New releases 4/26/16

Top Hits
Jane_Got_GunJane Got a Gun (western, Natalie Portman. Rotten Tomatoes: 43%. Metacritic: 49. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “Under such circumstances one hopes for, if not a lost masterpiece, then something quirky and entertaining. The tale of a frontier wife, Jane [Natalie Portman)], in the New Mexico Territory, enlisting a former lover [Joel Edgerton] to defend home and hearth after her husband has been laid low did not seem to be an unreasonable scenario. I was hoping for something along the lines of a gender-reversed ‘Shane,’ with Noah Emmerich [he plays the husband] in the Jean Arthur role. No such luck.” Read more…)

Ride Along 2 (comedy, Ice Cube. Rotten Tomatoes: 15%. Metacritic: 32. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “‘Ride Along 2,’ it may not surprise you to learn, is a lot like ‘Ride Along,’ only less so. The buddy-cop action-comedy is a foolproof genre, though it’s also one that requires a fool. This franchise is lucky to have Kevin Hart in that role, and his manic comic energy is enough to make the sequel something other than a complete waste of time. But the genre is also stubbornly innovation-proof, and there’s not much new to see here.)

Krampus (horror/holiday/comedy, Toni Collette. Rotten Tomatoes: 66%. Metacritic: 49. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “Occasionally funny, intermittently scary, but mostly hectic and sloppy, ‘Krampus’ tries very hard to be a different kind of Christmas movie. It wants to have its store-bought fruitcake and eat it too, to satirize the meanness and materialism of holiday-observing Americans and also connect with the vaguely defined real meaning of the season.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
Ride Along 2

New Foreign
Son_of_SaulSon of Saul (Hungary, Oscar-winning Holocaust drama, Geza Rohrig. Rotten Tomatoes: 96%. Metacritic: 89. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “The shape of the screen is unusually narrow in ‘Son of Saul,’ the 38-year-old Hungarian filmmaker Laszlo Nemes’s debut feature. Nearly square, it evokes an earlier era, when all movies looked this way, and also emphasizes the claustrophobia of the story and the setting. We are in a Nazi death camp, and really in it, to a degree that few fictional films have had the nerve to attempt. The camera doesn’t just survey the barracks and the guard towers, the haggard prisoners and brutal guards. It takes us to the very door of the gas chambers, in the close company of Saul Auslander [Geza Rohrig], a Jewish inmate who is a member of the camp’s Sonderkommando [special commando] unit.” Read more…)

Phoenix (Germany, postwar drama, Nina Hoss. Rotten Tomatoes: 98%. Metacritic: 89. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “[Director Christian] Petzold is not the kind of director to indulge in showy homages, but his films are nonetheless steeped in the cinematic styles and genres of the past. ‘Jerichow’ was a reimagining of ‘The Postman Always Rings Twice.’ ‘Barbara,’ set in East Germany in the 1980s, was a suspenseful romantic melodrama, and in both cases Ms. Hoss evoked the blond hauteur and old-Hollywood heat of Lana Turner. With its themes of suppressed desire and mistaken identity, ‘Phoenix’ has more than a touch of ‘Vertigo,’ but instead of Hitchcockian psychological puzzles, it explores unsolvable and perhaps unspeakable moral conundrums.” Read more…)

New American Back Catalog (post-1960)
What? (1972, Roman Polanski-directed sex farce, Marcello Mastroianni)

New British
Detectorists: Season 1 (British comedy series, Mackenzie Crook)

New Documentaries
Kennedy_FilmsThe Kennedy Films of Robert Drew & Associates (historic cinema verite docs, JFK. From J. Hoberman’s New York Times DVD review: “Ronald Reagan was a movie star who became a politician; John F. Kennedy was a politician who took on the glamour of a movie star. The process began before Senator Kennedy’s election to the presidency in 1960, when he gave Robert Drew, a producer of news films for Time Inc., permission to document his campaign during the Wisconsin primary. Kennedy’s opponent, Senator Hubert H. Humphrey of Minnesota, had no choice but to follow that lead. The result was the 53-minute film ‘Primary’ [1960], which Mr. Drew [1924-2014] followed with two TV documentaries about the Kennedy presidency, ‘Adventures on the New Frontier’ [1961] and ‘Crisis’ [1963]. All three, along with Mr. Drew’s short ‘Faces of November’ [1964], a reflection on public grief in response to Kennedy’s assassination, have been reissued on disc as ‘The Kennedy Films of Robert Drew & Associates.'” Read more…)

Cartel Land (drug traffickers, crime, violence, Mexico. Rotten Tomatoes: 89%. Metacritic: 76. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “The director Matthew Heineman has a terrific eye. And, to judge from ‘Cartel Land,’ his immersive documentary about American and Mexican vigilante groups, he also has guts and nerves of steel. Serving as the primary cinematographer, he employs a run-and-gun style for much of the movie, using a lightweight digital camera that at times lurches so dramatically that you can visualize the body attached to it. Considering that Mr. Heineman landed in a few shootouts while making this documentary, both his camera moves and its pictorial quality are striking.” Read more…)

Life_in_Dirty_MoviesA Life In Dirty Movies (Joe Sarno, bio, film history, sex history. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 69. From Nicolas Rapold’s New York Times review: “In Joe Sarno’s sexploitation movies, with titles like ‘Sin in the Suburbs,’ sex is only one part of the picture. Mr. Sarno, a classic example of an auteur laboring in the shadows, used his genre to delve into thornier truths and anxieties about desire. Wiktor Ericsson’s ‘A Life in Dirty Movies’ outlines this filmmaker’s work reasonably well, but, somewhat surprisingly, truly hits home with a heartwarming look at Mr. Sarno’s relationship with his wife, Peggy.” Read more…)

Mile… Mile & a Half (sports, hiking, nature)

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