New releases 9/3/19

Top Hits
Booksmart (comedy, Kaitlyn Dever. Rotten Tomatoes: 97%. Metacritic: 84. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “‘Booksmart’ is sharp but not mean, warm without feeling too soft or timid. The social stereotypes that have been a staple of the American high school experience as imagined in movies and TV shows going back to John Hughes — or ‘Happy Days,’ or Dobie Gillis — are still intact, but they function as myths to be debunked rather than truths to be upheld.” Read more…)

Men In Black: International (comedy/sci-fi, Chris Hemsworth. Rotten Tomatoes: 22%. Metacritic: 38. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “The usual slimy, strange and tentacled creatures slither and galumph through ‘Men in Black: International.’ Some are cute — like the itty-bitty being voiced by Kumail Nanjiani — but some look like leftovers from other fantasy franchises. The critters mingling with humans at Men-in-Black HQ could be on hiatus from the ‘Star Wars’ movies, while a ferocious extraterrestrial suggests a prototype from the ‘Alien’ series. Nearly everything here reminds you of something else, often better, cleverer, funnier.” Read more…)

The Last Black Man In San Francisco (drama, Jimmie Fails. Rotten Tomatoes: 93%. Metacritic: 84. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Manohla Dargis’ Times review: “The astonishing ‘Last Black Man in San Francisco’ is about having little in a grab-what-you-can world. It’s the haunting, elegiac story of Jimmie Fails — playing a version of himself — a young man trying to hold onto a sense of home in San Francisco. His parents are missing in action and someone else lives in the family’s old house. Given to dreamy, faraway looks, Jimmie seems not quite there, either. But he remains tethered to the city, somehow exalted by it. And when he slaloms down its hills on his skateboard, he doesn’t descend — he soars.” Read more…)

Ma (horror/thriller, Octavia Spencer. Rotten Tomatoes: 54%. Metacritic: 53. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “‘Ma,’ a clammy, sloppy, sometimes funny thriller about an enabler of underage drinking, could and maybe should have been advertised as ‘from the director of “The Help” and the producer of “Get Out.”’ The cognitive dissonance of seeing those two titles in one phrase is pretty good preparation for the crossed signals and jammed circuits that make this movie interesting. Which isn’t the same as good, exactly. The director [Tate Taylor] and the screenwriter [Scotty Landes] take a premise with all kinds of potential — a middle-aged woman first befriends and then terrorizes a bunch of teenagers — and find various ways to mess it up, while also delivering a few jolts and laughs along the way.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
Men In Black: International
Booksmart

New Foreign DVDs
Alps (Greece, 2012, drama, Aggeliki Papoulia. Rotten Tomatoes: 76%. Metacritic: 69. From A.O. Scott’s 2012 New York Times review: “A lot of the recent news from Greece has been sad and disturbing. The same could be said about some recent Greek films, though the words might have a slightly different meaning. This too is apt, since one theme of the movies in question — I’m thinking of ‘Dogtooth’ and ‘Attenberg’ as well as Yorgos Lanthimos’s ‘Alps,’ the subject of this review — is the absurd and alarming divergence of language from its objects.” Read more…)

New TV
True Detective: Season 3 (HBO mystery, Mahershala Ali. Rotten Tomatoes: 84%. Metacritic: 73. From James Poniewozik’s New York Times review: “If you score “True Detective” Season 3 on originality, it fails — for repeating both its own history and the already-dated cable genre of glum loners confronting the evils men do. But if you treat it as a do-over — if the series, like one of its haunted antiheroes, is retracing its steps to try to get things right — then it’s fine. Often quite good. Far more consistent.” Read more…)

New Documentaries
My Italian Secret: The Forgotten Heroes (history, Holocaust, heroism. Rotten Tomatoes: 80%. From Ben Kenigsberg’s New York Times review: “Narrated by Isabella Rossellini, the movie unfolds in a somewhat standard testimonial documentary format, mixing old photographs, re-enactments and a heavy-handed soundtrack. It provides a reasonable primer on Italy’s complicated history with the Holocaust and the Italian resistance.” Read more…)