New releases 9/14/21

Top Hits
Zola (comedy/mystery, Taylour Paige. Rotten Tomatoes: 88%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 76. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “Directed by Janicza Bravo [‘Lemon’] from a script she wrote with the Tony-nominated playwright Jeremy O. Harris [‘Slave Play’], ‘Zola’ is adapted from a thread that galvanized Twitter back in 2015, when it was somewhat less dominated by expressions of political contempt and moral self-righteousness than it is now. There was more room for crazy stories, and on Oct. 27 of that year, A’Ziah King started posting the profane, hair-raising, occasionally hilarious tale of an ill-starred excursion to Florida that involved sex work, gun play and a highly problematic frenemy.” Read more…)

How It Ends (apocalyptic comedy, Zoe Lister Jones. Rotten Tomatoes: 65%. Metacritic: 57. From Teo Bugbee’s New York Times review: “The film’s writers and directors, Lister-Jones and Daryl Wein, ensure that each reconciliation has an arc that builds from confrontation to explanation to resolution, and they are also careful to ensure that each scene stands on its own. The film plays as a series of perfectly enjoyable sketches strung together, an excuse for veteran actors to chew on playful dialogue.” Read more…)

Slaxx (horror, Romane Denis. Rotten Tomatoes: 97%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 64.From Erik Piepenburg’s capsule New York Times review: “Kephart and her co-writer, Patricia Gomez, aren’t just out for sicko laughs. They also ask viewers to think — as deeply as possible in a 77-minute movie — about conspicuous consumption, the exploitation of child labor and the hypocrisy of corporate do-gooderism. Their mayhem has a message.” Read more…)

Together Together (comedy/drama, Patti Harrison. Rotten Tomatoes: 91%, Certified Fresh. Metacritic: 72. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ Times review: “Gently funny and disarmingly poignant, ‘Together Together’ is unusually attuned to the isolation of single fathers. At a baby shower, Matt looks on enviously as guests encircle Anna; in his surrogacy support group, he’s the only person without a partner. A scene where he struggles alone to tie a baby sling is one of the saddest sights I’ve seen all year.” Read more…)

New Foreign DVDs
Bluebeard (France, 1963, Claude Chabrol-directed mystery, Charles Denner. From Bosley Crowther’s 1963 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “But [director Claude] Chabrol and his script writer, the astonishing Françoise Sagan, have steered dear of melodramatics and accept the whole thing in a sly, sardonic mood. Again, as in the [Charlie] Chaplin film [‘Monsieur Verdoux,’ inspired by the same true crime], not a single act of violence is shown, outside of some intercut news shots of battle action in World War I. Suavely, with the air of a French hairdresser or a salesman of cheap antiques [which he actually is], the principal in this ghoulish business woos his victims to their doom.” Read more…)

Blue Panther (France, 1965, Claude Chabrol-directed mystery/suspense, Marie Laforêt)

Rififi in Paris aka The Upper Hand (France, 1966, mystery/suspense, George Raft)

New British DVDs
Unforgotten: Season 4 (UK crime drama, Nicola Walker)