New releases 5/24/16

Top Hits
Finest_HoursThe Finest Hours (action/drama, Chris Pine. Rotten Tomatoes: 62%. Metacritic: 58. From Stephen Holden’s New York Times review: “The waterlogged disaster movie ‘The Finest Hours’ is a moderately gripping whoosh of nostalgia that shamelessly recycles the ’50s cliché of the squeaky-clean all-American hero. In this Disney movie, adapted from a book by Michael J. Tougias and Casey Sherman and based on real events in February 1952, Bernie Webber [Chris Pine], a Coast Guard sailor based in Chatham, Mass., leads a next-to-impossible rescue mission during the most fearsome nor’easter this side of ‘The Perfect Storm.'” Read more…)

Zoolander 2 (comedy, Ben Stiller. Rotten Tomatoes: 24%. Metacritic: 34. From Stephen Holden’s New York Times review: “If you took away the extravagantly gaudy trappings of the overproduced, chaotic, not very funny comic circus that is ‘Zoolander 2,’ you would still have a surefire basic concept. Derek Zoolander [Ben Stiller], an airhead model forever pursing his lips, striking poses and practicing his telekinetic blue-steel glare in the mirror, is a Chaplinesque Everyman in a delusional bubble. The prevalence of outrageous male vanity was the dirty little secret in the first ‘Zoolander’ that lent the film its satirical bite. In the 15 years that have passed since then, it is anything but a secret in a world of competing buff, preening dandies.” Read more…)

Risen (Biblical-era drama, Joseph Fiennes. Rotten Tomatoes: 52%. Metacritic: 77. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “Unfolding like a clunky episode of ‘Law & Order,’ the biblical procedural ‘Risen’ confronts the Resurrection through the stiffly skeptical countenance of Joseph Fiennes, who takes on the role of Clavius, a Roman army tribune, as if it were a life sentence. Which it might have become had the producers [including Affirm Films, the faith-based corner of Sony Pictures], trying to appeal to believers and nonbelievers, extended their near-decade of tinkering and test screenings.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
Zoolander 2

New Foreign
La_Juala_de_OroLa Jaula de Oro aka The Golden Dream (Mexico, drama, Brandon Lopez. Rotten Tomatoes: 88%. Metacritic: 74. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Stephen Holden’s Times review: “Buoyed by the wonderfully natural performances of its young leads, ‘La Jaula de Oro’ is a compelling social-realist drama that owes much to the style of the British social-realist filmmaker Ken Loach, for whom Mr. Quemada-Diez once worked as a camera assistant. The movie unblinkingly observes the hardships endured by these vulnerable children, who are harassed by soldiers and policemen, roughed up, robbed, forced to work as drug mules and imprisoned by kidnappers.” Read more…)

New Classic DVDs (pre-1960)
Flame_Barbary_CoastFlame of Barbary Coast (1945, period drama, John Wayne. From an unsigned 1945 New York Times review prequires log-in]: “‘Flame of Barbary Coast,’ which arrived at the Globe on Saturday, is a melodramatic excursion to that erstwhile sinful sector and a cinematic commemoration of Republic’s tenth anniversary as a corporate entity. The studio may be forgiven for its proud preening in public. It has done right well by itself during the last decade, but ‘Flame of Barbary Coast’ hardly is “the triumphant milestone of film achievement” company reports would indicate. For this handsomely caparisoned vehicle, lush as to décor and meticulous as to period detail, merely is the story of an indomitable cowhand’s lone fight for a beautiful lady’s hand against the gambling set of pre-earthquake San Francisco. And, as such, it suffers from the tedium of a tale told too often.” Read more…)

The Private Affairs of Bel Ami (1946, period drama set in Paris, George Sanders. From Bosley Crowther’s 1947 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Perhaps we had better advise you that “The Private Affairs of Bel Ami” reaches the peak of its excitement in a foreword which awesomely proclaims, “This is the history of a scoundrel—the time is 1880, the place is Paris.” If that portentous information doesn’t knock you out of your seat, you may be reasonably certain that nothing else in the picture will.” Read more…)

New Television
Outsiders: Season 1

New Documentaries
Janis_Little_Girl_BlueJanis: Little Girl Blue (bio, music, Janis Joplin. Rotten Tomatoes: 91%. Metacritic: 74. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Stephen Holden’s Times review: “In Amy Berg’s documentary ‘Janis: Little Girl Blue,’ the sound that erupts from Janis Joplin singing the ’60s R&B classic ‘Cry Baby’ comes as close as I’ve heard to a grown-up singer capturing a baby’s primal squall. Heard today, this raw, insistent scream, from Joplin’s posthumously released 1971 album, ‘Pearl,’ is as disturbing and powerful as ever. But Joplin, who died of a heroin overdose the previous year at 27, wasn’t an infant. She had a woman’s voice. More than any rock star of her generation she fearlessly vented the emotions of her needy inner girl-child. The film sustains a double vision of both the child and the hard-living folk-blues mama Joplin became.” Read more…)

No No: A Dockumentary (sports, culture, race, bio, Dock Ellis. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 68. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Daniel M. Gold’s Times review: “The Dock of ‘No No: A Dockumentary’ is Dock Ellis, the Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher who famously claimed he had thrown his 1970 no-hitter against the San Diego Padres while on LSD. In recounting Ellis’s career, the director, Jeffrey Radice, deftly crosscuts interviews with Ellis, who died in 2008, with those of teammates, friends and former wives, to depict an occasionally volatile athlete who was more thoughtful than many assumed and who became a dedicated addiction counselor.” Read more…)