New releases 7/19/16

Top Hits
Batman_V_SupermanBatman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice (superhero action, Henry Cavill. Rotten Tomatoes: 27%. Metacritic: 44. From A.O. scott’s New York Times review: “A diverting entertainment might have been made about the rivalry between these two muscle-bound paladins — a bromance or a buddy comedy, an album of duets. ‘Batman v Superman,’ directed by Zack Snyder [‘300,’ ‘Watchmen,’ ‘Sucker Punch,’ ‘Man of Steel’], is none of those things. It is about as diverting as having a porcelain sink broken over your head [one of the more amusing things that happens onscreen]. In keeping with current business imperatives, what Mr. Snyder has concocted is less a free-standing film than the opening argument in a very long trial. Its two-and-a-half-hour running time — not so much a ‘dawn’ as an entire morning spent watching the clock in anticipation of lunchtime — is peppered with teasers for coming sequels.” Read more…)

Elvis & Nixon (historical drama/comedy, Michael Shannon. Rotten Tomatoes: 77%. Metacritic: 59. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “On Dec. 21, 1970, one of the most popular men in the world met one who would soon be among the more loathed, shaking hands and trading small talk. During this weird Oval Office summit, Elvis Presley [the beloved] trash-talked the Beatles as un-American and Richard M. Nixon [the other guy] handed out souvenirs to the King’s courtiers. Nixon didn’t write about this encounter in his memoirs, but a photograph of him smiling while shaking hands with Presley is the most requested item from the National Archives — a bigger hit than even the Constitution or the Bill of Rights.” Read more…)

Miles_AheadMiles Ahead (music bio-pic, Don Cheadle. Rotten Tomatoes: 73%. Metacritic: 64. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Manohla DargisTimes review: “There’s a hopped-up scene in ‘Miles Ahead,’ controlled yet frenzied, when you get why Don Cheadle decided to go for broke. He’s playing Miles Davis [he also directed] and the time is the late 1970s — although it’s also the 1960s. Time and space tend to blur in this movie and while the setting is a ’70s boxing match, a couple of figures from Miles’s past — his wife, his younger self — soon swing in to shake things up. She’s running scared and the 1970s Miles is running amok, but the younger Miles, well, there he is, too, playing it cool in the ring. Music is fighting, at least for this pugilist.” Read more…)

Underdogs (animated feature, Ariana Grande [voice]. Rotten Tomatoes: 67%. Metacritic: 38.)

New Blu-Ray
Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice

New Foreign
My_Golden_DaysMy Golden Days (France, romance, Mathieu Amalric. Rotten Tomatoes: 90%. Metacritic: 87. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Manohla Dargis’ Times review: “Near the end of ‘My Golden Days,’ an elegy for young love and its lingering ache, a wind starts to stir. And, for the second time in this transcendent film, Paul Dédalus, its middle-aged hero, is caught up in a gust. But where once autumn leaves swirled at Paul’s feet, he now finds himself walking —in keeping with the story’s romantic melancholy — amid a tornado of flying book pages and thinking of the girl who once loved him. ‘The hour of the waning of love has beset us,’ William Butler Yeats writes in his poem ‘The Falling of the Leaves.’ Paul, we know, began reading Yeats early.” Read more…)

Embrace of the Serpent (Colombia, drama, Antonio Bolivar. Rotten Tomatoes: 99%. Metacritic: 82. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Stephen Holden’s Times review: “‘The horror! The horror!’ The terminal valediction of Kurtz in Joseph Conrad’s ‘Heart of Darkness’ is deconstructed with a raging eloquence in the Colombian director Ciro Guerra’s majestic, spellbinding film, ‘Embrace of the Serpent.’ Is the unspeakable savagery evoked by his dying words really beyond the reach of the civilized imagination? I doubt it. That tricky word ‘civilized’ connotes enlightenment, behavioral restraint, evolutionary advancement and the suppression of bestial impulses. But what is so civilized about mass slaughter, torture and planetary despoliation in the name of anything or anybody? It shouldn’t have taken a journey up the Congo River for a white man to discover the evil within.” Read more…)

Ardor (Argentina, western, Gael Garcia Bernal. Rotten Tomatoes: 35%. Metacritic: 48. From Daniel M. Gold’s New York times revew: “The Argentine director Pablo Fendrik presents ‘Ardor’  as a ‘machete western’ — that is, a western transplanted to the thick rain forests of South America — but its plot draws just as much from Tarzan as from Sergio Leone, with a dusting of magical realism.” Read more…)

The Young Montalbano: Ep. 10-12 (Italy, detective drama, Michele Riondino)

New TV
The Magicians: Season 1 (fantasy series. Rotten Tomatoes: 69%. Metacritic: 60. From Mike Hale’s New York Time review: “Young magicians joining forces against a malevolent, balance-of-life-threatening adversary? Check. A picturesque, hard-to-find campus where young mages learn to harness their skills? Check. Quidditch? No, thank god. ‘The Magicians,’ a better-than-average Syfy series based on novels by Lev Grossman, definitely bears the mark of the Harry Potter template. But the show is different enough in its details that from moment to moment you can forget how derivative it is.” Read more…)

New Documentaries
Stretch & Bobbito: Radio That Changed Lives (music, hip-hop, cultural history. From a Noah Bromwich New York Times article abouthe story behind the movie: “When they started the weekly program in 1990, Mr. Bartos [known as Stretch] and Mr. Garcia [Bobbito] were music-industry newcomers who had very little idea what they were doing. [‘I was a goofy nerd,’ Mr. Garcia said in an interview this week.] But their appreciation of hip-hop culture and ability to sniff out talent made their partnership an essential part of hip-hop history, one that has been documented in a new film, ‘Stretch and Bobbito: Radio That Changed Lives.'” Read more…)