New Releases 1/27/15

Top Hits
The Judge (drama, Robert Downey Jr. Rotten Tomatoes: 47%. Metacritic: 48. From Stephen Holden’s New York Times review: “Early in ‘The Judge,’ Hank Palmer, a hotshot Chicago defense lawyer played by Robert Downey Jr. with his usual fast-talking swagger, learns that his mother has died. He packs a bag, says goodbye to his unfaithful wife and his adorable daughter (Emma Tremblay), and jumps in his Ferrari. He drives only as far as the airport, however. Even though his Rockwellesque hometown is in Indiana, just one state over, Hank decides to fly rather than drive. Presumably to save time — something this long, baggy, meandering film, directed by David Dobkin from a screenplay by Nick Schenk and Bill Dubuque, otherwise has very little interest in doing.” Read more…)

My Old Lady (romance/drama, Kevin Kline. Rotten Tomatoes: 59%. Metacritic: 52. From Stephen Holden’s New York Times review: “Perky music and a suave, light-footed entrance by Kevin Kline as an American in Paris give the early scenes of ‘My Old Lady’ the feel of a Franco-American comedy in the vein of Cédric Klapisch’s recent ‘Chinese Puzzle.’ But the 75-year-old playwright Israel Horovitz’s screen adaptation of his own 2002 production is not what it initially appears to be.” Read more…)

Before I Go to Sleep (thriller, Nicole Kidman. Rotten Tomatoes: 36%. Metacritic: 41. From Stephen Holden’s New York Times review: “The opening image of ‘Before I Go to Sleep,’ a preposterous thriller adapted from S. J. Watson’s best-selling novel, is an extreme close-up of a blue, bloodshot eye. That orb belongs to Christine [Nicole Kidman], a damsel in distress afflicted with that hoary soap-opera device, amnesia. When Christine wakes up every morning, she has no idea where she is and not a clue about the man in bed with her who claims to be her husband, Ben [Colin Firth].” Read more…)

Fury (war drama, Brad Pitt. Rotten Tomatoes: 78%. Metacritic: 64. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “‘We’re in the killing Nazis business. And cousin, business is a-booming.’ So said Brad Pitt [in the person of Lt. Aldo Raine] in Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Inglourious Basterds.’ Five years later, and nearly 70 years after World War II, Mr. Pitt returns to combat in ‘Fury,’ playing the leader of an American tank crew fighting its way across Germany in the spring of 1945. His character, Sgt. Don Collier [nicknamed Wardaddy], is a wearier, less garrulous fellow than Raine, and the film’s director, David Ayer, has a more linear and literal sensibility than Mr. Tarantino, but the business of Nazi killing remains brisk.” Read more…)

Miss Meadows (thriller, Katie Holmes. Rotten Tomatoes: 22%. Metacritic: 43. From Nicolas Rapold’s New York Times review: “Between ‘Serial Mom’ and ‘God Bless America,’ not to mention the moonlighting criminals who populate binge television, vigilantes in sheep’s clothing are familiar by now. ‘Miss Meadows’ gives the old perverse routine a whirl with a weirdly soul-baring Katie Holmes as a prim-and-proper gunlady, but despite an eccentric streak (which turns erratic), the script doesn’t allow much room for the premise to take flight.” Read more…)

Felony (thriller, Tom Wilkinson. Rotten Tomatoes: 74%. Metacritic: 52. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “A deeply cynical movie masquerading as a complex moral dilemma, the Australian drama ‘Felony’ proves only that skilled actors and slick photography can tart up even the most problematic script.” Read more…)

Days and Nights (drama/comedy, Katie Holmes. Rotten Tomatoes: 0%. Metacritic: 36. From Stephen Holden’s New York Times review: “The cast list for ‘Days and Nights,’ a modern reworking of Chekhov’s ‘The Seagull,’ is so juicy that I approached the movie with lip-smacking expectations of scenery being chewed and spit out with histrionic gusto. Even at its worst, how bad could an updated version of the play be, if actors of the caliber of Allison Janney, William Hurt, Cherry Jones and Mark Rylance had signed on? The answer is worse than you could imagine.” Read more…)

Big Driver (thriller, Maria Bello. Rotten Tomatoes: 44%. Metacritic: 56.)
Downton Abbey: Season 5 (British period drama, Hugh Bonneville. Rotten Tomatoes: 78%. Metacritic: 75.)

New Blu-Ray
The Judge
Fury

New British
Downton Abbey: Season 5 (period drama, Hugh Bonneville. Rotten Tomatoes: 78%. Metacritic: 75.)

New Children’s DVDs
The Book of Life (animated feature, Diego Luna [voice]. Rotten Tomatoes: 82%. Metacritic: 67. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “If swirls of gorgeous, gaudy color were all it took to animate an animated movie then ‘The Book of Life’ — with its showy splashes of acid purples and greens, its tangerine-dream sunsets and big blue-gray moon — would be bursting with as much energy and life as a Warner Bros. cartoon classic. As it is, this often beautiful and too-often moribund, if exhaustingly frenetic, feature tends to be less energetic than the dead people waltzing through it.” Read more…)