New releases 6/4/19

Top Hits
Gloria Bell (romance/drama, Julianne Moore. Rotten Tomatoes: 91%. Metacritic: 80. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Manohla Dargis’ Times review: “‘Gloria Bell’ is filled with quicksilver tone shifts. It’s often quietly funny and then a little [or very] sad and then funny again. The humor is sometimes as obvious as the hairless cat that looks like a wizened extraterrestrial and the Velcro crackle of a girdle being hastily removed in a dark bedroom. [Chilean writer-director Sebastián] Lelio is acutely sensitive to the absurdities of everyday life, including the comedy of humiliation, both petty and wounding. But while his characters can be cruel, he never succumbs to meanness. His generosity is animated by Moore’s limpid, precise performance.” Read more…)

Mapplethorpe (bio-pic, Matt Smith. Rotten Tomatoes: 31%. Metacritic: 42. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “‘Mapplethorpe,’ directed by Ondi Timoner, is a fictionalized biography of the photographer that is most alive when it’s putting its subject’s pictures on the screen, which it does often. And should have done more, because the movie is otherwise as timid as its subject was bold. “ Read more…)

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (comedy/drama directed by Terry Gilliam, Adam Driver. Rotten Tomatoes: 63%. Metacritic: 58. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “Surely a movie so long in gestation, inspired by a doorstop-thick novel that has beguiled and baffled readers for several centuries, would turn out to be either a world-class catastrophe or a world-historical masterpiece. With a mixture of relief and regret, I must report that the movie is neither. ‘The Man Who Killed Don Quixote’ has moments of slackness and chaos [the book does, too], but for the most part it’s a lively, charming excursion into a landscape claimed by [director Terry] Gilliam in the name of Miguel de Cervantes, the Spanish gentleman who gave Don Quixote life back in the early 1600s. The filmmaker’s devotion to the novelist adds luster and vigor to the images, but this is more than just an act of literary-minded reverence. It’s a meeting of minds — a celebration of artistic kinship across the gulfs of history, culture and technology.” Read more…)

New Foreign
Mellow Mud (Latvia, coming-of-age drama, Elina Vaska. From Alissa Simon’s 2016 Variety review: “Harsh circumstances force a resourceful and determined Latvian lass to mature beyond her years in ‘Mellow Mud,’ a compelling, bittersweet coming-of-ager from first-time feature helmer-writer Renars Vimba. This evocatively shot realist tale benefits from a spare yet credible script and a knockout performance from big-screen debutant Elina Vaska, who conveys her character’s feelings of anger, abandonment, responsibility and first love with conviction and authenticity. Although named best film by the youth jury in the Berlin Film Festival’s Generation 14plus section, this is a title that will be appreciated by arthouse fans of all ages; extensive fest travel is guaranteed.” Read more…)

Woman At War (Iceland, drama, Haldora Geirhardsdottir. Rotten Tomatoes: 97%. Metacritic: 81. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ Times review: “Approaching weighty themes with a very light touch, Benedikt Erlingsson’s ‘Woman at War’ is an environmental drama wrapped in whimsical comedy and tied with a bow of midlife soul-searching. The package is lumpy at times, but not unwieldy, thanks to an engaging central performance and a cinematographer, Bergsteinn Bjorgulfsson, whose sweeping shots of frozen heath and lowering Icelandic skies wash the screen — and our minds — of extraneous distractions.” Read more…)

New Classic DVDs (pre-1960)
Her Twelve Men (1954, drama, Greer Garson. From Bosley Crowther’s 1954 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “The particular brand of golden sunshine that Greer Garson is called upon to shed in ‘Her Twelve Men,’ a little M-G-M confection that was delivered yesterday to the Sixtieth Street Trans-Lux, is so obviously manufactured and falls on such artificial ground that it scorches rather than nurtures any blossoms in this choking hothouse dust. This time, the glowing Miss Garson performs in the thoroughly barren role of an inexperienced but magically intuitive teacher and house mother to a gang of 10-year-olds, in a conspicuously starchy and repulsive boarding school for rich people’s boys. And the extent of her evident contribution to the health and education of her kids is the doing of a few little favors and the casting about of her smile.” Read more…)

New American Back Catalog DVDs (post-1960)
Bachelorette (2013, comedy, Kirsten Dunst. Rotten Tomatoes: 56%. Metacritic: 53. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Stephen Holden’s Times review [requires log-in]: “This film version of Leslye Headland’s successful Off Broadway play — part of a projected cycle covering the Seven Deadly Sins, it dealt with gluttony — ‘Bachelorette’ comes at you with the crackling intensity of machine-gun fire. Maybe the safest way to watch it is by peeking out from a behind a sandbag.” Read more…)

The Fourth Protocol (1987, action, Michael Caine. Rotten Tomatoes: 72%. From Janet Maslin’s 1987 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “It might reasonably be expected that the sight of two Soviet spies assembling a nuclear device, which they plan to detonate near an American Air Force base in Britain to fake an accident that could destroy NATO, would be more than a little chilling. But in ‘The Fourth Protocol,’ which opens today at the Ziegfeld and other theaters, even the threat of Armageddon has a business-as-usual air. Espionage stories as crisp as this one have a way of finding exceptional fascination in the ordinary, but in the process they may reduce the unimaginable to its nuts and bolts.” Read more…)

Blue Velvet (1986, David Lynch-directed weird drama, Kyle MacLachlan. Rotten Tomatoes: 94%. Metacritic: 76. From Janet Maslin’s 1986 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Other directors labor long and hard to achieve the fevered perversity that comes so naturally to David Lynch, whose ‘Blue Velvet’ is an instant cult classic. With ‘Eraserhead,’ ‘The Elephant Man’ and ‘Dune’ to his credit, Mr. Lynch had already established his beachhead inside the realm of the bizarre, but this latest venture takes him a lot further. Kinkiness is its salient quality, but ”Blue Velvet” has deadpan humor too, as well as a straight-arrow side that makes its eccentricity all the crazier. There’s no mistaking the exhilarating fact that it’s one of a kind.” Read more…)

New TV
Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan: Season 1 (action, John Krasinski. Rotten Tomatoes: 74%. Metacritic: 66.)
Batman: The Complete Series (comic book 1960s series, Adam West. Rotten Tomatoes: 93%.)