New Releases 6/30/15

Top Hits
While We’re Young (comedy/drama, Ben Stiller. Rotten Tomatoes: 84%. Metacritic: 76. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “If you’ve seen Noah Baumbach’s ‘Greenberg’ you may remember a scene in which the title character, played by Ben Stiller, unleashes a tirade against a roomful of 20-year-olds whom he believes have been ruined by sensitive parenting, among other things. [If you haven’t seen ‘Greenberg,’ we need to talk]. ‘While We’re Young,’ Mr. Baumbach’s buoyant, vinegar-laced new film, is not a sequel — Mr. Stiller plays Josh, a reasonably pleasant and well-adjusted guy for a Ben Stiller character in a Noah Baumbach picture — but it does pick up where the earlier movie left off in its exploration of the fraught relations between ascendant millennials and the rapidly aging members of Generation X.” Read more…)

Danny Collins (drama, Al Pacino. Rotten Tomatoes: 77%. Metacritic: 58. From Stephen Holden’s New York Times review: “In ‘Danny Collins,’ Al Pacino injects a zany charge of adrenaline into the title role of a rich, dissolute pop star belatedly seeking redemption for four decades of excess and wasted talent. This bogus character, introduced in a prologue set in 1971 as an intense, hungry young folk singer with a resemblance to the young Bob Dylan, is the latest in a lengthening Hollywood roster of rambunctious old goats.” Read more…)

The Gunman (thriller, Sean Penn. Rotten Tomatoes: 17%. Metacritic: 39. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review:”It’s not a hard and fast rule, but in general when the main character, sometime in the third act, says, ‘I did some bad things … ‘ and stares off into the middle distance, the implied end of the sentence is ‘including this movie.’ I take no particular pleasure in reporting that this is the case in ‘The Gunman,’ a globe-trotting action thriller and also, in passing, a melodrama of male sexual jealousy, an indictment of Western meddling in Africa and a concussion-awareness public service announcement.” Read more…)

Get Hard (comedy, Kevin Hart. Rotten Tomatoes: 29%. Metacritic: 34. From A.O. Scott’s New York Ties review: “The comic premise of ‘Get Hard’ could hardly be simpler. Will Ferrell is white. Kevin Hart, in contrast, is black. But you don’t have to consult a Starbucks barista to know that race is a very complicated matter. It’s been a source of humor for a very long time, but which jokes are acceptable to whom is never an easy matter to determine. Somebody is likely to be offended. The trick in a movie like this one is to appear daring while playing it safe, to act provocative while not actually provoking anyone.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray Discs
The Gunman
Danny Collins

New Foreign
Maria Wern: Set 1 (Sweden, murder mystery series, Eva Rose)

New British
Dancing on the Edge (period British mystery/drama, Chiwetel Ojiofor. Rotten Tomatoes: 61%. Metacritic: 65.)

New Documentaries
Deli Man (food, cultural history. Rotten Tomatoes: 61%. Metacritic: 62. From Ben Kenigsberg’s New York Times review: “‘Deli Man’ examines the state of the Jewish deli through David Gruber, known as Ziggy, a founder of Kenny & Ziggy’s New York Delicatessen Restaurant in Houston. Trained in culinary school, he represents the third generation in his family to run such a restaurant, the film says; Ziggy’s grandfather was a source for many of his recipes and Yiddishisms. ‘Since he was a little kid, he’s been an 80-year-old Jew,’ says J. Mackye Gruber, Ziggy’s brother [and the co-director of the 2004 film ‘The Butterfly Effect’)].” Read more…)

Decline_of_Western_CivilizationThe Decline of Western Civilization Collection (music documentary, punk, heavy metal. Rotten Tomatoes: 84%. Metacritic: 76. From Marc Spitz’s New York Times review of the new DVD collection release:”The arrival of ‘The Decline of Western Civilization Collection’ as a pristine extras-filled box set from Shout Factory this week is to budding punks what a new ‘Star Wars’ movie is to, well, all the other kids: something they never thought they’d get to experience in their lifetimes. The arrival of ‘The Decline of Western Civilization Collection’ as a pristine extras-filled box set from Shout Factory this week is to budding punks what a new ‘Star Wars’ movie is to, well, all the other kids: something they never thought they’d get to experience in their lifetimes.” Read more…)

The Decline of Western Civilization (music documentary, punk. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. From Janet Maslin’s 1981 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Miss Spheeris’s documentary, which opened Wednesday at the Waverly, intercuts remarkably candid and interesting interviews with concert footage of various Los Angeles punk bands. The material has been assembled with skill, wit and detachment, as it aims to depict the punk scene as even-handedly as possible. Miss Spheeris must obviously have a strong interest in the music and in the performers to inspire their trust, rather than the contempt and sarcasm they demonstrate on stage and toward others. She approaches them from a critical distance just great enough to make her observations fresh and telling.” Read more…)

The Decline of Western Civilization II (music documentary, heavy metal. Rotten Tomatoes: 80%. From Janet Maslin’s 1988 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Even those who would never, without the urging of wild horses, dream of attending a film about the seamy world of heavy-metal music are sure to find Penelope Spheeris’s ‘The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years’ of unexpected interest. For one thing, Miss Spheeris has a way of asking just the right questions. Although the director does not appear on camera, she is very much a presence in the film, conveying a genuine interest that wins her subjects’ trust, and perhaps tacitly goading them to new heights of outrageousness. But when it’s time to ask bluntly about sex, drugs, ethics or economics, Miss Spheeris is ready to speak up. ” Read more…)

The Decline of Western Civilization III (music documentary, punk. From Elvis Mitchell’s 1998 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “‘I wasn’t born yet,’ says Why-me, the first interview subject of ‘The Decline of Western Civilization, Part III,’ Penelope Spheeris’s latest installment in her documentary series on the social trajectory of the Los Angeles punk scene. In the first ‘Decline’ [1981], the curdled fomentation of punk was young and looming. In the second [1988], she spun nasty jokes on rock ‘n’ roll, and in this third episode, which is minor but telling, the movement has become an institution. Many of the young punks interviewed — many in their teens, like Why-me — are inheritors of a movement that existed before they did and has calcified into ritualized anarchic behavior.” Read more…)

New Music DVDs
The Decline of Western Civilization Collection (music documentary, punk, heavy metal)