New releases 9/20/16

Top Hits
Neighbors 2 (comedy, Seth Rogen. Rotten Tomatoes: 62%. Metacritic: 58. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “Proudly crass and amiably dumb, Nicholas Stoller’s gag-crammed sequel essentially takes the bones of the 2014 original and gives them a gender flip. After successfully battling the raucous inhabitants of a fraternity a few years earlier, Mac and Kelly [Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne], now with a toddler and a baby on the way, must contend with the equally rowdy sorority that has moved in next door. Angered by a campus rule that forbids sororities from hosting their own parties, these sisters, led by a mouthy Chlöe Grace Moretz, are determined to exercise their right to drink, dope and grope as enthusiastically as men.” Read more…)

free_state_jonesFree State of Jones (historical drama, Matthew McConaughey. Rotten Tomatoes: 46%. Metacritic: 53. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “‘Free State of Jones’ begins on the battlefield, with a flurry of the kind of immersive combat action that has long been a staple of American movies. The setting is familiar in other ways, too. As a line of Confederate troops marches across a field into Union rifle and artillery fire, a haze of myth starts to gather over the action, a mist of sentiment about the tragedy of the Civil War and the symmetrical valor of the soldiers on both sides of it. But this is a sly piece of misdirection: The rest of the movie will be devoted to blowing that fog away, using the tools of Hollywood spectacle to restore a measure of clarity to our understanding of the war and its aftermath.” Read more…)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (comic book action, Megan Fox. Rotten Tomatoes: 38%. Metacritic: 40. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “In 2014’s ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,’ the title characters, on meeting the journalist April O’Neil, comment with aggressive enthusiasm on her good looks. They subsequently learn that April cared for them when they were just regular turtles, and, hence, is kind of like a big sister. At that point, a viewer might expect the fellows to stop hitting on her, but this reboot of the whimsical superhero franchise is partially produced by Michael Bay, so, no. In the new movie, April, played again by the attractive, pouty Megan Fox, does not hesitate, in the first 10 minutes, to use her sexuality to extract data from two men. She even concocts a sort of schoolgirl outfit to get close to a target. Apparently, the one note that today’s studio executives will not give to filmmakers is, “Think of the children.'” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
Free State of Jones
Neighbors 2

New American Back Catalog (post-1960)
chimes_midnightChimes At Midnight (1966, Criterion Collection,  Orson Welles Shakespeare adaptation, Orson Welles. Rotten Tomatoes: 97%. From Vincent Canby’s 1992 New York Times Critic’s Notebook [requires log-in]: “Olivier’s elegant and stately screen adaptations of ‘Henry V’ [1944], ‘Hamlet’ [1948] and ‘Richard III’ [1956] had an overwhelming impact on the taste and imagination of their day. They are the principal reasons why it has taken so long for us to recognize the exuberance and liberating mastery of Welles’s Shakespearean cinema. By this I mean his ‘Othello’ [1952], which was rereleased here in a restored version in March, and now the dazzling ‘Chimes at Midnight’ [1966], opening at the Joseph Papp Public Theater in Manhattan today for a two-week engagement in a fine new print… ‘Chimes at Midnight’ is something very different. It is somber and wintry in ways that recall the sense of loss and regret that permeate ‘The Magnificent Ambersons,’ though it is no less audacious than “Othello.” Among other things, ‘Chimes at Midnight,’ sometimes titled ‘Falstaff,’ is an adaptation of a Shakespearean play that Shakespeare never wrote, at least not in quite this form… Scavaging scenes [or so the purists of an earlier day put it] from ‘Richard II,’ the two parts of ‘Henry IV,’ ‘Henry V’ and ‘The Merry Wives of Windsor'” Welles nervily composed his own new play, which, not by chance, contained the greatest role of his career, in which he gives his greatest performance.” Read more…)

Blood Simple (1984, Criterion Collection, Coen Brothers-directed crime drama, M. Emmet Walsh. Rotten Tomatoes: 94%. Metacritic: 81. From Janet Maslin’s 1984 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Black humor, abundant originality and a brilliant visual style make Joel Coen’s ‘Blood Simple’ a directorial debut of extraordinary promise. Mr. Coen, who co-wrote the film with his brother Ethan, works in a film noir style that in no way inhibits his wit, which turns out to be considerable. This is a film in which a dying man, mistakenly shot by a woman who cannot see him (and who meant to kill someone else), can hear her shout one more insult at the intended victim – and answer her, ”Well, ma’am, if I see him I’ll sure give him the message.” Read more…)

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