New releases 6/22/21

Top Hits
Nobody (thriller, Bob Odenkirk. Rotten Tomatoes: 84%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 64. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “A journey from emasculation to invigoration, ‘Nobody’ harks back to the vigilante dramas of the 1970s and early 80s. Unlike the would-be heroes of those movies, though, Hutch has no real excuse for the savage spree he instigates and perpetuates. [His family is unharmed; what’s wounded is his ego.]” Read more…)

Georgetown (crime/drama, Christoph Waltz. Rotten Tomatoes: 56%. Metacritic: 49. From Calum Marsh’s New York Times review: “Christoph Waltz is a magnificent actor, and in ‘Georgetown,’ as in everything, he is a pleasure to watch. As Ulrich Mott, a smooth-talking, uxorious grifter and social climber who wheedles his way into Washington society with the aid of his well-connected nonagenarian wife, Waltz flamboyantly charms and flatters, wearing a wolfish smile as he lies through his teeth.” Read more…)

Siberia (horror, Willem Dafoe. Rotten Tomatoes: 55%. Metacritic: 34. From Guy Lodge’s Variety review: “[Director Abel] Ferrara and [actor Willem] Dafoe were always an obvious fit — both toughened, wily eccentrics happy to sit outside the system — though their previous pairings, including the surprisingly restrained quasi-biopic ‘Pasolini’ and last year’s navel-gazing doodle ‘Tommaso,’ never made the most of that kinship. You can’t say that about ‘Siberia,’ a beautiful, unhinged, sometimes hilarious trek into geographical and psychological wilderness that will delight some and mystify many others. As a study of a rugged individualist looking back on long-withered connections — to others, to the mainstream world, and indeed to himself — it feels personally invested both as a star vehicle and an auteur piece.” Read more…)

Anything for Jackson (horror, Yannick Bisson. Rotten Tomatoes: 98%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 67. From Brian Tallerico’s review: “‘Anything for Jackson’ has the kind of premise that most directors would have turned into a goofy comedy of errors, especially in the years after ‘Shaun of the Dead’ made horror-comedies cool again. And it starts off with some wicked dark humor that leads one to believe it’s going in that direction … and then it’s not. Justin G. Dyck’s very smart movie lures viewers in with its clever concept and instantly strong characters only to present them with the kind of nightmare fuel that would impress Clive Barker.” Read more…)

Speed Kills (action, John Travolta. Rotten Tomatoes: 0%. Metacritic: 19%. From Dennis Harvey’s Variety review: “There have been many ups and downs in John Travolta’s career, which currently rests in a valley equivalent to the one he’d hit just before ‘Pulp Fiction’ a quarter-century ago. You might think anything would be an improvement after ‘Gotti.’ Yet the new ‘Speed Kills’ not only isn’t appreciably better, it’s also bad in much the same way: another cliché-riddled portrait of an underworld-tied figure the movie seems to celebrate as one ballsy SOB, though viewers may find his personality warrants more fumigation than admiration.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
Bridge of Spies
Promising Young Woman

New Television
Umbrella Academy: Season 1 (superhero Netflix series, Kate Walsh. Rotten Tomatoes: 83%. Metacritic: 61. From Mike Hale’s New York Times review: “Its attempts to capture the visual and narrative virtuosity of the comics are halfhearted, though, and we’re left with a polished but increasingly dull version of the same old story: saving the world as a byproduct of overcoming adolescent resentments and family dysfunction; teenage alienation as an apocalyptic force that has to be brought under control.” Read more…)

New American Back Catalog DVDs (post-1960)
Diary of a Mad Housewife (1970, comedy/drama, Carrie Snodgress. Rotten Tomatoes: 81%. From Roger Greenspun’s 1970 New York Times review: “‘Diary of a Mad Housewife, which opened yesterday at the Beekman Theater, is the story of a long‐suffering young woman, tormented by a fastidious and egomaniacal husband, who takes a lover in his own defensive way as fastidious and egomaniacal as the man to whom she is married. To explain my pleasure in this movie, which is comedy largely in the sense that it leaves no room for tears, I must first admit that I admire it more as film art than for the kind of social observation for which it is likely to be praised.” Read more…)

That Cold Day In the Park (1969, psychological thriller/drama, Sandy Dennis. Rotten Tomatoes: 43%. From Roger Ebert’s 1960 Chicago Sun-Times review: “‘That Cold Day in the Park’ is pretty well done. Sandy Dennis supplies a convincing portrait of the repressed, sex-obsessed spinster. Michael Burns is adequate as the boy, in a role that makes small demands on acting ability. Gillian Freeman’s script shows a good ear for dialog, especially during scenes in a birth-control clinic and a nightclub. And the photography by Laszlo Kovacs [who shot ‘Hell’s Angels on Wheels’ so well] does more than the direction or the script to establish a mood of approaching horror and tragedy. Too bad someone besides the cameraman wasn’t thinking in those terms.” Read more…)

New Documentaries
Streetwise/Tiny: The Life of Erin Blackwell (Criterion Collection, bio, social issues, homelessness. Streetwise on Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. From Janet Maslin’s 1984 New York Times review of “Streetwise” [requires log-in]: “‘Streetwise,’ a study of young teen-age vagrants living in Seattle, began as an article [by Cheryl McCall] and photo-essay [by Mary Ellen Mark] in Life magazine. As a feature film, produced by Miss McCall and directed by Martin Bell, it still has the quality of a photo-essay observing a number of homeless teen- agers without structuring a narrative or otherwise commenting on what is seen. This shapelessness, and the unacknowledged presence of the camera in what seem to be small, intimate moments, would hurt the film if its interview footage were not so unmistakably authentic and, at times, so wrenching.” Read more…
“Tiny” was a New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Ben Kenigsberg’s Times review: “The combination of ‘Streetwise’ and ‘Tiny’ belongs on a short list with ‘Boyhood,’ the ‘Up’ documentaries and ‘Hoop Dreams’ as exemplars of time-capsule filmmaking. The pair of films not only has much to say about the legacy of poverty [a legacy that includes Erin’s mother, seen toward the end], but also about aging, the capacity for reinvention and the possibilities of film.” Read more…)

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