New Releases 2/4/14

Top Hits
Dallas Buyers Club (drama, Matthew McConaughey. Rotten Tomatoes: 93%. Metacritic: 84. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “Skinny as a whippet and fierce as a snapping turtle, Matthew McConaughey brings a jolt of unpredictable energy to Dallas Buyers Club, an affecting if conventional real-life story of medical activism. The film, directed by Jean-Marc Vallée from a script by Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack, tells the story of Ron Woodroof, a Texas electrician and rodeo rider who, after receiving a diagnosis of H.I.V. in 1985, took his treatment into his own hands and helped others with the disease obtain medication not legally available in the United States at the time.” Read more…)

)

In A World… (comedy, Lake Bell. Rotten Tomatoes: 92%. Metacritic: 79. A New York Times critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “But that moment of escaping from the crowd and finding a surprise — the way Carol’s curiosity is indulged and, briefly, rewarded — is typical of Lake Bell’s smart, generous and altogether winning debut feature,  In a World…. Ms. Bell, who plays Carol with a perfect blend of diffidence, goofiness and charm, has written and directed an insightful comedy that is much more complex and ambitious than it sometimes seems.” Read more…)

About Time (rom-com, Domhnall Gleeson. Rotten Tomatoes: 69%. Metacritic: 55. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “It is about time we addressed the crisis of British manhood. The once proud nation that in the last century gave us such vital and varied paragons of masculinity as Winston Churchill, Laurence Olivier, Mick Jagger and Morrissey is now represented in the popular imagination mainly by rabbity, passive-aggressive stammerers. With all due respect — or maybe just, sort of, well, just the tiniest smidgen of due respect, if you see what I mean — to Hugh Grant, it all seems to be his fault. When he sweet-talked Julia Roberts in Notting Hill, the whole world swooned, and the sun slid further below the horizon of John Bull’s manly old empire. Fourteen years later, the extent of the decline can be measured in About Time, a flimsy bit of mildly romantic, putatively comic Anglophile bait from the writer of Notting Hill, Richard Curtis.” Read more…)

Baggage Claim (comedy, Paula Patton. Rotten Tomatoes: 14%. Metacritic: 34. From Nicolas Rapold’s New York Times review: “There’s a moment in David E. Talbert’s essentially traditional Baggage Claim when Montana Moore [Paula Patton], deep into her search for a husband, fantasizes about her friend [Derek Luke] whom every audience member knows she’ll end up with. In a way, the whole film is a bit of fantasy, or an attempted one: In Mr. Talbert’s unremarkable comedy, Montana systematically looks up ex-boyfriends in the hopes of finding out she was wrong about one of them.” Read more…)

Escape Plan (action, Sly Stallone. Rotten Tomatoes: 49%. Metacritic: 49. From Neil Genzlinger’s New York Times review: “Escape Plan, an enjoyable enough version of the action movies [stars Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Scwarzenegger] have been feeding off lately, puts the two of them in a supermaximum-security prison where assorted terrorists and other extremely undesirables are housed. It’s an off-the-grid detention center, privately run, and the administrators think nothing of inflicting abuses of all sorts. This film is not likely to be shown on movie night at Guantánamo.” Read more…)

Free Birds (animated feature, Owen Wilson [voice]. Rotten Tomatoes: 18%. Metacritic: 38. From Miriam Bale’s New York Times review: “Some animated films, like My Neighbor Totoro, seem nonsensical because they replicate the strange logic of a child’s imagination. Others make little sense because the concept is inane, and the execution is manic and unoriginal. Free Birds, the new cartoon about time-traveling turkeys, is the second kind.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
Dallas Buyers Club
About Time
Escape Plan

New British
The Lady Vanishes (thriller/new adaptation, Tuppence Middleton. From Mike Hale’s New York Times television review: “This new Lady Vanishes, directed by Diarmuid Lawrence [South Riding] from a screenplay by Fiona Seres, is a perfectly adequate television mystery of the week. But it forgoes the crackling pace, light touch and surprisingly sophisticated sexual banter of the original, opting for melancholy, ominousness and sentimentality. It’s about five minutes shorter than the [original 1938 version by director Alfred] Hitchcock, but its deliberate pace makes it seem longer.” Read more…)

Midsomer Murders: Set 23

New Documentaries
Cutie and the Boxer (biography, art, sports, gender relations. Rotten Tomatoes: 95%. Metacritic: 82. From A.O. Scott’s NewYork Times review: “Cutie and the Boxer is a movie that makes you feel less like a spectator than a guest, a friend welcomed into the home of an odd and fascinating couple. Ushio and Noriko Shinohara, both from Japan, met in New York in 1973 — he was a 41-year-old painter and sculptor and she was a 19-year-old student — and have lived here together pretty much ever since. Their marriage is the subject of Zachary Heinzerling’s cleareyed and touching documentary, which uses their work as background for exploring a complex, sometimes volatile relationship.” Read more…)