New releases 9/2/14

Top Hits

Draft Day (sports drama, Kevin Costner. Rotten Tomatoes: 62%. Metacritic: 54. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “Lately, Mr. Costner hasn’t been around much, and his newest film projects, 3 Days to Kill and now Draft Day, are not exactly what you’d call the Glengarry leads. But every salesman’s real product is himself, and in Draft Day, especially, playing the beleaguered general manager of a professional football team, Mr. Costner revels in his undiminished powers of persuasion. His face is softer than it used to be, and his body is a little thicker and slower-moving, but his voice is still a marvel. There is no real difference between what this movie is about and what it displays: an aging professional doing his job.” Read more…)

They Came Together (romantic comedy, Amy Poehler. Rotten Tomatoes: 69%. Metacritic: 60. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “In They Came Together, a sloppy, fitfully funny broadside at the romantic comedy, the director David Wain goes after that oft-abused genre with a metaphoric jackhammer — as well as a bat, a machete, a couple of knives, one or two missiles and the sort of sizzling cartoon bomb that Wile E. Coyote used to hurl. Mr. Wain has some expert help with his demolition work, namely his stars, Amy Poehler and Paul Rudd, who with another dozen or so cutups, embody assorted romantic comedy stereotypes with wide smiles, seasoned technique and unfettered spleen.” Read more…)

Night Moves (thriller, Jesse Eisenberg. Rotten Tomatoes: 84%. Metacritic: 75. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “Night Moves, [Director Kelly] Reichardt’s sharp and haunting new feature, comes closer than its predecessors to fitting into an established genre. [If Meek’s Cutoff was a western, it was one that shot down every frontier cliché in its path.] This one can be described as a thriller with political overtones, about three radical environmentalists plotting to blow up a dam. Their motives, while not fully articulated — there is never a lot of talking in a Kelly Reichardt movie — seem to be a mixture of despair, muddled idealism and boredom. Their seriousness is unquestionable, but the film is less interested in assessing the justice of their cause than in probing the contours of their experience.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
Draft Day
For No Good Reason

New Foreign
Horses of God (Morocco/France, political drama, Abdelhakim Rachi. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 76.  A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Stephen Holden’s Times review: “The residents of Sidi Moumen, a sprawling shantytown on the outskirts of Casablanca, Morocco, live in tin-roofed shacks without electricity, running water or modern sewage disposal. The area sits atop a garbage dump where boys run wild in packs and engage in fierce soccer matches that often explode into violence. Aerial shots depict this slum as a fetid, desiccated wasteland, in which the pickings are thin, even for scavengers. To sell oranges in a market for a pittance, you must fight for space. The boys of Sidi Moumen are the subjects of Nabil Ayouch’s film Horses of God, a compelling contemplation of the roots of Islamic terrorism in poverty and hopelessness.” Read more…)

14 Blades (Hong Kong, kung fu thriller, Donnie Yen. Rotten Tomatoes: 64%. Metacritic: 50. From Daniel M. Gold’s New York Times review: “A Chinese swords-and-martial-arts adventure that takes place during the Ming dynasty, 14 Blades reframes the wuxia epic as another genre peopled by antiheroes with personal codes of honor: the spaghetti western. It’s not a bad fit.” Read more…)

New Documentaries
For No Good Reason (art, commentary, Ralph Steadman. Rotten Tomatoes: 64%. Metacritic: 56. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “In 1969, Ralph Steadman, a British cartoonist and illustrator, was invited by the editors of Scanlan’s Monthly to attend the Kentucky Derby in the company of Hunter S. Thompson, who was writing an article about the race. This assignment marked the beginning of a long, fruitful and frequently volatile collaboration. Nine years after Thompson’s death, it is nearly impossible to think of his prose without conjuring visions of Mr. Steadman’s drawings — nightmarishly funny compositions in which spidery lines intersect with clouds of spilled and sprayed ink. Thompson casts a long shadow over For No Good Reason, Charlie Paul’s admiring documentary about Mr. Steadman.” Read more…)