New Releases 10/27/15

Top Hits
Southpaw (boxing drama, Jake Gyllenhaal. Rotten Tomatoes: 59%. Metacritic: 57. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “If Antoine Fuqua’s new film, ‘Southpaw,’ were a boxer, if would be a lot like its hero, a light heavyweight named Billy Hope. Played with downcast eyes and rock-hard abs by Jake Gyllenhaal, Billy is a bleeder and a brawler, an earnest, inarticulate guy with a ferocious punch and not much in the way of grace.” Read more…)

Pixels (comedy, Adam Sandler. Rotten Tomatoes: 17%. Metacritic: 27. From Neil Genzlinger’s New York Times review: “The special effects are pretty cool, but the film is working nostalgia already thoroughly mined in movies [including the video-game-themed ‘Wreck-It Ralph’] and television [‘The Goldbergs’ and such]. So it’s not as original as it wants to be, despite having the able Chris Columbus in the director’s chair.” Read more…)

GiftThe Gift (thriller, Jason Bateman. Rotten Tomatoes: 93%. Metacritic: 77. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Stephen Holden’sTimes review: “Even if ‘The Gift,’ the Australian director Joel Edgerton’s creepy stalker thriller, didn’t make’a dramatic U-turn at around the halfway point, it would still rank as a superior specimen. This movie doesn’t foam at the mouth like “Fatal Attraction.’ No bunnies are boiled. But fish are poisoned, a family dog goes missing and the soundtrack is tricked out with the sudden jolts dear to the genre. Any revenge is more pitiable than cathartic.” Read more…)

Max (family drama, Joseph Julian Soria. Rotten Tomatoes: 35%. Metacritic: 47. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “As the intrepid kids and the fearless hound unravel a nefarious weapons-dealing scheme, ‘Max’ finds its sweet spot, leaving behind its overwrought patriotic swagger and settling into the kind of story that would fill a decent hour of television.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
Southpaw

New Foreign
Felix_MeiraFelix & Meira (Franch Canadian, romance, Hadas Yaron. Rotten Tomatoes: 77%. Metacritic: 66. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ Times review: “Unfolding on snowy sidewalks and beneath overcast skies, ‘Felix & Meira’ watches ever so closely as a young Hasidic wife and mother is tempted by the quirky charms of a wayward older man. Yet this tenderly observed love story [by the director, Maxime Giroux] isn’t about religion — or its lack — but about the attraction of difference and the undeniable need to feel alive. That’s something that Meira [Hadas Yaron] clearly longs for; chafing against the restrictions imposed by her Orthodox community, and weary of being scolded by her bewildered husband, Shulem [Luzer Twersky], Meira hides her birth-control pills and the phonograph records she plays when alone. She’s a time bomb in an unflattering wig and frumpy dresses, and when she meets Felix [Martin Dubreuil], a flirtatious prodigal son who has just lost his father, explosion seems inevitable.” Read more…)

New British
Copenhagen/Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond (historical suspense, Daniel Craig)

New Classic DVDs (pre-1960)
Shanghai Express (1932, adventure/romance, Marlene Dietrich. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. From Mordaunt Hall’s 1932 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “It is an exciting ride they take in ‘Shanghai Express,’ Marlene Dietrich’s new picture which came to the Rialto last night. It has a killing by stabbing, men popped off by machinegun fire, the revelation as to the real identity of a few of the passengers and a romance between a woman of many casual affairs and a British Army surgeon.” Read more…)

John_Ford_ColumbiaJohn Ford: The Columbia Films Collection (From Dave Kehr’s 2013 DVD review in the New York Times: “Turner Classic Movies, Columbia Pictures and the Film Foundation have pooled their resources to create ‘John Ford: The Columbia Films Collection,’ a most welcome boxed set that brings together five films directed by that dean of American filmmakers. Three have not previously appeared on DVD in the United States: ‘The Whole Town’s Talking,’ a Depression-era comedy with Jean Arthur and Edward G. Robinson; ‘Gideon’s Day,’ a police procedural filmed in England in 1958, with Jack Hawkins as the Scotland Yard inspector created by the novelist John Creasey; and ‘Two Rode Together,’ a major Ford western from 1961, with James Stewart, Richard Widmark and Shirley Jones. The other two films in the collection have long been out of print: ‘The Long Gray Line,’ the 1955 story of a long-serving West Point instructor [Tyrone Power] and Ford’s first film in CinemaScope, and ‘The Last Hurrah,’ his 1958 adaptation of a best-selling novel by Edwin O’Connor, with Spencer Tracy as an aging politician facing his last campaign.” Read more…):
The Whole Town’s Talking (1935, comedy, Edward G. Robinson. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. From Andre Sennwald’s 1935 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Jo Sterling and Robert Riskin, two of Hollywood’s most agile scenarists, have written a riotous script for ‘The Whole Town’s Talking,’ which created grave havoc among the clientele at the Radio City Music Hall yesterday. Pungently written, wittily produced and topped off with a splendid dual performance by Edward G. Robinson, it may be handsomely recommended as the best of the new year’s screen comedies.” Read more…)
The Long Gray Line (1955, drama, Tyrone Power. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. From Bosley Crowther’s 1955 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “If the green of the shamrock seems to color Columbia’s ‘The Long Gray Line,’ which trooped with pennants snapping into the Capitol yesterday, it is not in the least surprising. This film tells the story of Marty Maher, a much-beloved athletic trainer and instructor at West Point for fifty years. The role of the Irish hero is played by Tyrone Power. And the picture is lustily directed by that most positive Hibernian, John Ford.” Read more…)
Gideon’s Day (1958, comedic drama, Jack Hawkins. From Bosley Crowther’s 1959 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “John Ford has wandered a long way off his accustomed Western beat in popping over to London to make ‘Gideon of Scotland Yard,’ a thick British comedy-melodrama that popped into the Odeon yesterday. There is not a single horse in it, no John Wayne and, as far as we could see, no invariable members of the famous ‘Ford stock company.’ And yet it is brisk and generally humorous in its representation of a day in the life of a Scotland Yard detective, with Mr. Ford giving the British a bit of a razz.” Read more…)
The Last Hurrah (1958, political drama, Spencer Davis. Rotten Tomatoes: 88%. From Bosley Crowther’s 1958 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Now that all key districts have been heard from, including Hollywood, it is safe to expect that Edwin O’Connor’s highly touted political character, Skeffington, will repeat in an overwhelming landslide as the People’s Choice this year.For John Ford and Spencer Tracy, who have engineered his campaign on the Coast with their motion-picture version of Mr. O’Connor’s tub-thumping ‘The Last Hurrah,’ have delivered a smashing majority for the Irish-American political boss. And if this doesn’t sweep him into office, there’s no justice in a stuffed ballot box.” Read more…)
Two Rode Together (1961, western, James Stewart. From Eugene Archer’s 1961 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Only rarely in his long career has James Stewart matched the performance now adorning neighborhood screens in ‘Two Rode Together.’ Working for the first time in a John Ford western, the actor is cast as a hard-drinking frontier sheriff charged with ransoming captives from the Indians. The task is conventionally heroic in the pioneer tradition, but the character created by Mr. Stewart is far removed from the western heroes served nightly on television channels.” Read more…)