New Releases 6/23/15

Top Hits
The DUFF (teen comedy, Mae Whitman. Rotten Tomatoes: 72%. Metacritic: 56. From Ben Kenigsberg’s New York Times review: “Adapted from a novel by Kody Keplinger, whose website says that she wrote the book as a senior in high school, ‘The DUFF’ begins, in an apparent nod to ‘The Breakfast Club,’ by informing us that teenage stereotypes have changed: ‘Jocks play video games, princesses are on antidepressants.’ You could have fooled these characters, who ruthlessly enforce the traditional pecking order.” Read more…)

The Forger (crime thriller, John Travolta. Rotten Tomatoes: 6%. Metacritic: 32. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “Preposterousness is not necessarily a vice, and plausibility is a weak virtue. Just ask Alfred Hitchcock. So to say that the conceits of ‘The Forger’ [directed by Philip Martin] are ridiculous isn’t really saying much. It’s also dull, incoherent and drab to look at. There may be a glimmer of interest when Christopher Plummer shows up as Ray’s con-man dad, and another when Will’s drug-addict mother turns out to be Jennifer Ehle, but hope is quickly replaced by frustration that they had to waste their talents on a piece of straight-to-video hack work.” Read more…)

Survivor (action, Milla Jovovich. Rotten Tomatoes: 6%. Metacritic: 26. From Neil Genzlinger’s New York Times review: “Milla Jovovich spends most of ‘Survivor,’ a thriller about a terrorist plot, running from various people. She runs from London to New York and, ultimately, into the land of the preposterous.” Read more…)

New Foreign
Timbuktu (Mauritania, drama, Ibrahim Ahmed. Rotten Tomatoes: 99%. Metacritic: 91. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “There is a strong current of anger and disgust running through his film, which was inspired by the Islamist takeover of Timbuktu and other parts of northern Mali in 2012. With some adjustments, it could have been set in Syria, Iraq, Nigeria or Pakistan. But the glory of ‘Timbuktu’ lies in its devotion to local knowledge, in the way it allows its gaze to wander away from violence toward images of beauty and grace.” Read more…)

New Documentaries
Rich Hill (social issues, economics, coming-of-age. Rotten Tomatoes: 84%. Metacritic: 75. From Nicolas Rapold’s New York Times review: “In ‘Rich Hill,’ Tracy Droz Tragos and Andrew Droz Palermo, cousins and documentarians, immerse themselves in the depressed Missouri town of the title, from which their parents hail. But rather than attempt an elegy for the town, a former coal producer, or an essay on poverty, the pair zero in on three teenagers from struggling homes. The result, shot over a year and a half, is an intimately observant look at individual children and the details of their daily lives and personalities.” Read more…)