New releases 6/21/16

Top Hits
My_Big_Fat_2My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 (comedy/romance, Nia Vardalos. Rotten Tomatoes: 29%. Metacritic: 37. From Jeannette Catsoulis’New York Ties review: “Even those who have spent the last 14 years pining for a sequel to ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’ — by most accounts, the highest grossing American romantic comedy — will rue that longing when they experience ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2.’ The imagination expended on the title being a fair indicator of how much was lavished on the rest of this embarrassingly awful retread.” Read more…)

Knight of Cups (drama, Christian Bale. Rotten Tomatoes: 46%. Metacritic: 53. From A.O. Scott’s New York Tims review: “As it happens, the confusion of eros and cosmos — or maybe, to be generous, their mutual entanglement — is Rick’s big problem, and also Mr. Malick’s. At its most literal level, ‘Knight of Cups’ is an encyclopedia of its protagonist’s love affairs, casual and serious, painful and frolicsome, blonde and brunette. There are threesomes, pillow fights, rooftop debauches and skinny-dipping parties. Also a marriage [to Cate Blanchett], an affair with someone else’s wife [Natalie Portman] and a trip to Las Vegas with a stripper [Teresa Palmer] who drops pearls of wisdom from the edge of the stage.” Read more…)

Eddie the Eagle (feel-good sports story, Hugh Jackman. Rotten Tomatoes: 79%. Metacritic: 54. From Neil Genzlinger’s New York Times review: “‘Eddie the Eagle’ is a good-natured film about the British Olympian Eddie Edwards, but it would be better if it respected its audience’s ability to recognize an underdog story. The film piles on the clichés and avoids anything resembling subtlety as it tells a heavily fictionalized version of Mr. Edwards’s tale, which culminated with his improbable appearance as a ski jumper at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta. Taron Egerton squints his way through the role of Eddie [whose eyesight was poor], and Hugh Jackman plays a fictional coach who takes him under his wing after he shows up at a training center for ski jumpers in Germany.” Read more…)

Midnight Special (adventure/thriller, Michael Shannon. Rotten Tomatoes: 83%. Metacritic: 76. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “Readers afflicted with extreme spoiler sensitivity may want to cover their ears and start humming right now, since even the vaguest, most careful description of Jeff Nichols’s ‘Midnight Special’ risks giving away some important surprises. This is a film that generates much of its suspense through genre sleight of hand. If I even try to tell you what kind of movie it is — crime story, road picture, science-fiction allegory, religious prophecy — I might be telling you something you’d rather not know just yet.” Read more…)

The Brothers Grimsby (comedy, Sacha Baron Cohen. Rotten Tomatoes: 38%. Metacritic: 44. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “A Freudian might be able to make something of Sacha Baron Cohen’s emphasis on bodily orifices and protrusions in ‘The Brothers Grimsby.’ I prefer a more obvious explanation: At some point during the making of this 1-hour-18-minute burlesque, Mr. Cohen became bored. Given the production budget, the pitch was obviously good enough for someone to write a check and hire an action director, Louis Leterrier, who could give the material the requisite spit-shine: After years of separation, two drastically different brothers — a sleek superspy and a bumbling fool — reunite and, in between guffaws, heal old wounds, zip around the world and fight a global crime syndicate.” Read more…)

The Choice (Nicholas Sparks romance, Benjamin Walker. Rotten Tomatoes: 11%. Metacritic: 26. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “‘The Choice’ is the 11th film to ooze from the syrupy scribblings of Nicholas Sparks, who informs us in the publicity notes that he considers it to be “even more memorable and profound” than his 1996 sobfest, ‘The Notebook’ [filmed in 2004]. Clearly his talent for emotional manipulation far exceeds his humility.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2
Sunset Boulevard

New Foreign
Fantastic_PlanetFantastic Planet (France, 1973, animated sci-fo classic. Rotten Tomatoes: 88%. From Howard Thompson’s 1973 New UYork Times review [requires log-in]: “Peace in outer space may be fine for Christmas but as a plot resolution it dampens and flattens ‘Fantastic Planet.’ Except for this curiously tame windup—when things should have been popping—this is highly engrossing science-fiction, a French-Czechoslovak co-production in animation. The technique itself is fascinating. Instead of using the traditional method of drawing on acetate, the ingenious producers have sketched on cut-out and hinged paper. This comparative stiffness of movement, instead of the usual animated flash, gives a dignity and eerie depth to an adaptation by directors Rene Laloux and Roland Topor of Stefan Wul’s novel, ‘Ome En Serie.'” Read more…)

The Wave (Norway, disaster movie, Kristoffer Joner. Rotten Tomatoes: 80%. Metacritic: 68. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “The flashy number in ‘The Wave’ rolls in like a star. You know it’s coming, just not when. [Fanning the crowd’s anxiety is crucial to making a great entrance.] Once it arrives, the crowd gawks and freezes, mesmerized by the spectacle of so much ferocious power. And, like all stars, the wave waits for no one. A palpably convincing digital creation, this churning gray inundation powers straight into the little people, who panic and scatter, creating a regular day-of-the-locust free-for-all that separates children from parents, the survivors from the newly dead.” Read more…)

New Classic DVDs (pre-1960)
Shield for Murder (1954, film noir, Edmund O’Brien. From O.A.G.’s 1954 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Policemen, like other humans, are fallible, and sometimes they run afoul of the very ordinances they are supposed to enforce. ‘Shield for Murder,’ which opened at the Globe yesterday, details in a tight, muscular manner the derelictions of Edmond O’Brien, ‘a cop gone sour,’ as his chief says… The story is intelligent and unstrained; qualities too rarely seen in films of this genre. There is little or no padding [a major achievement] and, although the direction sometimes smacks of haste, talent is definitely indicated. In fact, one scene, a beating in a restaurant, seen only in the horror-stricken faces of customers, is a fragment of fine movie-making. But one or two such scenes are not enough.” Read more…)

New British
Wallander: Set 4 (detective series, Kenneth Branagh. Rotten Tomatoes: 89%.)
The Hollow Crown: The War of the Roses (3 Shakespeare plays—Henry VI: Part 1, Henry VI: Part 2, Richard III, Benedict Cumberbatch. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 91.)

New Television
Penny Dreadful: Season 2 ( Rotten Tomatoes: 92%. Metacritic: 77.)
Veep: Season 4 ( Rotten Tomatoes: 90%. Metacritic: 90.)

New Documentaries
Buckminster Fuller: The Lost Interviews (bio, science, arts, philosophy)

New Children’s DVDs
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II (comic book action. Rotten Tomatoes: 32%.)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (comic book action)