New releases 8/13/19

Top Hits
All Is True (bio-pic/costume drama, Kenneth Branagh. Rotten Tomatoes: 71%. Metacritic: 59. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review: “With some movies, it’s best not to allow worries over historical accuracy to derail our enjoyment. And there’s plenty to enjoy in ‘All Is True,’ Kenneth Branagh’s fondly poignant look at William Shakespeare’s final years.” Read more…)

Trial By Fire (drama, Laura Dern. Rotten Tomatoes: 61%. Metacritic: 51. From Glenn Kenny’s New York Times review: “Like the 1995 picture ‘Dead Man Walking,’ ‘Trial by Fire’ was created by filmmakers who believe that capital punishment is barbaric both as policy and in practice. This fact-based film takes the argument a step further in its details: While ‘Walking’ was about a confessed killer who sought spiritual redemption, ‘Trial by Fire’ details the state killing of a man many believe to have been innocent of the crime for which he was convicted.” Read more…)

Notes On an Appearance (drama, Zia Anger. Rotten Tomatoes: 85%. Metacritic: 61. From Ben Kenigsberg’s New York Times review: “In ‘Notes on an Appearance,’ a controversial political theorist who haunts the action has written a book called ‘Everything Is Permitted.’ That phrase might well have been the guiding philosophy of this experimental mystery film. The writer and director, Ricky D’Ambrose, has called it a ‘scrapbook movie.’ Watching it requires learning how to watch it. Static shots are edited in a deliberately primitive style, eliding crucial bits of narrative. The camera often fixates on ostensible clues: a postcard, books, mysterious home movies in which no one is seen.” Read more…)

The Souvenir (drama, Honor Swinton Byrne. Rotten Tomatoes: 90%. Metacritic: 92. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “‘The Souvenir’ is one of my favorite movies of the year so far, but I almost want to keep it a secret. Partly because it’s the kind of film — we all have a collection of these, and of similar books and records, too — that feels like a private discovery, an experience you want to protect rather than talk about. A direct message like this, beamed from another person’s sensibility into your own sensorium, isn’t meant to be shared. That other person, in this case, is Joanna Hogg, who wrote and directed.” Read more…)

Charlie Says (psychological crime thriller/drama, Hannah Murray. Rotten Tomatoes: 58%. Metacritic: 56. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Manohla Dargis’ Times review: “In her powerful and deeply affecting ‘Charlie Says,’ Mary Harron revisits the Manson cult in a dramatization largely told from the perspective of his female followers. It’s a tough, difficult story that, anchored by Guinevere Turner’s script, Harron recounts with lucid calm, compassion and intelligent interpretive license.” Read more…)

Icebox (contemporary drama/immigration, Anthony Gonzalez. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 79.)

Unplanned (drama, Ashley Bratcher. Rotten Tomatoes: 42%. Metacritic: 10.)

New Blu-Ray
Avengers: Endgame (Marvel Comics action, Robert Downey Jr.. Rotten Tomatoes: 94%. Metacritic: 78. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “At three hours and one minute, it’s shorter than ‘Titanic,’ ‘The Godfather Part II’ or Luchino Visconti’s ‘The Leopard.’ And while the time doesn’t exactly fly, it doesn’t drag either. The two hours and forty minutes of “‘Infinity War’ [also directed by Joe and Anthony Russo] felt infinitely longer. Settling scores, wrapping up loose ends and taking a victory lap — the main objects of the game this ostensibly last time around — generate some comic sparks as well as a few honest tears.” Read more…)

New Foreign
Shadow (China, action/martial arts, Chao Deng. Rotten Tomatoes: 95%. Metacritic: 81. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Glenn Kenny’s Times review: “After the limp 2017 film ‘The Great Wall,’ the director Zhang Yimou was clearly looking to enact a return to form. With ‘Shadow,’ Zhang has done more than that: He’s created a martial-arts movie landmark, as strong in its performances as it is spectacularly novel in its violence.” Read more…)

The Other Side of Everything (Serbia, documentary, recent Yugoslav history through personal family lens. Rotten Tomatoes: 90%. Metacritic: 83. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ Times review: “They were just a couple of unmarked doors, and they were always locked. The soft sounds of voices and the clinking of crockery as meals were prepared drifted through to the section of the elegant Belgrade apartment where the director Mila Turajlic grew up. Only much later would she learn what lay behind those doors, and why. Yet their eventual opening would liberate more than just the two rooms carved off and allotted to strangers by a long-ago government: It would help one woman decide it was time to pass the political baton. That woman is Srbijanka Turajlic, the director’s mother, a proud Yugoslav and the dynamic and fearless subject of ‘The Other Side of Everything.’” Read more…)

New Classic DVDs (pre-1960)
Blackmail (1929, first Hitchcock sound film, suspense, Anny Ondra)

New TV
Homeland: Season 7 (thriller/drama. Claire Danes. Rotten Tomatoes: 76%. Metacritic: 81.
The Spanish Princess (historical drama, Harriet Walter. Rotten Tomatoes: 75%. Metacritic: 73.)

New Documentaries
The Inland Sea (Criterion Collection, travelogue, social observation. From Vincent Canby’s 1992 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “In Lucille Carra’s all too short, invigorating new film, “The Inland Sea,” as in the Donald Richie travel memoir on which it is based, there are two inland seas: the “nearly landlocked, lakelike body of water bounded by three of Japan’s four major islands,” which is the vanishing heart of ancient Japan, and the somewhat less well-known sea of the author’s own inner self.” Read more…)

Searching for Ingmar Bergman (bio, film history, Ingmar Bergman. Rotten Tomatoes: 91%. Metacritic: 71. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Glenn Kenny’s Times review: “This year marks the centennial of Ingmar Bergman’s birth. The Swedish playwright, theater director and filmmaker, who died in 2007, remains one of the most praised and, to a certain extent, most misunderstood 20th-century artists. The praise stems from his cinematic mastery and treatment of profound themes; the misunderstanding, from the conventional wisdom that because Bergman treated profound themes, his work must be a slog. But Bergman was a gripping storyteller. You could even call him an entertainer.” Read more…)

Halston (fashion, bio, Halston. Rotten Tomatoes: 75%. Metacritic: 64. From Wesley Morris New York Times review: “Sometimes a documentary doesn’t know when to leave well enough alone. It’s got access to all of the important people, who come through as their most maximal selves. It’s got a good story to tell and a life to unpack and tons of old photographs and miles of archival footage to delight, intrigue and astound. If you’ve got all of that and your documentary is called ‘Halston,’ you don’t need anything else. And yet for reasons unfathomable to me, the people who made this movie don’t trust what they’ve got: the tale of one of the crucial fashion imaginations in Roy Halston Frowick, who went, titanically, by that middle name.” Read more…)