New releases 9/18/18

Top Hits
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (sci-fi/action, Chris Pratt. Rotten Tomatoes: 49%. Metacritic: 51. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “The posters for ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ promise that “The Park Is Gone.” Perhaps that’s meant to be foreboding, but it mostly sounds like an end to fun. The “Fallen Kingdom” part is also frankly a little obscure. The mistake, however, might be to suppose that these words mean anything at all. Sense is a thing this movie doesn’t have much interest in making.” Read more…)

Fahrenheit 451 (sci-fi/dystopian thrlller, Michael B. Jordan. Rotten Tomatoes: 34%. Metacritic: 47. From James Poniewozik’s New York Times review: “Even if you are not familiar with the Ray Bradbury source novel, ‘Fahrenheit’ makes it quickly, hammeringly clear that it is a cautionary tale. You’ll get that from the urban-noir aesthetic, the school-indoctrination sessions and the fact that Montag’s job as a ‘fireman’ involves not fighting fires but starting them — burning humanity’s last remaining books as well as their digital reproductions, all of which have been outlawed.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

New Foreign DVDs
The Guardians (France, drama, Nathalie Baye. Rotten Tomatoes: 94%. Metacritic: 81. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “‘The Guardians,’ unmistakably a war movie, is as quiet as a sigh. We barely hear a shot or a shell, and news of the horror of trench warfare — the story starts in 1915 — reaches us mostly through the words of men who have returned, briefly, from the front. Brothers, husbands, sons, these soldiers show up one at a time, unannounced, to their home in a rustic valley somewhere in France. And then they go away again, sometimes forever.” Read more…)

Summer 1993 (Spain, coming-of-age drama, Laia Artigas. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 81. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ Times review: “‘Summer 1993’ balances delicately on the aftermath of a tragedy, but its tone is far from dismal. Melancholy, yes, and even momentarily wrenching; yet its emotional arc bends insistently from inarticulate sadness to gentle catharsis. Unfolding during a sun-dappled summer in the Catalonian countryside, this autobiographical debut [culled from the childhood memories and family stories of the writer and director, Carla Simón] is light on drama yet dense with unspoken feeling.” Read more…)

I Killed My Mother (Canada, 2009, gay & lesbian/drama, Xavier Dolan. Rotten Tomatoes: 80%. Metacritic: 71. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Rachel Saltz’s Times review: “The bluntly audacious title of the writer-director Xavier Dolan’s debut feature, ‘I Killed My Mother,’ is both a twist on a Freudian joke and a complicated assessment of the hero’s over-cathected relationship with his parent in chief. ‘Deep down I love her,’ the 16-year-old Hubert Minel [Mr. Dolan] says in one of the movie’s confessional black-and-white interludes, ‘but it’s not the love of a son.’ Sorry, Hubert, but it is the love of a son, though, as Mr. Dolan shows, it can look a lot like romance, with all its messy ‘I hate you, I love you, I hate you’s.'” Read more…)

Coming Home (China, drama, Chen Daoming. Rotten Tomatoes: 89%. Metacritic: 81. Ftom A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “Zhang Yimou and Gong Li constitute one of the great director-actress pairings in movie history. In the 1980s and ’90s they worked together on a remarkable run of movies — including ‘Red Sorghum,’ ‘Raise the Red Lantern,’ ‘Shanghai Triad’ and ‘To Live’ — that were central to the resurgence of Chinese cinema and made international stars of both of them. Ms. Gong, noble, fragile and indomitable, was for Mr. Zhang a muse, an alter ego and an emblem of China’s suffering and resilience at important moments in the nation’s history. ‘Coming Home,’ only their second collaboration in the past 20 years, reunites them in an intimate, politically resonant story set in the final years and the immediate aftermath of the Cultural Revolution.” Read more…)

New Classic DVDs (pre-1960)
The Complete Hal Roach Thelma Todd & Patsy Kelly Comedy Collection (1933-36, 21 short comedy films)

New American Back Catalog DVDs (post-1960)
Gold (1974, conspiracy thriller, Roger Moore)

New British
The Miniaturist (period thriller, Anya Taylor-Joy. Rotten Tomatoes: 71%. Metacritic: 69.)

New TV
The Looming Tower (mini-series drama based on book about run-up to 9/11, Jeff Daniels. Rotten Tomatoes: 94%. Metacritic: 74. From Mike Hale’s New York Times television review; “The show didn’t get made only because of the events it covers, now nearly 17 years in the past. It got made because of the book itself: Lawrence Wright’s definitive and mesmerizing ‘The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11,’ the best seller and Pulitzer Prize winner published in 2006. Sales and prizes, though, are no guarantee that a book will make it to the screen with its spirit intact. Neither, apparently, is the involvement of the author.” Read more…)

New Documentaries
Nana (biography, Holocaust history. Rotten Tomatoes: 60%.)

New Gay & Lesbian
I Killed My Mother (Canada, gay & lesbian/drama, Xavier Dolan. Rotten Tomatoes: 80%. Metacritic: 71.)

New releases 5/2/17

Top Hits
I Am Not Your Negro (documentary, civil rights, literature, bio, James Baldwin. Rotten Tomatoes: 99%. Metacritic: 95. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “Whatever you think about the past and future of what used to be called ‘race relations’ — white supremacy and the resistance to it, in plainer English — this movie will make you think again, and may even change your mind. Though its principal figure, the novelist, playwright and essayist James Baldwin, is a man who has been dead for nearly 30 years, you would be hard-pressed to find a movie that speaks to the present moment with greater clarity and force, insisting on uncomfortable truths and drawing stark lessons from the shadows of history. To call ‘I Am Not Your Negro’ a movie about James Baldwin would be to understate Mr. Peck’s achievement. It’s more of a posthumous collaboration, an uncanny and thrilling communion between the filmmaker — whose previous work includes both a documentary and a narrative feature about the Congolese anti-colonialist leader Patrice Lumumba — and his subject.” Read more…)

A Dog’s Purpose (family, Josh Gad. Rotten Tomatoes: 30%. Metacritic: 43. From Neil Genzlinger’s New York Times review: “The movie, directed by Lasse Hallstrom and based on a novel by W. Bruce Cameron, serves up one cloying story after another as it drags us through the multiple lives of a dog named Bailey [voiced by Josh Gad]. Bailey dies, as dogs do, yet keeps being reincarnated, as a different breed and sometimes a different sex.” Read more…)

The Comedian (comedy, Robert De Niro. Rotten Tomatoes: 25%. Metacritic: 40. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “Is it too much to want someone to bring the funny in a movie about a comic? The enervating, would-be laugh-in ‘The Comedian’ opens this week, presumably on the strength of its headliner, Robert De Niro. He’s ill-served by this movie, but he’s been worse elsewhere, which isn’t much of a comfort as this one drags into hour two.” Read more…)

Gold (adventure, Matthew McConaughey. Rotten Tomatoes: 42%. Metacritic: 49. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “[Actor Matthew] McConaughey is a ball of profane, entrepreneurial energy bouncing around in a vacuum. The story swings from the Nevada desert to the Indonesian rain forest to Wall Street boardrooms, and the screen bristles with signifiers of capitalist activity: meetings, phone calls, stock tickers. But the movie isn’t really doing any work. It’s just looking busy.” Read more…)

Rings (horror, Johnny Galecki. Rotten Tomatoes: 6%. Metacritic: 25. From Neil Genzlinger’s New York Times review: “‘Rings,’ the latest sequel in the franchise that began with the Japanese film ‘Ringu,’ is short on outright frights, but some effort certainly went into the storytelling. For one thing, by the time this one’s over, fans will know a lot more about the mysterious Samara, the dead girl who continues to terrify the living via a grainy videotape. And those nearing or in college — the demographic being aimed at here — will learn an important lesson: Beware of any professor who tries to recruit you for a research study.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
Do the Right Thing

New Foreign DVDs
The Salesman (Iran, drama, Shahab Hosseini. Rotten Tomatoes: 97%. Metacritic: 85. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “At the beginning of ‘The Salesman,’ Emad [Shahab Hosseini] and Rana [Taraneh Alidoosti] must evacuate their Tehran apartment. There are cracks in the walls, and the high-rise building is in danger of collapsing. That flawed edifice might stand as a kind of inverse metaphor for the film itself, which is a marvel of meticulous construction. With exquisite patience and attention to detail, Asghar Farhadi, the writer and director, builds a solid and suspenseful plot out of ordinary incidents, and packs it with rich and resonant ideas. Admirers of his earlier films — including ‘About Elly,’ ‘The Past’ and ‘A Separation,’ a foreign-language Oscar winner in 2012 — will not be surprised. Mr. Farhadi has distinguished himself in his generation of Iranian filmmakers as an astute psychological realist and a fastidious storyteller.” Read more…)

New Classic DVDs (pre-1960)
Reefer Madness (1936, understated cautionary tale, Kenneth Craig. Rotten Tomatoes: 46%.)

New Documentaries
I Am Not Your Negro (documentary, civil rights, literature, bio, James Baldwin)

Children’s DVDs
The Red Turtle (Japanese animated feature. Rotten Tomatoes: 95%. Metacritic: 86. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “The film, a French-Belgian-Japanese co-production made under the auspices of Studio Ghibli [home of the great Hayao Miyazaki] in Tokyo is also notable, at least in contrast to most American commercial animation, for the absence of celebrity voices or, indeed, of any human speech at all. The score, by Laurent Perez del Mar, does include some wordless choral vocalizing, but the story, like the visual style, is simple and elemental, like a picture book that needs no words.” Read more…)

Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken (live action Disney, Gabrielle Anwar. Rotten Tomatoes: 70%. From Stephen Holden’s 1991 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Many of the scenes in ‘Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken,’ a sweet, old-fashioned movie about a girl who loves horses, are bathed in a soft golden light. That’s because the past, in movies of this sort, is always more magical than the present, even if that past is the Depression, the era of this G-rated family picture.” Read more…)