New Releases 7/7/15

Top Hits
Woman In Gold (drama, Helen Mirren. Rotten Tomatoes: 53%. Metacritic: 51. From Stephen Holden’s New York Times review: “[Actress Hellen] Mirren’s portrayal of this sometimes fearsome woman who doesn’t suffer fools is ultimately sympathetic; her chilly reserve and aristocratic manners camouflage a reservoir of feeling. Her dry-eyed performance is the more impressive because the role could so easily have been milked for weepy sentimentality. For apart from Ms. Mirren’s performance, ‘Woman in Gold’ smugly and shamelessly pushes familiar buttons. As directed by Simon Curtis [‘My Week with Marilyn’] from a screenplay by Alexi Kaye Campbell, “Woman in Gold” turns a complicated story with many debatable questions about artistic provenance and ownership into a standard historical drama about good guys versus bad guys.” Read more…)

5 Flights Up (romance, Morgan Freeman. Rotten Tomatoes: 54%. Metacritic: 55. From Stephen Holden’s New York Times review: “In his prime, the playwright Neil Simon could have built a bright, caustic comedy around the competition for decent, affordable housing in New York. In ‘5 Flights Up,’ the British director Richard Loncraine, who directed from Charlie Peters’s screen adaptation of Jill Ciment’s novel Heroic Measures, has made something less abrasive than Mr. Simon might have written and carefully tailored it to its stars’ likable screen personalities. The lead performances [by Diane Keaton and Morgan Freeman] are so perfectly in sync that Alex and Ruth really feel like an old married couple who know each other’s foibles and cherish every tic.” Read more…)

’71 (political action thriller, Jack O’Connell. Rotten Tomatoes: 97%. Metacritic: 83. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Manohla Dargis’ Times review: “In ‘’71,’ an excitingly jumpy, finely calibrated chase movie about a British soldier caught behind enemy lines, the director Yann Demange goes from zero to 100 in the blink of an eye. The soldier is played by Jack O’Connell, last seen being brutalized [in more ways than one] in ‘Unbroken,’ the Angelina Jolie biopic about Louis Zamperini. That movie proved a bad fit for Mr. O’Connell, who never put down roots in the character, an Olympian turned World War II captive, because Ms. Jolie couldn’t or wouldn’t let him. By contrast, Mr. O’Connell runs away with “’’71,’ in which his character’s every emotional, psychological and physical hurdle makes for kinetic cinema.” Read more…)

Slow West (action/western, Kodi Smit-McPhee. Rotten Tomatoes: 91%. Metacritic: 73. From Stephen Holden’s New York Times review: “The surreal frontier fable ‘Slow West,’ written and directed by John Maclean [‘Man on a Motorcycle’], is an absurdist deconstruction of classic Hollywood westerns whose 21st-century view of frontier mythology is as sardonic as that of the Coen brothers. The glorious cinematography, by Robbie Ryan, sharply illustrates the disparity between the rugged majesty of the landscape and the savagery of its outlaws and adventurers, who resemble vermin scuttling through the underbrush of a perilous no man’s land.” Read more…)

New Foreign
Human Capital (Italy, drama, Fabrizio Bentivoglio. Rotten Tomatoes: 81%. Metacritic: 63. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “A tale of two families and one ruinously divided country, ‘Human Capital’ plunges a large spike into the heart of the Italian rich and its ravenous middle-class aspirants. Smoothly schematic and ferociously unsentimental, the movie has been separated into several alternating voices, but its overall trajectory mirrors the arc of the sweeping double staircase that fronts the wealthy family’s mansion. Each side of the staircase leads to the same luxurious entrance and all that shimmers and gleams beyond, except that not everyone manages the climb with equal success.” Read more…)

New American Back Catalog (post-1960)
Report to the Commissioner (1975, Action drama, Michael Moriarty. From Nora Sayre’s 1974  New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Festooned with liberal intentions gone awry, Milton Katselas’s ‘Report to the Commissioner’ suggests an awkward mating or ‘Serpico’ and Watergate—a coupling that’s rapidly established when police officials exclaim, ‘We have the biggest scandal the department ever had!’ and ‘I want a report—I don’t want a coverup!’ Apparently, some policemen are impure. The movie, which concentrates on a young rookie cop [Michael Moriarty] who becomes a fali guy for two of his ambitious colleagues, was adapted from James Mills’s novel, and it opened yesterday at neighborhood theaters.” Read more…)

New British
Poldark: Season 1 (period drama, Aidan Turner. Rotten Tomatoes: 87%. Metacritic: 72.)

New Television
House of Cards: Season 3 (political drama, Kevin Spacey. Rotten Tomatoes: 77%. Metacritic: 76.)

New Documentaries
A Brony Tale (culture, My Little Pony, fandom, subcultures. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%.)
Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony (culture, My Little Pony, fandom, subcultures)

New Children’s DVDs
Barbie & The Secret Door