New releases 2/14/17

Top Hits
Arrival (sci-fi, Amy Adams. Rotten Tomatoes: 94%. Metacritic: 81. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Manohla Dargis’ Times review: “‘Arrival’ is a science-fiction parable in a distinctly more idealistic hopeful key than most movies in this genre, one in which the best solutions don’t necessarily materialize in a gun sight. It has a little action, a bit of violence and clenched-jawed jittery men. Mostly, it has ideas and hope, as well as eerie extraterrestrials who face off with a soulful linguist-heroine, Louise Banks [Amy Adams], the story’s voice of reason and its translator. She’s thoughtful, serious, at ease with her own silence and fears. She’d get along fine with Sandra Bullock’s character in ‘Gravity,’ which like this movie leans into feeling and thinking, and reminds you again that there’s more to this genre than heavy artillery.” Read more…)

Christine (drama, Rebecca Hall. Rotten Tomatoes: 88%. Metacritic: 72. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “Every so often, an actor takes possession of a role so thoroughly — turning each line, flickering look and gesture into an expression of being — that she becomes your way into the movie as well as the reason you keep watching. That’s the case with Rebecca Hall, the star of ‘Christine,’ a period drama about a television reporter, Christine Chubbuck, that plays more like an autopsy than like a biopic. In 1974 Ms. Chubbuck shot herself on the air, possibly becoming the first person to commit suicide on live TV. The ancient Romans had the Colosseum; we have television.” Read more…)

Gimme Danger (music bio, Iggy & The Stooges, Jim Jarmusch. Rotten Tomatoes: 95%. Metacritic: 72.. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Stephen Holden’s Times review: “Considering the frenzied psychedelic circus it might have been, ‘Gimme Danger,’ Jim Jarmusch’s reverent documentary portrait of Iggy Pop, one of rock’s ultimate daredevil provocateurs, is downright prim. There are casual confessions of self-destructive, out-of-control behavior by Iggy Pop and his band, the Stooges. But you don’t see it. You only hear about it, and it’s glossed over as yesterday’s bad-boy antics.” Read more…)

The Edge of Seventeen (comedy, Woody Harrelson. Rotten Tomatoes: 95%. Metacritic: 77. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Stephen Holden’s Times review: “To call ‘The Edge of Seventeen’ one of the best films about high school kids in 25 years isn’t to say it’s a masterpiece. In its raw honesty, it barely begins to approach Marielle Heller’s far tougher, more realistic ‘The Diary of a Teenage Girl,’ whose sexually curious 15-year-old title character entices her mother’s boyfriend into a clandestine affair. But it can hold its own against ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower,’ ‘Clueless’ and other movies that have raised the bar on teenage movies.” Read more…)

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (war drama, Joe Alwyn. Rotten Tomatoes: 45%. Metacritic: 53. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “In 2004, George W. Bush was in the White House, Beyoncé was in Destiny’s Child and more than 100,000 American troops were in Iraq. Whether or not this could be called a more innocent time, innocence is the central idea — the premise, the moral, the scarlet letter and the white whale — of ‘Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk,’ which takes place in that not-so-distant year. Directed by Ang Lee and adapted from Ben Fountain’s novel, a National Book Award finalist in 2012, the movie is dominated by the baby blues and shy smile of its title character, an Army specialist from a small town in Texas. Billy [Joe Alwyn] and the other surviving members of Bravo Company, having endured a hellish firefight in Iraq, find themselves in equally surreal if less perilous circumstances back in the U.S.A., where they have been conscripted into the halftime show of a Thanksgiving Day professional football game.” Read more…)

Bleed For This (sports drama, Miles Teller. Rotten Tomatoes: 71%. Metacritic: 62. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Glenn Kenny’s Times review: “[Lead actor Miles] Teller first plays his boxer as a hardheaded, generally likable mook — a bit of a bad boy, but over all an emblem of the integrity of the working-class athlete. After the accident, the portrayal deepens, and delivers substantial emotional dividends without yielding to facile sentimentality. As his trainer, Mr. Eckhart is similarly committed. Mr. Younger’s direction is focused and sometimes disarming — scenes that at first seem like slice-of-life digressions, such as a postaccident surprise birthday party for the protagonist, lead to unexpected mini-epiphanies.” Read more…)

Priceless (drama, Joel Smallbone. Metacritic: 41.)

New Blu-Ray
Arrival
The Edge of Seventeen

New Foreign
Disorder (France, thriller, Matthias Schoenaerts. Rotten Tomatoes: 73%. Metacritic: 66. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “Alice Winocour’s ‘Disorder’ is a tightly wound spring of a movie, a tour de force of sound design and sly editing that implies much more than it shows. The premise is simple. A twitchy, traumatized veteran returns to France from a Central Asian war zone and picks up some security work during what he hopes will be a short interval between tours of duty. A fairly straightforward assignment ‘babysitting’ the wife and son of a well-connected rich guy turns out to be more complicated and dangerous than anyone expected.” Read more…)

New Documentaries
Gimme Danger (music bio, Iggy & The Stooges, Jim Jarmusch. Rotten Tomatoes: 95%. Metacritic: 72.. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Stephen Holden’s Times review: “Considering the frenzied psychedelic circus it might have been, ‘Gimme Danger,’ Jim Jarmusch’s reverent documentary portrait of Iggy Pop, one of rock’s ultimate daredevil provocateurs, is downright prim. There are casual confessions of self-destructive, out-of-control behavior by Iggy Pop and his band, the Stooges. But you don’t see it. You only hear about it, and it’s glossed over as yesterday’s bad-boy antics.” Read more…)

All Things Must Pass (Tower Records story. Rotten Tomatoes: 97%. Metacritic: 73. From Andy Webster’s New York Times review: “‘Everybody in a record store is a little bit your friend for 20 minutes or so,’ says Bruce Springsteen in Colin Hanks’ breezy documentary ‘All Things Must Pass,’ an examination of the ill-fated trajectory of the Tower Records empire. To anyone who has ever savored a chat with a record store clerk about nuggets in a pop artist’s catalog, the sentiment is familiar. This movie makes you appreciate anew the one-on-one social dimension lost in the music industry’s headlong switch to digital downloads.” Read more…)

New Music DVDs
Gimme Danger (music bio, Iggy & The Stooges, Jim Jarmusch)

New Children’s DVDs
Scooby-Doo: Shaggy’s Showdown