New releases 5/1/18

Top Hits
Paddington 2 (family feature, Hugh Grant. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 88. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Teo Bugbee’s Times review: “Neighborliness is next to godliness in ‘Paddington 2.’ It’s telling that the film’s villain is a performer whose narcissism prohibits collaboration, a man who finds his neighbors a nuisance. For Phoenix Buchanan, the only object worth examining is his own mirror. By contrast, Mr. King and his excellent team of actors and animators spin good writing and seamless digital effects into Rococo children’s entertainment.” Read more…)

Winchester (horror, Helen Mirren. Rotten Tomatoes: 14%. Metacritic: 28. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “Released without fanfare or publicity screenings, the haunted-house movie ‘Winchester’ would seem to lack the confidence of its makers. One soon sees why: Despite the typically elevating presence of Helen Mirren, this super-silly feature [the fifth from the Australian brothers Peter and Michael Spierig] stubbornly resists being classed up.” Read more…)

Peter Rabbit (furry family live action CGI fun, Domhnall Gleeson. Rotten Tomatoes: 62%. Metacritic: 52. from Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “Indeed, despite the fact that the film’s director is Will Gluck [an American whose prior film was the 2014 ‘Annie’ remake]the mode of cheeky humor here is reasonably British. There are at least a handful of inflections of Aardman, the renowned British stop-motion animation studio, in this picture. The scene in which Peter, his sisters Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail, and his neurotic sidekick Benjamin Bunny travel to London on a mission to find a crucial human character recalls Aardman’s ‘Shaun the Sheep Movie,’ from 2015. Let me be clear, though: ‘Shaun the Sheep Movie’ is an animation masterpiece, while this film is … not.” Read more…)

12 Strong (war/action, Chris Hemsworth. Rotten Tomatoes: 54%. Metacritic: 54. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “For devotees of cinematic blowouts and dedicated students of screen masculinity [like me], ’12 Strong’ is premium, Grade A catnip. Directed by the newcomer Nicolai Fuglsig, it is generally watchable, if unsurprisingly easier on the eyes than on the ears or brain. It’s well stocked with dependable actors and ornamented with swooping aerial shots of the severely beautiful landscape.” Read more…)

Please Stand By (drama/comedy, Dakota Fanning. Rotten Tomatoes: 58%. Metacritic: 49. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “Dakota Fanning is now 23, yet still has the air of a fragile child. And in Ben Lewin’s ‘Please Stand By,’ that sometimes brittle vulnerability serves her well as Wendy, a young woman with autism who dreams of leaving her group home in San Francisco and living with her married sister and baby niece. Yet despite her commitment to the role — and the generally fine supporting performances — this timorous tale sidesteps uncomfortable realities in favor of soothing whimsy and preordained uplift.” Read more…)

Hostiles (western, Christian Bale. Rotten Tomatoes: 73%. Metacritic: 65. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “In between the explicitly cited [D.H.] Lawrence and the implicitly footnoted [John] Wayne [in ‘The Searchers’ reference], the action winds from New Mexico to Montana and the modern movie audience is led on a tour of a familiar mythic landscape. Our guide, Scott Cooper, who adapted an unpublished manuscript by the screenwriter Donald E. Stewart into this handsome oater, has updated the talking points to take account of changed sensibilities. The result may not quite be a masterpiece, but it is nonetheless a credible master’s thesis, a careful and well-informed exploration of the paradoxes that are as integral to the western genre as horses, whiskey and guns.” Read more…)

My All-American (sports drama, Finn Wittrock. Rotten Tomatoes: 32%. Metacritic: 34.)

New Blu-Ray
Peter Rabbit
Hostiles
12 Strong

New Foreign DVDs
In Between (Palestine/Israel, drama, Mouna Hawa. Rotten Tomatoes: 98%. Metacritic: 78. From A. O. Scott’s New York Times review: “‘In Between,’ Maysaloun Hamoud’s film about three Palestinian women sharing an apartment in Tel Aviv, is fatalistic about the local political situation, pessimistic about men and encouraged by the power of female solidarity. In other words, whether by serendipity or prophetic insight or some combination of the two, it’s a perfect movie for the moment.” Read more…)

In the Fade (Germany, action/drama, Diane Kruger. Rotten Tomatoes: 75%. Metacritic: 64. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “‘In the Fade,’ the new film by Fatih Akin, is divided into three parts. The first two follow a pattern that will be familiar to ‘Law and Order’ fans. A crime is investigated, and then a trial conducted, with a few twists and reversals on the way to the verdict. The emphasis, though, falls less on the procedural aspects of the case than its psychological effects, specifically on Katja Sekerci [Diane Kruger], a German woman whose husband and young son are killed in a bombing in Hamburg.” Read more…)

New Classic DVDs (pre-1960)
5 Fingers (1952, World War II spy drama, James Mason. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. From Bosley Crowther’s 1952 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Those who may fear that the old days of silken spy films are as dead as the gone days of diamond tiaras and princely diplomacy can now settle back in the comfort and the tingling satisfaction to be had from Twentieth Century Fox ‘Five Fingers,’ which arrived at the Roxy yesterday.” Read more…)

New British
Broken (drama, Sean Bean)

New Television
Grace and Frankie: Season 2 (comedy series, Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin. Rotten Tomatoes: 89%. Metacritic: 62.)

New Documentaries
The Wonderful World of Puppies and Kittens (furry cuteness, woof woof, meow)
Capitalism: Six Part Series (economic, politics, history)

New Children’s DVDs
Mary and the Witch’s Flower (Japanese animated feature, English soundtrack, Kate Winslet [voice]. Rotten Tomatoes: 88%. Metacritic: 73. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “Based on ‘The Little Broomstick,’ a durably popular novel by Mary Stewart, and directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi, ‘Mary and the Witch’s Flower’ is a charming children’s entertainment that sometimes seems to have been genetically engineered from other such entertainments. The rustling forests and voluptuous clouds recall the work of Hayao Miyazaki, and Mary herself shows an obvious kinship to the young witch in ‘Kiki’s Delivery Service.’ [Mr. Yonebayashi worked as an animator on several of Mr. Miyazaki’s films.] Mary also resembles both Harry Potter and Hermione Granger, especially once she makes her way to a school of magic called Endor.” Read more…