New releases 7/9/19

Top Hits
Pet Sematary (Stephen King horror remake, Jason Clarke. Rotten Tomatoes: 57%. Metacritic: 57. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “”[Stephen] King’s novel was adapted for the screen in 1989. Directed by Mary Lambert, that ‘Pet Sematary’ was a squirrelly, wild-eyed movie. This version is more Hollywood smooth. It’s very well-acted by Jason Clarke, Amy Seimetz, John Lithgow and especially Jeté Laurence as young Ellie. Directors Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer, showing puzzling distrust of their strong source material, overload the movie with arbitrary jump scares. And they replace King’s despairing, tragic denouement with something altogether more glib.” Read more…)

Saint Judy (legal drama, Michelle Monaghan. Rotten Tomatoes: 58%. Metacritic: 51. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “Judy Wood is a real-life lawyer who — after moving to California and getting a job with an immigration law firm — discovered a passion that, by this film’s telling, led her to a case that changed asylum policies in the United States. Directed by Sean Hanish from a script by Dmitry Portnoy, ‘Saint Judy’ begins by underscoring the title character’s resourcefulness, then playing up her pluckiness and single-mom status.” Read more…)

Mia and the White Lion (family drama, Daniah De Villiers. Rotten Tomatoes: 88%. Metacritic: 52. From Gary Goldstein’s Los Angeles Times review: “There are several uniquely impressive elements to the adventure drama ‘Mia and the White Lion,’ but they’re undermined by a choppy, at times contrived and implausible script by Prune de Maistre [wife of director Gilles de Maistre] and William Davies.” Read more…)

Little (comedy, Regina Hall. Rotten Tomatoes: 46%. Metacritic: 49. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “‘Little’ is about what happens when an adult woman [Regina Hall] is punished for her bullying, vainglorious ways by turning into her 13-year-old self [Marsai Martin]. As the premise for a comedy, this kind of body switch is just about foolproof. ‘Big,’ ’13 Going on 30,’ the several variations on the ‘Freaky Friday’ theme — it’s almost always fun to watch grown-up souls inhabiting immature physiques, and vice versa. And so it is here, even if this go-round leaves a lot of potential hilarity on the table.” Read more…)

The Kid (western, Ethan Hawke. Rotten Tomatoes: 46%. Metacritic: 51. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “Starting as violently as it plans to continue, Vincent D’Onofrio’s ‘The Kid’ drops us into a savage altercation as Rio [Jake Schur], 13, kills his abusive father before slicing the face of his scummy uncle, Grant [Chris Pratt]. Primed by the boy’s affectless narration (here, when characters aren’t practicing brutality, they’re talking about it), we intuit that what will follow for Rio and his older sister, Sara [Leila George], is unlikely to be pretty. Set in the American Southwest in 1879, ‘The Kid’ feels less like an actual movie than a table-napkin idea for one.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
High Life (sci-fi from French director Claire Denis, Robert Pattinson. Rotten Tomatoes: 82%. Metacritic: 77. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “As is often the case in [director Claire] Denis’s movies, ‘High Life’ vibrates with low-key erotic energy that can feel exciting, a little dangerous. [She wrote it with Jean-Pol Fargeau.] One reason is the obvious seductive appeal of performers like [Robert] Pattinson, [Juliet] Binoche and [Andre] Benjamin, whose faces and bodies are alternately flooded with flattering light or eye-straining washes of red and blue. But Denis doesn’t just prettify her actors: She lingers on their forms, their skin, stressing texture that becomes tactile.” Read more…)

Pet Sematary

New Foreign
3 Faces (Iran, drama, Behnaz Jafari. Rotten Tomatoes: 98%. Metacritic: 78. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Manohla Dargis’ Times review: “A road movie that opens into a political allegory, ‘3 Faces’ is filled with unexpected turns. It is the latest from the Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi, a master of narrative diversion, who again has taken the twinned roles of director and driver, as he did in the documentary “Taxi” (2015). Here, playing himself, or a version of the filmmaker Jafar Panahi, he spends a large part of the movie behind the wheel of an S.U.V., motoring through the Iranian countryside to help an actress find a missing, possibly dead woman. They succeed but also find other women, including one who’s a ghost in a haunted world.” Read more…)

New British
Dead of Night (1945, horror anthology, Michael Redgrave. Rotten Tomatoes: 97%. From Bosley Crowther’s 1946 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Such folks as like to drag their friends into the parlor, turn out the lights and swap tales of the weird and supernatural will certainly enjoy the new film at the Winter Garden, the British-made ‘Dead of Night.’ For this is precisely a package of those curious and uncanny yarns designed to raise secret goose-pimples and cause the mind to make a fast check on itself. And although the stories here related are probably familiar to all who are devotees of such mysticisms, they are tightly and graphically told.” Read more…)

New Classic DVDs (pre-1960)
The General (1926, silent film comedy classic, Buster Keaton. Rotten Tomatoes: 92%. From a 1971 Vincent Canby New York Times review on the occasion of a screening of The General” on public television [requires log-in]: “The General” really is a masterpiece, pure though by no means simple. If you can see only one movie this week [to paraphrase a rather bossy friend], at home or in a theater, then there is no doubt that it should be ‘The General,’ which is a farce, a history, a romance and, principally, a triumph of one man’s movie art, which, in turn, enriches the possibilities of all movies.” Read more…)

The Rising of the Moon (1957, Irish comedy/drama vignettes dir. by John Ford, Tyrone Power. From Bosley Crowther’s 1957 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “With the reticence of a true Hibernian, John Ford has publicly proclaimed he considers his current picture, ‘The Rising of the Moon,’ the best thing he has ever done. This is, indeed, a modest reckoning, in the light of Mr. Ford’s previous films—such classics as ‘Stagecoach,’ ‘The Informer,’ ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ and ‘The Long Voyage Home’ However, it may be agreed with him that “The Rising of the Moon,” which came yesterday to the Fifty-fifth Street Playhouse, is a little picture with lively humor and exceptional charm.” Read more…)

New American Back Catalog DVDs (post-1960)
Code of Silence (1985, action, Chuck Norris. Rotten Tomatoes: 63%. From Janet Maslin’s 1985 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Chuck Norris goes upscale in ‘Code of Silence,’ as a big-city police inspector who stalks through art galleries and public libraries to catch his prey. Mr. Norris hasn’t abandoned his usual fans; this film has a body count as high as that of ‘Missing in Action,’ and a climactic sequence in which Mr. Norris, as a one-man army, is helped by a heavily armed miniature tank. But ‘Code of Silence,’ which opens today at the UA Twin and other theaters, is Mr. Norris’s bid for a wider audience, and it succeeds to a considerable degree.” Read more…)

The Presidio (1988, action thriller, Sean Connery. Rotten Tomatoes: 53%. From Janet Maslin’s 1988 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Sean Connery is a fine actor under any circumstances, but he doesn’t do much acting in ‘The Presidio,’ which opens today at Loews 84th Street and other theaters. What he does is to recite his lines while staring over Mark Harmon’s shoulder. For his part, Mr. Harmon does much the same thing, staring past Mr. Connery to deliver the other half of the leading men’s back-and-forth banter in a style that the director Peter Hyams obviously intends as gutsy and crisp.” Read more…)

New Documentaries
Eternity Has No Doors of Escape: Encounters with Outsider Art (art history, art brut, outside art)

New Gay & Lesbian DVDs
Tell It to the Bees (romance/drama, Anna Paquin. Rotten Tomatoes: 57%. Metacritic: 53.)