It’s weird, really. Some weeks everyone gets out of the way of the giant studio picture, and other weeks there’s a sense of opportunity and everybody rushes in with their counter-programming.
Will Disney dominate the landscape with its latest live-action remake? Yeah, probably. But there are other options.
After the Storm: Hirokazu Kore-eda does his very specific thing, making a precise and subtle drama about a family in the process of dissolution, and it’s beautiful and moving and lovely.
Beauty and the Beast: Emma Watson and a digitally transformed Dan Stevens wander around in an elaborate re-creation of Disney’s 1991 classic, and we’re supposed to pretend there’s a point to all of it.
Goon: Last of the Enforcers: Jay Baruchel steps up to direct the sequel to the 2011 comedy he co-created, but the magic is considerably diminished. I’m sure there are still stories to tell about these characters … just not this story, you know?
Karl Marx City: Petra Epperlein and Michael Tucker — makers of Gunner Palace and Fightville, among others — turn their lens inward to investigate Epperlein’s childhood in East Germany, and the mystery surrounding her father’s 1999 suicide. Susan loved it.
The Lure: The phrase “demented Polish mermaid musical” doesn’t even begin to cover the glories of Agnieszka Smoczynska’s gonzo production, which takes a whole bunch of ideas and mooshes them into one magnificent fleshy lump of creativity. Just see it, okay?
The Sense of An Ending: Despite strong performances from the likes of Jim Broadbent, Harriet Walter and Charlotte Rampling, Susan found Ritesh Batra’s adaptation of Julian Barnes’ novel a disappointment in both structural and dramatic terms. Which, bummer.
The Settlers: A decade after Shimon Dotan examined the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Hot House, he’s back with a primer on the Zionist settler movement, which has arguably done more damage to the peace process than any war or terrorist act. So, you know, hooray for that.
T2 Trainspotting: Danny Boyle, John Hodge and their electrifying cast reunite for a sequel that not only knows you can’t go home again, but weaponizes that knowledge. That it works as well as it does is a surprise — but I should have expected nothing less from Boyle.
Weirdos: Six years after making Trigger, Bruce McDonald and Daniel MacIvor conjure up this simple charmer about two kids (Dylan Authors and the amazing Julia Sarah Stone) hitchhiking across Nova Scotia. With a cameo by Molly Parker that’s grown a lot more powerful since she told me the story behind it.
That’s everything, I think. Have a good weekend, and try to get outside if you can. The sun helps.