New releases 5/13/14

Top Hits
Her (futuristic drama, Joaquin Phoenix. Rotten Tomatoes: 94%. Metacritic: 90. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Manohla Dargis’ Times review: “She sounds like the girl next door — young, friendly, eager. For Theodore Twombly [Joaquin Phoenix], the poetically melancholic hero in Her, Spike Jonze’s exquisite new movie, that voice [Scarlett Johansson] is a lifeline to the world, which he has loosened his hold on since separating from his wife. The voice brightly greets him in the morning and, with a sexy huskiness, bids him good night in the evening. The voice organizes his files, gets him out of the house and, unlike some multitasking females, doesn’t complain about juggling her many roles as his assistant, comfort, turn-on, helpmate and savior — which makes her an ideal companion even if she’s also just software.” Read more…)

I, Frankenstein (fantasy adventure, Aaron Eckhardt. Rotten Tomatoes: 4%. Metacritic: 30. From Nicolas Rapold’s New York Times review: “Mary Shelley’s famous motherless child enters the angels-and-demons world of an apparent franchise bid in I, Frankenstein. Stuart Beattie’s solemn, ho-hum film largely shuns Shelley’s anguished creator as a character and turns his lonely monster into a football between the forces of good and evil: protective gargoyles and demons who covet his secret to immortality.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
Her

New Classics (pre-1960)
Home of the Brave (1949, war/social drama, Lloyd Bridges. Rotten Tomatoes: 80%. From Bosley Crowther’s 1949 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “The urgent and delicate subject of anti-Negro prejudice, often remarked in Hollywood movies but never fully discussed in one of them, is finally advanced with thorough candor as the major theme of an entertainment film in Stanley Kramer’s ingenious production of Arthur Laurents’ play, Home of the Brave. And, to no one’s surprise, the subject makes for a drama of force and consequence—a film of emotional impact as well as strong intellectual appeal. It opened yesterday at the Victoria for what should be a significant run. For Mr. Kramer’s picture comes directly and honestly to grips with the evil of racial defamation, which is one of the cruelest disturbers in our land. It faithfully shows the shattering damage which racial bias ran do to one man. And it has not the slightest hesitation in using all the familiar, ugly words. Its impression upon the national audience will be most interesting to gauge.” Read more…)

New TV
Orange Is the New Black: Season 1 (prison drama, Metacritic: 79. From Mike Hale’s New York Times television review: “First with ‘Weeds’ and now with ‘Orange Is the New Black,’ the television writer and producer Jenji Kohan has proved herself the master of an odd but successful narrative ploy: putting well-behaved middle-class white women in the middle of stories that typically feature rough nonwhite men. She further plays with our expectations by taking milieus usually associated with violence and heavy drama — drug dealing, prison life — and making them the subjects of lightly satirical dramedy.” Read more…)

Longmire: Season 2 (police procedural drama, Metacritic: 67.)

New Documentaries
Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy? (director Michel Gondry, animation, linguistics, Noam Chomsky. Rotten Tomatoes: 90%. Metacritic: 76. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “Blissfully unconventional as a documentary and as an intellectual endeavor, Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy? won’t tell you everything you’ve always wanted to know about [linguist and political activist Noam] Chomsky, but its modesty is one of its strengths, along with [director Michel] Gondry’s entrancing, vibrant illustrations. Both go a long way toward smoothing over some rough patches.” Read more…)