New releases 4/12/22

Top Hits
Spider-Man: No Way Home (superhero action, Tom Holland. Rotten Tomatoes: 93%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 71. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “But [Tom] Holland is also the most persuasive of the other moist-eyed boy-men [Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield] who’ve played Spidey. His love interest is now MJ, played by Zendaya, who was paired with another of this year’s adolescent saviors in ‘Dune.’ Her casting as MJ and her expanded role in the series continue to pay off, and Zendaya’s charisma and gift for selling emotions [and silly dialogue] helps give the new movie a soft, steady glow that centers it like a heartbeat as the story takes off in different directions.” Read more…)

Creation Stories (music bio-pic, Ewen Bremner. Rotten Tomatoes: 62%. Metacritic: 53. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “This bouncy, time-hopping biopic recounts [Alan] McGee’s journey to rock legend — not as a performer but as a manager and the owner of a label that championed trailblazing artists like My Bloody Valentine. ‘I didn’t have any talent,’ an older but not yet wiser McGee, played by Ewen Bremner, admits. The story of how McGee managed to conjure up the phenomenally successful label Creation — and, with its supernova band Oasis, shape the British pop zeitgeist — while conducting himself in a manner highly contrary to that embraced by highly effective businesspeople is hardly without interest.” Read more…)

C’mon C’mon (drama, Joaquin Phoenix. Rotten Tomatoes: 94%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 82, Must See. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “[Director Mike] Mills manages the preliminaries seamlessly, creating an instant sense of cohesion and flow: You believe and recognize these people and places. Although he always lavishes conspicuous attention on the visual scheme of his movies — everything is very precise, very arranged — his gift is for the seductive sense of intimacy among characters, which quickly turns actors into people you care about.” Read more…)

Family Squares (drama/comedy, Billy Magnusson. Rotten Tomatoes: 78%. Metacritic: 54. From Concepción de León’s New York Times review: “That a dying loved one evaded the virus may be little consolation to the grief-stricken, but it’s precisely this plot point that allows Stephanie Laing, the writer and director, to poke gentle fun at our shared pandemic predicament. Her film is a lighthearted and touching look at the feuds, resentments and secrets that can surface when someone dies.” Read more…)

Slow Machine (mystery/drama, Stephanie Hayes. Rotten Tomatoes: 91%. Metacritic: 88. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Kristen Yoonsoo Kim’s Times review: “Difficult to describe and confounding to follow, the film is best when you submit to the surreal nature of it; then, you will be open to witnessing one of this year’s most mesmerizing movies unfold. Films of such lo-fi aesthetics rarely feel this major.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray & Ultra HD 4K
Amazing Grace Blu-Ray
Sing 2 Blu-Ray
Spider-Man: No Way Home Blu & 4K

New Foreign DVDs
Fabian: Going To the Dogs (Germany, drama/history, Tom Schilling. Rotten Tomatoes: 87%. Metacritic: 68. From Jay Weissberg’s Variety review: “Set in a teetering world of dissoluteness and disillusion in which a good man without professional ambition awakens to life’s promise only to have it all torn away, the story has modern resonances that [director Dominik] Graf [‘The Beloved Sisters’ among many others] keenly underlines, and while the film’s core is affectingly developed, the rest tries too hard to expose the empty rapaciousness of exhausted decadence.” Read more…)

Servants (Slovak Republic, political drama, Samuel Skyva. Rotten Tomatoes: 96%. Metacritic: 78. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Natalia Winkelman’s Times reviews: “The captivating ecclesiastical drama ‘Servants,’ set in 1980s Czechoslovakia, follows teenage matriculates at a Christian seminary who awaken to a grim reality. Their Dean (Vladimir Strnisko) is a member of Pacem in Terris, a group of clergy quietly granting control of the church to the Communist state. Considering this a moral corruption, several of the students initiate a discreet rebellion.” Read more…)

Margrete: Queen of the North (Denmark, drama/history, Trine Dyrholm. Rotten Tomatoes: 93%. Metacritic: 68. From Peter Sobczynski’s RogerEbert.com review: “‘Margrete: Queen of the North’ is a historical epic from Denmark that contains almost everything that one might want from such a thing—palace intrigue, familial conflict, sex, violence, jealousy, betrayal and so on. What it doesn’t really have is much of anything in the way of a point or purpose. Although it’s undeniably well-made, it lacks the kind of energy that might have helped make it truly come alive, and seem like more than a historical reenactment.” Read more…)

New TV
Chucky: Season 1 (horror, Brad Dourif)

New American Back Catalog DVDs (post-1960)
Still of the Night (1982, mystery/thriller, Meryl Streep. Rotten Tomatoes: 63%. Metacritic: 43. From Vincent Canby’s 1982 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Robert Benton’s ‘Still of the Night,’ the writer-director’s first film since his Oscar-winning ‘Kramer vs. Kramer,’ is something else entirely, a velvety-smooth looking romantic mystery melodrama that has far less to do with life than with other movies. It’s clever but chilly in the way of something with a mechanical heart.” Read more…)