By Glenn McDonald
Every other week, our Movie Night! column previews the best upcoming films showing in Chapel Hill theaters – for those who still like to go out to the movies. Please remember that bookings and schedules change all the time, so always check online before heading out.
Now Playing at the Chelsea and Silverspot
Director Nicole Holofcener is one of the most reliable filmmakers still making medium-sized movies for the big screen. She goes about her business the old-fashioned way, shooting on location with her own scripts and telling stories of ordinary people with interesting problems.
The director’s latest comedy stars the never-not-awesome Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Beth, a novelist who just found out, via accidental eavesdropping, that her husband doesn’t respect her writing. Like, not even a little bit. As you might anticipate, this revelation triggers some relationship issues. It’s the kind of tricky real-life relationship crisis that Holofcener specializes in.
The film is getting wry and affectionate reviews, which seems about right. Holofcener tends to conjure a specific emotional tone in her films, one that puts the human condition into proper perspective. Her people are flawed but good-hearted. Her dilemmas are life-sized and relatable. And her stories take unexpected turns. Just like life.
Opens June 2 at Chelsea and Silverspot
On the other end of the movies-for-grownups spectrum, the buzzy indie feature Sanctuary is getting good notices for exploring the fertile ground between romantic comedy and psychosexual thriller. Intriguing, isn’t it?
Without giving away too much, the storyline involves a rich guy (Christopher Abbott), his longtime dominatrix (Margaret Qualley), and what happens between them on one long night of high drama. Director Zachary Wigon is winning praise for making an intelligent film with wicked humor and a bold cinematic approach.
If you’re curious about kinky sex and power dynamics between weird rich people, check out the NSFW trailer. It looks like fun and advance word suggests the plotline contains twists within twists. (Bonus trivia: Margaret Qualley is the daughter of actress Andie MacDowell.)
Heads up, film nerds: The Chelsea theater is doing all manner of interesting new things this summer. The Chelsea Classics repertory series, running through the end of August, features 28 specially selected films from Hollywood archives, American independent film, and international cinema.
Up next: Terrence Malick’s stone-cold classic Days of Heaven (1978) on June 3 and 6; and Dennis Hopper’s Out of the Blue (1980) on June 4 and 7. (Yes, that Dennis Hopper.) Check out the series webpage for the secret connection between these two films, plus the full Chelsea Classics schedule.
The Chelsea has also resurrected its Late Night series for the summer, which features “the best in cult, outré, and midnight movie fare.” Can’t argue with that.
Next up on the docket is the extremely dark teen drama River’s Edge (1986), which messed me up (in a good way) when I first saw it as a sullen teenager. It’s a rough ride, but you get to see 1980s youngsters like Keanu Reeves, Crispin Glover, Ione Skye, and – hey, is that Dennis Hopper again? It is!
On June 2, the Varsity is opening Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, the latest in Marvel’s animated series featuring various Spider-Folk having adventures in parallel universes. I’m told the first movie was great. (This new one is also playing at Silverspot and the Lumina.)
Speaking of the Lumina, the theater is holding over several other big crowd-pleasers this weekend, including The Little Mermaid, Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3, and Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret.
If you literally have nothing else to do for two hours – and/or you have kids demanding to see it – Transformers: Rise of the Beasts opens June 8 at theaters everywhere.