New releases 1/15/19

Top Hits
The Old Man & The Gun (comedy/drama, Robert Redford. Rotten Tomatoes: 92%. Metacritic: 80. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “The proper compliment to give ‘The Old Man & The Gun’ is that it treats Mr. Redford with the respect he deserves. A charismatic minimalist from the start, he has lately — in the haunting ‘All is Lost’ and the mild-mannered ‘Our Souls at Night’ — offered a series of master classes in understatement. At a time when bluster, bragging and histrionic displays of self-pity are apparently the defining characteristics of American manhood, it’s nice to be reminded of the virtues of discretion and quiet.” Read more…)

Goosebumps 2 (fantasy/horror/comedy, Wendi McLendon-Covey. Rotten Tomatoes: 47%. Metacritic: 53. From Teo Bugbee’s New York Times review: “In spite of its spooky source material, the movie is more of a family fantasy than a thriller. If children once stole the original ‘Goosebumps’ books from libraries to hide the source of their nightmares from their parents, ‘Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween’ feels slightly supervisory — a movie to leave playing in the background of a child’s birthday party. The movie is not all medicine with no sugar. Most of the set-piece sequences use extensive computer-generated imagery, but the director, Ari Sandel, also makes room for practical effects and real-life set dressing in his depiction of possessed Wardenclyffe.” Read more…)

Tea With the Dames (documentary, acting, theater, Dame Judi Dench. Rotten Tomatoes: 99%. Metacritic: 85. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Glenn Kenny’s Times review: “The women of this film’s title are not just any dames. Friends and colleagues Eileen Atkins, Judi Dench, Joan Plowright and Maggie Smith are actors both legendary and still active [although Ms. Plowright, at 88 the eldest of the group, has been largely sidelined by blindness]. For the simple idea of sitting them all at a table and turning on a couple of movie cameras, the director Roger Michell should get a royal commendation himself.” Read more…)

The Bookshop (drama, Emily Mortimer. Rotten Tomatoes: 54%. Metacritic: 62. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “The Spanish director Isabel Coixet might have been the best thing to happen to ‘The Bookshop,’ a gently disruptive adaptation of the 1978 novel by the English writer Penelope Fitzgerald. A more conventional filmmaker might have nudged this scathing attack on class entitlement in the romantic-comedy direction that early scenes seem to tease. Instead, Ms. Coixet highlights the undertow of subtle savagery in her genteel material, giving its picturesque setting — an English coastal village in 1959 — a more sinister, cynical cast.” Read more…)

Halloween (horror classic remake, Jamie Lee Curtis. Rotten Tomatoes: 79%. Metacritic: 67. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “It’s been four decades since Michael Myers and his fright mask first gave us the willies in John Carpenter’s ‘Halloween,’ which makes him 61 — and, if David Gordon Green’s same-name sequel is to be believed, still in possession of a ramrod spine, pile-driver fists and non-arthritic knees. The meals at Smith’s Grove Sanitarium, where he’s been cooling his heels all these years, must be unusually nutritious. On the other hand, Laurie Strode [Jamie Lee Curtis], the feisty Illinois babysitter who once eluded Michael’s stalk-and-slash spree, has aged more credibly than her nutjob nemesis.” Read more…)

The Party’s Just Beginning (drama, Karen Gillan. Rotten Tomatoes: 73%. Metacritic: 71. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Glenn Kenny’s Times review: “The last time I saw Karen Gillan on a movie screen, in the blockbuster ‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,’ she was playing a human incarnation of a video game character who was both bombshell and martial arts master. She also kicks up a storm in the opening minutes of ‘The Party’s Just Beginning,’ albeit in a much more glum context. Freestyle-monologuing in a pub on what seems to be karaoke night, she energetically advertises herself as a potential cult leader while fellow drinkers profanely heckle her.” Read more…)

After Everything (comedy/drama, Jeremy Allen White. Rotten Tomatoes: 88%. Metacritic: 67. From Teo Bugbee’s New York Times review: “As a cancer drama, ‘After Everything’ is refreshingly mundane, focusing less on the high stakes of illness than on how two young people talk to each other in sickness and in health. Its matter-of-fact tone is carried through to all of its lived-in performances, including welcome cameos by Marisa Tomei and Gina Gershon. But the film’s successes rest largely on its lead actors.” Read more…)

A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Shakespeare update, Rachel Leigh Cook. Rotten Tomatoes: 65%. Metacritic: 67.)

New Blu-Ray
Halloween

New Foreign DVDs
24 Frames (Iran, Abbas Kiarostami drama/documentary. Rotten Tomatoes: 94%. Metacritic: 76. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “Images become cinema in ’24 Frames,’ the last movie from the Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami [1940-2016]. “I always wonder to what extent the artist aims to depict the reality of a scene,” he reveals in the opening text. ‘Painters capture only one frame of reality and nothing before or after it.’ This wondering led him to digitally transform 24 still images into short, visually and thematically linked sequences that make up this alternately charming and frustrating labor of love, which he worked on during the final three years of his life.” Read more…)

The Last Suit (Argentina, drama, Miguel Ángel Solá. Rotten Tomatoes: 78%. Metacritic: 63. From Ben Kenigsberg’s New York Times review: “An unfortunately contrived Holocaust drama that labors under the delusion that the subject matter lends itself to uplift, ‘The Last Suit’ concerns Abraham Bursztein [Miguel Ángel Solá], a Jew who was born in Poland but has lived in Argentina since the war. Instead of following through on his daughters’ plans and moving to a retirement home from his house of 50 years, he absconds on a sudden trip to Lodz, Poland, to keep a promise to a close boyhood friend.” Read more…)

New Documentary DVDs
Olancho (Honduras, music, drug violence)