New releases 7/3/18

Top Hits
Beirut (spy thriller, Jon Hamm. Rotten Tomatoes: 77%. Metacritic 69. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Timers review: “The screenwriter Tony Gilroy, best known for the ‘Bourne’ franchise [he also wrote and directed ‘Michael Clayton’], has a knack for twisty thrillers that personalize the political. ‘Beirut’ is a slower moving and less propulsive distant cousin to that series; [lead character] Mason [Skiles] isn’t a spy, for starters, and he talks rather than fights or motorcycles his way out of trouble. His most obvious superhuman talent, at least until the story gets its game on, seems to be an ability to consume prodigious amounts of booze without obvious consequences. But like Bourne, Mason is burdened by history — his own and that of the United States — which means that his mission is at once inwardly and outwardly directed.” Read more…)

Submission (drama, Stanley Tucci. Rotten Tomatoes: 51%. Metacritic 52. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “‘Submission’ tells a tale of the dangers of temptation, and some viewers may have trouble avoiding the temptation to treat it as an op-ed rather than a work of imagination. Even though it’s based on a book published 18 years ago, and draws inspiration from a film from 1930 [itself based on a 1905 novel], the timeliness of this movie, written and directed by Richard Levine, might strike you as downright unnerving.” Read more…)

Blockers (comedy, Leslie Mann. Rotten Tomatoes: 83%. Metacritic 69. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “In the cheerily sterile, fitfully funny comedy ‘Blockers,’ parents conspire to save the virginity of their daughters, high school seniors planning a collective deflowering [not, it should be said, with one another]. That is the movie’s big joke, and while it sounds positively antediluvian it also brings to mind news reports that the Trump administration plans to introduce abstinence-only education this summer. According to the website The Hill, the idea is to emphasize ‘sexual delay,’ which sounds like the title of a song that Marvin Gaye never recorded. The world has a way of killing the mood, if you let it.” Read more…)

Borg Vs. McEnroe (sports drama, Shia LaBeouf. Rotten Tomatoes: 83%. Metacritic 63. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “On the other hand, in the face of such odds, it’s hard to root against ‘Borg vs. McEnroe,’ an engaging feature-length response to the trivia question ‘Who won the Wimbledon men’s singles title in 1980?’ The answer is one of the two players named in the film’s title, rivals whose contrasting styles and temperaments made their confrontation especially exciting.” Read more…)

Porto (romance/drama, Anton Yelchin. Rotten Tomatoes: 52%. Metacritic 48. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “‘Porto,’ named for the coastal city in Portugal where it takes place, is a wistful mood piece about a one-night stand between mismatched expats, an American man and a Frenchwoman. The movie’s true subject, however, is time: its passage and promise, its weight and disappointments. Looping backward and forward — and using no fewer than three types of film stock — this first narrative feature from Gabe Klinger seduces with breathtakingly gorgeous visuals that feel both achingly nostalgic and elegantly modern.” Read more…)

Where Is Kyra (drama, Michelle Pfeiffer. Rotten Tomatoes: 80%. Metacritic 72. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “In a bleak, distinctly unhip neighborhood of Brooklyn, Kyra, a middle-aged woman, is struggling to survive. Played with concentrated minimalism by Michelle Pfeiffer, she is the downtrodden subject of Andrew Dosunmu’s new film, ‘Where Is Kyra?’ … Much of this movie is literally hard to see, and deliberately so. Remember ‘dirty realism,’ the label some critics applied in the 1980s to the work of writers like Richard Ford and Jayne Anne Phillips? ‘Where Is Kyra?’ operates in the realm of begrimed realism — its dark depths are purgatorial, if not outright hellish.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
Blockers

New Foreign
Ismael’s Ghosts (France, drama, Mathieu Amalric. Rotten Tomatoes: 53%. Metacritic 65. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Glenn Kenny’s Times review: “As is customary in [director Arnaud] Desplechin’s work, there’s a lot of dialogue in ‘Ismael’s Ghosts,’ but this movie’s nerve endings vibrate most avidly and tenderly in scenes where not a word is spoken: Sylvia on her first ride home with Ismael, looking up in serene rapture from a cab window toward the night sky; Ismael, angry and confused, framed between walls at the top of a dark staircase; Carlotta in tears, letting the blast of water from an ornamental shower head blast against her brow. It’s moments like these that make ‘Ismael’s Ghosts’ an unforgettable experience.” Read more…)

El Sur (Spain, 1988, drama, Omero Antonutti. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. From Vincent Canby’s 1988 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “As was [director Victor] Erice’s method in ‘The Spirit of the Beehive,’ the new film reveals its concerns in small, seemingly unimportant details, much in the manner of a traumatized psychiatric patient. Every gesture is loaded with associated meanings. Objects are symbolic. Yet the emotional inhibitions, which had political significance in the first film, aren’t particularly provocative here. The movie seems to whisper when there seems no reason why it can’t speak in a normal voice.” Read more…)

New Documentaries
American Socialist: The Life & Times of Eugene Victor Debs (history, politics, biography, socialism, Eugene Debs)