This Means War
Tracy Flick, Captain Kirk, and Bane make up the points of a love triangle in this broad action-comedy from director McG. Fill up on heavy artillery, CGI schlock, and neck-swiveling double takes while Chelsea Handler salts the rim with her patented zingers about being slutty and drunk. I’ll probably watch this eventually, but it should be said that I would watch a movie of Tom Hardy’s beard growing for two hours (This Means Fur).
New and Notable
Tuskegee airmen flick from Lucasfilm starring Cuba Gooding Jr. and Terrence Howard, with support from Tristan Wilds, Ne-Yo, and Bryan Cranston, about pilots battling earthbound racial discrimination for the right to prove themselves in aerial combat. Perfect if you like comfortingly old-school war movies where valor triumphs over evil and everyone has nicknames like “Easy” and “Joker.”
Saif Ali Khan as a James Bond–like spy in this remake of the 1977 hit.
The Secret World of Arrietty
The newest effort from Studio Ghibli — Hayao Miyazaki’s animation studio responsible for Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro. Considered the Japanese heir to Disney, Miyazaki’s films balance childlike whimsy with more mature themes about gaining independence in strange worlds. The Secret World of Arrietty is based on Mary Norton’s ’50s British fantasy novel The Borrowers, about a family of tiny people living under the floorboards. The American dub features the voices of Saorise Ronan (as tiny 14-year-old Arrietty), Amy Poehler, and Will Arnett.
The Woman in Black
Harry Potter heralds the return of classic U.K. horror studio Hammer films with this supernatural chiller adapted from Susan Hill’s novel. Dirt-crusted doll faces, blood on the walls, creepy music box tunes … if bombastic summer movies don’t suit you, this is a perfect antidote full of fogged-up windows, misty moors, and black cravats.
Life Without Principle
Crime drama from Hong Kong directed by Johnnie To, starring Lau Ching Wan, Richie Ren, and Denise Ho. To usually makes excellent stylized, fast-paced genre films about the convergence between chance and fate. Life Without Principle looks to be no exception.
A murderous stranger terrorizes a girl in her Silver Lake apartment as she attempts to leave Los Angeles once and for all. Hipster torture porn?
Not to be confused with the Norwegian film United (or Paul Greengrass’s United 93), this is a U.K. telefilm about “The Busby Babes” and the Munich air disaster leading into the 1958 FA Cup final. David Tennant (the 10th Doctor Who) stars as coach Jimmy Murphy.
City of Life
Directed by Ali F. Mostafa, this is one of those movies in which the worlds of a bunch of people from all different walks of life unexpectedly collide. In this case, the city is Dubai and those strangers are a Romanian former ballet dancer, a privileged young Arab, and an Indian taxi driver.
“In Theaters” VOD Pick
For fans of Samuel L. Jackson and vigilante movies. Irish actress Ruth Negga is the mysterious woman who could possibly make a good man out of Jackson, and Jackson is the career criminal doing one last job. If you didn’t get enough Nick Fury in The Avengers or can’t wait for the Cannes footage of Django Unchained to leak, The Samaritan will help satisfy your endless appetite for Samuel L. Jackson.
Weird Indie of the Week
An Ordinary Family
Naturalistic drama shot on digital about a family reunion between two Texan brothers complicated by a surprise coming-out. Beautifully framed and shot, starring a cast of interesting-looking unknowns.
Early VOD Premiere of the Week
Freddie Krueger (Robert Englund)! The Single Guy (Jonathan Silverman)! Joey Fatone (Joey Fatone)! Englund is Inkubus, an immortal demon who comes to a dilapidated Rhode Island police station to settle a score with Manny Horvitz (William Forsythe).