You might think there's no escape from this shit, but get out from under the marketing campaigns and keep an eye out for these:
June 29-July 20
FIN Outdoor's Summer of Henson
Last year's pilot project of screenings in the Public Gardens went well—the Atlantic International Film Festival's summer series is happening in the agave's cold, dead shadow this round. FIN pays tribute to the house of Jim Henson with 1979's The Muppet Movie (June 29), the frankly terrifying The Dark Crystal (July 6), Jason Segel's loving reboot of The Muppets (July 13) and closing out with an early film of Jennifer Connelly's, Labyrinth (July 20).
Three Identical Strangers
This is a truly outstanding season for documentaries, kicked off in May by Julie Cohen and Betsy West's smitten portrait of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and followed by the
Tiresome singing comedian Bo Burnham appears to have keenly crafted a coming-of-age story about a junior high girl? Hollywood truly is La La Land. Elise Fisher (the voice of Agnes in Despicable Me) plays Kayla, an introvert who comes to life online. Top-shelf distributor A24's last movie in this vein was Lady Bird.
This one's gonna hurt. Like Amy before it, Whitney follows the troubled life and tragic death of a singular talent, Whitney Houston. Directed by Kevon Macdonald, who hops between doc (Marley, Touching the Void) and drama (The Last King of Scotland), the film premiered at Cannes. "Even those not among Houston's more passionate fan base will find it an emotionally wrenching experience," wrote The Hollywood Reporter.
It's been six years since The Queen of Versailles, Lauren Greenfield's portrait of one of the richest families in America, headed by Jaqueline Siegel, a trophy wife and tacky idiot who wielded a great deal of appeal. Greenfield stays with the money in Generation Wealth, focusing on the "pathologies" that create the obsessions of high society.
Leave No Trace
Debra Granik, who created breakthrough roles for Vera Farmiga (Down to the Bone, 2004) and Jennifer Lawrence (Winter's Bone, 2010) returns with the tale of a father (Ben Foster) and his teen daughter (Thomasin McKenzie) living an eco-conscious life in Oregon. They're removed, sent "back" to society, and set out to return, but now they're at odds with what each wants.
The Spy Who Dumped Me
Four words: Kate McKinnon, action hero.
Spike Lee's been focused on docs and a TV adaptation of She's Gotta Have It lately, but BlacKkKlansman appears to be an angry, funny, political return to form. It's based on the true story of Ron Stallworth (John David Washington), the first African American detective in Colorado Springs, whose name-making idea for himself is to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan. His partner is Adam Driver, and Topher Grace is...David Duke.
The Happytime Murders
If you started your summer with the sweet Muppets, this is gonna blow your mind: An R-rated riff on the felt icons, starring Melissa McCarthy and Maya Rudolph, directed by Jim Henson's son Brian. (There's already been an outraged lawsuit.) It's been a long time since we've heard an unrestricted McCarthy, one of our best swearers, but the real joy (?) here is the raunchy puppets. If Team America's sex scenes were too chaste for you, The Happytime Murders is up to the challenge.