New releases 7/22/14

Top Hits
Heaven Is for Real (drama/religion, Greg Kinnear. Rotten Tomatoes: 46%. Metacritic: 47. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review:”The wooing of religious moviegoers — a delicate operation, as the Noah backlash attests — has been ramping up lately, with major players like Ridley Scott and Ben Kingsley mining the Bible for box office gold. But if there’s such a thing as a safe bet in this genre, it’s Heaven Is for Real, a Christian sermon that even the most doctrinaire believer can applaud.” Read more…)

Transcendence (sci-fi/drama, Johnny Depp. Rotten Tomatoes: 19%. Metacritic: 42. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “Johnny Depp, who’s built a brilliant career despite many of his lamentable film choices, may not be the first actor you think of to play a genius — much less humanity’s destroyer or savior. But he’s weirdly perfect in Transcendence, an inelegant, no doubt implausible (maybe not) science-fiction film about a futurist whose consciousness is uploaded onto the Internet. There, he (or a mysterious vestige of his being) expands like the universe, growing larger and mutating into a being who is godlike and yet far from divine, sort of like a star at the apex of his popularity.” Read more…)

Cesar Chavez (bio/drama, Michael Peña. Rotten Tomatoes: 40%. Metacritic: 51. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “Cesar Chavez, directed by Diego Luna, is a well-cast, well-intentioned movie that falls into the trap that often awaits film biographies of brave and widely admired individuals. The movie is so intent on reminding viewers of its subject’s heroism that it struggles to make him an interesting, three-dimensional person, and it tells his story as a series of dramatic bullet points, punctuated by black-and-white footage, some real, some simulated, of historical events.” Read more…)

The Angriest Man in Brooklyn (drama/comedy, Robin Williams. Rotten Tomatoes: 11%. Metacritic: 21. From Nicolas Rapold’s New York Times revew: “From the director of Field of Dreams comes one of those movies about someone who learns he has a terminal diagnosis and desperately tries to take stock. In Phil Alden Robinson’s The Angriest Man in Brooklyn, Robin Williams plays an irascible New York lawyer who gains a sudden window of self-awareness when a doctor says he has 90 minutes left to live. The movie is predictably sentimental at its root, but it’s also meant to be comedy, partly resting on Mr. Williams’s energetic but failed attempt to play a jerk.” Read more…)

Blue Ruin (thriller, Macon Blair. Rotten Tomatoes: 96%. Metacritic: 77. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “Stingy with details and dialogue, but more than generous with atmosphere, this seductively photographed thriller [written and directed by Jeremy Saulnier, who also wielded the camera] sells its empty calories with great skill. Dwight’s [Macon Blair] ability to sneak around unnoticed serves him well when news of a double murderer’s release from prison galvanizes him into panicky but seemingly long-planned action. Dribbles of information link the killer to a traumatic event in Dwight’s past, and he needs to settle the score.” Read more…)

Wrinkles (animated feature for adults/comedy, Martin Sheen. Rotten Tomatoes: 96%. Metacritic: 81. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ Times review: “Whether you find Wrinkles, an animated look at creeping inanimation, amusing or terrifying will depend almost entirely on which side of 50 you are currently parked. Even the youngest viewer, however, will sense the tragedy coming off this film in waves: It takes more than cartoon characters to buffer the horror of human decline.” Read more…)

Sabotage (action/thriller, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Rotten Tomatoes: 20%. Metacritic: 42. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “Lovers of camp and cannabis are the most plausible audience for Sabotage, given the giggle-to-bullet ratio in this extravagantly silly movie about a gang of marauding Drug Enforcement Administration undercover thugs. Scholars of Arnold Schwarzenegger, its big-ticket attraction, may also want to check in, just to see what the governator has been up to in his postpolitical golden years. Let me spare you the change and the suspense: He can still bench-press serious weight, as a narratively superfluous visit to a gym makes clear, and he’s still not an actor, as is evident by the confusingly indistinguishable grimaces, smiles and vacant looks that he’s put into rotation here.” Read more…)

That Awkward Moment (comedy, Zac Efron. Rotten Tomatoes: 22%. Metacritic: 36. From Stephen Holden’s New York Times review (Holden didn’t like it): “Are you dating or just hooking up? According to Jason [Zac Eforon], who narrate That Awkward Moment, a vile, witless sex comedy set in contemporary Manhattan, the dreaded word that signals danger to a smug, self-imagined stud is a post-coital ‘So?’ Spoken by a woman wondering if their casual relationship will proceed to the next level — dating — it is a clear warning that the time has come to run for the hills.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
The Angriest Man in Brooklyn
Heaven Is For Real

New Foreign
Cairo 678 (Egypt, drama, Nelly Karim. Rotten Tomatoes: 80%.)

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