New releases 12/10/19

Top Hits
Once Upon A Time In… Hollywood (drama/comedy, Brad Pitt & Leonardo DiCaprio. Rotten Tomatoes: 85%. Metacritic: 83. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “There is a lot of love in ‘Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood,’ and quite a bit to enjoy. The screen is crowded with signs of Quentin Tarantino’s well-established ardor — for the movies and television shows of the decades after World War II; for the vernacular architecture, commercial signage and famous restaurants of Los Angeles; for the female foot and the male jawline; for vintage clothes and cars and cigarettes. But the mood in this, his ninth feature, is for the most part affectionate rather than obsessive.” Read more…)

It: Chapter Two (horror, James McAvoy. Rotten Tomatoes: 62%. Metacritic: 58. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “That connection between the banal and the cosmic — the two-way metaphorical street that makes Derry a kind of World Heritage Site for terror — is central to the imagination of Stephen King, whose book is the source of both chapters of ‘It’ [and the earlier made-for-television version]. The director, Andy Muschietti, and the screenwriter, Gary Dauberman, have taken some narrative liberties, but they remain true to some of King’s major ideas: about how innocence can be corrupted and preserved by knowledge; about the hidden pathways between the unconscious and the natural world; about the ethical power of friendship. King’s brief on-screen appearance [playing the curmudgeonly proprietor of an antique store] can be taken as a seal of approval.” Read more…)

Hustlers (drama, Jennifer Lopez. Rotten Tomatoes: 88%. Metacritic: 79. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “‘Hustlers,’ a semisweet, half-flat cocktail of exposed flesh, fuzzy feminism and high-spirited criminality, overflows with of-the-moment pop-cultural signifiers — Cardi B makes an appearance, and Lizzo does, too — but it also strikes a note of nostalgia for the recent past. Specifically the movie, written and directed by Lorene Scafaria [‘The Meddler,’ ‘Seeking a Friend for the End of the World’], looks back fondly at 2007. Back then, before the financial crisis interrupted the fun, Wall Street guys were making a lot of money, a decent amount of which found its way into the hands and under the G-strings of New York strippers.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
It: Chapter Two
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

New Foreign DVDs
Until the End of the World (Germany, 1991, Wim Wenders-directed drama/fantasy, William Hurt. Rotten Tomatoes: 88%. From Vincent Canby’s 1991 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “When it comes to making movies, Wim Wenders is not your average wild and crazy guy. Antic fun for its own sake is not something for which he is known. The German-born director’s more recent films [‘Wings of Desire,’ ‘Paris, Texas,’ ‘Hammett’] have been schematic and dour, with hard surfaces encasing centers as soft as chocolate-covered cherries. For much of its nearly three-hour running time, ‘Until the End of the World’ is something else, a daffy, eccentric road movie that pursues its own inscrutable lighthearted logic through 15 cities in 8 countries on 4 continents.” Read more…)

New Classic DVDs (pre-1960)
All About Eve (1950, drama, Criterion Collection, Bette Davis. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 98. From Bosley Crowther’s 1950 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “The good old legitimate theatre, the temple of Thespis and Art, which has dished out a lot of high derision of Hollywood in its time, had better be able to take it as well as dish it out, because the worm has finally turned with a venom and Hollywood is dishing it back. In ‘All About Eve,’ a withering satire—witty, mature and worldly-wise — which Twentieth Century-Fox and Joseph Mankiewicz delivered to the Roxy yesterday, the movies are letting Broadway have it with claws out and no holds barred.” Read more…)

Now, Voyager (1942, drama/romance, Criterion Collection, Bette Davis. Rotten Tomatoes: 91%. From T.S.’s 1942 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Although it carries a professional bedside manner, ‘Now, Voyager,’ Bette Davis’s latest tribulation at the Hollywood, contains not a little quackery. For two hours of heartache and repeated renunciation, Miss Davis lays bare the morbidities of a repressed ugly duckling who finally finds herself as a complete woman. From the original novel, Casey Robinson has created a deliberate and workmanlike script which more than once reaches into troubled emotions. Director Irving Rapper has screened it with frequent effectiveness. But ‘Now, Voyager,’ either because of the Hays office or its own spurious logic, endlessly complicates an essentially simple theme.” Read more…)

New British
Doc Martin: Series 9 (dramedy series, Martin Clunes. Rotten Tomatoes: 60%.)
Line of Duty: Series 1 (thriller/police procedural, Lennie James. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%.)

New TV
The Loudest Voice (mini-series about conservative media mogul Roger Ailes, Russell Crowe. Rotten Tomatoes: 53%. Metacritic: 61.)

New Documentaries
Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice (music, bio, Linda Ronstadt. Rotten Tomatoes: 88%. Metacritic: 77 A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “[Singer Linda] Ronstadt was an unavoidable presence — not only on the airwaves but also on television talk shows and magazine covers. [Those things were also a much bigger deal back then, but I’ll stop with the Gen-X Grandpa Simpson routine.] She didn’t write her own songs, but she owned the ones she performed with rare authority. In ‘Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice,’ a new documentary by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, someone uses the word “auteur” to describe Ronstadt’s relationship to her material, and it doesn’t seem exaggerated.” Read more…)