New Releases 8/4/15

Top Hits
Far_from_the_Madding_CrowdFar From the Madding Crowd (period drama, Carey Mulligan. Rotten Tomatoes: 85%. Metacritic: 71. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “When Thomas Hardy first brought her to life in 1874 in his novel ‘Far From the Madding Crowd,’ [his character] Bathsheba [Everdene] was both a bracingly modern character and part of a lively literary sorority going back at least to the novels of Jane Austen. When the book was brought to the screen in 1967, in a slower-moving, sexier version directed by John Schlesinger, Bathsheba was played by Julie Christie, one of that era’s great incarnations of youthful glamour and freedom. The latest adaptation, probably not the last, is a swifter and more superficial movie, directed by Thomas Vinterberg and starring Carey Mulligan. Her Bathsheba is brisk and practical, frank and friendly, and a little impatient with the trio of suitors who admire her moxie even as they compete for the honor of suppressing it.” Read more…)

True Story (thriller, James Franco. Rotten Tomatoes: 44%. Metacritic: 50. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “‘The Journalist and the Murderer’ is the title of a book by Janet Malcolm, but it could just as well be the name of a genre. A small library of searching and sensational stories attests to the strong, often uncomfortable affinity between reporters and killers. Truman Capote’s ‘In Cold Blood’ is perhaps the supreme example, and one that has inspired several movies over the years. Neither Michael Finkel’s book ‘True Story’ nor Rupert Goold’s film adaptation is anywhere near as accomplished as Capote’s book or Bennett Miller’s movie ‘Capote.’ The new film is of interest mainly because it demonstrates just how difficult it can be to map the queasy moral territory where crime and journalism intersect.” Read more…)

Divergent Series: Insurgent (action, Shailene Woodley. Rotten Tomatoes: 30%. Metacritic: 42. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “As the Wachowskis proved in the ‘Matrix’ trilogy and as copycat moviemakers have been affirming since, jackboot fashion and heroic hyperviolence go together in movies like guns and ammunition. And while guns may be a hot-button topic off-screen, they remain blandly par for the action-movie course, including in PG-13-rated movies like this. So much so that ‘Insurgent,’ based on the young-adult series by Veronica Roth, features not one but two scenes in which a nominal villain is executed point blank with a bullet to the head by a nominally righteous character.” Read more…)

Child 44 (thriller, Tom Hardy. Rotten Tomatoes: 24%. Metacritic: 41. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “‘Child 44,’ directed by Daniel Espinosa from a screenplay by Richard Price, is an English-language movie set in Russia, which means that it is above all a festival of accents. Gary Oldman, Paddy Considine and Vincent Cassel measure their vowels and consonants carefully, but the most floridly enjoyable voices belong to Tom Hardy and Noomi Rapace, last seen together speaking Brooklynese in ‘The Drop.’ In that film, Mr. Hardy dropped his r’s like a champ. Here he lands heavily on the aitches and contracts the words ‘it is’ into the letter Z. ‘Zimpossible,’ he says. ‘Zdifficult.'” Read more…)

Little_ChaosA Little Chaos (period romance, Kate Winslet. Rotten Tomatoes: 40%. Metacritic: 51. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Stephen Holden’s Times review: “The silky growl and insinuating gaze of the British actor Alan Rickman make him a prime candidate to play a jaded aristocrat privy to every dirty secret within his purview, whether political or sexual. And in ‘A Little Chaos,’ which Mr. Rickman directed, he portrays Louis XIV, the French king of kings, putting the finishing touches on Versailles, the royal chateau outside Paris where he moved his court, the better to exert control. The year is 1682.” Read more…)

Faults (crime drama, Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Rotten Tomatoes: 88%. Metacritic: 70.. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Andy Webster’s Times review: “Cult mind games — the cultivation of blind obedience from communal devotees — are entering their own as a dramatic staple. ‘Sound of My Voice,’ from 2012, cast Brit Marling as the charismatic leader of a mysterious sect; ‘Martha Marcy May Marlene,’ from 2011, offered Elizabeth Olsen as a shattered escapee from a guru’s domination; and Paul Thomas Anderson’s ‘The Master,’ from 2012, starred Philip Seymour Hoffman as a fraud sapping the free will of Joaquin Phoenix. Now ‘Faults,’ the twisty, winningly unsettling feature debut of the director Riley Stearns, adds a sometimes darkly comic strain into the mix.” Read more…)

Casual Vacancy (drama, Monica Dolan. Metacritic: 60.)

New Blu-Ray
Far From the Madding Crowd
Divergent Series: Insurgent

New British DVDs
Orphan Black: Season 3 (sci-fi action series, Tatiana Maslany. Rotten Tomatoes: 83%. Metacritic: 70.)
Last Tango in Halifax: Season 3 (heartwarming drama, Derek Jacobi. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%.)
The Crimson Field (WWI-era drama, Anne Pivcevic)

New TV
The Affair: Season 1 (drama, Dominic West. Rotten Tomatoes: 95%. Metacritic: 85.)

Leave a Reply