Our weekly roundup of new releases, ranked for your viewing pleasure, by their indispensability and watchability. Yes, we made up that word.
SEE IT NOW!
Edge of Tomorrow: Please don’t take this as an endorsement of this latest Tom Cruise futuro-action-thriller. It’s not great, it doesn’t make much sense, and the ending is downright lousy. But visually it wins, thanks to the enigmatic Doug Limon, who has incorporated spectacular special effects involving a bunch of whippet-fast, ropey aliens. (Oh, and Emily Blunt’s not so bad, either.) This is another one of those flicks that, if you actually plan on seeing it, you might as well see it as big as you can. Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90%
Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia: Acerbic doesn’t begin to do justice to the countenance of this liberal literary lion. Extremely accomplished in his writing — be it novels, plays or essays — he was perhaps best known for his frequent, withering TV appearances as a political pundit, whereupon he would direct his laser-like intellect and deadpan wit on hapless adversaries (Norman Mailer once became so enraged, he head-butted him). Nicholas Wrathall’s doc covers the entirety of Mr. Vidal’s life, including his final years (he died in 2012). It shouldn’t be missed. Rotten Tomatoes Score: 89%
WAIT FOR DVD
The Fault in Our Stars: Call us jaded and old and callous, but what could possibly be more melodramatic and tear-jerking than a tortured teen love affair between two adorable kids (Shailene Woodley & Ansel Elgort) who love each other more than life itself? That would be if these adorable kids happen to have met at a cancer support group meeting. Based on a best-selling novel, naturally, because that is the kind of book that everybody wants to read, right? Fine, we’re old and jaded and callous. Rotten Tomatoes Score: 75%
Words & Pictures: Yes, it has a sublime cast (Clive Owen and Juliette Binoche) and, in the venerable Fred Schepisi (Roxanne, Six Degrees of Separation), a veteran filmmaker at the helm, but apparently something simply didn’t jive in this brittle romantic drama. The film concerns two teachers at a fancy prep school — one (Owens) who teaches English; the other (Binoche) who is a visual artist — who flirt by endlessly debating the ethereal qualities of their craft and philosophizing rhapsodically as a means of academic foreplay. Count us out, please. And count yourself out if you’re smart. Rotten Tomatoes Score: 37%