New releases 5/30/17

Top Hits
Before I Fall (drama/mystery, Zoey Deutch. Rotten Tomatoes: 66%. Metacritic: 58. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “The film, directed by Ry Russo-Young, written by Maria Maggenti and based on Lauren Oliver’s young-adult novel, isn’t a comedy but rather a dutiful entry in the intermittently popular dying-girl melodrama genre. The damp, forested Pacific Northwest setting puts us in the “Twilight” zone. The mood of morbid, smiling-through-tears sentimentality recalls ‘The Fault in Our Stars,’ ‘Me and Earl and the Dying Girl,’ and ‘If I Stay.'” Read more…)

Fist Fight (comedy, Ice Cube. Rotten Tomatoes: 27%. Metacritic: 37. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “I’ll be honest with you. I was in a pretty foul mood when I went to see ‘Fist Fight.’ It was Wednesday. It was February. It was 2017. And while I can’t exactly say that the movie cheered me up, it did give me something I needed. Not catharsis or uplift but a bracing dose of profane, sloppy, reasonably well-directed hostility. We take what we can get.” Read more…)

The Shack (drama/fantasy, Sam Worthington. Rotten Tomatoes: 21%. Metacritic: 32. From Neil Genzlinger’s New York Times review: “First things first: ‘The Shack,’ a Christian-themed movie with laudable ambitions, will resonate with lots of people who feel Hollywood does not generally understand or care about their world. That said, a bit more editing to remove some of the airiness would have made for a better film.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
The Shack
Before I Fall
Fist Fight

New Foreign DVDs
A French Village: Season 2 (France, WWII-era occupied France drama series, Audrey Fleurot)

New Classic DVDs (pre-1960)
Thieves’ Highway (1949, film noir, Richard Conte. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. From Bosley Crowther’s 1949 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “For here, in this vigorous dramatization of one full day in a truck driver’s life, writen by A. I. Bezzerides and directed by Jules Dassin, is pictured in images so vivid and so brutal that they will root in your mind a truly amazing demonstration of what goes on in the produce world. And here, furthermore, in this exposure, which is stunningly played by a top-form cast, is one of the best melodramas—one of the sharpest and most taut—we’ve had this year.” Read more…)

New American Back Catalog (post-1960)
New Jack City (1991, gangster/thriller, Wesley Snipes. Rotten Tomatoes: 76%. From Janet Maslin’s 1991 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Fortunately, Mario Van Peebles, another actor who proves to be as comfortable behind the camera as he is in front of it, directs ‘New Jack City’ with as much energy and flash as this film’s weary formula will allow. With a title that refers to the ruthless self-interest of contemporary urban street culture, ‘New Jack City’ tells of a seductively powerful drug kingpin named Nino Brown (Wesley Snipes) and the hipper-than-usual police operatives intent on bringing him down.” Read more…)

New Documentaries
All Governments Lie: Truth, Deception, And the Spirit of I.F. Stone (independent journalism, politics, media, Amy Goodman. Rotten Tomatoes: 91%. Metacritic: 63. From Simon Houpt’s Toronto Globe and Mail review: “To read the headlines over the past month, you’d think the toxic phenomenon of fake news was created from whole cloth during the recent U.S. presidential cycle. But while the new Canadian documentary All Governments Lie isn’t directly about, say, a secret child sex-trafficking ring operated by Hillary Clinton out of the back room of a Washington pizza shop (I didn’t make that up, although somebody did), it lucidly argues that powerful interests have been creating supercharged fake stories for decades to advance their own nefarious interests. And the institutional media have too often blithely played along.” Read more…)

Alive Inside (Alzheimers, healthcare, music as healing, Dan Cohen. Rotten Tomatoes: 74%. Metacritic: 67. From Nicolas Rapold’s New York Times review: “In ‘Alive Inside,’ Michael Rossato-Bennett’s purposeful documentary about the rejuvenating power of music, the fountain of youth exists. And it bears an Apple logo. The film’s signature scenario shows a torpid older man being outfitted with headphones and an iPod. He hears the first strains of Cab Calloway and immediately brightens, reminisces and boogies — Alzheimer’s be damned. This looks like some kind of enchantment (and it happens with several people), but as the author and neurology professor Oliver Sacks and the musician Bobby McFerrin affirm, music just gets through to you.” Read more…)

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