New releases 7/10/18

Top Hits
Chappaquiddick (drama based on historical events, Jason Clarke. Rotten Tomatoes: 80%. Metacritic: 67. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “But it turns out that ‘Chappaquiddick,’ directed by John Curran from a script by the first-timers Taylor Allen and Andrew Logan, is more diagnosis than symptom. Forsaking sensationalism for sober, procedural storytelling, the film examines the toxic effects of the Kennedy mystique on a handful of people involved in a fatal car crash in the summer of 1969.” Read more…)

Oh Lucy! (comedy/drama, Shinobu Terajima. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 69. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Manohla Dargis’ Times review: “Optimism sneaks into ‘Oh Lucy!,’ an against-the-odds charmer about a woman, a tragic wig and an improbable journey. It’s a near-minor miracle that just about everything works in this emphatically modest comedy-drama, which draws on squishy types and themes — the lonely eccentric, the cross-cultural clash, the revelatory trip — that can quickly sink less nimble features. The writer-director Atsuko Hirayanagi isn’t selling a packaged idea about what it means to be human; she does something trickier and more honest here, merely by tracing the ordinary absurdities and agonies of one woman’s life.” Read more…)

Women Who Kill (comedy/crime, Ingrid Jungermann. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 78. From Ken Jaworowski’s New York Times review: “The humor is dry and the acting deadpan in ‘Women Who Kill,’ a comedy that plays it droll and is all the funnier for it. Set in gentrified sections of Park Slope, Brooklyn, the tale centers on Morgan [Ingrid Jungermann] and Jean [Ann Carr], former lovers who still live together and produce the podcast of the title, which profiles female serial killers. Near the end of one episode, the two women debate which murderer is the hottest.” Read more…)

A Quiet Place (thriller, Emily Blunt. Rotten Tomatoes: 95%. Metacritic: 80. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ Times review: “A welcome alternative to the mind-shredding din of virtually any modern action movie, ‘A Quiet Place’ is an old-fashioned creature feature with a single, simple hook: The creatures are blind, hungry and navigate by sound. Possessed of craniums that roll open to expose a pulsing, wet membrane, they’re like skittering ear holes with pointy teeth and clattering appendages. Drawing from a variety of heritage horrors, including ‘Alien’ and ‘Predator,’ their design is familiar yet effective, their origin kept shrouded. Extraterrestrial beings or man-made weapons gone rogue, they’re a mystery whose source the movie wisely recognizes as irrelevant.” Read more…)

Journey’s End (World War I drama, Sam Claflin. Rotten Tomatoes: 92%. Metacritic: 73. From Ben Kenigsberg’s New York Times review: “The World War I drama ‘Journey’s End’ is an old-fashioned movie from a well-worn source, the play by R.C. Sherriff, who fought in the war himself. The first movie version, directed by James Whale with Colin Clive, opened in 1930, a year before their immortal work in ‘Frankenstein.’ The new film’s air of stodgy nobility resembles that of ‘The Four Feathers’ [1939], one of many movies for which Mr. Sherriff wrote the screenplay.” Read more…)

The Leisure Seeker (adventure/comedy, Helen Mirren. Rotten Tomatoes: 36%. Metacritic: 45. From Ben Kenigsberg’s New York Times review: “‘The Leisure Seeker’ becomes a defense of their right to live their last days as they see fit — on the road instead of in nursing homes or hospitals. The sentiment is admirable; the execution decidedly is not. Part of the problem is that the screenwriters [four, including Mr. Virzì, share credit, working from a novel by Michael Zadoorian] treat the characters’ symptoms as plot devices — traits they can ignore or play up as each scene demands.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
A Quiet Place
Vertigo
Vampire’s Kiss/High Spirits

New Foreign
Hotel Salvation (India, drama, Adil Hussain. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 80. From Leslie Felperin’s Guardian review: “This beautifully rendered Indian arthouse film, the debut of young director Shubhashish Bhutiani, enacts a subtle family comedy-drama that anyone who has spent time with an ageing parent could relate to easily.” Read more…)

On the Beach At Night Alone (Republic of Korea, drama, Min-hee Kim. Rotten Tomatoes: 94%. Metacritic: 80. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “The South Korean filmmaker Hong Sang-soo is both prolific and consistent. His movies tend to feature chronological displacement, romantic disaffection, startling zooms and the consumption of many bottles of soju. ‘On the Beach at Night Alone,’ one of three features directed by Mr. Hong presented at festivals this year, is split into two parts — the first set in Hamburg, Germany, the second in the South Korean seaside city of Gangneung — and includes an extended, awkward, zoom-punctuated scene of drunken recrimination.” Read more…)

A Ciambra (drama, coming of age, Pio Amato. Rotten Tomatoes: 88%. Metacritic: 70. From A. O. Scott’s New York Times review: “‘A Ciambra,’ the second feature directed by Jonas Carpignano [the first was ‘Mediterranea,’ also set in Gioia Tauro], follows Pio’s lurching movement toward manhood and observes his environment with a sympathetic, probing eye. The film, named for the battered apartment complex where Pio lives, provides fresh evidence of the continued vitality of the neorealist impulse as it tries to embed a fictional narrative in the actual world. It has the shape of a fable and the texture of a documentary. The actors are nonprofessionals playing versions of themselves.” Read more…)

The French Way (France, 1940, romantic comedy/farce, Josephine Baker)
Dragon Inn (Taiwan, 1967, martial arts, Lingfeng Shangguan. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 97.)

New American Back Catalog DVDs (post-1960)
Bull Durham (1988, Criterion Collection, Kevin Costner. Rotten Tomatoes: 97%. Metacritic: 73. From Janet Maslin’s 1988 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “It’s a lucky thing that the film, like the players it celebrates, knows better than to stake too much on ability alone. Even luckier, it has more than enough spirit and sex appeal to get by. In fact, ‘Bull Durham’ has a cast that’s much too attractive to need the kind of overheated sexual grandstanding that the writer and director Ron Shelton [who previously wrote ‘Under Fire’] insists upon. Brash but a little unsteady in his directing debut feature, Mr. Shelton has a way of overstating some things about these characters and leaving others bafflingly unsaid.” Read more…)

Come Blow Your Horn (1963, comedy/musical, Frank Sinatra. Rotten Tomatoes: 83%. From Bosley Crowther’s 1963 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Have you ever had to sit and listed patiently while a clumsy raconteur butchered a funny story you’d already heard a couple of times? That’s how it is to be exposed to the movie Bud Yorkin and Norman Lear have made from Neil Simon’s, unspectacular but lively stage play ‘Come Blow Your Horn.'” Read more…)

New Documentaries
Hitler’s Hollywood (movies under the Nazis, propaganda, open lies, hidden truths. Rotten Tomatoes: 91%. Metacritic: 77. From Ben Kenigsberg’s New York Times review: :What ‘Hitler’s Hollywood’ offers are the movies themselves. To see them today is to encounter an alternate universe of studio filmmaking that was itself designed to present an alternate universe, in which every death was happy and even escapist musicals emphasized the fascist ideal of total synchronization. The documentary shows how the industry had its own imitation of Sherlock Holmes and a 1930s precursor to ‘Lawrence of Arabia,’ and found analogues for stars and directors like Marlene Dietrich and Ernst Lubitsch, who had departed Germany.” Read more…)

I Am Another You (homelessness, addiction, society. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 85. From Ben Kenigsberg’s New York Times review: “The documentary ‘I Am Another You’ poses tricky questions about the relationship between filmmaker and subject, and maybe between filmmaker and audience. It begins when the director, Nanfu Wang [‘Hooligan Sparrow’], meets a young, itinerant homeless man named Dylan in Florida and decides to tag along with him.” Read more…)