New releases 8/2/16

Top Hits
LobsterThe Lobster (comedy/sci-fi, Colin Farrell. Rotten Tomatoes: 90%. Metacritic: 82. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “The Greek filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos is a deadpan dystopian comedian, an inventor of absurd, highly regulated societies that seem to exist in hidden pockets of everyday reality. In his 2010 film,  ‘Dogtooth,’ a middle-class couple raises three children according to an elaborate set of codes and rituals that include assigning new meanings to common words. In ‘Alps’ [2012], members of a cultlike organization impersonate the recently deceased for the benefit of the bereaved. And now, in ‘The Lobster,’ Mr. Lanthimos’s first English-language feature — and, perhaps, his masterpiece thus far — guests at a grand, old-fashioned hotel are given 45 days to find love or face being turned into animals.” Read more…)

Mother’s Day (comedy, Jennifer Aniston. Rotten Tomatoes: 7%. Metacritic: 18. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “The unofficial conclusion of an unofficial trilogy of holiday-themed multistar comedy vehicles directed by Garry Marshall, ‘Mother’s Day’ has its perfunctory heart exactly where any experienced viewer would expect it to be. That is, in a fantasy world where, among other things, one older mother’s lifetime of bigotry can be cured by half an afternoon spent with a mixed-race child.” Read more…)

Keanu (comedy, Key & Peele. Rotten Tomatoes: 78%. Metacritic: 63. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “The absurdist kick in ‘Keanu,’ the first movie to showcase Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele together, has a tiny tail and squeak. Beloved of crime lords and doofuses alike, Keanu the kitten shows up early, padding underfoot through one of those artfully staged drug labs — armed guards, white powder, ominous lighting — that’s soon lit up with the sights and sounds of heavy artillery. Much like the Buddhalicious star he’s named for, Keanu slips unscathed through the fast-and-furious raining bullets, miraculously dodging death as a heavenly chorus lays down an apocalyptic track. Kitten has skills.” Read more…)

Mr. Right (comedy, Anna Kendrick. Rotten Tomatoes: 38%. Metacritic: 52. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Andy Webster’s Times review: “Anna Kendrick’s star shows no sign of dimming. A nominee for a Tony Award [in 1998] and an Academy Award [in 2010], she can anchor a musical comedy franchise [both ‘Pitch Perfect’ movies, with a third on the way] and indie character studies [Joe Swanberg’s ‘Happy Christmas’ and ‘Drinking Buddies’]. Now, with the slick, frenetic confection ‘Mr. Right,’ she dips into that tricky genre, the hybrid action thriller and romantic comedy — and scores again.” Read more…)

Last Days in the Desert (adventure/drama, Ewan McGregor. Rotten Tomatoes: 72%. Metacritic: 67. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Stephen Holden’s Times review: “Whether or not you accept the tenets of Christianity, ‘Last Days in the Desert,’ Rodrigo García’s austere depiction of the temptations of Christ, offers a quietly compelling portrait of the human side of Jesus, wrestling with his doubts while wandering through the Judean desert. Jesus [Ewan McGregor], called Yeshua, the Hebrew name for Jesus, is accompanied by a teasing, satanic doppelgänger [also Mr. McGregor] whom only he can see. In a mocking tone, the demon declares, ‘I am a liar — that is the truth,’ and baits Yeshua about his faith.” Read more…)

April_Extraordinary_WorldApril and the Extraordinary World (animated feature, Paul Giamatti [voice]. Rotten Tomatoes: 98%. Metacritic: 85. A  New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Glenn Kenny’s Times review: “Who says they don’t make mind-bending French science-fiction animated movies like they used to? Well, very few people, if any, I reckon. But the thought — or something similar to it — crossed my mind while watching ‘April and the Extraordinary World,’ a beautiful, inventive and uncannily satisfying new example of animated sci-fi from, yes, France.” Read more…)

High-Rise (drama, Tom Hiddleston. Rotten Tomatoes: 62%. Metacritic: 65. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “Robert Laing, a handsome doctor with tired eyes and a skeptical smirk — which is to say a doctor layed by Tom Hiddleston — remarks at one point that he feels as if he’s living ‘in a future that has already taken place.’ That pretty much sums up what it’s like to watch ‘High-Rise,’ Ben Wheatley’s reverent adaptation of the J. G. Ballard novel of the same title.” Read more…)

Batman: The Killing Joke (animated superhero action, Mark Hamill [voice]. Rotten Tomatoes: 53%. From Jeff Muskus’ New York Times review: “Things get a little biblical in the animated version of ‘Batman: The Killing Joke,’ adapted from the controversial Alan Moore graphic Novel, one of the darkest Dark Knight stories. [The film, which debuted recently at Comic-Con, also found its share of controversy.] It centers on the Joker — voiced by the Star Wars saga’s Mark Hamill, Mr. Conroy’s scene partner since the 1990s — pushing Batman to the brink by targeting his loved ones. It will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on Tuesday, Aug. 2, a week after its release on iTunes and other streaming services and a two-day run in about 1,000 theaters. Violent and occasionally sexual, it is the first Batman movie to be rated R.” Read more…)

New Foreign
Marguerite (France, comedy, Catherine Frot. Rotten Tomatoes: 96%. Metacritic: 76. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Stephen Holden’s Times review: “‘The self-deception that believes the lie.’ That phrase from the Rodgers and Hart song ‘I Wish I Were in Love again’ distills the theme of ‘Marguerite,’ Xavier Giannoli’s satirical comedy about a tone-deaf would-be opera diva who thinks she can sing. The character, Marguerite Dumont, is not to be confused with Margaret Dumont, the Marx Brothers’ comic foil in seven films. The similarity of names, however, seems intentional in this lavishly appointed period fantasy, inspired by the life of Florence Foster Jenkins, an American socialite and aspiring opera singer who was the butt of a cruel joke that everyone got but her.” Read more…)

New Television
Key & Peele: The Complete Series (Comedy Central)
The Knick: Season 2 (HBO Period drama, Clive Owen. Rotten Tomatoes: 97%. Metacritic: 85.)
The Girlfriend Experience: Season 1 (drama, Riley Keough. Rotten Tomatoes: 81%. Metacritic: 78.)

New Children’s DVDs
April and the Extraordinary World (animated feature, Paul Giamatti [voice])