director has brought up from his digging a liberal return of purest gold.” Read more…)

New TV
The Great: Seasons 1 & 2 (historical drama/comedy series, Elle Fanning. Rotten Tomatoes: 94%. Metacritic: 74.)

Yellowstone: Season 3 (drama series, Kevin Costner. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%.)

New Classic DVDs (pre-1960)
The Girl Can’t Help It (1956, rock ’n’ roll comedy, Criterion Collection, Jayne Mansfield. Rotten Tomatoes: 77%. From Bosley Crowther’s 1957 New York Times review: “The recognized fact that women are shaped somewhat differently from men is the only apparent justification for Jayne Mansfield’s being in Twentieth Century-Fox’ ‘The Girl Can’t Help It,’ which came to the Roxy yesterday. Miss Mansfield has a figure that is so different it’s hard to believe, but what she can do in the way of acting, beyond wiggle and squirm, remains to be seen.” Read more…)

New American Back Catalog DVDs (post-1960)
House of Dark Shadows (1970, horror, Jonathan Frid. Rotten Tomatoes: 43%. From Roger Greenspun’s 1970 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “The vampire movie is such an agreeable type, with so many good and even great examples — remember ‘Vampyr’ and ‘Nosferatu’—that it would seem to have taken an act of unusual perversity to have made anything as dreadful as ‘House of Dark Shadows,’ which opened yesterday at neighborhood theaters.The cast, the director, the characters, the locales and the situations derive of course from the ‘Dark Shadows’ television series, but despite the identity of credits, the film looks like desperate imitation—and by an inferior team of plagiarists at that.” Read more…)

New Documentaries
Writing with Fire (journalism, human rights, women’s rights, India. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 84. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Devika Girish’s Times review: “Several times in the documentary ‘Writing With Fire,’ we see women reporters standing alone in a crowd of men — cops, miners, political rallyists — asking gentle but firm questions. The women’s grit in the face of palpable hostility is impressive, and it becomes more so when you learn that they’re in Uttar Pradesh, an Indian province known for crimes against women, and that they are Dalits, or members of the country’s so-called untouchable caste.” Read more…)

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