New releases 5/29/18

Top Hits
Wonderstruck (drama, Michelle Williams. Rotten Tomatoes: 67%. Metacritic: 71. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Manohla Dargis’ Times review: “‘Wonderstruck’ is based on a hefty, generously illustrated children’s book by Brian Selznick, best known for ‘The Invention of Hugo Cabret.’ Martin Scorsese turned that book into ‘Hugo,’ a reverie about movie love that also features dead parents, a grave if pluckily resourceful child, many whirring yet connected parts and a preoccupation with the cinematic. The film version of ‘Wonderstruck’ draws from much the same overflowing treasure-trove of ideas, although [director Todd] Haynes [like Mr. Scorsese] often feels most energized by the many different ways human beings — with cinematic sights and sounds, through wall shadows and painstaking miniatures — put the world in a box.” Read more…)

Annihilation (sci-fi, Natalie Portman. Rotten Tomatoes: 87%. Metacritic: 79. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “A science-fiction fantasy spiked with baroque horror, ‘Annihilation’ tells an enigmatic tale of love and death and alien invasion. Set in a future that looks pretty much like today, it centers on a biologist, Lena (Natalie Portman), who shortly after the movie opens reunites with her husband, Kane [Oscar Isaac], who she thought was dead. As he sits in their kitchen, the camera slinking about, Lena’s surprise gives way to happiness and then to mounting wariness that, like some kind of contagion, soon slithers under your skin. To understand what has happened and why, Lena sets off on a heroic journey, one that — like most such adventures — inevitably leads inward with each searching step.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray

New American Back Catalog DVDs (post-1960)
Midnight Cowboy (1969, Criterion Collection, drama, Dustin Hoffman. Rotten Tomatoes: 90%. Metacritic: 79. From Vincent Canby’s 1969 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “‘Midnight Cowboy,’ which opened yesterday at the Coronet Theater, is a slick, brutal [but not brutalizing] movie version of James Leo Herlihy’s 1965 novel. It is tough and good in important ways, although its style is oddly romantic and at variance with the laconic material. It may be that movies of this sort [like most war movies] automatically celebrate everything they touch. We know they are movies–isolated, simplified reflections of life–and thus we can enjoy the spectacle of degradation and loss while feeling superior to it and safe.” Read more…)

The Reincarnation of Peter Proud (1975, thriller, Michael Sarrazin. New York Times critic A.H. Weiler in 1975 faulted this movie for not definitively resolving the question of reincarnation. That seems unfair. [Requires log-in]: “‘The Reincarnation of Peter Proud,’ which emerged on the screens of the Cinerama, 59th. and 86th Street Twin Theaters yesterday, illustrates, perhaps more than anything else, that ghosts—even modern ones—needn’t be convincing. Despite a sincere, polished treatment, this delving into the dark, sexridden, tragic previous life of Peter Proud generates clouds of suspense but no solid solution to the riddle of reincarnation.” Read more…)

New British DVDs
Detectorists: Season 3 (British comedy, Toby Jones)

New Television
I’m Dying Up Here: Season 1 (set in 1970s L.A. standup comedy scene, Melissa Leo. Rotten Tomatoes: 51%. Metacritic: 62.)

New Documentaries
Aida’s Secret (Holocaust, family reunification. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 80. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Daniel M. Gold’s Times review: “Directed by Alon and Shaul Schwarz, ‘Aida’s Secrets’ chronicles one man’s late-in-life search for his brother, from whom he was separated as a toddler at the Bergen-Belsen displaced persons camp after World War II. But the remarkable tale it tells — of a family split up and dispersed to different continents, and the detective work required to figure out what had happened — turns this documentary into a fascinating mystery of reshuffled identities. In this time of mass displacement across the globe, it is a stark reminder of how traumatic the refugee experience often is.” Read more…)