New releases 6/29/21

Top Hits
Wildcat (thriller/drama, Georgina Campbell. Rotten Tomatoes: 62%. From Nell Minow’s review: “There were many moments where I wondered whether ‘Wildcat’ was earning what it was asking of the audience, and the relentlessness of the situation may be too much to handle for those who are not prepared for it. But I stayed on the side of the film, its exceptional actors, and its writer/director Jonathan W. Stokes, who held my interest by revealing more about the characters over the course of the film.” Read more…)

Hunter Hunter (horror/thriller, Camille Sullivan. Rotten Tomatoes: 94%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 61. From Frank Scheck’s Hollywood Reporter review: “It’s in the film’s final act, which seems a long time in coming, that ‘Hunter Hunter’ truly becomes something memorable. There will be no spoilers here, save to say that the filmmaker cunningly keeps the narrative merely simmering until a gonzo conclusion that ranks among the more shocking scenes in cinematic history as an accumulation of tragedies transforms Anne from someone who weeps at the killing of a rabbit into an instrument of revenge who would inspire Hannibal Lecter’s admiration.” Read more…)

The Paper Tigers (martial arts/comedy, Alain Uy. Rotten Tomatoes: 98%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 68. From Beatrice Loayza’s New York Times review: “Midway through ‘The Paper Tigers,’ there’s a brawl in an empty pool: on the left, a trio of arrogant youngsters with serious moves; on the right, three middle-aged men who tout their seniority. The Tigers were once Seattle’s greatest kung fu fighters. Key word: ‘Once.’” Read more…)

Eat Wheaties! (comedy, Tony Hale. Rotten Tomatoes: 64%. Metacritic: 38. From Kristen Yoonsoo Kim’s New York Times review: “With his debut film, ‘Eat Wheaties!,’ Scott Abramovitch has wrangled the kind of cast that most first-time directors dream of: a who’s-who of TV comedy that includes Tony Hale [‘Arrested Development,’ ‘Veep”’], Elisha Cuthbert, Lamorne Morris, Sarah Chalke and Alan Tudyk. But what Abramovitch does with such a lineup is an unfortunate, unfunny mess.” Read more…)

New Foreign DVDs
The 317th Platoon (France, 1965, war drama, Jacques Perrin. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Glenn Kenny’s 2018 Times review: “This is a staggeringly engrossing and effective movie, its settings both beautiful and oppressive, its incidents tense and eye-opening. There are no philosophical musings, no what-are-we-fighting-for debates. It’s all about getting out in one piece as the odds of doing so get worse every hour. A terse text at the film’s end is a gruesome, ironic twist on the adage about living to fight another day. Screening officially in New York for the first time, this is a genuinely revelatory war movie.” Read more…)

Wisting: Season 1 (Norway, noir series, Sven Nordin, Carrie-Anne Moss)

New Television
I Know This Much Is True (HBO drama mini-series based on Wally Lamb novel, Mark Ruffalo. Rotten Tomatoes: 74%. Metacritic: 68. From Mike Hale’s New York Times review: “The new HBO mini-series ‘I Know This Much Is True’ takes a character and puts him through a wringer that is so unforgiving, you’d expect it to flatten him completely, to squeeze out everything but the allegory of suffering. That it doesn’t — that there’s enough juice in him to keep you moderately interested for most of the six-hour-plus story — is almost entirely thanks to the man playing him, Mark Ruffalo.” Read more…)

New Classic DVDs (pre-1960)
Calcutta (1947, film noir/action, Alan Ladd. From T.M.P.’s 1947 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “There is just so much that an actor can do on his own to make a character interesting and then he must depend upon the scenarist to provide him with dialogue and situations which will keep the spectator on edge. In ‘Calcutta,’ which opened yesterday at the Paramount. Alan Ladd is going through an all-too-familiar exercise. While the actor is giving a competent performance and is nicely abetted by William Bendix, the story by Seton I. Miller, who also produced the film for Paramount, is a sorry mess indeed.” Read more…)

Forty Guns (1957, Samuel Fuller-dir. western, Criterion Collection, Barbara Stanwyck. Rotten Tomatoes: 94%. From Dave Kehr’s 2005 New York Times review of a previous DVD release: “‘Forty Guns’ is above all a movie of wildly inventive imagery, of which several examples have entered film history. Sergio Leone appropriated Fuller’s gigantic close-up of Sullivan — two big eyes — as he strides into a showdown, and spun a whole style around it. And in ‘Breathless’ [1960], Jean-Luc Godard borrowed Fuller’s imitation of an iris — a shot down the barrel of the rifle, framing the actress Eve Brent in a circular cameo — for one of his most memorable effects. Fuller, who began as a crime reporter and pulp novelist, shoots as if he were completely unaware of the rules of classical “invisible” filmmaking, constantly drawing attention to his style and in the process becoming one of Hollywood’s first accidental modernists.” Read more…)

New Documentaries
Moby Doc (music, bio, Moby, Connecticut music. Rotten Tomatoes: 52%. Metacritic: 52. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “In ‘Moby Doc,’ animation, staged dream sequences, skits and archival footage form a portrait of the title artist, the musician Moby. While the credited director is Robert Gordon Bralver, the movie is clearly a late-life self-realization project for Moby himself. Small of frame and short of hair, Moby understands the ways in which he’s an unlikely pop star. Boy, does he ever.” Read more…)

Signifying Works of Marlon Riggs (anthology, Criterion Collection, collected works of filmmaker Marlon Riggs, Black lives, LGBTQ+ lives. From Craig Lindsey’s Houston Chronicle review of this box set: “‘Signifyin’’ includes Riggs’ four features [including ‘Black Is … Black Ain’t,’ released posthumously in 1995] as well as the shorts ‘Affirmations,’ ‘Anthem’ and ‘Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien [No Regret].’ Also included are a number of special features, including “Long Train Running: The Story of the Oakland Blues” Riggs’ 1981 graduate thesis film from his days at UC Berkeley; and the 1996 documentary ‘I Shall Not Be Removed: The Life of Marlon Riggs,’ which features interviews from Riggs’ family, friends and collaborators. Since this month has been a time for celebration in both the African American [Juneteenth] and LGBTQ+ communities [Pride Month], ‘Signifyin’’ couldn’t have come along at a better time. And now would be a good time for people to celebrate a filmmaker whose flowers are long overdue by checking out this box set.” Read more…)

Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami (music, bio, Grace Jones. Rotten Tomatoes: 87%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 75. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Wesley Morris’ Times review: “She’s an iconoclast, basically. And I imagine a downside of iconoclasm is that you never get to be a human being. This is someone whose long career as a model, actress and undervalued musician has veered, sometimes uncomfortably, into both the sub- and superhuman. So the relief of ‘Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami’ is that it seeks to square the person with the provocateuse. The documentary is a feat of portraiture and a restoration of humanity. It’s got the uncanny, the sublime, and, in many spots, a combination of both.” Read more…)

Visions of Eight (Criterion Collection, 8 directors on the 1972 Munich Olympics, sports)

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