New Releases 9/29/15

Top Hits
Spy (comedy, Melissa McCarthy. Rotten Tomatoes: 93%. Metacritic: 75. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “Even better is the blithe feminism that makes ‘Spy’ feel at once revolutionary and like no big deal. It’s not just that the movie aces the Bechdel test. It didn’t even need to study. The movie isn’t uplifting; it’s buoyant. While [Melissa McCarthy’s character] Susan [Cooper] at first clearly has a lot to prove — that she’s a skilled professional and a ruthless adversary, everyone else’s doubts to the contrary — Mr. Feig doesn’t make her proving it the central arc of the narrative. Instead, he highlights Ms. McCarthy’s quickness and unpredictability, her genius for defying logic and decorum.” Read more…)

Poltergeist (horror/thriller, Kenedi Clements. Rotten Tomatoes: 31%. Metacritic: 47. From Neil Genzlinger’s New York Times review: “The new ‘Poltergeist’ might well be the scariest movie 13-or-unders have yet seen, just as the original was for their parents back in 1982. Those parents might find it an enjoyable trip down memory lane, even if they do now recognize it as largely a well-served collection of horror-movie tropes. Gil Kenan directs the new incarnation, which has lots of 21st-century updates and is available in a 3-D version that has some tasty flourishes. Being sucked into the netherworld looks even more convincing than it did back in the ’80s.” Read more…)

Cop Car (comedy, Kevin Bacon. Rotten Tomatoes: 79%. Metacritic: 66. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “When the 10-year-old heroes of ‘Cop Car’ first see the cruiser in question, it’s parked unattended in a field, ready to be plucked like a daisy. Travis [James Freedson-Jackson] and Harrison [Hays Wellford] make a fine pair of pipsqueaks, and they’re on a great journey when they find the car, having run away from home that same day. They have no real reason or complaint or plans, just a single piece of beef jerky and a boy’s own sense of adventure. More important, they also have Jon Watts, a technically polished director [this is his second feature, after ‘Clown’], who seems to have made a close study of art-house exploitation flicks like ‘Blood Simple.’ From the moment that ‘Cop Car’ opens on Travis and Harrison, walking and talking in a parched field, in long shot, dwarfed by distant mountains and the wide-open sky above, it’s clear that Mr. Watts knows how to shoot.” Read more…)

Entourage: The Movie (drama/comedy, Kevin Connolly. Rotten Tomatoes: 32%. Metacritic: 38. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “By the time it reached the end of its HBO run in 2011, ‘Entourage’ had grown staler than last night’s Axe body spray. The passing of a few more years has not improved the aroma. Watching the movie is like finding an ancient issue of a second-tier lad mag — not even Maxim, but Loaded or Nuts — in a friend’s guest bathroom. You wonder how it got there. You wonder how you got there.” Read more…)

New Foreign
Deutschland 83 (Germany, Cold War-era espionage series, Alexander Beyer. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 79. From Neil Genzlinger’s New York Times television review: “Television has featured a fair amount of spying lately, and a fair amount of 1980s nostalgia, too. But ‘Deutschland 83,’ an espionage series from Germany set in that wretched decade, is fresh and enjoyable nonetheless, distinguishing itself with a young protagonist and a losers’-history perspective.” Read more…)

New TV
The Slap (Australia, miniseries drama, Sophie Okonedo. Rotten Tomatoes: 67%. Metacritic: 62. From Mike Hale’s New York Times television review: “An ensemble drama set in the recognizable human present — there goes most of contemporary American TV — ‘The Slap’ is insistently quotidian and naturalistic, intricately structured but free of any kind of camera trickery or narrative sleight of hand. [At least in the two episodes available for review.] As such it’s a showcase for its actors, many of whom rise eagerly to the occasion, including Jonathan LaPaglia [‘Cold Case’], Sophie Okonedo [‘Hotel Rwanda’], Melissa George [‘In Treatment’] and Essie Davis [‘Jumpers’] on Broadway).” Read more…)

Masterpiece Theater: Driving Miss Daisy (drama, Angela Lansbury. Rotten Tomatoes: 93%. Metacritic: 75.)