New Releases 2/24/15

Top Hits
Whiplash (Oscar-nominated drama, J.K. Simmons. Rotten Tomatoes: 95%. Metacritic: 88. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “[Director Damien] Chazelle, a 29-year-old natural-born filmmaker whose previous feature was the stylistically daring, hipster-cute musical romance ‘Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench,’ has an aficionado’s ear for jazz and an offbeat sense of genre. He and the director of photography, Sharone Meir, give ‘Whiplash’ the brooding, spooky look of a horror movie, turning the New York streets and the school hallways into a realm of deep, expressive shadows. There is an atmosphere of whispery menace, and Mr. Simmons prowls the screen with a vampire’s stealth and a killer’s wry half-smile.” Read more…)

Beyond the Lights (drama, Gugu Mbatha-Raw. Rotten Tomatoes: 81%. Metacritic: 73. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “‘Beyond the Lights’ may be a fantasy — movies about love, like songs about love, tend to fall into that category — but it is an uncommonly smart and honest fantasy. What it wants us to believe, most of all, is that despite all the ugliness and exploitation in the world of entertainment, the bond between artist and audience is a real and sustaining form of love in its own right. And the movie is marvelous proof of its own argument.” Read more…)

Horrible Bosses 2 (comedy, Jason Bateman. Rotten Tomatoes: 35%. Metacritic: 40. New York Times critic Stephen Holden didn’t like this movie: “‘Horrible Bosses 2,’ one of the sloppiest and most unnecessary Hollywood sequels ever made, isn’t dirtier or more offensive than its 2011 forerunner. But it is infinitely dumber and not half as funny. This disgracefully slapdash farce, directed by Sean Anders from a screenplay he wrote with John Morris, brings back many of the same stars from the first film in token appearances to try to maintain an illusion of continuity. But the story doesn’t even try to make sense. You often have the queasy feeling that the screenplay was improvised on the spot.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
Whiplash

New Foreign
The Eagle: Season 1 (Denmark, detective series, Jens Albinus)

New British
Midsomer Murders: Set 25 (mystery series, Neil Dudgeon)
The Game (espionage mini-series, Jonathan Aris)

New TV
Sons of Anarchy: Season 7

New Children’s DVDs
Big Hero 6 (Disney animated feature, Ryan Potter. Rotten Tomatoes: 90%. Metacritic: 74. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “Have the Walt Disney and Pixar animation studios become Walt Pixar, or maybe Wixar or Dixar? It’s getting hard to tell these once-distinct siblings apart. Disney’s latest animated feature, ‘Big Hero 6,’ is a bright, visually sumptuous 3-D computer-animated feature that gives you a bit of an emotional workout. It doesn’t have some of the familiar Disney markers: There are no eardrum-busting anthems or warbling critters, and it isn’t a fairy tale, exactly, mostly because it’s about a boy. It’s a Disney superhero movie with a story from a Marvel comic book, if one rendered with the wit and texture often associated with Pixar, which I guess makes it a Walt Pixar Marvel.” Read more…)

Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars (Disney animated series)