Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 13 / 29 March 2018

Summer at the movies


From director Amir Bar-Lev's Long Strange Trip.
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It's great to report that summers are no longer a dead zone at the movies for adults. We've attempted to cover the waterfront starting with films that should appear in theaters in May. Caution: this list is culled from a slate of summer films some of which may never make it past the Hudson River or far north of Hollywood Blvd.

The Drowning Josh Charles, late of CBS' The Good Wife, appears as a forensic psychologist who saves a suicidal young man only to recall that their paths had crossed years earlier when Charles' character testified against the kid as an expert witness. Bette Gordon adapts the Pat Barker novel Border Crossing. Co-stars Julia Stiles.

Manifesto Cate Blanchett performs a baker's dozen of monologue manifestos in a film adapted from live performances at New York's Park Avenue Armory.

Folk Hero & Funny Guy Standup comic Alex Karpovsky explores a comic nightmare scenario: the funny-guy slump. Karpovsky seeks redemption on a tour with a buddy, rock musician Wyatt Russell. Karpovsky's aggressive style will turn off as many as it pleases. At his best he's a slightly more abrasive Jerry Seinfeld. With Meredith Hagner, Michael Ian Black and Melanie Lynskey.

Get Me Roger Stone This political doc spotlights a man you'll love to hate: the op who gave us Trump. Stone, who's a frequent Charlie Rose guest, specializes in negative ads, and the film should probe why this technique is so effective with the growing indie-swing voter. Also appearing is The Donald's fired campaign manager Paul Manafort.

Hounds of Love This Perth, Australia-based thriller, reportedly based on a real case, follows the story of a young woman (Ashleigh Cummings) who's kidnapped by a murderous couple (Emma Booth, Stephen Curry).

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword One-time British Queer as Folk star Charlie Hunnam plays this reboot with a dash of irreverence. Jude Law is the King's foil in this Guy Ritchie-directed adventure.

Lowriders This East LA-set melodrama pits a Chicano street artist (Gabriel Chavarria) against his lowrider-loving dad (Demian Bichir). With Theo Rossi as his ex-con brother, Eva Longoria and TV's Supergirl Melissa Benoist.

Snatched Goldie Hawn and Amy Schumer are a battling mother-daughter combo abducted during a tropical vacation. Jonathan Levine directs Katie Dippold's script.

Stefan Zweig: Farewell to Europe A bio-pic tribute to the Austrian exiled writer whose writings were the basis for the films Letter from an Unknown Woman and The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Tracktown This drama was inspired by the 2016 Olympics. Alexi Pappas is a US-born long-distance runner who competed for Greece. An athlete develops a crush on a bakery worker while she's recuperating from an injury. With Jeremy Teicher.

Urban Hymn Set in 2011 riot-torn UK, this redemption tale focuses on a troubled female teen (Letitia Wright) taken under the wing of a social-worker guardian angel (Shirley Henderson) to pursue her pop-singing dreams. Directed by Michael Canton-Jones.

The Wall This Iraq-war-set story concerns a pair of American GIs (Aaron Taylor-Johnson, John Cena) targeted by an Iraqi sniper. A radio link between hunter and prey provides the basis for suspense in Doug Lyman's drama.

The Wedding Plan A 32-year-old woman (Noa Koler) gives herself three weeks to find a husband to fulfill her life-long dreams of a great ceremony. It's Orthodox Jewish director Rama Burshien's take on a Jane Austen-style story.

Whisky Galore A Scottish coastal community out of their favorite drink confronts a ship captain (Eddie Izzard) who's run aground with a full load on board. Based on a 1949 British comedy.

Abacus: Small Enough to Jail Steve James returns with the drama of a tiny immigrant-oriented bank. It's a shout-out to a New York Chinatown family allegedly scapegoated for the sins of the big boys.

Afterimage The final film of the late Andrzej Wajda, who depicted the fall of the tyrannical Stalinist regime ruling post-WWII Poland. It's the story of a painter (Boguslav Linda) who defied the Communist Party's preference for "heroic/socialist realism" art and saw his career crumble as a result.

Alien: Covenant Ridley Scott is back with yet another lost-in-space horror fest. With Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Amy Seimetz, Demian Bichir, Danny McBride, Carmen Ejogo, and Michael Fassbinder, back as an android.

The Commune The Danish Dogma director Thomas Vinterberg returns with a 1970s drama about a couple (Trine Dvrholm, Ulrich Thomsen) who launch an experiment in group living.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid A reboot of Jeff Kinney's wildly successful stories, with a new kid (Jason Ian Drucker) taking his parents (Alicia Silverstone, Tom Everett Scott) on a fun-filled road trip.

Everything, Everything Young adult star Nick Robinson returns as the boy-next-door dreamboat for a girl (Amandla Stenberg) with a failing immune system. Based on the best-selling teen novel by Nicola Yoon.

Fight for Space Apollo 13 astronaut James Lovell and star astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson argue for a vigorous new government-sponsored space program.

Hell on Earth: The Fall of Syria and the Rise of ISIS Documentary-making partners Sebastian Junger and Nick Quested describe how the Syrian Civil War laid the groundwork for the catastrophic rise of the Islamic State and its atrocities.

Paint it Black The death of her boyfriend leads an LA woman (Alia Shawkat) into a hellish emotional bond with the guy's mom (Janet McTeer). Amber Tamblyn directs from Janet Fitch's novel White Oleander.

The Survivalist A man (Martin McCan) living alone in a post-apocalyptic forest is joined by two women (Mia Goth, Olwen Fouere).

Wakefield Robin Swicord adapts E.L. Doctorow's story. A man (Bryan Cranston) leaves his family to live in the attic of his garage. Jennifer Garner co-stars.

The Woman Who Left A new work from Filipino director Lav Diaz, winner of the Golden Lion at Venice.

Restless Creature: Wendy Whelan A ballet performance doc follows this New York City Ballet star through a 2014 injury.

Long Strange Trip Director Amir Bar-Lev's four-hour examination of the career of Bay Area super-band The Grateful Dead. (Continues next week.)


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