New releases 4/3/18

Top Hits
Sweet Virginia (thriller, Jon Bernthal. Rotten Tomatoes: 78%. Metacritic: 72. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ Times review: “Set in a remote Alaskan valley [softly photographed in British Columbia by the cinematographer Jessica Lee Gagné], ‘Sweet Virginia’ is a quiet knife-twister in which atmosphere and performance are everything. The story [by the twin brothers Benjamin and Paul China] is flimsy and the characters have just enough heft to keep the gears of the plot clicking. Accumulating suspense from the inevitability of a final showdown, the director, Jamie M. Dagg, uses long takes and uncluttered setups that leave his actors room to flex.” Read more…)

Father Figures (comedy, Ed Helms. Rotten Tomatoes: 20%. Metacritic: 22. From Ben Kenigsberg’s New York Times review: “Distinguished mainly by its overqualified cast and lack of inspiration, ‘Father Figures’ can’t decide whether it’s a gross-out comedy or an uplifting tale of brotherly love; it embraces the worst of both worlds.” Read more…)

Like Me (indie drama/comedy, Addison Timlin. Rotten Tomatoes: 71%. Metacritic: 60. From Teo Bugbee’s New York Times review: “‘Like Me’ begins with a teenage girl, Kiya [Addison Timlin], pointing a camera and a gun at a fast-food clerk. As the view alternates between what Kiya’s camera captures and what is beyond her field of vision, it’s unclear which is the real weapon — camera or gun. Kiya takes no money. Her only profit comes from capturing a terrified stranger weeping and urinating on camera. Armed with a webcam and disaffection, Kiya embarks on a videotaped crime spree. The movie’s director, Robert Mockler, mirrors his protagonist’s interests, incorporating Kiya’s footage into the film as she satisfies her voracious appetite for diner food and live-streamed provocation.” Read more…)

Oddball (family/animal drama, Shane Jacobson. Rotten Tomatoes: 86%.)

New Foreign
French Village: Season 7 (France, period drama, Audrey Fleurot)
Sinfonia Erotica (Spain, 1980 cult erotic film, Lina Romay)

New Classic DVDs (pre-1960)
Lili (1953, musical, Leslie Caron. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. From Bosley Crowther’s 1953 New York Times review [reqwuires log-in]: “At last, the simplicity and freshness which the little French actress, Leslie Caron, showed in her screen debut in ‘An American in Paris’ has been captured again in a film. This time it is in Metro’s ‘Lili’ that the elfin and winsome dancing star with the odd little face and the mobile figure once more demonstrates her youthful charm.” Read more…)

New American Back Catalog DVDs (post-1960)
Wizards (1977, Ralph Bakshi animated fantasy feature. Rotten Tomatoes: 61%. From A.H. weiler’s 1977 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “If Ralph Bakshi’s ‘Fritz the Cat’ and ‘Heavy Traffic’ were as explicit as, say, sex and their X ratings, his ‘Wizards,’ which arrived in local theaters yesterday avoids that stigma. It offers ample proof once again that Mr. Bakshi has no connection with the sunlit Disney school of animated fantasy.” Read more…)

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992, Twin Peaks prequel, Sheryl Lee. Rotten Tomatoes: 62%. From Vincent Canby’s 1992 New York Times review [requires log-in]. Spoiler alert: He didn’t like it! “Everything about David Lynch’s ‘Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me’ is a deception. It’s not the worst movie ever made; it just seems to be. Its 134 minutes induce a state of simulated brain death, an effect as easily attained in half the time by staring at the blinking lights on a Christmas tree.” Read more…)

New British
A Place To Call Home: Season 5 (Australia, period romantic drama, Marta Dusseldorp)

New Television
13 Reasons Why: Season 1 (drama, Katherine Langford. Rotten Tomatoes: 79%. Metacritic: 76.)

New Documentaries
The Departure (Japan, Buddhism, culture, religion. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 85. From Ken Jaworowski’s New York Times review: “Sad, tender and quietly moving, ‘The Departure’ never says more than it needs to, much like its subject, a Buddhist priest who counsels those contemplating suicide. The documentary, directed by Lana Wilson, follows Ittetsu Nemoto, who after a troubled adolescence became a monk, then a priest, in Japan. He settled with his wife, child and mother at a temple in Gifu prefecture where he spends nearly all his time trying to dissuade those in danger of taking their own lives.” Read more…)

After Tiller (abortion politics, political violence, reproductive rights. Rotten Tomatoes: 95%. Metacritic: 75. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “‘After Tiller,’ a new documentary by Martha Shane and Lana Wilson, is a partisan document in the culture wars. It could hardly be otherwise, since the film’s subject, abortion, is one where common ground is elusive, if not philosophically untenable. The four doctors interviewed and observed on screen, who the film says are the only ones in the United States openly performing third-trimester abortions, are heroic figures in the filmmakers’ eyes, but are condemned as murderers by those on the other side. It would be nice to believe that a movie like this could provoke civil and respectful dialogue about an intensely polarizing issue, but let’s not kid ourselves.” Read more…)

Night Bird Song: The Incandescent Life of Thomas Chapin (music, jazz, bio, Thomas Chapin)

New Music DVDs
Night Bird Song: The Incandescent Life of Thomas Chapin (music, jazz, bio, Thomas Chapin)