New releases 2/20/18

Top Hits
Mom and Dad (horror-comedy, Nicolas Cage. Rotten Tomatoes: 72%. Metacritic: 60. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “Anyway, ‘Mom and Dad’ soon reveals its high concept: All the parents in its world go mad and try to start killing their kids. The writer and director Brian Taylor shies away from no possibility here, including a delivery room scene in which a woman begins crushing her newborn. As you can imagine, the homicidal frenzy gives [director Nicolas] Cage plenty of opportunity to go full him, which, in this case, doesn’t yield as much fun as you might have hoped.” Read more…)

Same Kind of Different as Me (family/religious, Greg Kinnear. Rotten Tomatoes: 38%. Metacritic: 49.)

New Foreign
The Girl Without Hands (France, animated feature, Philippe Laudenbach [voice]. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 82. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Monica Castillos Times review: “Sébastien Laudenbach’s ‘The Girl Without Hands’ is an animated adaptation of the Brothers Grimm fairy tale of the same title. Although this film’s style is soft and colorful, it does not rub out the emotional sharpness of a story dealing with betrayal, suicide and death.” Read more…)

Blade of the Immortal (Japan, samurai drama, Hana Sugisaki. Rotten Tomatoes: 85%. Metacritic: 72. From Jeannette Catasoulis’ New York Times review: “If there’s one constant in samurai movies, it’s that their heroes are ridiculously hard to kill, battling on through every assault short of being blown to smithereens. Imagine, then, how much tougher to dispatch is a samurai whose wounds — the physical ones, anyway — heal themselves, and you have a fair idea of the sheer volume of damage visited on Manji [Takuya Kimura], the justifiably grumpy centerpiece of Takashi Miike’s ‘Blade of the Immortal.'” Read more…)

Don’t Call Me Son (Brazil, drama/LGBTQ, Naomi Nero. Rotten Tomatoes: 80%. Metacritic: 77. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Stephen Holden’s Times review: “The movie is a critique of identity on several levels: biological, sexual, social, cultural and class-related. The unstable, impulsive Pierre is no heroic rebel. He is a floundering young man with many hurdles ahead. But the movie unequivocally takes his side. In its blasé way, ‘Don’t Call Me Son’ is subversive.” Read more…)

The Hero (India, 1966, Satyajit Ray-directed drama, Uttam Kumar. From an unsigned 1974 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “People who revel in tales wherein film idols suffer from insecurity, are shaken by nightmares, fail in their relationships with mentors, old friends and the opposite sex and take refuge in pills and liquor will find him every bit as entertaining as his familiar counterparts. Everybody else aboard the train, including the woman journalist, given admirable characterization by Sharmila Tagoro, seems rather peripheral.” Read more…)

An Actor’s Revenge (Japan, 1966, period melodrama, Kazuo Hasegawa. Rotten Tomatoes: 93%. From Howard Thompson’s 1971 New York Times review [prequires log-in]: “No, ‘The Actors’s Revenge’ isn’t about the murder of a drama critic. That might have been more interesting. It is an artistically arranged but extremely rambling exercise full of melodramic bumps and lumps, as a vengeful actor destroys three men who ruined his family years ago.” Read more…)

New American Back Catalog DVDs (post-1960)
Pete ‘n’ Tillie (1972, comedy/drama, Walter Matthau. Rotten Tomatoes: 80%. From Howard Thompson’s 1972 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Is anybody getting a little tired of Carol Burnett and Walter Matthau? The television queen is all over the home box and has been for some time. Matthau,expertise included, is certainly coming at us thick and fast. Expecting an obvious, strictly-for-laughs showcase in ‘Pete ‘n’ Tillie,’ which opened yesterday at the Baronet, one viewer received the jolt of his Christmas season. This is the wittiest, warmest and most ingratiating movie to appear in a long time, with a beautifully sustained and muted edge of sadness.” Read more…)

New Classic DVDs (pre-1960)
The Story of Louis Pasteur (1936, biographical drama, Paul Muni [Oscar winner]. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. From Frank S. Nugent’s 1936 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Pasteur’s life is warm and vital, of itself. It has lost none of that warmth through Mr. Muni’s sensitive characterization, through the gifted direction of William Dieterle and the talents of a perfect cast. It may not be the province—and probably it was not the primary motive—of a Hollywood studio to create a film which is, at the same time, a monument to the life of a man. But ‘The Story of Louis Pasteur’ is truly that.” Read more…)

New British
Prime Suspect: Tennison (prequel to Prime Suspect, police procedural, Stefanie Martini)
Threads (1984, harrowing BBC nuclear war TV movie, Reece Dinsdale)

New Documentaries
Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities (race, American history, culture. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%.)