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New Movies: Release Calendar for August 12, Plus Where to Watch the Latest Films

With the summer's biggest blockbusters behind us, it's time to seek out some smaller gems at the theater and at home.

Aubrey Plaza appears in Emily the Criminal by John Patton Ford, an official selection of the Premieres section at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Low Spark Films.All photos are copyrighted and may be used by press only for the purpose of news or editorial coverage of Sundance Institute programs. Photos must be accompanied by a credit to the photographer and/or 'Courtesy of Sundance Institute.' Unauthorized use, alteration, reproduction or sale of logos and/or photos is strictly prohibited.

“Emily the Criminal”

Courtesy of Sundance Institute

Week of August 1 – August 7

New Films in Theaters

As new movies open in theaters during the COVID-19 pandemic, IndieWire will continue to review them whenever possible. We encourage readers to follow the safety precautions provided by CDC and health authorities. Additionally, our coverage will provide alternative viewing options whenever they are available.

“Bodies Bodies Bodies” (directed by Halina Reijn)
Distributor: A24
Where to Find It:
 Theaters

There’s a moment in Halina Reijin’s raucous new film “Bodies Bodies Bodies” in which a frustrated Pete Davidson steps away from the ongoing rich kids party taking place in his secluded mansion, and — with a brazen self-awareness of his fuckboi persona — exclaims, “I look like I fuck. It’s my whole vibe.” Davidson plays David, the hot-headed, acid-humored, toxic male personality who serves as the catalyst for a night of mayhem. While Davidson is a scene stealer, he’s not not the focal point of a film wherein relationships disintegrate, faux activism  is lampooned, and murder ensues. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“Bullet Train” (directed by David Leitch)
Distributor: Sony
Where to Find It:
 Theaters

If “Bullet Train” is one of the worst movies that Brad Pitt has ever starred in — better than “Troy,” but a hair short of “The Mexican” — this big shiny nothing of a blockbuster is also a remarkable testament to the actor’s batting average over the last 30 years, and some of the best evidence we have as to why he’s been synonymous with the movies themselves for that entire time. Because that’s the thing about movie stars, and why the last of them still matter in a franchise-mad world where characters tend to be more famous than the people who play them on-screen: They often get minted in good films, but they always get proven in bad ones.

“Bullet Train” is not a good film, but Pitt is having a truly palpable amount of fun in it, and the energy that radiates off of him as he fights Bad Bunny over an explosive briefcase or styles his hair with the blow dryer function of a Japanese toilet is somehow magnetic enough to convince us that we’re having fun, too. Even though we usually aren’t. Even though this over-cranked story of strangers on a Shinkansen — a late summer write-off that feels like what might happen if someone typed “Guy Ritchie anime” into DALL-E 2 — tries so hard to mimic Pitt’s natural appeal that you can feel the movie begging for our bemusement with every frenetic cut-away and gratuitous flashback. Even though David Leitch’s cotton-candy-and-flop-sweat adaptation of Kōtarō Isaka’s “MariaBeetle” is the kind of Hollywood action movie so mindless and star-driven that it’s almost impossible to imagine how it started as a book. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“Easter Sunday” (directed by Jay Chandrasekhar)
Distributor: IFC Films
Where to Find It:
Theaters

One of the most successful stand-ups in the country with multiple Netflix specials to his name, Jo Koy has entertained millions with tales of his Filipino upbringing. He regales sold-out crowds with stories of his delightful, somewhat overbearing mother, unpacks the intricacies of Filipino food and lifestyle, and analyzes the differences between various Asian cultures.

Now, he has lent his perspective to “Easter Sunday,” a new comedy starring Koy as Joe Valencia, a version of himself, who returns to the Bay Area for the eponymous holiday to deal with his extended Filipino family. It’s the first major studio comedy about a Filipino-American family featuring a nearly-all Filipino cast, and was shepherded to the screen with the help of Steven Spielberg, an avowed fan of Koy’s, whose DreamWorks Pictures co-produced the film. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“I Love My Dad” (directed by James Morosini)
Distributor: Magnolia Pictures
Where to Find It:
Theaters, then VOD starting August 12

Following in the deranged footsteps of Bobcat Goldthwait’s “World’s Greatest Dad” — and making good on that lineage in all of the most cringe-inducing ways — James Morosini’s very funny but/and profoundly uncomfortable “I Love My Dad” is the kind of dark comedy that’s easier to describe than it is to watch. The premise couldn’t be simpler: A clinically depressed twentysomething named Franklin (played by the writer-director himself) emerges from his latest stint in a mental health facility with a new resolve to cut ties with his toxic fuck-up of a father, Chuck (Patton Oswalt). Upon discovering that his son has blocked him on social media, a desperate Chuck decides to catfish his own kid with the fake profile he creates around pictures of a beautiful waitress who works at his local diner (Claudia Sulewski). Hijinks ensue. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“Memory Box” (directed by Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige)
Where to Find It:
NYC’s Film Forum, with further expansion to follow

Though it feels like the phrase “generational trauma” is everywhere these days, it’s only in the past decade that growing mental health awareness has made such terms ubiquitous. Though scientists have long studied the ways inherited trauma can actually alter our DNA, only recently have epigenetics filtered into everyday usage. But artists do not need science to tell them what they feel in their bones, and film is a powerful tool to illustrate the ephemeral memories one stores in the body.

Set between present-day Montreal and 1980s Beirut, “Memory Box” actualizes a treasure trove of unprocessed trauma in the form of a mysterious box of letters, scrapbooks, and tapes. When a curious daughter discovers a vast archive of her mother’s distant past, she begins to understand the difficult woman who raised her in new ways. As cassette recordings fade into voice memos, the work of filmmakers Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige blends old and new in a lyrical mixed-media dance of memory. Blurring the lines between past and present, “Memory Box” floats in and out of two parallel stories, never quite allowing either one to take hold. As the focus shifts from daughter to mother, the audience is caught in the middle. Much like memory itself, the threads never fully coalesce until the very end. Read IndieWire’s full review.

New Films on VOD and Streaming, Including Premium Platforms and Virtual Cinema

“Luck” (directed by Peggy Holmes) 
Distributor: Apple
Where to Find It: 
Streaming on Apple TV+

Sam Greenfield is the unluckiest person on Earth, and she has been since the day she was born. It’s bad enough that Sam’s biological parents left her at the Summerland Home for Girls shortly after she came into this world, and that she’s about to age out of the program after going a full 18 years without finding a forever home. But a more banal sort of calamity seems to follow Sam on a day-to-day basis, as well: This poor girl can’t make a sandwich without dropping a slice of bread on the floor jelly-side down, take a shower without knocking over a broom that locks her in the bathroom, or shoot a lip sync video with her “little sister” Hazel without the set crashing down on top of her. Rotten luck essentially follows Sam with the same Rube Goldberg-inspired relentlessness that Death stalks the teens of the “Final Destination” franchise, just minus the sadistic creativity that makes those movies so much fun (or any other kind of creativity, for that matter). Read IndieWire’s full review.

“Prey” (directed by Daniel Trachtenberg) 
Distributor: Disney
Where to Find It: 
Streaming on Hulu

Fans looking for connections between “Prey” and the four “Predator” films that preceded it (not counting a pair of crossover titles from the early aughts) will find plenty to enjoy in Dan Trachtenberg’s prequel. There’s the overt stuff (keep your eyes peeled for a gun that pops up many decades later in the series’ timeline) and the tropes (clever kills that mirror some of the best from John McTiernan’s 1987 film, unexpected heroes of all stripes), but what’s most thrilling about this 18th-century prequel is how much it still manages to feel like its own thing.

Turns out, even the most wrung-out IP — we’re talking about a series that was eventually forced to crossover with another action-centric alien film, to deeply stupid results — can still tap into truly smart new ideas. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“They/Them” (directed by John Logan)
Distributor: Peacock
Where to Find It: 
Streaming on Peacock

Of the many positive trends “Get Out” ushered forth — the highbrow-ification of horror, irrefutable proof that Black stories can rock the box office — there’s also been a proliferation of socially conscious horror with somewhat mixed results. Studios began to shove political commentary into every horror movie, whether it was “The Forever Purge” pitting Mexican immigrants against gun-toting MAGA gangs, or the latest “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” turning Leatherface into a displaced victim of tech gentrification. Horror fans can sense when films force satire into a bloodbath and it’s annoying: They’re being sold a market trend and usually all they want is good clean bloody fun.

Leading that charge is Jason Blum’s Blumhouse Prods., the prolific banner behind some of the most successful horror franchises of the last decade, including “Paranormal Activity” and “The Purge” as well as “Get Out” and “Us.” But in its rapid expansion, Blumhouse is in danger of becoming the Ryan Murphy of horror: Commercial, vaguely political, and mostly average. Read IndieWire’s full review.

Also available this week:

“Carter” (directed by Byung-gil Jung) 
Distributor: Netflix
Where to Find It: 
Streaming on Netflix

“Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie” (directed by Andy Suriano and Ant Ward) 
Distributor: Netflix
Where to Find It: 
Streaming on Netflix

Week of July 25 – July 31

New Films in Theaters

As new movies open in theaters during the COVID-19 pandemic, IndieWire will continue to review them whenever possible. We encourage readers to follow the safety precautions provided by CDC and health authorities. Additionally, our coverage will provide alternative viewing options whenever they are available.

“DC League of Super-Pets” (directed by Jared Stern)
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Where to Find It:
 Theaters

The comedic DNA is strong in the latest outing from “The Lego Batman” co-writer Jared Stern, who brings his talents for writing acutely sardonic and self-aware scripts to his sophomore directorial effort, “DC League of Super-Pets.” While this new release confirms that DC will stop at nothing to keep its superhero franchise going — stretching their source material so thin that they’re not even making movies about superheroes, but their pets — the studio was at least wise enough to tap Stern for the task, who breathes a bit of (adorable) life into the tired good vs. evil tropes we’ve become accustomed to in the overstuffed superhero space. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“A Love Song” (directed by Max Walker-Silverman)
Distributor: Bleecker Street
Where to Find It:
 Theaters

There’s a bait-and-switch scene in Max Walker-Silverman’s feature directorial debut, “A Love Song,” a picturesque but emotionally inert film that teases more depth than the script can provide. Faye (Dale Dickey), an older woman of few words with a camper parked by a tranquil stream, is having dinner with a vacationing Black lesbian couple. A widow of seven years, Faye has been waiting in the vast Coloradan landscape for the arrival of a man she hasn’t seen in four decades. As she describes him to these two women, her gruff exterior gives way to giddiness, and for a split second, Walker-Silverman invites the viewer into a tender, romantic Western that might move against conventions. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“Medusa” (directed by Anita Rocha da Silviera)
Distributor: Music Box Films
Where to Find It:
 Theaters

To borrow a catchphrase from political discourse: The cruelty is the point. Specifically, cruelty towards those who fall outside of the party’s sphere of protection is the point of fascism, bringing a sense of safety and superiority to those who are deemed worthy of inclusion. This belonging comes at a price, of course, for women who choose to align themselves with misogynist power structures — the thesis of Brazilian filmmaker Anita Rocha da Silviera’s latest film.

“Medusa” is da Silviera’s second feature, and continues the exploration of violence and adolescence in her debut, 2015’s “Kill Me Please.” But “Medusa” takes on a frightening new relevance thanks to its framing: Here, da Silviera looks at gender dynamics through the lens of a fresh-faced, dead-eyed Christo-fascist cult. Not so long ago, “Medusa” could be described as having light elements of science fiction, with oblique references to an unnamed demarcation line between the time before, when “deviants” roamed the streets unafraid, and a more righteous present. Now, the distinction is less clear. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“One Man Dies a Million Times” (directed by Jessica Oreck)
Where to Find It:
 NYC’s IFC Center, with further expansion to follow

A languorous, ethnobiological romance that’s lodged somewhere between yesterday and tomorrow — memory and anticipation — Jessica Oreck’s singularly transportive “One Man Dies a Million Times” revisits the siege of Leningrad in order to trace a forward-thinking sketch about the essence of self-preservation in a world determined to destroy itself.

Announcing itself as “a true story, set in the future,” Oreck’s film largely eschews action in favor of entropy, its plot simple enough to sound like a premise: As millions of people starve to death in a frigid city that was deprived of food for 900 days, two high-cheekboned workers at the world’s first seed bank fight to preserve a priceless collection of genetically diverse plant life. Eating the produce would feed a small handful of extremely hungry people for a few days, but harvesting the seeds might allow for the possibility of restoring the world’s agriculture when the war ends. If the war ends. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“Resurrection” (directed by Andrew Semans)
Distributor: IFC Films
Where to Find It:
 Theaters, plus various VOD and digital options on August 5

Fiendishly splitting the difference between the kind of low-rent parental vigilante movies that will always live on basic cable, and the kind of high-brow polymorphic freakouts that all but died with Andrzej Żuławski, Andrew Semans’ aptly named “Resurrection” may never quite reach “Possession” levels of psychic collapse (what does?), but it sure gets a hell of a lot closer than the broad familiarity of its setup might lead you to expect. In fact, the first act of this impressively deranged Sundance premiere almost seems to lure you into a false sense of security on purpose.

There have been any number of basic psychological thrillers about strong women who get dismissed as “hysterical” and/or gaslit into self-doubt when they report an urgent threat of some kind, and “Resurrection” is happy to disguise itself as the latest thing off the assembly line. Even when Semans’ original script is punctured by occasional stabs of sickening horror — its control-obsessed heroine so unmoored by the sudden reappearance of a strange man from her past that she sees a baby-shaped chicken carcass screaming in the oven of her Albany condo — the film’s basic plot and deceptively bland aesthetic still make it feel like the kind of thing that Ashley Judd or Halle Berry might have made a couple of decades ago. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“Sharp Stick” (directed by Lena Dunham)
Distributor: Utopia
Where to Find It:
 Theaters, with further expansion to follow, plus various VOD and digital options on August 16

Over the course of six seasons, Lena Dunham’s HBO hit series “Girls” was beset by plenty of complaints and controversies, but aside from the steady stream of hot takes on a show about four shiftless white girls in NYC, there was always one problem too big, too true, and far too easy to ignore: These girls never changed. And while Dunham’s third feature film, “Sharp Stick,” is the product of a decade-plus of new knowledge, experiences, and obsessions for its creator, too often it feels like a reaction to that very criticism. You want change in your characters? You’ve got it, even if it doesn’t make a lick of sense, even if it shifts by the minute, even if it all seems invented to serve fleeting moments, even if it all feels like, well, a sharp stick right to the arm, pain in service to a very flimsy idea of healing and honesty. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“Vengeance” (directed by B.J. Novak) — IndieWire Critic’s Pick
Distributor: Focus Features
Where to Find It:
 Theaters

At the risk of damning an impressively strong debut with faint praise, B.J. Novak’s “Vengeance” is perhaps the best possible movie someone could make out of a murder-mystery that starts with John Mayer standing on the rooftop bar of a Soho House (where he’s waxing philosophical about the pointlessness of monogamy in a world so fractured that people have been reduced to mere concepts, like “Becky Gym,” “Sarah Airplane Bathroom,” or any of the actual names he’s assigned to the scores of semi-anonymous women in his phone), but doesn’t end with the musician dead in a ditch somewhere.

In fact, Mayer never shows up again. He sticks around just long enough for you to assume the worst about what’s to come — oh yay, the other, other guy from “The Office” remade “Swingers” for the Tinder set, and cast someone who once referred to his dick as a white supremacist in the Vince Vaughn role — and then recedes into the background of a wickedly sharp film that satirizes our rush to judgment in a society where unprecedented chaos has forced people to rely on the stabilizing confidence of their own convictions. Read IndieWire’s full review.

Also available this week:

“Hypochondriac” (directed by Addison Heimann)
Distributor: XYZ Films
Where to Find It:
 Theaters, plus various VOD and digital options on August 4

“Paradise Highway” (directed by Anna Gutto)
Distributor: Lionsgate
Where to Find It:
 Theaters, plus various VOD options

“The Reef: Stalked” (directed by Andrew Traucki)
Distributor: RLJE Films, Shudder
Where to Find It:
 Theaters, plus various VOD options and streaming on Shudder

New Films on VOD and Streaming, Including Premium Platforms and Virtual Cinema

“Not Okay” (directed by Quinn Shephard) — IndieWire Critic’s Pick
Distributor: Searchlight Pictures
Where to Find It: 
Streaming on Hulu

“CONTENT WARNING: This film contains flashing lights, themes of trauma, and an unlikable female protagonist.”

That’s the opening salvo for Quinn Shephard’s “Not Okay,” a razor-sharp, painfully funny (and, sometimes, just plain painful) social satire about the ills of internet notoriety. It’s a canny opening for the “Blame” filmmaker’s whipsmart sophomore outing, winking at the familiar concerns (content warnings, trauma) of the generation she chronicles while, nodding at the woman at its heart (hey, it’s an “unlikable” female lead!) and hinting at growth within (she is, after all, a protagonist, not an antagonist). Being perpetually online sucks, but movies about it don’t have to, as “Not Okay” shows time and again.

Danni Sanders (Zoey Deutch) wants to be noticed, so badly, but while she lives in an age that makes it hard to hide, she’s still woefully ill-equipped for what that really means. And, as the film’s in media res opening makes clear, Danni has already a) taken her shot and b) flamed out in spectacular fashion. Sobbing, alone, and mortified, we meet Danni as she’s paging through reams of tweets and videos and news articles that declare her a social-media monster, the worst of the worst, and very canceled indeed. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“Purple Hearts” (directed by Elizabeth Allen Rosenbaum)
Distributor: Netflix
Where to Find It: 
Streaming on Netflix

A wildly melodramatic (yet weirdly endearing) love story for and about a generation of young Americans who first have to survive their own government if they hope to spend the rest of their lives with someone else, “Purple Hearts” may unfold like a ludicrous mash-up between “The OC” and “A Star Is Born” — this super-cheap Netflix Original is so determined to satisfy the algorithm that it would lack any coherent sense of self if not for the fact that it was chiefly designed as a star vehicle for Disney Channel grad Sofia Carson — but there’s something rather stubbornly honest about the heartbeat of desperation that thrums below its Walmart veneer. Read IndieWire’s full review.

Week of July 18 – July 24

New Films in Theaters

As new movies open in theaters during the COVID-19 pandemic, IndieWire will continue to review them whenever possible. We encourage readers to follow the safety precautions provided by CDC and health authorities. Additionally, our coverage will provide alternative viewing options whenever they are available.

“Alone Together” (directed by Katie Holmes)
Distributor: Vertical Entertainment
Where to Find It:
 Theaters

Don’t let this film fool you: It’s not great, but it is a cozy reminder of rom-coms past. “Alone Together,” while set in 2020 amid the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, infuses the genre with the comfort of a matching cashmere bralette and cardigan sweater from the late 2010s, per the trend writer-director-producer-star Katie Holmes made famous then.

It’s easy to get lost in the nostalgic parts of “Alone Together,” like the effortlessly picturesque Anthropologie home furnishings and stylish wardrobes of a “woman on the go in the Big Apple.” It’s even easier to get lost in Jim Sturgess and Holmes’ simple yet charming banter. But don’t get too dreamy-eyed for the rom-coms of days past: the film, which premiered at Tribeca 2022, has a jarring reminder that the world is a heartbreaking place, full of death, betrayal, and traumatic loss. So goes our cute and quirky escape. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“My Donkey, My Lover & I” (directed by Caroline Vignal)
Distributor: Greenwich Entertainment
Where to Find It:
 Theaters

Foreign-language movie titles are typically made less interesting and more vanilla when they’re translated into English, but that is very much not the case with Caroline Vignal’s “Antoinette in the Cévennes” — or as it’s being released in the United States: “My Donkey, My Lover & I.” Each title proves accurate in its own way, but the American one does a better job of capturing the sardonic flavor of this mid-summer trifle about a sweetly pathetic school teacher (the wonderful “Call My Agent” star Laure Calamy) who rides an ass named Patrick across south-central France in pursuit of the man she loves. Who’s on vacation with his wife. And their young daughter. Who just so happens to be one of Antoinette’s students.

Effectively threading the needle between “Au Hasard Balthazar” and “Legally Blonde” (a phrase that I’ve waited my entire life to write), Vignal’s comic tale of self-discovery is as light and gentle as the rolling terrain that it travels, even if Antoinette encounters a few more bumps in the road than the average person who decides to retrace Robert Louis Stevenson’s famous path through Cévennes National Park. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“My Old School” (directed by Jono McLeod)
Distributor: Magnolia Pictures
Where to Find It:
 Theaters

The story of “Brandon Lee,” a 16-year-old prodigy who infiltrated a Glasgow academy in the 1990s and beguiled his classmates with his preternatural smarts and charm, is well-traded in Scotland but little-known in the States. A simple Google search pulls up everything you need to know about this man, whose shrug-inducing grand hoax is recreated in Jono McLeod’s hybrid animated-reenactment documentary. So it’s curious why reviewers are being asked not to spill the film’s big “secrets.” Suffice it to say, this is “Strangers with Candy”-esque slice of Scottish lore about a “high schooler” who, well, definitely shouldn’t be in a high school, amounts to very little despite a big setup, eliciting a sort of “Burn After Reading” sense of “well, what did we learn?” feeling at the end of it all. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“Nope” (directed by Jordan Peele) — IndieWire’s Critic’s Pick
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Where to Find It:
 Theaters

How do we live with some of the shit that we’ve been forced to watch on a daily basis? Why are we so eager to immortalize the worst images that our world is capable of producing, and what kind of awful power do we lend such tragedies by sanctifying them into spectacles that can play out over and over again?

While Jordan Peele has fast become one of the most relevant and profitable of modern American filmmakers, “Nope” is the first time that he’s been afforded a budget fit for a true blockbuster spectacle, and that’s exactly what he’s created with it. But if this smart, muscular, and massively entertaining flying saucer freak-out is such an old school delight that it starts with a shout-out to early cinema pioneer Eadweard Muybridge (before paying homage to more direct influences like “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”), it’s also a thoroughly modern popcorn movie for and about viewers who’ve been inundated with — and addicted to — 21st century visions of real-life terror. Read IndieWire’s full review.

New Films on VOD and Streaming, Including Premium Platforms and Virtual Cinema

“Aftershock” (directed by Paula Eiselt and Tonya Lewis Lee) — IndieWire’s Critic’s Pick
Distributor: Hulu
Where to Find It: 
Streaming on Hulu

The statistics speak for themselves: According to the CDC, Black and Native women are two to three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women in this country. “Aftershock” is the result of tragedy, and the collaborative efforts of families who have endured the outcomes of systemic racial discrimination in reproductive health. The documentary from directors Paula Eiselt and Tonya Lewis Lee simultaneously gives a wide-angle and close-up look at the dangers of giving birth while Black, from the ways women’s healthcare has been taken out of their hands over time, to how this trend has impacted individual families who undergo the devastating experience of losing their respective partner, child, or mother in the blink of an eye, all due to preventable complications and medical neglect. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“Anything’s Possible” (directed by Billy Porter)
Distributor: Amazon
Where to Find It: 
Streaming on Amazon Prime Video

In the age of TikTok, traditional media producers are scrambling to compete for younger audiences, and many are coming up short. An edgy show like “Euphoria” or the sweetly earnest “Sex Education” may be set in the world’s most adult high schools, but their real demographics skew toward Millennials and older Gen Z-ers. Actual teenagers rarely watch anything on a screen bigger than their phones, so it makes sense that the content geared toward them would be, well, somewhat slight. But that’s no reason to sacrifice quality, in fact the opposite will have to be true if we want to get kids back to the movies.

Brimming with heart and not much else, the new teen romance “Anything’s Possible” isn’t likely to create any converts to the unique magic of movies. The feature directorial debut of Emmy-winning “Pose” star Billy Porter, the story follows a transgender high schooler during the early stages of her first relationship with the boy of her dreams. The script by Ximena García Lecuona offers a twist on this age-old tale: The character’s trans-ness is not an impediment to finding love or happiness. Unfortunately, in its valiant effort to avoid cliches, the story falls flat. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“The Gray Man” (directed by Joe and Anthony Russo)
Distributor: Netflix
Where to Find It: 
Streaming on Netflix

In fairness to Anthony and Joe Russo, whose post-“Avengers” output also includes directing one of 2021’s worst films (“Cherry”) and producing one of 2022’s best (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”), “The Gray Man” dares to flip the old Lucas Lee formula on its ass. Yes, Chris Evans still spends most of this movie threatening people over the phone, but here he’s been cast as the bad guy; it’s Ryan Gosling who’s been cast in the Cole Hazard role, the iconic “Barbie Set Photos” star playing CIA killer Court Gentry (codename: Sierra Six).

And this time, the call he gets from his future self is coming from inside the house, or at least from another room in the Bangkok skyscraper where Court has been dispatched to assassinate Sierra Four, a fellow mercenary in the black ops program that recruited Court out of prison and offered him “freedom” in exchange for a lifetime of doing America’s dirty work. Sierra Four reminds our hero that gray men don’t get to retire, and — with his dying breath — cautions Sierra Six that he’ll be the CIA’s next target. Spoiler alert: You’ll wish he only had 89 minutes to live. Read IndieWire’s full review.

Week of July 11 – July 17

New Films in Theaters

As new movies open in theaters during the COVID-19 pandemic, IndieWire will continue to review them whenever possible. We encourage readers to follow the safety precautions provided by CDC and health authorities. Additionally, our coverage will provide alternative viewing options whenever they are available.

“Anonymous Club” (directed by Danny Cohen) — IndieWire Critic’s Pick
Distributor: Oscilloscope
Where to Find It:
 Theaters

Courtney Barnett stands alone in the middle of a recording studio in Oslo. A dressing room in Bloomington. A rooftop in Berlin. On stage, the Australian singer-songwriter commands attention, her propulsive energy and raspy croon animating everyone in the room as she bares her soul with songs like “I’m Not Your Mother, I’m Not Your Bitch.” It’s these in-between moments, however, that speak to Barnett’s genuine nature — a shy, oftentimes sad human being who leads a solitary life, and has difficulty opening up anywhere but in her lyrics.

All of these qualities and more are captured on striking 16mm in “Anonymous Club,” the first feature from music video director Danny Cohen. A frequent collaborator of Barnett, Cohen developed a friendship with the singer that inspired him to try his hand at documentary filmmaking. Familiar with her reticence as an interview subject, Cohen asked her to speak her mind into a dictaphone during a three-year period, much of it spent on an international tour. The film places these stream-of-consciousness half-thoughts, at once mundane and profound, but always sincere, over footage of the singer on the road and on stage, at home in Melbourne and in hotel rooms around the world, adding up to a unique, vivid picture of the Barnett’s inner and outer worlds. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“Costa Brava, Lebanon” (directed by Mounia Akl)
Distributor: Kino Lorber
Where to Find It:
 Theaters

IndieWire review to come.

“Earwig” (directed by Lucile Hadžihalilović)
Distributor: Juno Films
Where to Find It:
 Theaters

Somewhere in a fogbound pocket of mid-century Europe, a little girl with curly brown hair shares a dark and dingy apartment with a middle-aged man who makes us nervous. Her name is Mia (Romaine Hemelaers), and her constantly melting teeth are made out of her own frozen saliva. The man’s name is Aalbert Scellinc (Paul Hilton); he is not her father. Neither of them speak. The slatted wooden floors groan like ghosts whenever anyone moves, or when Aalbert tinkers with the headgear he fits around Mia’s face before meals, fresh spit pooling into each of the glass vials positioned on either side of her mouth.

Both of Lucile Hadžihalilović’s previous features adhered to a liquid sort of nightmare logic (especially 2015’s “Evolution,” about a small French island on which all of the mothers have starfish-like suckers on their backs, and perform strange procedures on their sleeping preteen sons every night). Those eerie phantasmagorias were the latest Marvel installments compared to the plotless “Earwig,” which she adapted from Brian Catling’s surreal novella with all of its 2+2 = cockroach storytelling intact — and then some. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“The Gray Man” (directed by Joe and Anthony Russo)
Distributor: Netflix
Where to Find It: 
Theaters, streaming on Netflix on Friday, July 22

In fairness to Anthony and Joe Russo, whose post-“Avengers” output also includes directing one of 2021’s worst films (“Cherry”) and producing one of 2022’s best (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”), “The Gray Man” dares to flip the old Lucas Lee formula on its ass. Yes, Chris Evans still spends most of this movie threatening people over the phone, but here he’s been cast as the bad guy; it’s Ryan Gosling who’s been cast in the Cole Hazard role, the iconic “Barbie Set Photos” star playing CIA killer Court Gentry (codename: Sierra Six).

And this time, the call he gets from his future self is coming from inside the house, or at least from another room in the Bangkok skyscraper where Court has been dispatched to assassinate Sierra Four, a fellow mercenary in the black ops program that recruited Court out of prison and offered him “freedom” in exchange for a lifetime of doing America’s dirty work. Sierra Four reminds our hero that gray men don’t get to retire, and — with his dying breath — cautions Sierra Six that he’ll be the CIA’s next target. Spoiler alert: You’ll wish he only had 89 minutes to live. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“Gone in the Night” (directed by Eli Horowitz)
Distributor: Vertical Entertainment
Where to Find It:
 Theaters

There’s no way they — or the audience of the “Homecoming” creator’s feature directorial debut — could possibly see what’s coming, though that’s more the product of an over-cooked, under-baked, and needlessly tricky screenplay from Eli Horowitz and Matthew Derby that seems to think it’s far more clever (and thrilling) than the final product. As Kath and Max (Winona Ryder and John Gallagher, Jr.) alight on the cozy cabin in the woods they’ve booked for a weekend away, only to find it already occupied by a grim-faced duo (Owen Teague and Brianne Tju) inexplicably wearing matching rain slickers, the film’s tone surprises. Here’s a set-up that seems ripe for terror — again, matching rain slickers — and yet Horowitz manages to keep it light, almost fluffy, hinting at some freshness to come. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris” (directed by Anthony Fabian)
Distributor: Focus Features
Where to Find It:
 Theaters

A housekeeper waltzing into Christian Dior and choosing a couture gown may sound like the height of fantasy, but the biggest stretch in Anthony Fabian’s “Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris” may be all the nice French people she meets along the way. Starring the inimitable Lesley Manville, in a role that effectively transitions the frequent Mike Leigh collaborator into the Helen Mirren phase of her career, “Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris” is a charming confection of a middle-aged, middle-class fantasy.

Imbuing the lavish period delights of “Mrs. Maisel” with a lively post-menopausal heroine “Hacks” made trendy, “Mrs. Harris” goes down like a sugary amuse-bouche of entertainment — it won’t make a lasting impression but it’s the perfect thing for the moment. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“Marx Can Wait” (directed by Marco Bellocchio)
Distributor: Strand Releasing
Where to Find It:
 Theaters

IndieWire review to come.

“She Will” (directed by Charlotte Colbert)
Distributor: IFC Midnight
Where to Find It:
 Theaters

In Charlotte Colbert’s moody “She Will,” fallen movie idol Veronica Ghent (a riveting Alice Krige) struggles with the many masks — figurative and literal — she’s had to put on over the years. The latest is “about preservation,” icy Veronica explains in the film’s opening moments: A recent double mastectomy is the latest twist that has robbed her of yet another piece of her identity. As Colbert’s mystical first feature unfolds, Veronica is surprised by the new identities she can tap into, even if they prove less shocking to the film’s audience.

Intent on healing somewhere without prying eyes, Veronica alights for a solitary retreat in the middle of Scotland with only a young nurse in tow. Desi (Kota Eberhardt) isn’t at all impressed by her employer’s pedigree; she just wants to ensure her new charge takes care of herself, a much bigger ask than she could have possibly anticipated. (Veronica is all sneers, telling Desi she only needs her for “bandages and the occasional bath.”) Soon, these two very different women will be bound by what they find in in Scotland, its history, and their own prodigious pain. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“Where the Crawdads Sing” (directed by Olivia Newman)
Distributor: Sony
Where to Find It:
 Theaters

We may never know the full truth behind Delia Owens’ checkered past as a conservationist — which almost certainly seem to include a militant, white savior-minded approach to policing Zambian wildlife preserves, and may also extend to being a “co-conspirator and accessory” to murder — but the secret to the “Where the Crawdads Sing” author’s success is now as obvious as her plotting, even to those of us who had never heard of the runaway bestseller until Taylor Swift invented it a few short weeks ago. Olivia Newman’s (“First Match”) slick and glossy beach read of a movie adaptation brings it all right to the surface. Which is just as well, because the surface is the only layer this movie has.

Yes, this is an expertly contrived melodrama about defiance in the face of abandonment, and sure, it’s also a faintly self-exonerating caricature of a natural woman unspoiled by Western society. But underneath the story’s humid romance with Carolina marshland, and behind its Hollywood-ready façade of backwater Americana, “Where the Crawdads Sing” is really just a swampy riff on “Pygmalion,” with Eliza Doolittle reimagined as a semi-feral outsider who’s obviously the hottest girl in town, but lives in almost complete isolation until the Zack Siler of Barkley Cove teachers her how to read and make out. Read IndieWire’s full review.

Also available this week:

“American Carnage” (directed by Diego Hallivis)
Distributor: Saban Films
Where to Find It: 
Select theaters, plus various VOD and digital platforms

“The Deer King” (directed by Masashi Ando)
Distributor: GKIDS
Where to Find It:
 Theaters

“Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down” (directed by Betsy West and Julie Cohen)
Distributor: Briarcliff Entertainment
Where to Find It: 
Theaters

“Living Wine” (directed by Lori Miller)
Distributor: Abaramorama
Where to Find It: 
Select theaters, plus various virtual cinemas through Abramorama’s Watch Now @ Home platform, expansion to follow

“My Name Is Sara” (directed by Steven Oritt)
Distributor: Strand Releasing
Where to Find It: 
Select NYC theaters, expansion to follow

“Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank” (directed by Rob Minkoff and Mark Koetsier)
Distributor: Paramount
Where to Find It: 
Theaters

New Films on VOD and Streaming, Including Premium Platforms and Virtual Cinema

“Don’t Make Me Go” (directed by Hannah Marks)
Distributor: Amazon
Where to Find It:
Streaming on Amazon Prime Video

From its opening moments, Hannah Marks’ “Don’t Make Me Go” tries to put its audience at ease with a surprising promise: disappointment. “You’re not going to like the way this story ends, but I think you’re going to like this story,” young Wally Park (newbie Mia Isaac) tells us via voiceover. That may sound coy for a dramedy that doesn’t hide a heartbreaking truth at its center — a single father (John Cho) discovers he has a terminal disease and decides to take his daughter (Isaac) on a road trip before he, well, goes — but it cleverly announces that perhaps there’s something else beneath the surface of what appears to be a straightforward weepy.

Marks (and Isaac and Cho) will revisit Wally’s declaration and it will prove to be true: “Don’t Make Me Go” is a sweet, charming, and eventually daring dramedy with tons of heart. Also true: Where this road trip movie ends its journey will likely engender some very strong reactions, but Vera Herbert’s smart script (a Black List entry), Marks’ assured direction, and the delight of Cho and Isaac’s well-matched performances sell it. It stings, but we knew that. Wally told us already, but it’s up to the audience to believe her. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“Persuasion” (directed by Carrie Cracknell)
Distributor: Netflix
Where to Find It:
Streaming on Netflix

Jane Austen knew a thing or two about complicated women and the way they move through the world. The author’s iconic bibliography — from “Pride and Prejudice” and “Emma” to “Sense and Sensibility,” and those are the just the English class curriculum bangers — has always hinged on indelible heroines and their Regency-era attempts to get their lives in order. These stories are both beholden to their time and place and undeniably universal in their concerns and charms.

Austen’s books have inspired all manner of adaptations on both stage and screen, from the faithful (Ang Lee’s luminous “Sense and Sensibility”) to the lightly loosened (hello, iconic BBC series version of “Pride and Prejudice,” infamous for its depiction of Mark Darcy as a naughty swimmer) and even the straight-up free-wheeling (“Bridget Jones’s Diary”) to the mostly inane (“Pride and Prejudice and Zombies”). Austen’s books incisively depict a specific time in British life (mostly the life lived by the rich, the white, the privileged), but her keen understanding of human interactions and desires can happily be transplanted to a range of stories. Read IndieWire’s full review.

Also available this week:

“1UP” (directed by Kyle Newman)
Distributor: Amazon
Where to Find It: 
Streaming on Amazon Prime Video

“Good Madam” (directed by Jenna Cato Bass)
Distributor: Shudder
Where to Find It: 
Streaming on Shudder

“Neon Lights” (directed by Rouzbeh Heydari)
Distributor: Momentum Pictures
Where to Find It: 
Various VOD and digital platforms

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