New releases 1/14/20

Top Hits
Gemini Man (action, Will Smith. Rotten Tomatoes: 26%. Metacritic: 38. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “I’m a little worried that the premise of ‘Gemini Man,’ which is the most interesting thing about it, might also count as a spoiler. So if you don’t want to know anything about this movie other than that Will Smith plays a super-lethal military assassin hunted by nefarious forces in his own government — which is too much of a cliché to count as a spoiler — then maybe you should move along. Or just watch the trailer, declare the whole thing spoiled, and go about your day.” Read more…)

Line of Duty (action Aaron Eckhart. Rotten Tomatoes: 63%. From Dennis Harvey’s Variety review: “High on energy if low on credibility, ‘Line of Duty’ stars Aaron Eckhart as a cop from Birmingham, Ala., whose day gets a lot more hectic when he’s caught up in a kidnapping whose victim is under immediate mortal threat. This latest from prolific genre helmer Stephen C. Miller is a little off-putting at times with its undercurrent of pro-police, anti-everyone-else rhetoric — though that may play well with some of the target demographic. In any case, action fans looking for a lot of forward motion could do worse than this lively, increasingly over-the-top feature-length chase.” Read more…)

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (adventure/family, Angelina Jolie. Rotten Tomatoes: 40%. Metacritic: 43. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “The happily ever after delivered by Disney’s ‘Maleficent’ has vanished like a puff of bilious smoke, as its unhappy, reactionary sequel makes depressingly clear. Released in 2014, the first movie is a satisfying rethink of ‘Sleeping Beauty’ — both Disney’s and Charles Perrault’s — that showed how intelligent intervention could upend centuries of oppressive ideas about women. In its revisionist take, the titular dark, dangerous fairy played by Angelina Jolie isn’t naturally evil or merely spiteful in bestowing a curse, but exerting her power with a vengeance.” Read more…)

The Death and Life of John F. Donovan (drama, Kit Harington. Rotten Tomatoes: 21%. Metacritic: 28. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “Of all the criticisms one might level at the films of Xavier Dolan, dullness is unlikely to be among them. Until now, perhaps: ‘The Death & Life of John F. Donovan’ isn’t just flat, it’s choppy and grandiose. From its contrived structure to its forced speechifying, this story about a yearslong correspondence between Donovan [Kit Harington], a closeted actor, and Rupert [Jacob Tremblay], a troubled prepubescent boy, never acquires the emotional potency or coherence its themes demand.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
Gemini Man

New Foreign DVDs
Cyrano, My Love (France, Thomas Solivérès. Rotten Tomatoes: 79%. Metacritic: 61. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “Concealing its lack of substance beneath a carapace of froth and a cascade of famous characters [with Clémentine Célarié making a magnificent Sarah Bernhardt], ‘Cyrano, My Love’ trips along happily enough. As the camera circles swirling skirts and sweeps through elegant cafes, the director, Alexis Michalik, whisks up a whirlwind of soapy declarations and backstage chaos.” Read more…)

Piranhas (Italy, crime drama, Francesco Di Napoli. Rotten Tomatoes: 55%. Metacritic: 57. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “[Roberto] Saviano’s book ‘Gomorrah’ was made into a bracing episodic film in 2009 by Matteo Garrone. The less satisfying ‘Piranhas,’ based on a subsequent Saviano book and directed by Claudio Giovannesi, is an ‘I Was a Teenage Gangster’ tale. In its reliance on a conventional narrative through-line, it’s more reminiscent of ‘The Public Enemy’ than ‘Goodfellas’ in spite of its stylings of contemporary cinematic realism.” Read more…)

New British
The Durrells in Corfu: Season 4 (drama, Keeley Hawes)

New TV
You: Season 1 (romantic thriller, Penn Badgley)

New Documentaries
The Price of Everything (contemporary art, Gerhard Richter, art market. Rotten Tomatoes: 92%. Metacritic: 76. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “‘There are a lot of people who know the price of everything and the value of nothing,’ the art collector Stefan Edlis remarks in Nathaniel Kahn’s new documentary. The words, unattributed in the film and the source of its title, come from ‘Lady Windermere’s Fan’ by Oscar Wilde, where they supply the definition of a cynic. But while this colorful and inquisitive cinematic essay on the state of the art world is occasionally skeptical and consistently thoughtful, cynicism isn’t really on its agenda.” Read more…)

May 15th in Paris (French history, politics, demagoguery, short film)