New releases 11/3/20

Top Hits
Tommaso (drama, Willem Dafoe. Rotten Tomatoes: 78%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 66. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Glenn Kenny’s Times review: “For a long time, the protean independent filmmaker Abel Ferrara has found a way to, if not thrive, then at least produce, while lost in a wilderness of his own making. With his new picture, the semi-autobiographical ‘Tommaso,’ he reflects on the sober life, one that the filmmaker himself has reportedly been leading in Rome, where this movie is set.” Read more…)

Antebellum (horror, Janelle Monae. Rotten Tomatoes: 28%. Metacritic: 45. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “In the wake of ‘Get Out,’ there is still plenty of scariness and satire to be extracted from the toxic matter of American racism, and there is great potential in a movie that connects the microaggressions of the present with the brutality of the past. ‘Antebellum’ is emphatically not that movie. Written and directed by Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz, and propelled by the charisma of Janelle Monáe, it lines up moments of possible insight and impact and messes up just about all of them.” Read more…)

Blackbird (drama, Susan Sarandon. Rotten Tomatoes: 62%. Metacritic: 53. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “In movies, it’s almost a given that the more picture-perfect the family, the more screwed-up its members. In support of this, I give you ‘Blackbird,’ a right-to-die drama so inauthentic and maudlin that the terminal illness suffered by its central character is no more than a suction device for the audience’s tears.” Read more…)

A Hidden Life (Terrence Malick-directed drama, August Diehl. Rotten Tomatoes: 81%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 78. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “But this is the most linear and, in spite of its nearly three-hour length, the most concentrated film [director Terrence Malick] has made in a long time. More than ‘To the Wonder’ or ‘Knight of Cups’ or even the sublime ‘Tree of Life,’ it tells a story with a beginning, a middle and end, and a moral. Malick’s lyricism sometimes washes out the psychological and historical details of the narrative. The political context is minimal, supplied by documentary footage of Nazi rallies at the beginning and Hitler at home in the middle. The performers don’t so much act as manifest conditions of being, like figures in a religious painting.” Read more…)

Misbehaviour (comedy/drama. Kiera Knightley. Rotten Tomatoes: 83%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 62. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “The cheerfully one-dimensional “‘Misbehaviour’ puts a smiley face on female rage. A comedy flecked with seriousness, it revisits a 1970 feminist protest against the Miss World pageant in London. Bright and insistently upbeat, the movie has period polish, some swinging detail and a sympathetic cast headed by Keira Knightley, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Jessie Buckley. Like most commercial movies about feminist history, though, it also has a toothless vision of protest and empowerment that’s doomed to fail its subject.” Read more…)

New Classic DVDs (pre-1960)
My Favorite Brunette (1947, romantic comedy, Bob Hope. From Bosley Crowther’s 1947 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “If, perchance, you should note a strong resemblance between Bob Hope’s new comedy, ‘My Favorite Brunette,’ and his previous display of tomfoolery vis-a-vis the fairer sex, ‘My Favorite Blonde,’ don’t think it isn’t intentional. And don’t let it trouble you a bit. Paramount knows a good thing when it sees one, especially when it earns a pile of bucks. And it also knows that there is magic in the juxtaposition of Mr. Hope and a dame—any dame this side of Woodlawn—and a preposterously turbulent plot.” Read more…)

A Walk in the Sun (1945, World War II drama, Dana Andrews. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. From Bosley Crowther’s 1946 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Your response to Lewis Milestone’s brave film version of Harry Brown’s classic war story, ‘A Walk in the Sun,’ will likely depend, proportionally speaking, on whether you have read the book. And if you haven’t had the rare experience of absorbing the original, then you will surely find this film at the Victoria a swiftly overpowering piece of work.” Read more…)

The Little Rascals: Complete Collection (1929-38, comedy shorts)
Our Gang: The Complete Collection (1938-44, comedy shorts)

New American Back Catalog DVDs (post-1960)
The 7th Dawn (1964, World War II drama, William Holden. From Bosley Crowther’s 1964 New York Times review: “Possibly in fond recollection of his appearance in ‘The Bridge on the River Kwai’ and of the good that adventure in the Far East did for his career, William Holden has returned to the area—to the jungles of Malaya this time—for his new color film, ‘The 7th Dawn,’ which opened at the Astor and other theaters yesterday.And again he is manfully pretending to be a hard-boiled American involved in a politico-military conflict in which a lot of sweaty orientals are embroiled and in which there is a lot of creeping about in the jungles and exploding of dynamite.But, take it from us, this adventure is no ‘Bridge on the River Kwai’ and Mr. Holden, grown plumper and more cynical, is not the lad he was seven years ago.” Read more…)

Second Best (1994, drama, William Hurt. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. From Janet Maslin’s 1994 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “‘Second Best’ is all too fair a title for Chris Menges’s new film, in which William Hurt plays a lonely postmaster who hopes to adopt a son. Casting Mr. Hurt in this role doesn’t do much for the film or the leading man.” Read more…)

New British DVDs
The Crown: Season 3 (drama/history, Claire Foy. Rotten Tomatoes: 90%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 84. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From James Poniewozik’s Times television review: “And ‘The Crown’ — the scintillating Netflix drama, improving with age — is not at all shy about putting on a show, doling out all the pageantry and suds necessary. Season 3, arriving Sunday, delivers 10 entertaining episodes of personal history that are equal parts political, poignant and juicy.” Read more…)