New Releases 7/26/22

Top Hits

Dual (Sci-Fi, Karen Gillan; Rotten Tomatoes: 73%, Metacritic: 62)

“The movie follows Sarah (Karen Gillan), who learns that she suffers from an unidentified, rare and incurable illness. Considering her loved ones, Sarah pays for a clone and begins priming her to fill her shoes. But dual identities are tricky. It turns out that Sarah’s double is less a sponge for her sensibilities than a lovelier, livelier foil, and even once Sarah goes into remission, her boyfriend (Beulah Koale) and mother (Maija Paunio) inexplicably snub her for the substitute.” Read more…

Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (Marvel Universe, Benedict Cumberbatch; Rotten Tomatoes: 74%)

“But as so often happens in the Marvel Cinematic Weltanschauung — often enough to keep even skeptics from giving up on the enterprise entirely — there is an inkling of something more interesting, in this case a Sam Raimi movie.
Raimi is one of the pioneers of 21st-century movie superheroism. His Spider-Man trilogy from the early 2000s still feels relatively fresh and fun. He is also a master of horror, the creator back in the 1980s of the peerlessly ghoulish, funny and profound “Evil Dead” series. And the best parts of “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” are the sequences that traffic in zombiism, witchcraft and other dark genre arts.” Read more…

The Lost City (Action/Adventure/Comedy, Sandra Bullock, Channing Tatum; Rotten Tomatoes: 79%, Certified Fresh)

“For the most part, “The Lost City” delivers exactly what it promises: A couple of highly polished avatars quipping and hitting their marks while occasionally being upstaged by their second bananas (Da’Vine Joy Randolph included). There are some accommodations to contemporary mores. Tatum bares more skin than Bullock does, flashing his sculpted hindquarters in a scene that, like the movie overall, isn’t as sharp or as funny as it should be. But while Loretta isn’t as helpless as she might have been back in the old studio days, this is still about a man rescuing a woman whose eye makeup never runs even when she does.” Read more…

New Foreign

Battles Without Honor and Humanity (Japan, action/adventure, Bunta Sugawara; Rotten Tomatoes: 88%) – New Restoration

From a 2004 review of Battles Without Honor & Humanity, aka The Yakuza Papers: “The Yakuza Papers’ endurance has primarily to do with the filmmaker’s critical analysis of Japan’s national character. Fukasaku openly questions whether the legendary Japanese sense of duty was wiped out by the atomic bomb, or whether it was always just an ideal for tourists and old movies, never meant to be taken seriously.” Read more…

Cordelia (British, Antonia Campbell-Hughes; Rotten Tomatoes: 73%, Metacritic: 66)

“Enigmatic and imperfect, but nonetheless absorbing and consistently unsettling, “Cordelia” offers a haunting visualization of a breaking-apart psyche. The bruised, green-washed elegance of Tony Slater Ling’s interior shots, rain sheeting against the flat’s windows, fashions an unreliable space where people and events could be real or imagined, alive or dead.” Read more…

Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands (1976, Brazil, Sonia Braga; Rotten Tomatoes: 67%) Newly Released on DVD

From the 2012 LA Times article on Dona Flor: ‘“Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands” should be seen as liberating, an unpretentious and uncomplicated slant on desire. There’s a playfully free sway to Amado’s character and the way Braga approaches her that is vital and far distant from exploitative.

The movie is also credited with helping to loosen the reins of cinema censorship in Brazil. With its fairly graphic sex scenes (cinematographer Maurilo Salles follows the mingling bodies with a matter-of-fact interest) and ability to capture the essence of Amado’s novel, “Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands” was a forward step in the country’s filmmaking.” Read more…

Drive My Car (Japan, Hidetoshi Nishijima; Rotten Tomatoes: 97$, Certified Fresh, Metacritic: 91, NYT Critic’s Pick)

“Drive My Car” sneaks up on you, lulling you in with visuals that are as straightforward as the narrative is complex. The camerawork is unflashy to the point of near-plainness though all the parts — the people, interiors, landscapes — look good, recognizably so. The movie is well-lighted and cleanly edited and, for the most part, unembellished with flourishes that might draw attention away from the story. This unforced minimalism only makes the bold strokes more pronounced: a surprising superimposition, say, or the chromatic jolt of the red car in snow.” Read more…

Huda’s Salon (Egypt, Netherlands, Palestine, mystery/thriller, Maisa Abd Elhadi; Rotten Tomatoes: 76%, Certified Fresh, Metacritic: 69)

“As convoluted as it gets, “Huda’s Salon” makes a simple and forceful point: Caught between political enemies united in their misogyny, Palestinian women have no way out. Where Abu-Assad falters is in turning Huda into a didactic mouthpiece for the very themes that Reem’s tribulations, filmed up-close with a jerky camera, convey effortlessly.” Read more…

Out of the Blue (Canada, drama, Linda Manz, Dennis Hopper; Rotten Tomatoes: 95%, Metacritic: 78)

From Roger Ebert’s 1982 review: “The movie escalates so relentlessly toward its violent, nihilistic conclusion that when it comes, we believe it. This is a very good movie that simply got overlooked. When it premiered at the 1980 Cannes Film Festival, it caused a considerable sensation, and Manz was mentioned as a front-runner for the best actress award. But back in North America, the film’s Canadian backers had difficulties in making a distribution deal, and the film slipped through the cracks.” Read more…

The Duke (British, dramedy, Jim Broadbent; Rotten Tomatoes: 97%, Certified Fresh)

“A Robin Hood figure polarizes England in “The Duke,” an ambling, sentimental account of the 1961 heist of Francisco de Goya’s portrait of the Duke of Wellington from the National Gallery in London.” Read more…

New TV

The Gilded Age: Complete First Season (HBO, Christine Baranski, Cynthia Nixon; Rotten Tomatoes: 79%)

“In “Downton,” Fellowes succeeded by cutting out the larger world and grounding his story in the daily rhythms of one family and one estate. In “The Gilded Age” he lets the world in, and yet everything seems smaller.” Read more…