New releases 6/27/17

Top Hits
T2 Trainspotting (Scottish drama/sequel, Ewan McGregor. Rotten Tomatoes: 78%. Metacritic: 67. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ Times review: “Ghosts of the past, both literal and figurative, haunt ‘T2 Trainspotting,’ Danny Boyle’s droll and wistful return to the Scottish reprobates who, 21 years ago in ‘Trainspotting,’ made heroin addiction a blast and bodily waste a metaphor for squandered lives. Excremental flourishes notwithstanding, that gloriously scabrous picture also kick-started the careers of its director and stars, most of whom are back to illustrate the consequences of a misspent youth. Renton [Ewan McGregor] has returned to Edinburgh from Amsterdam, ready to face the music for absconding with his pals’ share of the loot from the previous movie’s drug deal. Simon [Jonny Lee Miller] is still scraping by on the criminal fringes, trying to transform his rundown bar into an upscale brothel. And Begbie [Robert Carlyle] — whose drug of choice has always been violence — has just wangled an appropriately bloody escape from prison.” Read more…)

Saban’s Power Rangers (comic book action, Elizabeth Banks. Rotten Tomatoes: 46%. Metacritic: 44. From Andy Webster’s New York Times review: “‘Ai-yi-yi-yi-yi!,’ says Alpha 5, the robot sidekick to Zordon, in ‘Saban’s Power Rangers,’ uttering his signature exclamation. Alpha 5 [voiced by Bill Hader] is not the only holdover in this slick repackaging of ‘Mighty Morphin Power Rangers,’ the shrill and unfathomably popular 1990s Fox Kids’ series [adapted by Haim Saban from a Japanese TV show] about teenage superheroes in color-coded costumes. But Mr. Hader’s dialed-down take reflects the movie’s tempered refinement of the original.” Read more…)

CHIPS (action/comedy, Dax Shepard. Rotten Tomatoes: 16%. Metacritic: 28. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “A fascination with posteriors — both human and feline — isn’t the worst thing about ‘CHIPS,’ but it’s up there. Borderline incoherent and unrepentantly lewd, this buddy-cop comedy [based on the 1977-83 television series of the same name] substitutes cars, ’copters and motorcycles for actual characters. The language might be mature, but don’t be misled: There’s nothing here that rises above the level of the playground.” Read more…)

The Belko Experiment (horror, John Gallagher Jr.. Rotten Tomatoes: 53%. Metacritic: 44. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “Directed by Greg McLean [whose 2005 film, ‘Wolf Creek,’ had a similar morbid interest in bullying its audience] from a script by James Gunn [currently relegated to delighting adolescents of all ages with the ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ franchise], the movie might have been better served by a director not hellbent on rubbing pretty much every head wound in the viewer’s face. Mr. McLean, perhaps determined to leave no cliché unturned, also wallows in the cheap and hackneyed irony of choreographed slaughter accompanied by Dvorak and Tchaikovsky.” Read more…)

The Autopsy of Jane Doe (horror, Emile Hirsch. Rotten Tomatoes 87%. Metacritic: 65. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ Times review: “Unheralded and unhyped, ‘The Autopsy of Jane Doe’ sneaks into theaters like a chilly treat among the Christmas comedies and Force-fed mythologizing. The first solo English-language feature from the Norwegian director André Ovredal — an infinitely more disciplined follow-up to his 2011 film, ‘Trollhunter’ — this shivery tour through a young woman’s innards turns putrefaction into a puzzle.” Read more…)

This Beautiful Fantastic (romance, Jessica Findlay Brown. Rotten Tomatoes 69%. Metacritic: 51. From Neil Genzlinger’s New York Times review: “With spring imminent, backyard putterers are turning their thoughts to the garden, which makes ‘This Beautiful Fantastic,’ a charming tale about one, all that much sweeter. Gardens, of course, must be cultivated, and thus they are rich allegorical territory for storytellers of all sorts. Simon Aboud, the writer and director here, works some obvious parallels as he tells the story of a timid young woman, her cranky old neighbor and the garden that separates them, but enjoyable performances keep the tale from becoming too heavy-handed.” Read more…)

Life (sci-fi, Jake Gyllenhaal. Rotten Tomatoes: 67%. Metacritic: 54. From Ben Kenigsberg’s New York Times review: “In an opening sequence, ‘Life’ allows viewers to float through an international space station. The camera zips around corners and turns upside-down in a feat of impossible [and most likely effects-massaged] cinematography. It’s tempting to tune out the exposition and simply concentrate on the director Daniel Espinosa’s dazzling imagery, even if it now looks familiar from ‘Gravity’ and ‘Avatar.'” Read more…)

Wilson (comedy, Woody Harrelson. Rotten Tomatoes 46%. Metacritic: 49.From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “The movie version of ‘Wilson.’ directed by Craig Johnson [‘The Skeleton Twins’] from a screenplay by [graphic novelist Daniel] Clowes, illustrates the difficulty of translating an idiosyncratic temperament from one visual medium to another. The dark, comic poignancy of the book is drowned in garish, self-conscious whimsy, and the work of a talented ensemble is squandered on awkward heartstring snatching.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
T2 Trainspotting

New Foreign DVDs
Detective Montalbano: Episodes 29 & 30 (Italy, detective series, Luca Zingaretti)

New Classic DVDs (pre-1960)
Rhapsody in Blue (1945, musical, Robert Alda. Rotten Tomatoes: 20%.)

New Documentaries
Off the Rails (mental illness, justice system, mass transit, Darius McCollum. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 80. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Neil Genzlinger’s Times review: “The documentary ‘Off the Rails,’ Adam Irving’s first film, is an assured and thoughtful debut. He presents the story of Darius McCollum, a man with a long history of taking New York City subway trains and buses for joy rides even though he is not a transit employee. But Mr. Irving’s subtext is a criminal justice system that has no way to deal with an offender like Mr. McCollum, who has Asperger’s syndrome, other than to keep throwing him in prison.” Read more…)

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