New Releases 2/23/16

Top Hits
SpotlightSpotlight (drama, Michael Keaton. Rotten Tomatoes: 96%. Metacritic: 93. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “But the image of two prominent men talking quietly behind closed doors — [Cardinal Bernard] Law is played with orotund charm by Len Cariou, [Boston Globe editor Marty] Baron with sphinxlike self-containment by Liev Schreiber — haunts this somber, thrilling movie and crystallizes its major concern, which is the way power operates in the absence of accountability. When institutions convinced of their own greatness work together, what usually happens is that the truth is buried and the innocent suffer. Breaking that pattern of collaboration is not easy. Challenging deeply entrenched, widely respected authority can be very scary.” Read more…)

Secret in Their Eyes (thriller, Julia Roberts. Rotten Tomatoes: 42%. Metacritic: 45. From Stephen Holden’s New York Times review: “The biggest shock of ‘Secret in Their Eyes,’ a sluggish, semi-coherent remake of the 2010 Argentine film that won an Oscar for best foreign picture, is the bedraggled appearance of Julia Roberts. The million-dollar smile is barely a flicker on a face drained of color and expression. Her character, Jess, an investigator for the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office, has the vitality of a clinically depressed zombie.” Read more…)

I Smile Back (drama, Sarah Silverman. Rotten Tomatoes: 53%. Metacritic: 59. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “The consequence is a glossy but superficial addiction tale [written by Paige Dylan and Amy Koppelman, and based on Ms. Koppelman’s 2008 novel], a wearying loop of slug-snort-crash that leaves Ms. Silverman out on a ledge and the audience with no way to reach her. It’s a performance in a vacuum, one that could have cut deeper had her scenes with Mr. Charles displayed even a fraction of the emotional anarchy that John Cassavetes could write with one hand tied behind his back.” Read more…)

Entertainment (comedy/drama, John C. Reilly. Rotten Tomatoes: 80%. Metacritic: 65. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ Times review: “Watching ‘Entertainment’ is a profoundly uncomfortable, some would say repellent, experience that isn’t easily forgotten. Yet I left this barbed portrait of a cracking-up comic with more than a little respect for its fearless director, Rick Alverson, and his trusting star, Gregg Turkington. You can’t deny that they’re a match made in heaven.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
Suffragette
Spotlight
The Good Dinosaur

New Foreign
I_Knew_Her_WellI Knew Her Well (Italy, 1965, drama, Stefania Sandrelli. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Glenn  Kenny’s Times review: “[Director Antonio] Pietrangeli’s New Wave-inflected, choppily fast-forwarding style depicts Adriana as a kind of unattached Emma Bovary, sometimes clearheaded, sometimes empty-headed. [Actress Stefania] Sandrelli, in a variety of wigs and costumes, is never less than hypnotically beautiful. Mr. Pietrangeli’s perspective could be said to split the difference between the analytic detachment of early-60s Antonioni and the political anger of late-60s/early-70s Bertolucci… But ‘I Knew Her Well,’ never before released in the United States, ultimately speaks in a register of its own, and while it’s hardly subtle, it is compelling.” Read more…)

New Television
Flesh and Bone (drama set in NY ballet world, Sarah Hay. Rotten Tomatoes: 60%. Metacritic: 52.)
Fargo: Season 2 (crime/drama/comedy, Kirsten Dunst. Rotten Tomatoes: 99%. Metacritic: 96.)

New American Back Catalog (post-1960)
GraduateThe Graduate (Criterion edition of 1967 classic drama/comedy, Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft. Rotten Tomatoes: 89%. Metacritic: 77. From Bosley Crowther’s 1967 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Suddenly, here toward the year’s end, when the new films are plunging toward the wire and the prospects of an Oscar-worthy long shot coming through get progressively more dim, there sweeps ahead a film that is not only one  of the best of the year, but also one of the best seriocomic social satires we’ve had from Hollywood since Preston Sturges was making them. It is Mike Nichols’s and Lawrence Turman’s devastating and uproarious ‘The Graduate,’ which came yesterday to the Lincoln Art and the Coronet. Mark it right down in your datebook as a picture you’ll have to see—and maybe see twice to savor all its sharp satiric wit and cinematic treats.” Read more…)

New Documentaries
Racing Extinction (ecology, nature, economics. Rotten Tomatoes: 79%. Metacritic: 81. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ Times review: “If you can watch ‘Racing Extinction’ without bawling at least once, then its director, Louie Psihoyos, suggests you consider that all the tenderly photographed endangered species that flood its frames are only signposts to the disappearance of our own… Noting that our planet’s five major extinctions had in common a spike in carbon dioxide, Mr. Psihoyos worries that the emissions of our own age, aptly dubbed the Anthropocene, are damaging our oceans in ways that are mostly invisible. And that the devastating consequences of more direct human behaviors — like the mass slaughter of exotic marine life for food and folk medicines — are also largely overlooked.” Read more…)

New Children’s DVDs
The Good Dinosaur (Disney/Pixar animated feature, Jeffrey Wright [voice]. Rotten Tomatoes: 76%. Metacritic: 66. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Manohla Dargis’ Times review: “O pioneers! O weirdness! Animated movies teach us how to watch magically strange, sometimes furry worlds, making it easy to go with the unfamiliar flow. As the flyover asteroid suggests, ‘The Good Dinosaur’ is charmingly different, but its oddness sneaks up on you only after the filmmakers lay out some storybook bona fides.” Read more…)

Be Cool, Scooby-Doo: Season 1, Part 1