New releases 6/5/18

Top Hits
Every Day (teen drama/romance, Angourie Rice. Rotten Tomatoes: 63%. Metacritic: 52. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “If the filmmaker Charlie Kaufman, best known for scripting metaphysical puzzle films like ‘Being John Malkovich’ and ‘Eternal Sunshine Of the Spotless Mind’ were to try his hand at a Young Adult story, ‘Every Day’ might be it. The movie’s second lead character, a consciousness or, if you will, soul that refers to itself as ‘A,’ inexplicably wakes up every morning inhabiting a different teenager’s body. ‘A’ has this amazing personality that it supposedly tries not to let impinge overmuch on its host’s own personality. But one morning, A wakes up in the body of the handsome but loutish Justin. He’s the boyfriend of Rhiannon, a bright, beautiful high schooler who deserves better. And thanks to A, she gets it, for one magical day of hooky.” Read more…)

Death Wish (action remake, Bruce Willis. Rotten Tomatoes: 17%. Metacritic: 31. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review [spoiler alert: she doesn’t like it]: “Finding an opportune moment to release a high-profile movie celebrating a vigilante shooter is becoming a real challenge in the United States. Yet timing isn’t the only reason the new ‘Death Wish,’ a so-called reimagining of Michael Winner’s 1974 thriller of the same name, is an imbecilic misfire.” Read more…)

A Wrinkle in Time (fantasy, Opah Winfrey. Rotten Tomatoes: 39%. Metacritic: 53. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “The movie adaptation, directed by Ava DuVernay from a screenplay by Jennifer Lee and Jeff Stockwell, has been a long time coming, and it arrives in theaters buoyed by and burdened with expectations. It is the first $100 million movie directed by an African-American woman, and the diversity of its cast is both a welcome innovation and the declaration of a new norm. This is how movies should look from now on, which is to say how they should have looked all along. Fans of the book and admirers of Ms. DuVernay’s work — I include myself in both groups — can breathe a sigh of relief, and some may also find that their breath has been taken away.” Read more…)

Gringo (comedy, David Oyelowo. Rotten Tomatoes: 39%. Metacritic: 46. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “Harold Soyinka, a midlevel executive at a Chicago pharmaceutical company, is originally from Nigeria. This puts someone in mind of those princely email swindles. It’s a pretty weak joke [made worse by the fact that Harold says an uncle of his made a fortune that way] and also an example of what passes for irony in ‘Gringo,’ a new movie directed by Nash Edgerton from a screenplay by Anthony Tambakis and Matthew Stone. Harold, you see, is a perfect sucker, an innocent whose trusting good nature makes him an easy target for grifters, scammers and liars.” Read more…)

Thoroughbreds (comedy, Ana Taylor-Joy. Rotten Tomatoes: 86%. Metacritic: 75. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “‘Thoroughbreds’ opens on an ominous, murkily lit scene — a girl, a horse and a worryingly sharp knife — that telegraphs just how ugly things are going to get in this movie. You learn in short order that the horse is a goner, and it isn’t long into this slick, shallow movie that you wish the girl, Amanda [Olivia Cooke], was, too. This is no fault of Ms. Cooke, an appealing performer [she was the girl in ‘Me and Earl and the Dying Girl’]. She and her equally likable co-star, Anya Taylor-Joy [‘The Witch’], have been burdened with giving their matching ciphers flesh and a reason for us to watch.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
Death Wish

New Foreign
Thelma (Norway, supernatural, Eili Harboe. Rotten Tomatoes: 93%. Metacritic: 74. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “‘Thelma’ draws on the familiar female naïf and works with some largely recognizable narrative ideas, but it’s finally too pleasurably unruly to fit into one box. It’s a coming-of-age story rooted in the tradition of the European art film, but it flirts heavily with the horror genre. It’s also a romance, a psychological thriller, a liberation story and a whodunit [and why]. Mostly, and most satisfyingly, it plays with the female Gothic, those unnerving tales — churning with desires and dread, and quivering with anxiety and suspicion — in which women are at once the victims and agents of change.” Read more…)

Graduation (Romania, drama, Adrian Titieni. Rotten Tomatoes: 95%. Metacritic: 84. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “‘Graduation,’ Cristian Mungiu’s nerve-racking and humane new film, provides plenty of visual and narrative evidence in support of [lead character] Romeo’s pessimism. Mr. Mungiu’s camera stalks Romeo through a drab landscape, where ugly old buildings are falling down, and ugly new ones are going up, where gray and brown are the dominant colors, and where nothing quite works. When [his daughter] Eliza is attacked — she injures her arm fighting off an attempted rape — her father’s worst intuitions are confirmed. But his plans are also threatened, since the trauma of the assault threatens to affect her performance on a crucial exam. She is also seeing a boy Romeo doesn’t much like. His parental anxiety slides toward panic.” Read more…)

Beyond the Hills (Romania, drama, Cosmina Stratan. Rotten Tomatoes: 91%. Metacritic: 79. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “Based on the real-life case of an exorcism gone wrong, ‘Beyond the Hills’ might have easily have succumbed to sensationalism or scolding, flattering the sophistication of an audience accustomed to regarding religion with contempt or condescension. But while Mr. Mungiu, inspired by the Romanian journalist Tatiana Niculescu Bran’s books about the incident (which took place in a Moldavian convent in 2005), hardly casts spiritual authority in a flattering light, he also refuses to derive easy or comforting lessons.” Read more…)

New Documentaries
Our Blood Is Wine (Georgian history, winemaking. Rotten Tomatoes: 80%. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “If, like me, you’ve been imbibing rather more than usual this last year, then you won’t need much persuading to watch ‘Our Blood Is Wine,’ a slightly tipsy, thoroughly charming documentary about winemaking in post-Soviet Georgia. By the end, so many glasses have been raised in lip-smacking appreciation that the movie’s most impressive accomplishment is not its deep dive into grape-centered lore, but the ability of its director, Emily Railsback, to hold her iPhone camera steady.” Read more…)

West of the Jordan River (Palestinian/Israeli relations. Rotten Tomatoes: 71%. Metacritic: 56. From Ben Kenigsberg’s New York Times review: “The Israeli director Amos Gitai models ‘West of the Jordan River’ on his earlier ‘Field Diary,’ a 1982 documentary that he filmed in the occupied territories. At the opening of the new film, Mr. Gitai somewhat pretentiously likens his role to that of an ‘archaeologist’ of negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians. This episodic documentary jumps back and forth in time, mainly between 1994, when Mr. Gitai filmed an interview with Yitzhak Rabin, then the Israeli prime minister, who was assassinated a year later, and 2016, when Mr. Gitai surveys the aftermath of the stalled peace process that Rabin fought for.” Read more…)

New Music DVDs
INXS: The Video Hits Collection