New releases 4/19/22

Top Hits
Cyrano (romance/musical, Peter Dinklage. Rotten Tomatoes: 86%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 66. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “Artifice mobilized in defense of authenticity. It’s a paradox as old as art, and one that ‘Cyrano,’ a new screen musical based on Edmond Rostand’s French-class chestnut, embraces with a risky ardor. Directed by Joe Wright, with songs by members of the National [Bryce and Aaron Dessner wrote the music, with lyrics by Matt Berninger and Carin Besser] and a script by Erica Schmidt, this version wears its heart on its ruffled sleeve, pursuing its lush, breathless vision of romance with more sincerity than coherence.” Read more…)

The Humans (comedy/drama, Richard Jenkins. Rotten Tomatoes: 92%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 78. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ Times review: “The confessions and tensions are commonplace, but ‘The Humans’ is never less than high on the terrible power of the mundane. To that end, [writer and director Stephen] Karam, aided by Skip Lievsay’s marvelous sound design, gives the apartment an eerie, sinister life. Thuds and groans and rumbles disturb the dinner, as if the family’s psychic baggage — Erik’s petrifying nightmares; Momo’s unearthly screaming fit — has stirred something foul in the home’s sludgy depths.” Read more…)

The Novice (mystery/thriller, Isabelle Fuhrman. Rotten Tomatoes: 92%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 85, Must See. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. from Teo Bugbee’s Times review: “[Writer-director Lauren] Hadaway has crafted a film that thematically and visually resembles Damien Chazelle’s ‘Whiplash,’ for which she served as a sound editor. But where Chazelle’s film followed a protagonist with world-class aspirations, the modest scale of Alex’s ambitions keeps ‘The Novice’ more grounded as a character study, and helps the film steer clear of overblown statements about success. The protagonist merely wishes to be the worst rower on her team’s best boat.” Read more…)

Last Looks (action/comedy, Charlie Hunnam. Rotten Tomatoes: 67%. Metacritic: 48. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “Latter-day Hollywood murder mysteries, from ‘The Long Goodbye’ to ‘The Dead Pool’ to ‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,’ provide filmmakers welcome outlets for both showbiz sensationalism and a little [at least] biting of the hand that feeds them. Oh, and sometimes cliché-mongering. ‘Last Looks,’ directed by Tim Kirkby and based on a novel by Howard Michael Gould, opens with an ex-cop living in self-imposed ascetic exile, a circumstance that now feels as old as time, if not older.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray &Ultra HD 4K
Monterey Pop Blu-ray
The Parallax View Blu-ray
Where are You, Jay Bennett Blu-ray

New Foreign DVDs
Rebecka Martinsson: Series 1 (Sweden, mystery series, Ida Engvoll)

New TV
Grey’s Anatomy: Season 11 (hospital/medical drama, Sandra Oh. Rotten Tomatoes: 91%.)

New Classic DVDs (pre-1960)
A Guy Named Joe (1943, romance/war, Spencer Tracy. Rotten Tomatoes: 67%. From Bosley Crowther’s 1943 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “The people at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer had a dandy idea by the tail when they set out to make the picture called ‘A Guy Named Joe,’ which came to the Capitol yesterday. That idea was that the spirit of an ace pilot killed in this war should come back to give inspiration and instruction to new young pilots just starting out. The idea had blithesome implications, as well as spiritual ones, and it looked for a while as though Metro and its people were going to play it well. But somehow, as often happens, they yanked it around too much; they let it go slack at the wrong spot and then jerked up on it too hard.” Read more…)

Bodyguard (1948, film noir, Lawrence Tierney. From Michael Barrett’s review at Pop Matters: “‘Bodyguard’ is a movie destined to be overrated or underrated. It will be underrated by those who seek it out because of its sterling credentials in writing, directing, and acting–only to find that it doesn’t measure up to better films by the same people. It will be overrated by those who, expecting nothing and used to a long line of forgettable B’s, stumble suddenly upon a movie of wit, verve, and a certain visual imagination. Its accomplishments are modest yet genuine.” Read more…)

New American Back Catalog DVDs (post-1960)
Back to the Beach (1987, comedy, Frankie Avalon & Annette Funicello. Rotten Tomatoes: 71%. Metacritic: 62. From Caryn James’ 1987 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Once, the Beach Party formula must have seemed like a teen-age fantasy, but the movies have aged so badly they now play on television or video like goofy messages from outer space. In ‘Back to the Beach,’ the only message from from outer space is Pee-Wee Herman’s rendition of ‘Surfin’ Bird.’ [‘Bird, bird, bird. Bird is the word.’] He does the lyrics justice. The rest is a series of telegraphed jokes that will fulfill your worst fears.” Read more…)

Under the Rainbow (1981, comedy, Chevy Chase. Rotten Tomatoes: 0%. From Janet Maslin’s 1981 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “The makers of ‘Under the Rainbow’ have taken a strange idea and run with it, making it a good deal stranger. The year is 1938, ‘The Wizard of Oz’ is about to be made, and a movie studio is auditioning Munchkins. So 150 midgets are holed up at the Culver City Hotel, preparing to don winged-monkey outfits and start swinging from the chandeliers. This would be plot enough for any movie, but it’s about one-tenth of what goes on in ‘Under the Rainbow,’ which has enough story angles to make your head spin.” Read more…)

New Documentaries
From the Journals of Jean Seberg (bio/documentary, Mary Beth Hurt, Jean Seberg. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. From Caryn James’ 1995 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “[Director Mark] Rappaport raises provocative and sometimes amusing questions about screen images and social responsibility. He is less successful at examining the language of screen images. Whatever its small flaws, though, ‘From the Journals of Jean Seberg’ glistens with wit, understanding and rich ideas.” Read more…)

Where Are You, Jay Bennett (music bio, Jay Bennett, Wilco)