New releases 10/30/18

Top Hits
Mandy (action, Nicolas Cage. Rotten Tomatoes: 92%. Metacritic: 81. Here you go—a Nicolas Cage flick that is a New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Glenn Kenny’s Times review: “The movie, directed by Panos Cosmatos from a script he wrote with Aaron Stewart-Ahn [I should disclose here that Mr. Stewart-Ahn is an acquaintance] is a fantasy feature awash in physical and emotional violence. In its various genre allusions, it draws from a deep, idiosyncratic well. But despite its frequent instances of absurdist humor, it is not a film that winks at the audience with its cleverness.” Read more…)

The Spy Who Dumped Me (comedy, Mila Kunis. Rotten Tomatoes: 50%. Metacritic: 52. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “In its opening minutes, ‘The Spy Who Dumped Me’ hops from a shootout in Vilnius, Lithuania, to a birthday celebration in Los Angeles. Audrey [Mila Kunis] is turning 30 in the wake of an abrupt breakup — via text — with one of the gunmen, a skinny dude named Drew [Justin Theroux] whose profession was a secret to Audrey. The title of this pleasantly silly, sometimes jarringly violent comedy, directed by Susanna Fogel [who wrote the script with David Iserson], isn’t terribly ambiguous, and I have now explained it fully.” Read more…)

Teen Titans Go to the Movies (animated feature. Rotten Tomatoes: 91%. Metacritic: 69. From Ken Jaworowski’s New York Times review: “It’s an amusing tale for young audiences, ending with the expected messages about friendship and courage. But there are delights for adults as well, particularly in the first half, with sendups of various comic book series [some aimed at DC’s own arch-nemesis, Marvel] and an extra-large supply of spoofs on other movies.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
The Princess Bride
The Spy Who Dumped Me

New Foreign DVDs
Custody (France, drama/domestic thriller, Lea Drucker. Rotten Tomatoes: 94%. Metacritic: 83. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “Lately, we’ve been hearing a lot about domestic horror, about movies that find monsters and demons at home, movies that reckon not so much with the banality of evil as with its awful familiarity. ‘Custody,’ the spare and unsparing debut feature by Xavier Legrand, is not, strictly speaking, a horror movie. There is nothing supernatural, nothing especially out of the ordinary, about the force that terrorizes Miriam Besson [Léa Drucker] and her children. It’s Miriam’s ex-husband, Antoine [Denis Ménochet], a man who wears his everydayness like a badge of righteousness.” Read more…)

Les Parents Terribles (France, 1948, heartbreaking drama dir. By Jean Cocteau, Jean Marais. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. A New’York Times Critic’s Pick. From Glenn Kenny’s Times review: “In between the fantastical masterpieces ‘Beauty and the Beast’ [1946] and “Orpheus’ [1950], Jean Cocteau directed two films not frequently seen in the United States: ‘The Eagle With Two Heads’ [1948], a quasi-medieval romance, and ‘Les Parents Terribles’ [also 1948], a contemporary family melodrama. ‘Parents,’ which sometimes goes by the English-language title ‘The Storm Within,’ makes its U.S. premiere in New York this week in a fine-looking restoration.” Read more…)

New American Back Catalog DVDs (post-1960)
Hallelujah The Hills (1963, avant-garde romance, New American Cinema, Peter H. Beard. From an unsigned 1963 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Three months ago, a modest little Vermont-made farce called ‘Hallelujah the Hills’ surprised and delighted patrons of the first New York Film Festival by boisterously affirming that life can be a ball and movie-making can be fun.This festive philosophy was broached to a commercial audience for the first time yesterday at the Fifth Avenue Cinema — as close to its spiritual Greenwich Village home as current distribution policies allow. Judging from the response, it should stay there for quite a while.” Read more…)

Sisters (1973, Criterion Collection, thriller, Margot Kidder. Rotten Tomatoes: 85%. From J. Hoberman’s New York Times review of the restored version of “Sisters”: The 1973 slasher film ‘Sisters,’ digitally restored and playing at the Quad Cinema, as well as streaming on services like FilmStruck, was Brian De Palma’s first homage to Alfred Hitchcock. Shamelessly lurid, it’s also his best. ‘Sisters’ boasts an angsty score by Bernard Herrmann, who wrote the music for a number of Hitchcock films including ‘Psycho,’ from which ‘Sisters’ borrows much of its plot. De Palma also drew on Hitchcock’s brilliant use of editing to generate suspense, augmenting conventional crosscutting with his taste for split-screen action.” Read more…)

The Princess Bride (1987, adventure/romance, Criterion Collection, Fred Savage. Rotten Tomatoes: 92%. Metacritic: 77. From Janet Maslin’s 1987 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “‘The Princess Bride’ is framed as a story told to a sick little boy, and the child is thoroughly skeptical -who wouldn’t be? Here is a full-length fairy tale full of fanciful characters, madcap adventures and a lot of other things surely not to every taste. But ‘The Princess Bride’ has sweetness and sincerity on its side, and when it comes to fairy tales, those are major assets. It also has a delightful cast and a cheery, earnest style that turns out to be ever more disarming as the film moves along.” Read more…)

Whatever (1998, drama, Liza Weil. Rotten Tomatoes: 75%. From Stephen Holden’s 1998 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “But despite its false notes and occasional stridency, ‘Whatever’ rings true enough to make it one of the more compellingly realistic films about teen-age angst and the tug of war between destructive peer pressure and independence. Ms. Weil’s transparent performance takes you so deeply inside Anna’s skin that you feel every itch and sore, every twinge of hope and self-confidence. Even when you want to shake some sense into her, you know exactly why she is doing the wrong thing.” Read more…)

 New British
Endeavour: Season 5 (Inspector Morse prequel series, Shaun Evans. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%.)
The Durrells in Corfu: Season 3 (bio/comedy series, Keeley Hawes)

New TV
The Americans: Season 6 (final season of espionage series, Keri Russell. Rotten Tomatoes: 99%. Metacritic: 92.)

New Documentaries
Resistance at Tule Lake (civil liberties, Japanese internment, American history, racism. From a Mike Hale New York Times review: “On the other side of the world, and the war, this rough-around-the-edges documentary by the New York-based filmmaker Konrad Aderer tells one of the less well-known stories of the Japanese-American experience in World War II. Interviewing survivors, and traveling on a pilgrimage to the desolate remains of the Tule Lake relocation camp in far Northern California, Mr. Aderer shows that the narrative of stoic obedience in the face of repression and imprisonment is radically incomplete. He reveals the widespread resistance among the 120,000 Japanese-Americans sent to internment camps.” Read more…)

Love, Cecil (bio, photography, art, Cecil Beaton. Rotten Tomatoes: 79%. Metacritic: 63. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “Was Cecil Beaton, the photographer, artist, diarist and theatrical designer who chronicled, and was influenced by, several periods of artistic and social upheaval in the 20th century, the last dandy? The documentary, ‘Love, Cecil,’ directed with energy and affection by Lisa Immordino Vreeland, doesn’t grapple with that question, and doesn’t have to; almost 40 years after Beaton’s 1980 death at age 76, no aesthete has come close to duplicating his output or his impact.” Read more…)

 New Children’s DVDs
Teen Titans Go to the Movies (animated feature)