New Releases 10/20/15

Top Hits
Jurassic World (sci-fi action, Chris Pratt. Rotten Tomatoes: 71%. Metacritic: 59. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “Mr. Spielberg may not have directed “Jurassic World,” but his fingerprints — and anxiety over his influence — are all over it. He’s one of its executive producers and gave his blessing to the director Colin Trevorrow, who has just one other feature on his résumé, the indie ‘Safety Not Guaranteed.’ As is the case with every filmmaker hired to lead an industrial brand to box-office domination, Mr. Trevorrow was principally tasked with delivering ‘Jurassic World’ in salable shape, which he has done.” Read more…)

Paper Towns (drama/romance, Cara Delevigne. Rotten Tomatoes: 55%. Metacritic: 56. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “Teenage angst has been a lucrative movie racket for years, but what happens when the kids are pretty much all right? Not a whole lot, at least in ‘Paper Towns,’ a serenely bland adaptation of the John Green young-adult novel about a regular boy in love with the mystery girl next door. Once upon a Hollywood time, when American adolescents were in the grip of social mores and studio censorship, nice guys wooed nice gals with boyish smiles, well-behaved hands and tamped-down desires. What’s old is new again in ‘Paper Towns,’ a melodrama in which smiles still tremble, hands largely behave and freedom’s just another word for everything an ordinary boy doesn’t want to lose.” Read more…)

Testament of Youth (historical drama, Alicia Vikander. Rotten Tomatoes: 81%. Metacritic: 76. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Stephen Holden’s Times review: “‘Testament of Youth,’ James Kent’s stately screen adaptation of the British author Vera Brittain’s 1933 World War I memoir, evokes the march of history with a balance and restraint exhibited by few movies with such grand ambitions. Most similar films strain at the seams with bombast and sentimentality. This one, with a screenplay by Juliette Towhidi [‘Calendar Girls’], is consciously old-fashioned — or should I say traditional? — while maintaining a sober perspective.” Read more…)

Z for Zachariah (post-apocalyptic, Chiwetel Ejiofor. Rotten Tomatoes: 77%. Metacritic: 68. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ Times review: “‘Z for Zachariah’ may not be the most eventful post-apocalyptic drama, but its grip is strong and sure. Set in a verdant valley [with New Zealand standing in for the American South] that has somehow survived the fallout from an unspecified nuclear catastrophe, this minimalist but deeply affecting morality play slowly tugs you in.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
Jurassic World
Jurassic World 3D

New Foreign
24 Days (France, real-life thriller, Zabou Breitman. Rotten Tomatoes: 79%. Metacritic: 59. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “A dramatized account of the 2006 abduction and torture of a young Jewish cellphone vendor in Paris, ’24 Days’ arrives freighted with so much sociopolitical baggage that you can almost feel the weight. Contributing to a growing disquiet among French Jews, the horrifying ordeal of Ilan Halimi, 23 — who was held for roughly three weeks in a suburban housing project by a multiethnic gang known as the Barbarians — fueled a national debate about anti-Semitism that the movie’s French release invigorated.” Read more…)

New British
Peaky Blinders: Season 1 (early 1900s gangster epic, Cillian Murphy)

New Documentaries
WolfpackThe Wolfpack (cinema, social issues, urban issues. Rotten Tomatoes: 84%. Metacritic: 75. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Manohla Dargis’ Times review: “Movies can change your life, but can they save it? For most people that probably sounds foolish, but the six brothers featured in the astonishing documentary ‘The Wolfpack’ aren’t most people. For much of their lives, these six ingenious young men used the movies to imaginatively if not physically break out of their Lower Manhattan apartment in a building run by the New York City Housing Authority. Even as their father all but imprisoned them [one year they never left the apartment], they made great metaphoric escapes by immersing themselves in the fictional realms created by directors like Francis Ford Coppola and Quentin Tarantino.” Read more…)

Call Me Lucky (comedy, activism, bio, Barry Crimmins. Rotten Tomatoes: 83%. Metacritic: 64. From Stephen Holden’s New York Times review: “‘Call Me Lucky,’ Bobcat Goldthwait’s documentary portrait of his professional mentor, the political comedian Barry Crimmins, is an earnest homage that also honors Mr. Crimmins’s crusade to drive child pornography off the Internet. Although stand-up comedy is often fueled by anger, the rage expressed in Mr. Crimmins’s diatribes knows no bounds. His particular targets are the United States government and the Roman Catholic Church.” Read more…)