New releases 5/31/16

Top Hits
RaceRace (sports drama, Stephan James. Rotten Tomatoes: 62%. Metacritic: 56. From Stephen Holden’s New York Times review: “The ingredients of ‘Race,’ a studiously uplifting biopic of Jesse Owens, the phenomenal star of the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, remain as volatile as they were 80 years ago, although nowadays they are camouflaged. This true story of an impoverished black youth from the streets of Depression-era Cleveland who ascends to greatness by shattering track-and-field records and undercutting Adolf Hitler’s racist agenda is a safe, by-the-numbers tribute.” Read more…)

Triple 9 (action thriller, Casey Affleck. Rotten Tomatoes: 53%. Metacritic: 59. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “With its lurid red and brooding villains, the thriller ‘Triple 9’ comes dressed to kill. Directed by John Hillcoat, it purrs to a start with men plotting in near dark, a hook-y start that establishes the look and mood. Within minutes, the men are robbing an Atlanta bank in a scene filled with gunfire and rattling, visceral specifics, like the wet stains spreading under the weeping, prostrate employees. The men’s camaraderie and choreography announce their professionalism while the guns and money telegraph the stakes. And all of this is gone with the wind the moment Kate Winslet swaggers in, wearing a doo-wop bouffant and flashing a blingy Star of David as big as a bagel.” Read more…)

The Driftless Area (indie drama, Zooey Deschanel)

New Foreign
Wim Wenders: The Road Trilogy
Alice in the Cities (Germany, 1974, drama, Rüdiger Vogler. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. From Lawrence Van Gelder’s 1974 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “If you are searching for a fine, tightly controlled, intelligent and ultimately touching film, one will be shown tonight at 9:30 P.M. at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center as part of the 12th New York Film Festival. Its title is ‘Alice in the Cities’ [‘Alice in den Stadten’], and it is a West German film directed and, in part, written by Wim Wenders, a young German who received praise here two years ago when his second feature, ‘The Anxiety of the Goalie at the Penalty Kick,’ was shown at the Museum of Modern Art in the New Directors/New Films series.” Read more…)

Wrong Move (Germany, 1975, drama, Rüdiger Vogler)
Kings of the Road (Germany, 1976, drama, Rüdiger Vogler)

New Classic DVDs (pre-1960)
The White Cliffs of Dover (1944, period drama, Irene Dunne. From Bosley Crowther’s 1944 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “When Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer extends its hand across the seas to our gentle English cousins it always does so with a fine fraternal grip. But in its much-advertised screen version of Alice Duer Miller’s popular poem, ‘The White Cliffs’—now called ‘The White Cliffs of Dover,’ to be more specific, no doubt—it has supplemented the handshake with a tug on its forelock and a bow. As a matter of fact, it has virtually gotten down on its knees and kissed the ground—the ground, that is, of England and all that it represents. For this sterling-silver picture, which came to the Music Hall yesterday, is such a tribute to English gentility as only an American studio would dare to make.” Read more…)

New British
Peaky Blinders: Season 2 (period crime drama, Cillian Murphy. Rotten Tomatoes: 93%.)

New Television
The Last Panthers (heist drama, Samantha Morton. Rotten Tomatoes: 85%. Metacritic: 73. From Neil Genzlinger’s New York Times review: “Given that ‘The Last Panthers’ involves the pursuit of criminals through back alleys and anonymous-looking apartment complexes all over Europe, the most striking thing about it initially is the word that it rarely, if ever, uses: terrorism. Recent headlines might make it seem, at least from the American perspective, as if terror were the only crime Europe deals with. But this intricate six-part mini-series, which starts Wednesday on SundanceTV, is grounded in old-school illegalities.” Read more…)

Grace and Frankie: Season 1 (comedy/romance series, Jane Fonda & Lily Tomlin. Rotten Tomatoes: 72%. Metacritic: 58. From Alessandra Stanley’s New York Times television review: “People who complain about aging sound old. But “Grace and Frankie” is a senior angst comedy that somehow doesn’t seem fusty and out of date. Actually, ‘Grace and Frankie,’ a series that will be available Friday on [some online service] and stars Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, is funny and even touching.” Read more…)

New Documentaries
Tongues Untied (homophobia, racism, Marlon Riggs. From Walter Goodman’s 1991 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Tongues are wagging about ‘Tongues Untied.’ New Yorkers can see the hourlong documentary about black homosexuals tomorrow night at 10 on Channel 13, but about a third of the biggest public stations are not running it. And the Rev. Donald E. Wildmon, the president of the American Family Association, a conservative watchdog group, has denounced it as another misuse of money from the National Endowment for the Arts. What seems to be bothering Mr. Wildmon and others about the work by Marlon Riggs is its street lingo, nudity and scenes of men making love. If ever there was a program where such elements are justified, this is it.” Read more…)

New Children’s DVDs
Tower of Terror (1997 Disney spooky mystery, Steve Guttenberg)