The post-July 4th weekend is usually pretty calm, release-wise, since the studios expect their big holiday pictures to continue cleaning up at the box office. But this year’s been weird: Independence Day: Resurgence tanked, The Legend of Tarzan underperformed and Finding Dory has been defeating all comers for three weeks now.
Is a new champion about to rise? Probably; Universal’s been advertising the crap out of The Secret Life of Pets.
The Debt: Barney Elliott’s multicharacter study wants very much to be an artful cinematic treatment of a pressing social problem. Instead, it’s a good-looking bust. Can’t win ’em all, I guess.
Frank Zappa: Eat That Question: The magnificently unquantifiable musician gets the documentary he deserves — constructed from his own TV appearances, and letting him speak for himself. Jose digs it.
Last Cab to Darwin: Michael Caton is tremendously good as a dying cabbie in this low-key Australian drama, which should have been a much bigger hit at TIFF last year.
Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates: Faced with the eponymous problem, two brothers (Zac Efron and Adam DeVine) enlist two even-less-stable pals (Anna Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza) as a solution. Jake likes it for what it is.
The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and The Silk Road Ensemble: Morgan Neville follows the world-renowned cellist as he sets a complex new challenge for himself. Susan‘s all in.
Out of Print: The tale of the New Beverly Cinema is a terrific one, touching on almost every major issue within the moviemaking industry. Sadly, Julia Marchese’s doc is reluctant to really engage with most of them.
The Secret Life of Pets: The Despicable Me team gets fuzzy with a comedy about the things our animals do when we leave them at home. (This is why we crate Dexter.) Rad enjoyed it, with some reservations.
Wiener-Dog: Todd Solondz does the anthology thing again, this time following an insanely photogenic dachshund through four increasingly dark stories. Phil recommends it.
And that’s everything, I think. I’ll be spending the next few days putting my studio together with a brief break to eat ribs in public; hope you have an equally productive weekend!