Universal Pictures/Everett Collection
Girls Trip, R
A posse of four college friends (played by Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith and Tiffany Haddish) is headed to the Essence Festival in New Orleans for a rekindling of friendship and some serious partying. Yet one more comedy featuring women behaving badly — the f-bombs fly in the first minutes — the comedy is disappointing despite an all-star cast and a standout performance by Haddish. FULL REVIEW
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Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk may be the best World War II epic in years. Based on the May 1940 evacuation of almost 400,000 Allied soldiers trapped by the enemy on France’s Dunkirk beach, the film manages to make the soldiers’ sitting-duck tension palpable without the typical Hollywood heartstring-fiddling. Mark Rylance plays a civilian boat captain with appropriate stiff-upper-lipped resolve, and Cillian Murphy is convincing as the shell-shocked shipwreck survivor he picks up. FULL REVIEW
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Okja is a chaotic but dazzling mash-up of genres, styles and moods from the electrifying director Bong Joon-ho. On a South Korean mountain, a 13-year-old orphan girl (Ahn Seo-hyun) is raising her beloved 13-foot-long superpig, Okja. But Okja was designed to be delicious by her genetic engineer creators, wicked twins (both played by Tilda Swinton, having great fun with the roles). They kidnap the animal and set off a brilliant zigzag chase that turns dark as the girl and her supporters rush to save the pet from a U.S. slaughterhouse. (Note: Okja is available on Netflix, but it’s worth seeing on a big screen if you can.)
Baby Driver, R
Baby Driver delivers one of the best opening scenes in recent memory, throwing the audience into the rush of a car chase and keeping the pedal to the metal until the credits roll. As the titular Baby (yes, that’s his name), Ansel Elgort offers a perfect mix of sensitivity and bravado, while Kevin Spacey, Jon Hamm and Jamie Foxx are outrageously entertaining in support roles. Edgar Wright’s direction is masterful, with much of the action synced to the beats of a stellar soundtrack. Even if you’re not usually into movies featuring high-speed car chases and gratuitous violence — and Baby Driver has plenty of both — you’ll want to give this one a shot.
Spider-Man: Homecoming, PG-13
This is the best Spidey movie since 2004’s Spider-Man 2. That’s in part thanks to new star Tom Holland, who — despite having been 20 during filming — makes a far more believable 15-year-old webslinger than his predecessors. This Spidey knows he’s overeager and under-experienced, and respects his elders, including Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and his nemesis the Vulture (Michael Keaton). Not jaded or cynical, it’s simply a fresh and fun summer film. FULL REVIEW
The Big Sick, R
The Big Sick is so funny and so heartfelt it leaves the audience delighted, while expertly examining romance, relationships and the importance of family from a prescient, timely angle. Based on the true love story of screenwriter and star Kumail Nanjiani and his wife, Emily V. Gordon (who cowrote the script), it features top-notch performances from Ray Romano and Holly Hunter, and is packed with hilarious jokes even in its tensest moments. Watching this film is a downright joyous experience — provided you don’t mind a few F-words.
The Beguiled, R
Sofia Coppola’s female-centric Civil War tale The Beguiled, about a Union soldier forced to take refuge in a Southern women’s boarding school, made her the second woman in history to win Best Director at Cannes. It could earn her a second Oscar and star Nicole Kidman, 50, her second win and fifth Oscar nomination. It’s the most beguiling art film of the summer — fraught with lust, rage and fear — and Coppola’s second-best movie, after Lost in Translation. FULL REVIEW
“We’re like an odd pair of socks,” Ethan Hawke’s Everett says to his wife, Sally Hawkins’ Maud, who’s based on the real-life Canadian folk artist Maud Lewis. And odd they are, living a humble life in a two-room house in Nova Scotia, as the crabby Everett peddles fish and Maud sells her colorful paintings from her front stoop. There’s not much in the way of plot, but the film’s simple beauty, gorgeous scenery, and marvelous acting by Hawkins and Hawke make this one to see — and one to watch for during awards season.
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