New releases 6/15/21

Top Hits
Godzilla Vs. Kong (action, Alexander Skarsgård. Rotten Tomatoes: 76%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 59. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “A few nights ago, I watched ‘Godzilla vs. Kong’ alone in my darkened living room. This was far from ideal, but it did make me acutely nostalgic for a specific pleasure that I have gone without for 13 months. There are many reasons I miss going to movie theaters, but one of them I hadn’t really taken account of is the particular delight of watching a bad movie on a big screen. I don’t mean ‘bad’ in a bad way. It’s a description, rather than a judgment.” Read more…)

French Exit (comedy/drama, Michelle Pfeiffer. Rotten Tomatoes: 63%. Metacritic: 57. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “As if rebounding as far as possible from her hard-luck character in the 2018 drama ‘Where Is Kyra?,’ Michelle Pfeiffer glams it up as an imperious New York dowager in ‘French Exit.’ Floating through scenes in fur-trimmed coats and slinky peignoirs, nose in the air and martini glass in a death grip, Pfeiffer is Frances Price, a diva of disdain. The role is far juicier than the movie around it, a melancholy farce of disappearing privilege and insouciant parenting.” Read more…)

The Lovebirds (rom-com, Issa Rae. Rotten Tomatoes: 65%. Metacritic: 59. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “Remember ‘Date Night,’ with Steve Carell and Tina Fey? I didn’t either, until I saw ‘The Lovebirds’ and tried to think of another movie that had similarly squandered the appeal of two popular comic performers in a rom-com caper that managed to be both frantic and lazy.” Read more…)

Supernova (gay & lesbian drama, Colin Firth, Stanley Tucci, Rotten Tomatoes: 87%. Metacritic: 73. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Glenn Kenny’s Times review: “It’s rare to see a cinematic drama executed with such consistent care as ‘Supernova,’ written and directed by Harry Macqueen and starring Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci. And here, that care pays off to devastating effect.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
Godzilla Vs. Kong

New Foreign
The Man Who Sold His Skin (Tunisia, drama, Yahya Mahayni. Rotten Tomatoes: 92%. Metacritic: 67. From Nicolas Rapold’s New York Times review: “Art satire meets immigration drama in the Tunisian director Kaouther Ben Hania’s ‘The Man Who Sold His Skin.’ Ben Hania repurposes a real-life chapter from the annals of the art world, when the Belgian artist Wim Delvoye tattooed the back of a man, and then sold it as art. What sounds like a recipe for trouble — what about the human who’s the canvas? — is exactly where the movie lives, spinning a prickly cautionary tale of exploitation and commodification.” Read more…)

True Mothers (Japan, drama, Hiromi Nagasaku. Rotten Tomatoes: 92%. Metacritic: 64. From Ben Kenigsberg’s New York Times review: “Only a mountain couldn’t be moved by ‘True Mothers’ — but like Asato’s parentage, the sources of that effect are complex. From one angle, ‘True Mothers’ is sensitive and layered. From another, the tricks it plays with perspective constitute an all-too-calculated ploy for tears.” Read more…)

To the Ends of the Earth (Japan, drama, Atsuko Maeda. Rotten Tomatoes: 95%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 85. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Glenn Kenny’s Times review: “Kurosawa is best known in the United States for his idiosyncratic horror pictures [‘Pulse,’ ‘Creepy,’ and others]. This, though, is a relatively quiet, sensitive portrayal of cross-cultural exchange and confusion, and a woman looking for herself in a place that’s strange to her. Kurosawa’s command of film form gives the movie an embracing magnetism despite its seeming thinness of plot.” Read more…)

New American Back Catalog DVDs (post-1960)
One Potato, Two Potato (1964, drama, Barbara Barrie. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. From A.H. Weiler’s New York Times review: “Modestly conceived and executed by a pair of movie tyros and cheered and honored at the recent Cannes Film Festival, ‘One Potato, Two Potato,’ which arrived yesterday at the Murray Hill, Embassy and other theaters, deserves its accolades and yet, like life itself, disturbingly shows its imperfections.In simply mirroring cancerous injustices stemming from an interracial marriage, a terrible quandary is starkly, if patly, pictured. Gnawing doubts remain after the film’s climactic decision is made, but this festering problem of our flawed society, which could have been depicted sordidly and sensationally, is, instead, often made moving in basically honest terms.” Read more…)

New Documentaries
Us Kids (activism, gun violence, Emma Gonzalez. Rotten Tomatoes: 87%. Metacritic: 64. From Lovia Gyarkye’s New York Times review: “‘Us Kids’ skillfully handles a sensitive subject and prudently connects the Parkland students’ stories to those of Black students whose experiences with gun violence rarely garner similar national attention. The film generally strikes an optimistic tone — highlighting the resilience of these young activists and the community they created. But no amount of editing or overlaid emotional ballads can shake the unsettling fact that these teenagers, whose lives were disturbed by unthinkable acts of violence, feel abandoned by the systems meant to protect them.” Read more…)

Ali & Cavett: The Tale of the Tapes (documentary, sports, television, Muhammad Ali. Rotten Tomatoes: 78%. From Stephen Battaglio’s Los Angeles Times article: “‘Ali & Cavett,’ directed by Robert Bader, makes the case that Cavett’s late-night show — which began on ABC in 1969 — provided a comfort zone for Ali, especially before he became a beloved figure. Ali polarized the public with his decision to resist the draft and serve as a spokesman for the Nation of Islam, which was known for promoting racial separatism.” Read more…)