New releases 9/13/16

Top Hits
cap_america_civil_warCaptain America: Civil War (comic book action, Chris Evans. Rotten Tomatoes: 90%. Metacritic: 75. From A. O Scott’s New York Times review: “But this very crowded, reasonably enjoyable installment in the Avengers cycle — written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely and directed by Joe and Anthony Russo — reveals, even more than its predecessors, an essential truth about the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s not so much a grand science-fiction saga, or even a series of action-adventure movies, as a very expensive, perpetually renewed workplace sitcom.” Read more…)

King Jack (coming-of-age drama, Charlie Plummer. Rotten Tomatoes: 94%. Metacritic: 72. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Helen T. Verongos’ Times review: “For everyone who ever had a close call as an adolescent and kept it from the grown-ups, ‘King Jack’ will hit you where you live. The same for everyone who’s been pummeled by a bully or been left vulnerable by releasing a graphic selfie into the textosphere. There is some alchemy at work in this entirely uncomplicated yet viscerally affecting film from Felix Thompson about a summer when everything changes. Within the framework of the rather spare story he wrote, Mr. Thompson burnishes the performances of the young actors, keeping an air of sun-spangled lightness in all but the most dire moments.” Read more…)

The Conjuring 2 (horror, Vera Farmiga. Rotten Tomatoes: 80%. Metacritic: 65. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Neil Genzlinger’s Times review: “The 2013 film ‘The Conjuring,’ about a possessed farmhouse in Rhode Island, was one of the better horror movies to come along in a while, and ‘The Conjuring 2’ does everything you want a sequel to do. It’s as well made as the original, but the location and the story are different enough that it’s not just the same thing all over again.” Read more…)

Demolition (drama, Jake Gyllenhaal. Rotten Tomatoes: 53%. Metacritic: 49. From Stephen Holden’s New York Times review: “Directed by Jean-Marc Vallée [‘Dallas Buyers Club,’ ‘Wild”’] from a screenplay by Bryan Sipe [writer of the gloppy screen adaptation of the gloppy Nicholas Sparks novel ‘The Choice’], ‘Demolition’ takes itself very seriously. It purports to be a profound meditation on something or other; but what exactly?” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
Captain America: Civil War

New Foreign
story_last-chrysanthemumThe Story of the Last Chrysanthemum (Japan, 1939, drama, Shotaro Hanayagi. Rotten Tomatoes: 92%. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Glenn Kenny’s Times review: “‘Chrysanthemum’ is a desperately sad story told with utter and potentially unsettling conviction. The film’s ideology embraces Otoku’s sacrifice as necessary; there’s zero irony here, no implied disapproval of the social order that excludes Otoku. But Mr. Mizoguchi’s artistry and empathy are such that he makes Otoku’s ostensibly ennobling pain palpable. Hence, the movie’s tragic dimension is formidable. ‘Chrysanthemum’ is also a dazzling demonstration of a perfectly calibrated cinematic style. The early scenes — in which characters lie to one another’s faces one moment and reveal their true feelings in the next room just moments later, all within the same shot — feature beautifully fluid camerawork that draws from the formal traditions of Japanese scroll paintings.” Read more…)

Pelo Malo aka Bad Hair (Venezuela, drama, Samuel Lange. Rotten Tomatoes: 94%. Metacritic: 74. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Stephen Holden’s Times review: “‘Bad Hair’ is an uncomfortably accurate depiction of a poignant mother-son power struggle in a fatherless family in which each knows how to get under the other’s skin. The instinctive and volatile characters in this hard little gem of a film have no awareness of the boundary issues so dear to the hearts of contemporary therapists. They have neither the time nor the money for the luxury of intervention. They need all their resources merely to survive.” Read more…)

The Measure of Man (France, drama, Vincent Lindon. Rotten Tomatoes: 92%. Metacritic: 74. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “Midway through the quiet emotional storms in the French drama ‘The Measure of a Man,’ the hero, Thierry, begins working as a supermarket security guard. It’s a bitter victory. There is little that’s secure about the job, which requires Thierry to view not just every customer but also each employee as a potential thief. Supplemented with the trappings of the badly paid — a stifling tie, ill-fitting jacket, squawking walkie-talkie — he embodies 21st-century labor at its most heroically alienated. As he stands and watches, liberty seems a distant promise, as do equality and fraternity.” Read more…)

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