New Releases 05/28/13

Top Hits
Dark Skies (supernatural thriller, Keri Russell. Rotten Tomatoes: 36%. Metacritic: 51. From Andy Webster’s New York Times review: “Dark Skies certainly parades textbook genre trappings: children with unseen ‘friends’; vertiginous, paranoia-inducing tracking shots; feathered fauna hitting windows; walls covered in newspaper clippings of unexplained phenomena; limp bodies bent backward with eyes rolled, heads pointed skyward in a stance of demonic possession. There’s even surveillance footage in the by-now-shopworn Paranormal Activity tradition. But those elements are employed with consummate dexterity.” Read more…)

New Foreign
Lore (Germany, drama, Saskia Rosendahl. Rotten Tomatoes: 93%. Metacritic: 76.A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Stephen Holden’s Times review: “Cate Shortland’s Lore is not a fairy tale, but it feels like one: a dark, mysterious fable of hungry, frightened children making their way through a perilous enchanted forest inhabited by demons. The film sustains an air of overarching mystery in which the viewer, like the title character, is in the position of a sheltered child plunked into an alien environment and required to fend for herself without a map or compass. A remarkable young actress, Saskia Rosendahl, plays this chilly, largely unsympathetic protagonist, a blond 14-year-old German girl nicknamed Lore who herds her siblings through the Bavarian woods in the spring of 1945.” Read more…)

New American Back Catalog (post-1960)
Swimming to Cambodia (1987, Jonathan Demme-directed monologue, Spalding Gray. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 68. From Janet Maslin’s 1987 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “It would be wrong to think of Swimming to Cambodia as a one-man show, even though it captures the performance of a single artist, Spalding Gray, as he sits alone on an almost empty stage. For one thing, Mr. Gray’s feature-length monologue brings people, places and things so vibrantly to life that they’re very nearly visible on the screen. For another, this is a two-man undertaking, one that shows off both Mr. Gray’s storytelling talents and Jonathan Demme’s ability to frame them. This film’s arrival in the wake of Mr. Demme’s pioneering concert film Stop Making Sense and his jubilant, anarchic comedy Something Wild completes quite an amazing triple play.” Read more…)

New British
Life Is Sweet (1990, Mike Leigh-directed drama/comedy, Jim Broadbent. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. From Vincent Canby’s 1991 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Life Is Sweet, opening today at the Angelika Film Center, is a very special new English comedy by Mike Leigh, the English director whose High Hopes, one of the hits of the 1988 New York Film Festival, revealed him to be a film maker not quite like any other. Among other things, Mr. Leigh makes movies in which the actors participate in the creative process, discovering and refining their characters in the course of long rehearsal periods. Such collaboration would have sent Hitchcock into permanent retirement. It obviously works for Mr. Leigh, whose gently cockeyed movies are so rich with character that they seem beyond ordinary invention. His films prompt the kind of excitement that comes only when experiencing something new or, at least, something new in the context of other movies.” Read more…)

New TV
Veep: Season 1 (Julia Louis-Dreyfus)

New Docs
The Loving Story (civil rights, interracial marriage. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 81. From Alessandra Stanley’s New York Times television review: “The Loving Story may be one of the slyest sleights of programming in HBO history: this documentary running on Tuesday is a love story and a landmark civil rights case, which takes care of Valentine’s Day and Black History Month. There’s more: because the film focuses on the battle to overturn laws against mixed-race marriages, HBO is also marketing it as a parable for the gay marriage movement. The tone of the film is solemn and pious, which seems almost inevitable when the topic is segregation and racial intolerance. But there are other reasons to watch this film besides feel-good expediency.” Read more…)