New Releases 7/28/15

Top Hits
Clouds_of_Sils_MariaClouds of Sils Maria (drama, Juliette Binoche. Rotten Tomatoes: 89%. Metacritic: 78. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Manohla Dargis’ Times review: “For some young performers, blockbusters are where talent and ambition go to die. For others, like Kristen Stewart, the star of that international juggernaut called the ‘Twilight Saga,’ big movies can be a good place to hide out while they’re raking it in. In the superb French film ‘Clouds of Sils Maria,’ Ms. Stewart plays an ordinary American abroad, a new-age, pop-savvy Daisy Miller who, with expressive intelligence that few blockbusters allow, makes a passionate argument for the kinds of movies the actress herself is best known for. Ms. Stewart has rightly won a lot of attention for her performance [the French film industry rewarded her with its highest honor, a César], but it would be a mistake to think of this as some sort of career rescue mission.” Read more…)

Camp X-Ray (drama, Kristen Stewart. Rotten Tomatoes: 73%. Metacritic: 54. From Stephen Holden’s New York Times review: “Whether you’re a guard or an inmate at the Guantánamo Bay prison in Cuba, the place, as depicted in ‘Camp X-Ray,’ is a living hell, but not in the most obvious ways. It’s not a rank dungeon with clanging torture chambers. This relentlessly dour first feature, directed and written by Peter Sattler, was actually shot in an abandoned juvenile prison in Whittier, Calif., just outside Los Angeles. As you observe the 24-hour-a-day surveillance in which guards, two to a shift, go round and round, peeking into each room every three minutes to make sure a detainee hasn’t attempted suicide, you have the sickening sense of people locked in a miserable, dehumanizing ritual from which there is no exit.” Read more…)

Comet (romance, Justin Long. Rotten Tomatoes: 41%. Metacritic: 52. From David DeWitt’s New York Times review: “‘Comet’ aims to be a serious look at romance, and Justin Long and Emmy Rossum serve it well as the fraught-with-freakish-intelligence couple at its center. Both appear to be naturals at the film’s snark-free, zippy dialogue, which would outrun an Aaron Sorkin script in a verbal race.” Read more…)

Home_DVDHome (Dreamworks animated feature, Rihanna [voice]. Rotten Tomatoes: 45%. Metacritic: 55. From Neil Genzlinger’s New York Times review: “The short, squat creatures that turn up in animated movies may all be starting to run together in your mind, which makes finding a distinctive voice for such characters all the more important. The creators of ‘Home’ made an inspired choice in that regard for their little hero, recruiting Jim Parsons of ‘The Big Bang Theory’ for the job, and they made another by pairing him with the pop star Rihanna.” Read more…)

52 Tuesdays (Australia, gender roles/drama, Tilda Cobham-Hervey. Rotten Tomatoes: 79%. Metacritic: 71. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ Times review: “There’s very little about the Australian drama ’52 Tuesdays’ that could be considered conventional. Not the characters, all of whom are played by nonprofessional actors. Not the story, which concerns the effects of a mother’s gender transition on her teenage daughter. And not the filmmaking, whose rigid structure — once a week for a year, only on Tuesdays — was decided before any other element. The result of these and other constraints is a frustratingly fragmented yet warmly intimate portrait of an evolving bond that frays but doesn’t sever.” Read more…)

The Water Diviner (drama, Russell Crowe. Rotten Tomatoes: 63%. Metacritic: 50. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Ties review: “For ‘The Water Diviner,’ his muddled directorial debut about love in the time of war and dissemblance, Russell Crowe wanted to go full David Lean while nodding at Peter Weir’s ‘Gallipoli.’ Like many filmmakers, Mr. Crowe also wanted to tidy up history to suit his dramatic needs.” Read more…)

Justice League: Gods and Monsters (animated superhero action feature, Benjamin Bratt [voice])

New Blu-Ray
Home

New Foreign
JaujaJauja (Argentina, romance/drama, Viggo Mortensen. Rotten Tomatoes: 92%. Metacritic: 76. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “The films of the Argentine director Lisandro Alonso often feel longer than they are. That isn’t a bad thing, necessarily. Too many movies hurtle forward on fast editing and breathless plotting, and too much of life goes by in a blur. The characters in four of Mr. Alonso’s features — ‘La Libertad,’ ‘Los Muertos,’ ‘Liverpool’ and now ‘Jauja’ — undertake difficult journeys, at least partly on foot, across hostile terrain. Following them through long takes and static shots accompanied by abundant silence and sparse dialogue and music, the viewer feels the weight of time. This can be uncomfortable, but the risk of tedium can deliver a special kind of intensity, a slowing of the metabolism and an awakening of the senses.” Read more…)

3 Hearts (France, romance/drama, Charlotte Gainsbourg. Rotten Tomatoes: 73%. From Stephen Holden’s New York Times review: “The French filmmaker Benoît Jacquot’s ‘3 Hearts’ has the incalculable advantage of teaming three of Europe’s most revered actresses, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Chiara Mastroianni and Catherine Deneuve, in a proudly old-fashioned romantic melodrama. Those names alone make it sound delectable, and in its outlines, this quintessential Gallic bodice-ripper might be described as a hybrid of ‘An Affair to Remember’ and the German filmmaker Dominik Graf’s recent ‘Beloved Sisters.’ But its internal clock is askew and the premise of the movie, which is set in the present, feels musty.” Read more…)

White God (Hungary, dystopian drama, Zsofia Psotta. Rotten Tomatoes: 91%. Metacritic: 80. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Manohla Dargis’ Times review: “The hand that feeds — and also brutalizes — is righteously bitten in ‘White God,’ a Hungarian revenge fantasy that’s like nothing you’ve seen on screen before. The story is as simple as a parable, a campfire story, a children’s book: A faithful animal, separated from its loving owner, endures, suffers, struggles and resists while trying to transcend its brutal fate. The director, Kornel Mundruczo, has said that he was partly inspired by J. M. Coetzee’s devastating novel ‘Disgrace,’ but the movie also invokes haunting animal classics like ‘Black Beauty’ and The Call of the Wild.'” Read more…)

The Erotic Rites of Frankenstein (France, 1972, horror/sexploitation, Dennis Price)

New British
Father Brown: Season 2 (mystery series, Mark Williams)

New TV
Nashville: Season 1 (series, Hayden Panettiere. Rotten Tomatoes: 92%. Metacritic: 85.)
Nashville: Season 2 (series, Hayden Panettiere. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%.)

New Documentaries
Revenge_of_MekonsRevenge of the Mekons (music, punk rock, The Mekons. Rotten Tomatoes: 87%. Metacritic: 77. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Ben Kenigsberg’s Times review: “In the liner notes for a 1982 record from the Mekons, the critic Lester Bangs wrote that the band would ‘gourmandise’ rock. [He also suggested that he was paid $1,500 to write the essay.] ‘Revenge of the Mekons,’ an infectious new documentary from Joe Angio, is a celebration of that voracity. The film is both a generous primer on the band, which grew out of the punk movement in Leeds, England, in 1977, and a celebration of its longevity.” Read more…)

New Music DVDs
Revenge of the Mekons (music, punk rock, The Mekons. Rotten Tomatoes: 87%. Metacritic: 77. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Ben Kenigsberg’s Times review: “In the liner notes for a 1982 record from the Mekons, the critic Lester Bangs wrote that the band would ‘gourmandise’ rock. [He also suggested that he was paid $1,500 to write the essay.] ‘Revenge of the Mekons,’ an infectious new documentary from Joe Angio, is a celebration of that voracity. The film is both a generous primer on the band, which grew out of the punk movement in Leeds, England, in 1977, and a celebration of its longevity.” Read more…)

New Children’s DVDs
Home (Dreamworks animated feature, Rihanna [voice]. Rotten Tomatoes: 45%. Metacritic: 55. From Neil Genzlinger’s New York Times review: “The short, squat creatures that turn up in animated movies may all be starting to run together in your mind, which makes finding a distinctive voice for such characters all the more important. The creators of ‘Home’ made an inspired choice in that regard for their little hero, recruiting Jim Parsons of ‘The Big Bang Theory’ for the job, and they made another by pairing him with the pop star Rihanna.” Read more…)