New releases 7/27/21

Top Hits
A Quiet Place: Part II (horror/suspense, Emily Blunt. Rotten Tomatoes: 91%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 71. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “And while this new installment is, like its predecessor, wonderfully acted and intuitively directed (by John Krasinski, who is solely responsible for the story this time around), it has also largely replaced the hushed horror of the original with full-on action. Faster, coarser and far noisier, “Part II” sacrifices emotional depth for thriller setups that do less to advance the plot than grow the younger characters.” Read more…)

Jakob’s Wife (horror, Barbara Crampton. Rotten Tomatoes: 84%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 59. From Erik Piepenburg’s capsule New York Times review: “Travis Stevens’s film layers feminism on top of comedy on top of vampire myth and gross-out splatter. It mostly clicks, and the reason is [actress Barbara] Crampton. With a decades-long career in out-there films including ‘Re-Animator,’ she’s as close to acting royalty as horror gets. Here she is fearless as a woman discovering her powers within.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
A Quiet Place: Part II

New Foreign DVDs
Le Crabe-Tambour (France, 1977, war drama. From Vincent Canby’s 1984 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “To come to the point immediately, ‘Le Crabe Tambour,’ Pierre Schoendoerffer’s 1977 French film based on his own French novel, is one of the grandest, most beautiful adventure movies in years. It may be somewhat old-fashioned in its emphasis on courage, honor and the glory of war, no matter what the cause. However, it’s also wonderfully old-fashioned in its convoluted, romantic narrative, which moves from Vietnam, during the collapse of France’s control of Indochina in the 1950’s, to East Africa, Algeria, Brittany, Newfoundland and the stormy fishing grounds on the Grand Banks.” Read more…)

La Piscine aka The Swimming Pool (France, 1969, mystery/suspense, Criterion Collection, Alain Delon. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Glenn Kenny’s Times review of the screening of the restored film: “‘La Piscine,’ made in 1969, is best known in the United States for its remake, Luca Guadagnino’s frisky, borderline frivolous 2016 ‘A Bigger Splash.’ The release of a pristine restoration of the original, directed by Jacques Deray and starring Alain Delon, Romy Schneider, Maurice Ronet and Jane Birkin, should bolster this striking movie’s reputation.” Read more…)

New British DVDs
Gangs of London: Season 1 (action/crime series, Aled ap Steffan. Rotten Tomatoes: 90%. Metacritic: 70. From Simon Abrams’ New York Times article: “The other key components of the series, which premiered in Britain last year, are brutal, dynamic fight scenes that bear the unmistakable signature of Gareth Evans, who created the series with the writer and cinematographer Matt Flannery. Evans, a Welsh filmmaker, is known for his electric action sequences, and the set pieces in ‘Gangs of London’ stand out for their visceral impact, sophisticated choreography and extreme violence.” Read more…)

Unrelated (drama, 2007, Tom Hiddleston. Rotten Tomatoes: 89%. Metacritic: 74. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Stephen Holden’s Times review: “The first film directed by [Joanna] Hogg, ‘Unrelated,’ released in Britain in 2008 and shown here for the first time [in 2014], announced the debut of a significant writing and directing talent. Her more abstract and even chillier third film, ‘Exhibition,’ recently opened in Manhattan. As in ‘Exhibition,’ Ms. Hogg casts a cold eye on the manners of the British upper middle class at play. Except for their accents, these people are identical to a certain class of spoiled, supercilious New Yorkers who exude a smug sense of entitlement.” Read more…)

New Documentaries
Kenny Scharf: When Worlds Collide (art history, pop culture. Rotten Tomatoes: 83%. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “The condition of being an artist and the significance of what an artist produces are two distinct things. The post-pop artist Kenny Scharf, who came out of the same downtown art and music scene as Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Klaus Nomi, is someone whose critical and material stock has risen, fallen and risen again over decades. The documentary ‘Kenny Scharf: When Worlds Collide,’ directed by Max Basch and the artist’s daughter Malia Scharf, makes a considered and not entirely uncritical case for Scharf’s relevance.” Read more…)

Bill Traylor: Chasing Ghosts (race, history, art, outsider art. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 80. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Glenn Kenny’s Times review: “This documentary, directed by Jeffrey Wolf, is a plain, sincere, nourishing account of the artist. Wolf makes excellent use of photo and film archives, laying out the territory that fed [artist and former slave Bill] Traylor’s vision: dirt roads, railroad tracks, backwoods. These places, the critic and musician Greg Tate notes in the film, lay the ground for the “mystical realm” of Traylor’s work: The deliberately two-dimensional figures and the limited but bold colors have the transfixing power of a waking dream.” Read more…)