New releases 6/26/18

Top Hits
Gemini (neo-noir, Lola Kirke. Rotten Tomatoes: 77%. Metacritic: 71. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “Every so often, a filmmaker plays with these banalities, which I imagine is why Aaron Katz opens ‘Gemini,’ a pleasurably drifty, low-wattage mystery set in Los Angeles, with an upside-down shot of a palm tree. Perfectly framed and photographed, its feathery fronds spreading in silhouette against a dark-indigo night sky, the tree hangs in the shot like a chandelier. Mr. Katz gives ‘Gemini’ the expected smoggy freeways and a blonde on a billboard, as well as the kind of mystery that certain Hollywood dreams are made of, complete with a femme fatale, a detective and a lonely horn on the soundtrack. But as that upside-down palm tree suggests, he is coming at Los Angeles from his own angle.” Read more…)

Spinning Man (mystery, Pierce Brosnan. Rotten Tomatoes: 42%. Metacritic: 44. From Jennifer Szalai’s New York Times review: “Can a movie devoid of thrills be called a thriller? That’s the kind of question Evan Birch [Guy Pearce], the befuddled professor at the center of ‘Spinning Man,’ might ask the college students in his philosophy of language class. Based on George Harrar’s clever novel of the same name, this cumbersome adaptation [written by Matthew Aldrich and directed by Simon Kaijser] goes through the motions of building suspense, even as it leaks tension at nearly every turn.” Read more…)

The Endless (horror/sci-fi, Aaron Moorhead. Rotten Tomatoes: 96%. Metacritic: 80. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Glenn Kenny’s Times review: “The young filmmaking team of Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead made a critical splash with their 2015 horror picture ‘Spring,’ an inventive mutant romance. With their new film, ‘The Endless,’ they take a few unusual risks. ‘The Endless’ revisits the setting and some of the situations from ‘Resolution,’ their 2013 feature debut. In that movie Mr. Benson and Mr. Moorhead appeared in small roles as members of a U.F.O. cult. Here, they are the leads, telling a continued story of those characters.” Read more…)

Tyler Perry’s Acrimony (thriller, Taraji P. Henson. Rotten Tomatoes: 23%. Metacritic: 32. From Ben Kenigsberg’s New York Times review: “The moral of ‘Acrimony’ seems to be: Leave a bad man, especially one who cheated on you before marriage and leeches off your financial resources — unless he has poured his life into the dream of inventing a self-recharging battery, in which case the bonds of matrimony are sacrosanct and no sacrifice is too great.” Read more…)

Terminal (crime/drama, Margot Robbie. Rotten Tomatoes: 23%. Metacritic: 26. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “There are only a handful of speaking parts in Vaughn Stein’s ‘Terminal,’ and, even so, Margot Robbie and Mike Myers are required to play two apiece. Yet in this tarted-up noir cartoon — a pastiche of comic-book characters, hard-boiled dialogue and nonsense served up as enigma — not even Ms. Robbie can impart respectability.” Read more…)

Madame (comedy, Toni Collette. Rotten Tomatoes: 37%. Metacritic: 45.)

New Foreign
Back to Burgundy (France, drama/vino, Pio Marmaï. Rotten Tomatoes: 71%. Metacritic: 58. From Ben Kenigsberg’s New York Times review: “But so it goes with Cédric Klapisch’s comfort-food feature, which is primarily a scenic and knowing ode to traditional winemaking. Mr. Klapisch lingers his camera lovingly over shots of grapes being harvested and stomped, all the while employing story mechanics and flashbacks indelicate enough to suggest the churn of a factory juicer.” Read more…)

The Banishment (Russia, drama, Konstantin Lavronenko. Rotten Tomatoes: 61%. Metacritic: 59. From Ben Kenigsberg’s New York Times review: “The first two-thirds are an extraordinary slow burn that provides ample time to admire [director Andrey] Zvyagintsev’s talent with the wide frame. The movie is marred by an unsatisfying resolution, which has a coyness better suited to literature.” Read more…)

Beauty and the Dogs (Tunisia, feminist drama, Mariam Al Ferjani. Rotten Tomatoes: 71%. Metacritic: 65. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ Times review: “A crescendo of humiliation, anxiety and abuse, ‘Beauty and the Dogs’ plays like a horror movie where every choice is a Catch-22 and every door a trap. Unfolding over one endless night and nine chapters — each confidently filmed in a single, liquid take — the story [by the film’s Tunisian director, Kaouther Ben Hania] follows Mariam [Mariam Al Ferjani], a young student. Raped by the police after a university party, Mariam, accompanied by a young man she has just met [Ghanem Zrelli], desperately seeks help, first from an indifferent private clinic and then a chaotic public hospital.” Read more…)

Spiral: Season 2 (Parisian cop thriller series, Caroline Proust)
Detective Montalbano: Episodes 31 & 32 (Italy, detective series, Luca Zingaretti)

New Classic DVDs (pre-1960)
Million Dollar Mermaid (1952, splashy biopic, Esther Williams. From Bosley Crowther’s 1952 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “This Technicolored shindig, which laughingly pretends to be a biography of the famous swimmer Annette Kellerman, is a luxuriance of razzle-dazzle that includes Hippodrome acts, water ballets, bathing suit shows, diving performances, low comedy, anachronisms and cliches. It also includes an abundance of Miss Williams and Victor Mature, but it does not include the felicities of a reasonably fascinating script.” Read more…)

New American Back Catalog DVDs (post-1960)
The Innocents (1961, Gothic, Criterion Collection, Deborah Kerr. Rotten Tomatoes: 96%. From Bosley Crowther’s 1961 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Folks who have never seen a movie set in a scary old house, where the doors creak, the wind howls around corners, ghosts pace the long, dark halls and hideous, spectral faces appear in the windows at night, should find themselves beautifully frightened and even intellectually aroused by Jack Clayton’s new picture, ‘The Innocents.'” Read more..)

New British DVDs
Girlfriends: Series 1 (drama series, Miranda Richardson. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%.)

New Television
Legion: Season 1 (drama/action series, Dan Stevens. Rotten Tomatoes: 89%. Metacritic: 82.)