New releases 2/21/17

Top Hits
Manchester By the Sea (Kenneth Lonergan-directed drama, Casey Affleck. Rotten Tomatoes: 96%. Metacritic: 96. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “‘Manchester by the Sea’ is a finely shaded portrait, a study in individual misery set in a place that is observed with care and affection. Mr. Affleck and Mr. Hedges are exceptional, but the rest of the large cast is nearly as fine. [I’d single out Ms. Williams, Ms. Mol and C. J. Wilson, who plays Joe’s best pal and business partner.] The coastal Massachusetts town that gives the movie its name is picturesque in a modest, thrifty New England way. Not breathtaking, but calm and orderly, its hills flecked with tall deciduous trees and clapboard houses, its harbor ringed with low-slung, rocky islands.” Read more…)

Hacksaw Ridge (war drama, Andrew Garfield. Rotten Tomatoes: 86%. Metacritic: 71. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “Mel Gibson can be accused of many things, but subtlety is not one of them. Even at his worst — I mean as a filmmaker, not a political thinker — he consistently proves to be an able craftsman and a shrewd showman. ‘Hacksaw Ridge,’ the first feature he has directed since ‘Apocalypto,’ a decade ago, is a bluntly effective faith-and-flag war drama, the true story of a remarkable hero with a knot of moral tension at its center.” Read more…)

Nocturnal Animals (romantic thriller, Amy Adams. Rotten Tomatoes: 73%. Metacritic: 67. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “In its broadest outlines, ‘Nocturnal Animals’ is about art — its creation, reception and power. Art and power are something that Susan [Amy Adfams], who runs a Los Angeles art gallery, understands. They’ve given her cultural capital and money [there’s a Jeff Koons statue next to her pool], yet she isn’t an artist. That distinction belongs to her ex-husband, Edward, a writer who soon after the movie opens sends Susan his latest, ‘Nocturnal Animals,’ a novel that he’s dedicated to her. She’s intrigued — the dedication is a seduction — and, after some domestic melodrama with her husband, Hutton [Armie Hammer], she settles in to read Edward’s novel.” Read more…)

Sophie and the Rising Sun (World War II-era romance drama, Julianne Nicholson. Rotten Tomatoes: 56%. Metacritic: 55. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “The veneer of decorum that cloaks the fictional fishing village of Salty Creek, S.C., does little to smother the stink of prejudice in ‘Sophie and the Rising Sun,’ a genteel love story set in the autumn of 1941 during the run-up to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
Manchester By the Sea
Hacksaw Ridge
Nocturnal Animals

New Foreign
A French Village: Season 1 (France, World War II-era drama series, Robin Renucci)

New American Back Catalog (post-1960)
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (1982, Broadway stage production, Angela Lansbury)

New Documentaries
Seasons (nature doc from filmmakers of Winged Migration, forests. Rotten Tomatoes: 96%. Metacritic: 67. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “Beginning in edenic tranquillity and ending in death and destruction, ‘Seasons,’ the mesmeric nature documentary from Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud, doesn’t make you feel particularly proud to be human. Neither did their previous collaborations, ‘Winged Migration’ in 2003 and ‘Oceans’ seven years later, which were beautifully photographed entreaties to stop ravaging our wildlife. Having checked off fish and fowl, the filmmakers now turn to land animals, traversing millenniums to explore the fate of the vast forests that blanketed Europe after the last ice age.” Read more…)

Speed Sisters (Palestinian women race car drivers. Rotten Tomatoes: 91%. Metacritic: 65. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “Unconventional in form as well as content, ‘Speed Sisters’ is a sports-underdog documentary that pays only lip service to the genre’s typical strive-setback-win narrative arc. Loose and unforced, this debut feature from Amber Fares explores the rewards and challenges of belonging to the first female streetcar racing team in the Middle East.” Read more…)

Marinoni (bicycle manufacturing, riding. Rotten Tomatoes: 67%. Metacritic: 40. From Daniel M. Gold’s New York Times review: “‘Marinoni: The Fire in the Frame,’ a documentary by Tony Girardin, opens with Giuseppe Marinoni bent over a bicycle he’s building, welding torch in hand, in his workshop near Montreal. He doesn’t enjoy having the camera around, and hates talking about himself: ‘The welds can feel the stress,’ he complains. Once a champion cyclist who went to Canada to race and never left, Mr. Marinoni, 75, is now a master craftsman whose bicycles are prized by devotees.” Read more…)

Casablancas: The Man Who Loved Women (bio, supermodels, John Casablancas)