New Releases 11/10/15

Top Hits
Mr. Holmes (mystery/thriller, Ian McKellen. Rotten Tomatoes: 87%. Metacritic: 67. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “The film’s plots are soft and flimsy, and they don’t mesh as gracefully as they might, but they do serve as an adequate trellis for Mr. McKellen’s performance, which is gratifyingly but unsurprisingly wonderful. With his craggy visage and papery diction, his Holmes is a study in wry, intellectual charisma. Anachronistic as it might be, it isn’t hard to imagine Benedict Cumberbatch, the kinetic, intensely focused Sherlock of the BBC series, aging into this mellow codger.” Read more…)

Self/Less (science fiction, Ben Kingsley. Rotten Tomatoes: 21%. Metacritic: 34. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “‘Self/less,’ written by the brothers David Pastor and Alex Pastor and directed by Tarsem Singh [‘Mirror Mirror,’ ‘The Cell’], has a smooth, opulent look and a plot that consists less of twists than of carefully signaled and executed turns.” Read more…)

Trainwreck (comedy, Amy Schumer. Rotten Tomatoes: 85%. Metacritic: 75. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Manohla Dargis’ Times review: “In ‘Trainwreck,’ Ms. Schumer plays, well, Amy, a more vanilla version of one of her comically flawed women, who aren’t as remotely together as they think or may appear to be. The movie, which was directed by Judd Apatow from her script, is often extremely funny, even if it never approaches the radicalness of her greatest, most dangerous work. Mr. Apatow’s talent as a movie director is opening up a space on screen in which comic performers (and some total stiffs) can be effortlessly funny together. In “Trainwreck,” he creates a roomy, comfortable vehicle stuffed with second bananas (both professional zanies and guest-starring squares), who support Ms. Schumer as she tosses out jokes, pops her eyes, deploys her deadpan and shows off her gift for old-school physical high jinks, often in heels and minis.” Read more…)

Terminator: Genisys (sci-fi action, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Rotten Tomatoes: 25%. Metacritic: 38. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “In a scene in ‘Terminator Genisys’ that’s on heavy rotation in the movie’s ads, the ol Arnold Schwarzenegger goes up against the new. The older version has the smoothly pampered skin of the best beauty treatments that Hollywood money can buy, with scarcely a visible line etching his sharply angled and ironed facial planes. Now, though, the new movie’s cyborg has abruptly come deadpan to deadpan with an unlined, recently minted identical twin that, like the original Terminator in 1984, has entered without any clothes. It’s strange to see Old and Young Arnold go at it, their refrigerator-size bodies slamming against each other in what plays like an intimate existential clash.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
Trainwreck
Terminator: Genisys
Terminator: Genisys 3D

New Foreign
Beyond Outrage (Japan, gangster drama, Beat Takeshi. Rotten Tomatoes: 47%. Metacritic: 53. From Nicolas Rapold’s New York Times review: “The men in Takeshi Kitano’s latest yakuza drama, ‘Beyond Outrage,’ are not ones for closure. While professionals in less bloody careers try to move from strength to strength, these mobsters in suits tend to move from outrage to outrage as part of their daily business. In this relentless, insular sequel to Mr. Kitano’s 2011 hit, ‘Outrage,’ actual physical violence is often less shocking than the scheming and betrayal that routinely shake up the traditional hierarchies behind these criminal enterprises.” Read more…)

Far From Men (France, existential drama based on Albert Camus short story, Viggo Mortensen. Rotten Tomatoes: 80%. Metacritic: 74. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “A tale of two rootless strangers, ‘Far From Men’ takes its inspiration from an Albert Camus short story that was first published in his collection ‘Exile and the Kingdom’ [1957]. The movie is considerably more sentimental than the Camus, which is as arid as its stark milieu and absent a ray of hope. The French writer-director David Oelhoffen fills in some of the narrative’s meaningful blanks with extra characters, back histories, low-key action scenes and a central relationship that feels, by turns, true and like wishful thinking. Camus sets the movie’s initial course, but Mr. Oelhoffen resolutely steers it home with political context, historical hindsight, an unambiguous moral imperative and a pair of well-matched performances; put another way, he makes the story his own.” Read more…)

Fjallbacka Murders (Sweden, crime series, Claudia Galli)

New American Back Catalog (post-1960)
Rolling Thunder (1977, thriller, William Devane. Rotten Tomatoes: 83%. From Vincent Canby’s 1977 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Though ‘Rolling Thunder’ appears to have been made primarily for what is loosely called ‘the action market,’ which will take violence, blood and gore over sex any day, it has a nice feeling for the way small-town America looks and sounds and it has several excellent performances.” Read more…)

Seconds (1966, sci-fi drama, Rock Hudson. Rotten Tomatoes: 90%.)

New British
Restless (World War II spy drama, Hayley Atwell)
Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries (series, Essie Davis)

New TV
Better Call Saul: Season 1 (Breaking Bad prequel, Bob Odenkirk)

New Documentaries
Do I Sound Gay? (gay/lesbian issues, culture, self esteem, George Takei. Rotten Tomatoes: 84%. Metacritic: 65. From Stephen Holden’s New York Times review: “David Thorpe’s engaging personal documentary, ‘Do I Sound Gay?,’ tiptoes into treacherous waters, where it stirs up a few ripples before gracefully backing out. Not so long ago, mockery of the sissy queen stereotype, with a limp wrist, a mincing gait and a lisp was a surefire laugh getter for comedians like Bob Hope, who made cruel sport of perceived effeminacy.” Read more…)

Mala Mala (gender identity in Puerto Rico, transgender. Rotten Tomatoes: 92%. Metacritic: 75. From Daniel M. Gold’s New York Times review: “‘Mala Mala,’ a survey of transgender individuals in Puerto Rico, is nothing if not timely. With Laverne Cox, the Amazon series ‘Transparent’ and Caitlyn Jenner, the topic of gender identity has gone mainstream.” Read more…)