It’s been said, many times in many ways, that we are currently enjoying a golden age of television. Between the cable networks and streaming services, you can find any flavor of accomplished long-form drama. Films, which most people consume on their flat-screens or devices, have become integrated and assimilated into the endless tunnel o’ content that most of us consume and forget.
But it’s summer, people: Break out of the box, subvert the paradigm, take the off-ramp, go to a theater and see a movie on the big screen, without interruption, the way God and Cecil B. DeMille intended.
'Adrift' (June 1)
Summer, for large numbers of Americans, means getting out on the water. There will always be a home in summer movies, therefore, for sharks, pirates, perfect storms, subterranean monsters, wardrobe malfunctions and other sea hazards. Director Baltasar Kormákur, whose resume includes The Deep, an ocean survival story set off the coast of his native Iceland, baits us with another real-life saga set in the sunnier climes of Tahiti. New romantics Shailene Woodley and Sam Claflin set out a-yachting to San Diego when a hurricane intrudes. Can love, and a diet of peanut butter and canned rations, conquer all? High drama is a form of high art, after all.
'American Animals' (June 8)
British filmmaker Bart Layton’s background in advertising—as well as his acute intelligence—was instantly apparent in his slickly manipulative and compulsively watchable 2012 doc-fiction hybrid The Imposter. His multilayered new film depicts an 2004 art theft engineered by a quartet of Kentucky college students desperate to escape the bonds of everyday life. Both the amateur crooks and Layton take their cues from crime movies, with the director savvily exposing the gulf between escapism and reality.