New releases 6/3/14

Top Hits
Lone Survivor (war drama, Mark Wahlberg. Rotten Tomatoes: 75%. Metacritic: 60. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “The removal of suspense — beyond the not-trivial question of how and in what order the others will die — allows the director, Peter Berg, to concentrate on other, more important matters. Mr. Berg [Friday Night Lights, The Kingdom] is an unusually thoughtful action director, with the obvious exception of Battleship. [What was he thinking?] Lone Survivor, closely based on a memoir by Marcus Luttrell [played by Mr. Wahlberg], is a combat movie with the spare, clean contours of an old Western, as attuned to ethical questions as it is to gunplay and hot pursuit.” Read more…)

Robocop (action, Joel Kinnaman. Rotten Tomatoes: 49%. Metacritic: 52. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “The existential battle that rages through RoboCop, a nicely cast, respectable remake of the wittily corrosive 1987 Paul Verhoeven film, is less the struggle between man and machine than between the original’s pop nihilism and the bottom-line commercialism driving this new vehicle. Once again, an ordinary man, a Detroit cop, Alex Murphy [Joel Kinnaman], is transformed by corporate interests into a cyborg after being critically wounded in the line of duty. And, as before, the reanimated creature walks and talks like a latter-day Frankenstein’s monster, his recognizably human parts encased in an artificial carapace, although this version also mixes in tears with the bullets.” Read more…)

Son of God (religious drama, Diogo Morgado. Rotten Tomatoes: 21%. Metacritic: 37. From Nicolas Rapold’s New York Times review: “Adapted from the History channel mini-series The Bible, Son of God runs through the scriptural greatest hits of the Passion with the reliability of a Sunday reader. It’s a movie that embraces the nearly pedagogical predictability of lines like ‘Where’s Judas? You seen him?’ or ‘Thomas, stop doubting.'” Read more…)

Grand Piano (thriller, Elijah Wood. Rotten Tomatoes: 81%. Metacritic: 62. From Stephen Holden’s New York Times review: “In Eugenio Mira’s gaudy, amusingly preposterous new thriller, Grand Piano, the world’s foremost young classical pianist returns to the concert stage after a five-year sabbatical and finds himself in a deadly line of fire. A perfectionist prone to stage fright, Tom [Elijah Wood] discovers a warning scrawled in red ink inside his piano score: ‘Play one wrong note and you die.'” Read more…)

Wallander Set 3 (Sweden, detective mystery series, Krister Henriksson, in Top Hits)

New Blu-Ray
Lone Survivor
Robocop

New Foreign
Child’s Pose (Romania, drama, Luminita Gheorghiu. Rotten Tomatoes: 93%. Metacritic: 77. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “All kinds of monstrous mothers rage and rail in the movies, including those who love too little or too much. In Douglas Sirk’s 1959 melodrama, Imitation of Life, Lana Turner plays one type, a selfish white woman who’s blissfully indifferent to her child’s needs. Yet the more disturbing mother is played by Juanita Moore as a black domestic who smothers her own daughter in so much goodness that it’s no surprise that the girl flees. At the end, the saint’s daughter throws herself on her mother’s coffin; it’s a wonder she doesn’t leap in front of a train. In Child’s Pose, a drama with a story as cold, merciless and inevitable as a tomb, escape proves every bit as futile.” Read more…)

Master of the House (Denmark, 1925, Dir. Carl Theodore Dreyer, silent drama, Johannes Meyer. From J. Joberman’s New York Times review of this new Criterion DVD release; “Master of the House — adapted from a Danish stage play and originally titled by Dreyer Thou Shalt Honor Thy Wife — is a more conventional chamber drama than [Ingmar Bergman’s] Persona but a radical work nonetheless. The tale of an odious household tyrant who gets his comeuppance, the movie is unrelenting in its critique of the patriarchal family and insistent on the truism that a woman’s work is never done. There are elements of comedy, particularly in the performances of Johannes Meyer as the grouchy autocrat and Mathilde Nielsen as the crafty old nanny who engineers his re-education, but the movie is notable for the pared-down elegance of its construction, the sparseness of its intertitles, the eloquence of its close-ups and the naturalistic claustrophobia of its setting.” Read more…)

Wallander Set 3 (Sweden, detective mystery series, Krister Henriksson, in Top Hits)
The Bridge: Series 1 (Sweden/Denmark, mystery series, Sofia Helin)

New Classics (pre-1960)
Master of the House (1925, Dir. Carl Theodore Dreyer, silent drama, Johannes Meyer. From J. Joberman’s New York Times review of this new Criterion DVD release; “Master of the House — adapted from a Danish stage play and originally titled by Dreyer Thou Shalt Honor Thy Wife — is a more conventional chamber drama than [Ingmar Bergman’s] Persona but a radical work nonetheless. The tale of an odious household tyrant who gets his comeuppance, the movie is unrelenting in its critique of the patriarchal family and insistent on the truism that a woman’s work is never done. There are elements of comedy, particularly in the performances of Johannes Meyer as the grouchy autocrat and Mathilde Nielsen as the crafty old nanny who engineers his re-education, but the movie is notable for the pared-down elegance of its construction, the sparseness of its intertitles, the eloquence of its close-ups and the naturalistic claustrophobia of its setting.” Read more…)

New TV
True Blood: Season 6 (HBO supernatural series, Anna Paquin. Rotten Tomatoes: 40%. Metacritic: 56.)