New releases 4/11/17

Top Hits
Hidden Figures (historical drama/African-American history, Octavia Spencer. Rotten Tomatoes 93%. Metacritic 74. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “Based on Margot Lee Shetterly’s nonfiction book of the same title, the film, directed by Theodore Melfi [who wrote the script with Allison Schroeder], turns the entwined careers of Katherine Goble [later Johnson], Mary Jackson and Dorothy Vaughan into a rousing celebration of merit rewarded and perseverance repaid. Like many movies about the overcoming of racism, it offers belated acknowledgment of bravery and talent and an overdue reckoning with the sins of the past. And like most movies about real-world breakthroughs, ‘Hidden Figures’ is content to stay within established conventions. The story may be new to most viewers, but the manner in which it’s told will be familiar to all but the youngest.” Read more…)

Lion (drama, Dev Patel. Rotten Tomatoes 86%. Metacritic 69. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “[Director Garth] Davis, with strong assistance from a cast of dignified, charismatic criers and the music of Hauschka and Dustin O’Halloran, floods the viewer with big feelings. If you have ever been a child, raised a child, lost a child or met a child — or a mother — this movie will wreck you. As a purely emotional experience it succeeds without feeling too manipulative or maudlin. I mean, it is manipulative and maudlin, but in a way that seems fair and transparent.” Read more…)

White Girl (drama, Morgan Saylor. Rotten Tomatoes 71%. Metacritic 65. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Stephen Holden’s Times review: “The movie, which observes the world from Leah’s entitled perspective, is the latest in a continuing line of shockers [including ‘Kids’ and ‘Spring Breakers’], whose depictions of greedy drug-taking and promiscuity are inescapably titillating. Had ‘White Girl’ been directed by a man, it would probably be accused of misogyny. But Ms. Wood has said that it is semi-autobiographical. When shown last winter at the Sundance Film Festival, ‘White Girl’ received some obligatory tut-tutting from nervous male critics.” Read more…)

The Whole Truth (courtroom drama, Keanu Reeves. Rotten Tomatoes 29%. Metacritic 46. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “After a screening of ‘The Whole Truth,’ a colleague remarked that it looked like a major studio release that had been tweaked to within an inch of its life, leaving only a sliver of the movie that might have been. How else to explain the involvement of two household-name stars [Keanu Reeves and Renée Zellweger] and an award-winning director [Courtney Hunt] in a plot so soulless and poorly dramatized that even the last-minute reveal is a yawn?” Read more…)

Tangled Before Ever After (Disney animated feature, Mandy Moore [voice])

New Blu-Ray
Hidden Figures

New Foreign DVDs
Toni Erdmann (Germany, comedy, Peter Simonischek. Rotten Tomatoes 92%. Metacritic 93. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “Toni Erdmann,’ [director Maren Ade’s] third feature, may look like farce — and it does achieve heights of pure, giddy silliness of a kind rarely seen on the big screen these days — but it is driven by a savage satirical energy, a thoroughgoing critique of the way things are. The worst humiliations Ines suffers come not from anything outrageous her father does, but rather from the everyday piggishness of the men who belittle her work, thwart her ambitions or take her for granted.” Read more…)

Our Little Sister (Japan, family drama, Ayase Haruka. Rotten Tomatoes 93%. Metacritic 75. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “‘Our Little Sister,’ adapted from a popular manga series by Akimi Yoshida, has a deceptively episodic plot. Seeming to wander through small incidents and mundane busyness, it acquires momentum and dramatic weight through a brilliant kind of narrative stealth. You are shaken, by the end, at how much you care about these women and how sorry you are to leave their company.” Read more…)

All of Me (Mexico, documentary. Rotten Tomatoes 100%.)

New British
To Walk Invisible: The Brontë Sisters (period bio-pic, Finn Atkins. Rotten Tomatoes 100%. Metacritic 71.)

New Documentaries
National Bird (whistleblowers, drone war. Rotten Tomatoes 100%. Metacritic 75. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “If we can eliminate enemy threats without placing boots on a battlefield, then why not do so? That’s one of the unspoken questions raised, and largely unanswered, by ‘National Bird,’ Sonia Kennebeck’s elegantly unsettling documentary about the United States’ reliance on aerial combat drones.The weapons themselves, though, demand less of her attention than their psychological impact on three former operators and current whistle-blowers.” Read more…)

All of Me (Mexico, Spanish-language documentary, immigration issues. Rotten Tomatoes 100%.)

New Childrens’ DVDs
Tangled Before Ever After (Disney animated feature, Mandy Moore [voice])