New releases 8/31/21

Top Hits
In the Heights (musical, Anthony Ramos. Rotten Tomatoes: 95%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 84, Must See. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “A dream can be a fantasy or a goal, an escape or an aspiration, a rejection of the way things are or an affirmation of what could be. ‘In the Heights,’ adapted from Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alegría Hudes’s Tony-winning Broadway show, embraces all of these meanings. After more than a year of desultory streaming, anemic entertainment and panicky doomscrolling, it’s a dream come true.” Read more…)

New Foreign DVDs
Berlin Alexanderplatz (Germany, drama remake, Welket Bungué. Rotten Tomatoes: 49%. Metacritic: 43. From Nicolas Rapold’s New York Times review: “Alfred Döblin’s masterpiece “Berlin Alexanderplatz” received its most famous dramatization not at the movies but on TV, with Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s 15-hour adaptation in 1980. Burhan Qurbani’s ambitious film by the same name re-centers the Weimar Era original on a 21st-century immigrant from Guinea-Bissau who seeks the straight and narrow but works for a psychopathic drug dealer.” Read more…)

Summer of 85 (France, romance/gay & lesbian, Félix Lefebvre. Rotten Tomatoes: 79%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 65. From Beatrice Loayza’s New York Times review: “The prolific French director François Ozon wants ‘Summer of 85’ to be more than a gay coming-of-age romance in the vein of ‘Call Me By Your Name.’ With an elliptical narrative that jumps back and forth from Alexis’s summer fling to an unspecified future in which he is being interviewed by a suspicious caseworker about the death of David, the film also aims to be pulpy and provocative, teasing the idea that its lovesick protagonist turns homicidal with jealousy.” Read more…)

Bäckström: Series 1 (Sweden, police procedural, Kjell Bergqvist)

New American Back Catalog DVDs (post-1960)
Jane Eyre (costume drama made for TV, 1971, George C. Scott. From John J. O’Connor’s 1971 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “In fact, the approach may be at touch too rational. Though the production was shot in England, a few miles north Of Yorkshire, in locations ‘as authentic as the present day will permit,’ and though the performances are uniformly good, the whole is curiously slack, the mysterious passions of the novel tinged with just a bit too much ordinary logic.” Read more…)

New Documentaries
Lydia Lunch: The War Is Never Over (biography, music, personality, Lydia Lunch. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Glenn Kenny’s Times review: “The musician, writer and spoken-word artist Lydia Lunch is an immediately provocative figure. The name alone, right? Escaping a horrifically abusive home in Rochester, N.Y., at 16, she took one look at the burgeoning 1970s punk rock scene on Manhattan’s Bowery and was determined to both join and upend it. ‘I had a suitcase and $200,’ she recalls in ‘Lydia Lunch: The War Is Never Over,’ a vigorous documentary directed by Beth B, whose own work as an underground filmmaker began in the same milieu as Lunch’s early efforts.” Read more…)