New releases 9/10/19

Top Hits
John Wick: Chapter 3—Parabellum (action, Keanu Reeves. Rotten Tomatoes: 90%. Metacritic: 73. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “In “John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum,” guns have more dialogue than its hero and more capacity than seems technically possible, the spraying of bullets interrupted mainly to showcase another lethal weapon. Even more than its predecessors, this third installment in the reluctant-assassin franchise is, like most modern action movies, perfectly attuned to the needs of the foreign markets where most of its money will be made. Bangs and grunts and body slams do not require subtitles.” Read more…)

Aladdin (Disney live action re-make, Mena Massoud. Rotten Tomatoes: 57%. Metacritic: 53. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “‘Aladdin,’ the 1992 cartoon feature with Robin Williams as a garrulous blue genie, may not be the best movie from Disney’s second golden age of animation, but like the others it has durable charms and memorable songs. ‘Aladdin,’ the new live-action re-whatever with a blue Will Smith popping out of the lamp, may not be the worst product of the current era of legacy intellectual property exploitation [it’s likely that the worst is yet to come], but like most of the others it invites a simple question: Why? The answer — spoiler alert: ‘money’ — may not surprise you.” Read more…)

The Dead Don’t Die (Jim Jarmusch-directed comedy/horror, Bill Murray. Rotten Tomatoes: 54%. Metacritic: 54. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “‘The Dead Don’t Die,’ Jim Jarmusch’s shaggy-dog zombie movie, isn’t all that scary, but one thing about it did haunt me. A character played by Selena Gomez is referred to as ‘a hipster from the big city.’ If I were on Twitter right now, I’d note that fact and say something like ‘Wow. 2019,’ except that I’m not sure I entirely understand the layers of irony and pop-cultural meta-textualism at work here. Or, for that matter, what the weary epithet ‘hipster’ even signifies at this point, especially when deployed by Bill Murray, Adam Driver and Chloë Sevigny.” Read more…)

Indivisible (war drama/faith, Sarah Drew. Rotten Tomatoes: 72%. Metacritic: 53. From Katie Walsh’s Los Angeles Times review: “The Iraq war film ‘Indivisible,’ based on the true story of Army Chaplain Darren Turner, is grounded and real, made with enough finesse and craft to cross over with audiences beyond faith-based distributor PureFlix’s usual purview. Directed by David G. Evans, ‘Indivisible’ is the kind of Christian story that hails community connection as salvation alongside its spiritual beliefs.” Read more…)

Billy Elliot: The Musical Live (musical, Elliott Hanna. Rotten Tomatoes: 90%. Metacritic: 73.)

New Blu-Ray
John Wick 3
Aladdin

New Foreign DVDs
Love Exposure (Japan, 2007, action/comedy/sex farce, Takahiro Nisijima. Rotten Tomatoes: 90%. Metacritic: 78. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ Times review: “Perverts prowl and women’s panties tremble in ‘Love Exposure,’ a tangled, tumultuous love story from the teeming mind of Sion Sono. Clocking in at a hair under four hours, the teenage romance of Yu [Takahiro Nishijima] and Yoko [Hikari Mitsushima] is an unexpectedly involving and relentlessly entertaining collision of contradictions. He is a tormented Christian with a talent for snapping candid shots of the skivvies of unsuspecting ladies. She is a man-hating hottie who is drawn to her true love only when he’s in drag.” Read more…)

The Cloud-Capped Star (India, 1960, Criterion Collection, drama, Supriya Choudhury)

New Classic DVDs (pre-1960)
Cluny Brown (1946, Ernst Lubitsch-directed comedy, Criterion Collection, Jennifer Jones. Rotten Tomatoes: 91%. From A.W.’s 1946 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Let is be noted at the outset that Ernst Lubitsch has come up with a delectable and sprightly lampoon in ‘Cluny Brown,’ which on Saturday, began a pleasant visit at the Rivoli. And, let is be known also, that from this vantage point, the offering is among the year’s most delightful film comedies. For, from this adaptation of Margery Sharp’s best-selling novel, Mr. Lubitsch has produced and directed his most gayly irreverent escapade since ‘Ninotchka’ of fond memory.” Read more…)

New TV
The Alienist: Season 1 (mystery series based on Caleb Carr novel, Daniel Brühl. Rotten Tomatoes: 64%. Metacritic: 61. From James Poniewozik’s New York Times television review: “Had ‘The Alienist’ arrived in the 1990s, when the darkest shade of TV policing was ‘NYPD Blue,’ it would have been something truly different. In 2018, it follows many dramas that have interrogated our romantic ideas of the past [‘Deadwood,’ ‘The Knick’], delved into historical crime [‘Boardwalk Empire,’ ‘Peaky Blinders’] and followed eccentric investigators’ descents into the dank basements of the criminal mind [‘True Detective,’ ‘Mindhunter’]. This is hardly the mini-series’s fault. But it is its problem.” Read more…)

New Documentaries
Leaving Home, Coming Home: A Portrait of Robert Frank (photography, art, bio, Robert Frank. Rotten Tomatoes: 89%. Metacritic: 75. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Glenn Kenny’s Times review: “This material covers a good deal of the same ground as the 2016 documentary on Frank, ‘Don’t Blink.’ Both films give a strong ‘lion in winter’ sense and are moving in their treatments of the tragedies of Frank’s life. If you’ve seen ‘Don’t Blink,’ you may ask whether you ‘need’ to see this. I’d say yes. ‘More light,’ as Goethe put it.” Read more…)

Oliver Stone’s The Putin Interviews (foreign relations, politics, bio, Vladimir Putin. Rotten Tomatoes: 75%. Metacritic: 54. From James Poniewozik’s New York Times review: “The special, airing over four nights in hourlong segments, starting Monday, is timely because of the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. But [director and interviewer Oliver] Stone has a longer game in mind. He may not see a hero in Mr. Putin, but he uses his perspective to challenge neoconservative American triumphalism about the Cold War and its aftermath. [As Donald J. Trump says in a line heard early on, ‘You think our country’s so innocent?’] Mr. Putin, meanwhile, plays the tough-but-fair leader, beset by the calumny of hypocritical Westerners. The cult of Putin is very much about physicality, and there’s plenty on display.” Read more…)

Walking on Water (art, process, Christo. Rotten Tomatoes: 90%. Metacritic: 63. From Ken Jaworowski’s New York Times review: “Short on details but long on delight, ‘Walking on Water’ follows the artist Christo as he creates one of his large-scale art installations. This cinéma-vérité documentary centers on ‘The Floating Piers.’ That project, an orange-hued, three-kilometer floating walkway on Lake Iseo in Northern Italy, had been planned for decades and was eventually built in 2016. Like the artist’s ‘Wrapped Reichstag’ in Berlin in 1995 or ‘The Gates’ in New York City’s Central Park in 2005, the work was dissembled shortly following its completion, this time after 16 days.” Read more…)

Echo in the Canyon (folk rock, rock music history, cultural history, Los Angeles. Rotten Tomatoes: 94%. Metacritic: 70. From Helen T. Verongos’ New York Times review: “The delight of ‘Echo in the Canyon’ is in the delicious details its subjects impart. Michelle Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas remembers Brian Wilson’s living room, a piano planted on the sand-covered floor as he wrote the Beach Boys’ influential ‘Pet Sounds’ album; Tom Petty notes that ‘Pet Sounds’ was considered to be responsible for ‘Sgt. Pepper’; a white-maned David Crosby reveals why he was ejected from the Byrds; and the narrator, the singer-songwriter Jakob Dylan, coaxes Stephen Stills to tell an embarrassing story about sneaking out the back when the police broke up one of the Laurel Canyon house party/jam sessions where the performers tried out their music, inspired each other’s work and got high.” Read more…)

Divest! The Climate Movement on Tour (politics, environment, organizing, Bill McKibben)
Appalachian Trail (National Geographic travelogue)

New Music DVDs
Echo in the Canyon (folk rock, rock music history, cultural history, Los Angeles. Rotten Tomatoes: 94%. Metacritic: 70.)