New releases 4/10/18

Top Hits
Phantom Thread (romance/drama, Daniel Day-Lewis. Rotten Tomatoes: 91%. Metacritic: 90. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “‘Phantom Thread’ is not as hermetic as ‘The Master’ or as loosey-goosey as ‘Inherent Vice.’ It’s a chamber piece, romantic and baroque in equal measure, with arresting harmonies and ravishing changes of tone. [This might be the place to note that Jonny Greenwood composed the score]. Like ‘There Will Be Blood,’ it casts Mr. Day-Lewis as an avatar of obsession, driven this time by the pursuit of aesthetic perfection rather than money and power. But whereas Daniel Plainview in the earlier film was a vector of pure, demonic ambition, Reynolds Woodcock bemusedly discovers himself to be one leg of a complicated emotional triangle.” Read more…)

Molly’s Game (drama/poker, Jessica Chastain. Rotten Tomatoes: 82%. Metacritic: 71. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “Words aren’t really exchanged in ‘Molly’s Game,’ Aaron Sorkin’s directorial debut; they’re smashed like racquetballs. Life comes at you fast, and so do the words that rush out of Molly Bloom [Jessica Chastain] as she relays her tale. A poker entrepreneur who ran a high-stakes game before slamming into trouble, Molly is a speed-talker and somewhat of a close one, too. She delivers stretches of her story in a voice-over that suggests that Mr. Sorkin wrote and directed his movie with a stopwatch in one hand and a DVD of Howard Hawks’s motor-mouth comedy ‘His Girl Friday’ in the other.” Read more…)

The Greatest Showman (PT Barnum bio-pic, Hugh Jackman. Rotten Tomatoes: 55%. Metacritic: 48. From Jason Zinoman’s New York Times review: “‘The Greatest Showman,’ a montage sequence that occasionally turns into a movie musical, steers clear of any contemporary resonance and ignores meaty themes. The first-time director Michael Gracey achieves an aggressively synthetic style through kinetic editing and tidy underdog stories, but none of the true joy of pulling a fast one. It’s a standard-issue holiday biopic, one that tells a story about a populist entertainer hungry for highbrow respect, the joys of showbiz and the price of ambition.” Read more…)

All the Money In the World (thriller/drama based on true events, Christopher Plummer. Rotten Tomatoes: 72%. Metacritic: 78. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Manohla Dargis’ Times review: “‘All the Money in the World’ is a story of towering greed and the absence of mercy, and an ideal 21st century morality tale. It’s about money and families and the ties that bind and cut, although because it was directed by Ridley Scott there isn’t a jot of sentimentalism gumming the works. In July 1973, John Paul Getty III [known as Paul], the elder Getty’s 16-year-old grandson, was snatched off a street in Rome. His kidnappers demanded $17 million in ransom, telling Paul’s mother, ‘Get it from London.’ It was a reference to Getty Sr., who in turn responded, ‘If I pay one penny now, I’ll have 14 kidnapped grandchildren,’ a kiss-off heard around the world.” Read more…)

My Friend Dahmer (fact-based drama based on graphic novel/foodie, Ross Lynch. Rotten Tomatoes: 83%. Metacritic: 68. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “No matter how much of a social outcast you are in high school, there’s always this one kid who’s even worse off. I recall a guy who, on the one hand, had facial hair before anybody else in his class and, on the other, wore a slide rule attached to his belt. I wonder what happened to him. In ‘My Friend Dahmer,’ written and directed by Marc Meyers and adapted from a graphic novel memoir by Derf Backderf, that one kid is, yes, Jeffrey Dahmer, who shortly after completing his studies at an Ohio high school began his career as a sex offender, serial killer and cannibal.” Read more…)

The Tribes of Palos Verdes (drama, Maika Monroe. Rotten Tomatoes: 65%. Metacritic: 49. From Teo Bugbee’s New York Times review: “Directed by the brothers Brendan and Emmett Malloy, ‘The Tribes of Palos Verdes’ portrays the cultish fixations that can arise within volatile families. As the mother forces the weight of her sadness onto her son, the father pushes his daughter to be his advocate with his estranged wife, and the son projects his anxiety onto his sister. As Medina’s world churns, she takes up surfing, which gives her the only head cool enough to narrate this tale of family dysfunction.” Read more…)

Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay (animated comic book action, Christian Slater [voice]. Rotten Tomatoes: 80%.)

New Blu-Ray
The Greatest Showman
Phantom Thread
Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay
The Devil’s Rain
All That Heaven Allows

New American Back Catalog DVDs (post-1960)
Night Watch (1967, thriller, Elizabeth Taylor. Rotten Tomatoes: 33%.)

New British
Shakespeare Wallah (1965, Merchant-Ivory drama, Madhur Jaffrey. Rotten Tomatoes: 88%. From Bosley Crowther’s 1966 new York Times review [requires log-in]: “Thank goodness, ‘Shakespeare Wallah,’ the very delicate and lovely AngloIndian film that made such a favorable impression when it was shown at the New York Film Festival last fall, has finally found a lodging at the Baronet. It was shown there last night at a blacktie premiere for the benefit of UNICEF, and goes into continuous performance today. For this out-of-the-ordinary picture, which was made in India with a fascinating cast of British and Indian players, under the direction of an American, James Ivory, tells a sweetly romantic little story that softly suggests, in a minor key, the passage from India of the British colonial set.” Read more…)

The Child In Time (drama based on novel by Ian McEwan, Benedict Cumberbatch. Rotten Tomatoes: 80%. Metacritic: 83.)

New Television
Outlander: Season 3 (drama/fantasy series, Caitriona Balfe. Rotten Tomatoes: 94%. Metacritic: 87.)

New Documentaries
Citizen Jane: Battle for the City (urban design, activism, bio, Jane Jacobs. Rotten Tomatoes: 94%. Metacritic: 70. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “Because New York City is so ecumenically photogenic, I had high hopes for this documentary about two visionaries with diametrically opposed views of how the city and its residents best live. ‘Citizen Jane: Battle for the City,’ directed by Matt Tyrnauer, which chronicles the author and activist Jane Jacobs’s opposition to several ambitious, potentially ruinous Robert Moses projects, is only intermittently stimulating… The movie lights up whenever it shows archival footage of its antagonists: Jacobs is sensible, warm and witty; Moses is cocksure, occasionally truculent, openly contemptuous of the people his big ideas are likely to displace.” Read more…)