New releases 6/28/22

Top Hits
Fantastic Beasts: Secrets of Dumbledore (fantasy, Eddie Redmayne. Rotten Tomatoes: 46%. Metacritic: 47. . From Amy Nicholson’s New York Times review: “Still, this is the most absorbing and well-paced film in the trilogy to date, despite its nearly two-and-a-half-hour running time — de rigueur for modern spectacles that want to convince audiences they’re getting enough bang for their buck. ‘Secrets of Dumbledore’ gestures toward themes of frailty, thwarted intentions and forgiveness.” Read more…)

Mothering Sunday (drama, Josh O’Connor. Rotten Tomatoes: 78%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 66. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “There’s nothing wrong with that, and there’s nothing egregiously amiss with ‘Mothering Sunday,’ Eva Husson’s adaptation [from a script by Alice Birch] of Graham Swift’s 2016 novel. Pirouetting backward and forward from its highly eventful titular day, the movie samples a buffet of tried-and-true narrative offerings. It’s a love story about the mildly transgressive romance between a servant and a son of the gentry; a chronicle of literary awakening; a reckoning with the awful legacy of World War I and a foreshadowing of the social transformation that was to follow.” Read more…)

Two for Joy (drama, Samantha Morton. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. From Peter Bradshaw’s Guardian review: “Tom Beard is a British photographer and filmmaker, here presenting his debut feature: a confident, good-looking, heartfelt film in the pastoral social-realist style, with strong performances from an excellent cast, including Samantha Morton and Daniel Mays. There are some lovely images and ambient moods conjured by cinematographer Tim Sidell, and, with editor Izabella Curry, Beard creates a plausible rhythm to his story, moving from a tough urban estate to an almost idyllic looking seafront and back.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray & 4K Ultra HD Discs
Shaft 4K (1971, action/soul cinema, Criterion Collection, Richard Roundtree. Rotten Tomatoes: 86%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 66. From Vincent Canby’s 1971 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “‘Shaft’ is not a great film, but it’s very entertaining. It’s the flamboyant, tough‐talking tale of a black private‐eye named John Shaft [Richard Roundtree], who lives in a book‐lined, stereo‐equipped Village duplex, keeps his extra gun [the one with the pearl handle] in the fridge, has a succession of black women and white women in bed, and, between‐times, settles a potentially nasty gang‐and‐race war between Harlem’s black syndicate king and some white [Mafia] hoods, with the help of a small group of black revolutionaries. ‘Shaft’ does nothing if not cover all contemporary bases, while making occasional references to heroes and genres past. “ Read more…)

Fantastic Beasts: Secrets of Dumbledore

New Foreign DVDs
A Taste of Hunger (Denmark, drama, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. Rotten Tomatoes: 71%. Metacritic: 60. From Teo Bugbee’s New York Times review: “The kitchen at the heart of the Danish drama ‘A Taste of Hunger’ has none of the warmth of home cooking or jovial dinner parties. Cold blue lights bear down on the restaurant workers as they tend to dressed oysters and fermented lemons. The restaurant, called Malus, in reference to the genus for apples, the original forbidden fruit, seems designed with a minimalism that borders on the brutal.” Read more…)

Rouge (China, 1987, drama/romance, Criterion Collection, Anita Mui. From the Time Out review: “A sharp, mildly satirical portrait of Hong Kong life in the ’80s is shot through with flashbacks to the ’30s, suffused with a heady, opium-hazed decadence worthy of Huysmans, yielding an elegant and deeply felt movie about the transience of things – especially love. Stunning visuals and sophisticated performances add up to a terrific, stylish movie.” Read here…)

New British DVDs
Midsomer Murders Series 21 (UK police procedural, John Nettles)

New TV
The Good Lord Bird (Showtime historically-based mini-series on John Brown, Ethan Hawke. Rotten Tomatoes: 98%. Metacritic: 84, Must See. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Mike Hale’s New York Times television review: “‘The Good Lord Bird” — a seven-episode adaptation of James McBride’s 2013 novel — is fine entertainment, capturing some measure of McBride’s jaunty, irreverent humor and featuring an absorbing performance by Ethan Hawke, who created the series (with the writer Mark Richard) and plays the central role of the messianic abolitionist John Brown.” Read more…)

New American Back Catalog DVDs (post-1960)
Rituals (The Creeper) (1977, horror, Hal Holbrook. From Meagan Navarro’s appreciation at Bloody Disgusting: “‘Rituals’ bears apparent parallels to John Boorman’s ‘Deliverance’ in setting, style, and tone right down to the early camaraderie between the leads as they unwitting set off for a nightmarish journey. Questions of ethics in extreme situations fuel both. Written by Ian Sutherland and directed by Peter Carter, ‘Rituals’ does draw clear inspiration from Deliverance but slowly transforms into a far more satisfying survival thriller more akin to a slasher.” Read more…)