New Releases 12/10/13

Top Hits
Fast & Furious 6 (automotive action, Paul Walker. Rotten Tomatoes: 70%. Metacritic: 61. From Neil Genzlinger’s New York Times review: “Your auto insurance policy probably has clauses specifying whether you are covered for damage from missiles, falling objects, riots, civil war, earthquakes, hail, radioactive contamination, discharge of a nuclear weapon. But it’s time once again to check that it also addresses whether you are insured against accidentally driving onto the set of a Fast & Furious movie. If you blundered into the shooting of Fast & Furious 6, for instance, you are almost surely walking now: If the flip-your-car-over speedsters didn’t wreck your vehicle, the giant tank surely did.” Read more…)

Adore (drama, Naomi Watts. Rotten Tomatoes: 33%. Metacritic: 37. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “Adore sounds like a brand of perfume or a Manhattan restaurant that opened during the stand-alone verb craze a few years back. The movie, based on the Doris Lessing novella ‘The Grandmothers, was shown in festivals as Two Mothers. Plenty of variations on its theme of intergenerational lust can be found on the Internet, though you may want to clear your browser history after you’re done searching for them.” Read more…)

Jayne Mansfield’s Car (drama, Robert Duvall. Rotten Tomatoes: 33%. Metacritic: 48. From Stephen Holden’s New York Times review: “Jayne Mansfield’s Car, directed by Billy Bob Thornton,  from a screenplay he wrote with Tom Epperson, has the loose structure and uncertain tone of a long, rambling yarn. As it drifts from topic to topic, its characters debate war, heroism, mortality and social change. Another theme of the movie, set during the Vietnam War, is generational strife, exemplified by the Caldwells’ strident pro- and antiwar factions.” Read more…)

Despicable Me 2 (animated feature, Steve Carell [voice]. Rotten Tomatoes: 75%. Metacritic: 62. From Stephen Holden’s New York Times review: “In its frantic, Looney Tunes-style madness, Despicable Me 2 brings to mind a cautionary children’s story about an aspiring baker who learns the hard way that doubling the recipe for bread doesn’t mean doubling the baking time. It tries so hard to double your pleasure that it emerges from the test kitchen slightly burned. Like the jams and jellies that its reformed main character, Gru, makes in his new line of work, the film combines too many flavors, along with extra sugar. Once again, the lesson that more is not necessarily better, something rarely learned by blockbuster sequels, is forgotten. That said, the new movie — concocted by the same hands [the directors Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud and the screenwriters Ken Daurio and Cinco Paul] who were behind the first Despicable Me — is consistently diverting and so cute you’ll want to pet it.” Read more…)

The Angels’ Share (comedy/crime, Paul Brannigan. Rotten Tomatoes: 89%. Metacritic: 66. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Stephen Holden’s Times review: “On the most superficial level, this latest film by Mr. Loach, a grand old man [now 76] of British left-wing social realism, is a hearty paean to the pleasures of that whisky and the olfactory sophistication of connoisseurs who use the same vocabulary as wine tasters to evoke its fragrances. The movie, with a screenplay by Mr. Loach’s longtime collaborator Paul Laverty, imagines that possession of a talented nose for those scents could be a key to escaping Glasgow’s violent underclass. [The dialogue is subtitled because of the characters’ thick brogues.]” Read more…)

Berberian Sound Studio (horror/thriller, Toby Jones. Rotten Tomatoes: 70%. Metacritic: 61. From Nicolas Rapold’s New York Times review: “You might call Berberian Sound Studio a workplace comedy in its fashion, albeit one filled with screams. In this affectionate film by Peter Strickland about the dubbing production for a 1970s horror film in Italy, a timid British engineer toils at mixing perfect sound for a shriek (or an impalement). But as the sonic violence takes its toll on him, the film’s culture-clash humor gives way to an uncanny fuguelike seepage between reality and artifice.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
Despicable Me 2
Fast & Furious 6
Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion

New Foreign
The Hunt (Denmark, drama, Mads Mikkelsen. Rotten Tomatoes: 95%. Metacritic: 76. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Stephen Holden’s Times review: “In The Hunt, Lucas [Mads Mikkelsen], a disgraced kindergarten teacher suspected of being a pedophile, confronts his former best friend Theo [Thomas Bo Larsen] in a church on Christmas Day. ‘Look in my eyes,’ he says to Theo. ‘What do you see?’ Lucas naïvely believes that his true nature will reveal itself: in this case, his innocence. Mr. Mikkelsen, who played James Bond’s nemesis in Casino Royale and who is Hannibal Lecter on the television series Hannibal, won a best actor award at Cannes in 2012 for his performance here. Handsome but with hooded eyes, he looks far from angelic. His plea resonates through this nightmarish story of an innocent man who becomes the victim of a small-town witch hunt.” Read more…)

Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion (Italy, 1970, political thriller, Gian Maria Volonte. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 89. From Vincent Canby’s 1970 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Elio Petri’s complex, entertaining new Italian film, Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion, which opened yesterday at the Baronet Theater, is a suspense melodrama with the moral concerns of angry satire. A psychotic policeman, the chief of the homicide squad who has been newly promoted to head the political intelligence unit, sets out to affirm, “in all of its purity,” the concept of authority — that absolute power before which all men become servile children, if not idiots.” Read more…)

You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet (France, drama, Mathieu Amalric. Rotten Tomatoes: 81%. Metacritic: 69. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “[Director Alain] Resnais, who recently turned 91, has been exploring the slippery line between truth and illusion for a very long time, in playful and in somber moods. You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet has a little of both, and is a testament to the filmmaker’s undiminished vitality. The title evokes a piece of ancient, almost mythic film history: that surreal, Orphic moment, associated in the popular mind with The Jazz Singer, when pictures began to talk. It also has a more primal meaning. The world and the people in it might grow old, but the imagination has the power to make everything new.” Read more…)

Hannah Arendt (Germany, bio-pic/drama, Barbara Sukowa. Rotten Tomatoes: 86%. Metacritic: 67. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “Not that Hannah Arendt, though ultimately a celebration of seriousness, is grim or plodding. On the contrary, the movie turns ideas into the best kind of entertainment. There is an undeniable nostalgic thrill in stepping into an era in New York when philosophers lived in apartments with Hudson River views, and smoking was permitted even in college lecture halls, especially if you are someone for whom the summit of early-’60s Manhattan magic is not Madison Avenue or Macdougal Street but Riverside Drive. But it would be a mistake to file this film with all the other rose-colored midcentury costume dramas.” Read more…)

New British
The Angels’ Share (comedy/crime, Paul Brannigan, in Top Hits. Rotten Tomatoes: 89%. Metacritic: 66. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Stephen Holden’s Times review: “On the most superficial level, this latest film by Mr. Loach, a grand old man [now 76] of British left-wing social realism, is a hearty paean to the pleasures of that whisky and the olfactory sophistication of connoisseurs who use the same vocabulary as wine tasters to evoke its fragrances. The movie, with a screenplay by Mr. Loach’s longtime collaborator Paul Laverty, imagines that possession of a talented nose for those scents could be a key to escaping Glasgow’s violent underclass. [The dialogue is subtitled because of the characters’ thick brogues.]” Read more…)

Doc Martin: Series 6
Doctor Who: Day of the Doctor (50th Anniversary Special, Matt Smith)

New Children’s DVDs
Despicable Me 2 (animated feature, Steve Carell [voice], in Top Hits. Rotten Tomatoes: 75%. Metacritic: 62. From Stephen Holden’s New York Times review: “In its frantic, Looney Tunes-style madness, Despicable Me 2 brings to mind a cautionary children’s story about an aspiring baker who learns the hard way that doubling the recipe for bread doesn’t mean doubling the baking time. It tries so hard to double your pleasure that it emerges from the test kitchen slightly burned. Like the jams and jellies that its reformed main character, Gru, makes in his new line of work, the film combines too many flavors, along with extra sugar. Once again, the lesson that more is not necessarily better, something rarely learned by blockbuster sequels, is forgotten. That said, the new movie — concocted by the same hands [the directors Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud and the screenwriters Ken Daurio and Cinco Paul] who were behind the first Despicable Me — is consistently diverting and so cute you’ll want to pet it.” Read more…)