While our massive summer preview will give you an in-depth look at the films we’re most looking forward to over the next four months, it’s time to dive a bit deeper into May. As theaters reopen, more films than ever will head exclusively to the silver screen first, but there’s still plenty of at-home offerings for those awaiting their vaccination. Check out our preview below.

13. Those Who Wish Me Dead (Taylor Sheridan)

After scripting the acclaimed Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan embarked on his second directorial feature, Wind River, which I was fairly mixed on at its Sundance premiere. However, I am curious about his follow-up, Those Who Wish Me Dead, starring Angelina Jolie, Nicholas Hoult, Aidan Gillen, Finn Little, Jon Bernthal, and Tyler Perry. Based on Michael Koryta’s novel, it’s a survival thriller set amongst the Montana wilderness as a fire blazes. Set to arrive next week, here’s hoping Sheridan improves his directorial eye for his latest feature.

Where to Watch: Theaters and HBO Max (May 14)

12. The Columnist (Ivo Van Aart)

Don’t read the comments has been a ubiquitous phrase during our modern technological era, and the notion certainly rings true for our tweet sharing the trailer for The Columnist. The Dutch horror comedy starring Westworld alum Katja Herbers and directed by Ivo Van Aart seems to have already stirred up some attention pre-release with its story following a journalist who strikes back against internet trolls. While Matt Cipolla was mixed on it during last year’s festival run, I’m keen to see how much bite the film actually has.

Where to Watch: Virtual Cinemas and VOD (May 7)

11. New Order (Michel Franco)

Michel Franco has already generated some controversy with his latest film New Order––depicting a violent class divide at a wedding––and now NEON are hoping to capitalize on their foreign film streak with a U.S. release. C.J. Prince said in his TIFF review, “Franco’s portrayal of society falling apart via rich partygoers receiving a hard dose of reality is effective, but it requires trudging through a back half that amounts to Franco rubbing people’s faces in his own mess. The relevance of Franco’s message is undeniable, but his handling of it is reckless and just muddles his themes in the pursuit of appearing intellectual.”

Where to Watch: Theaters (May 21)

10. Port Authority (Danielle Lessovitz; May 28)

Premiering back at Cannes Film Festival in 2019, Danielle Lessovitz’s drama Port Authority will finally be arriving this month. Ed Frankl said in his review, “A deceptively simple romance doesn’t take away that there is something quietly radical at work in the New York love story Port Authority, set in the underground Kiki ballroom dance community. This is grounded in a believable reality, directed by first-timer Danielle Lessovitz, executive produced by Martin Scorsese and starring a promising Fionn Whitehead and Leyna Bloom, the first trans woman of color to headline a film at Cannes.”

Where to Watch: Theaters (May 28) and VOD (June 1)

9. Army of the Dead (Zack Snyder)

Fans of the Snyderverse are no doubt delighted this year as we’re getting two films from the director in the span of just over two months. After his four-hour cut of Justice League debuted in March, his return to the world of zombies with the heist horror feature Army of the Dead lands on Netflix this month. Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead remake still marks the high point of his career, so here’s hoping he can recapture similar zombie-hunting magic in this tale of a Las Vegas heist.

Where to Watch: Theaters (May 14) and Netflix (May 21)

8. State Funeral (Sergei Loznitsa)

Originally set to arrive about a year ago, Sergei Loznitsa’s latest archival documentary––showing the immediate aftermath of Stalin’s death––is now finally coming this month. “Composed of rarely seen archival footage–shot for Soviet film effort The Great Farewell, that would be banned before release by members of the new government–Loznitsa resurfaces the ambience of despair shared by the leader’s subjects,” Jason Ooi said in his review. “In doing so, he immerses the audience in an ephemeral moment of collective trauma and separates the funeral from its immediate history, in turn allowing for modern interpretations of Stalin’s regime and its eventual legacy in Soviet history.

Where to Watch: Theaters (May 7)

7. The Perfect Candidate (Haifaa Al-Mansour; May 14)

An official selection at Venice, TIFF, Sundance, and BFI London, director Haifaa Al-Mansour returned to Saudi Arabian dramas with The Perfect Candidate. Orla Smith said in our summer preview, “It’s extremely difficult to make a film that’s intelligent, political, and crowd-pleasing, but Haifaa Al-Mansour pulls it off with her fourth and most accomplished feature to date. The Perfect Candidate follows Maryam, a female doctor in Saudi Arabia, as she runs for local office. I love that the film refuses to paint anyone as a villain; even well-meaning men can do little to help Maryman, because they’re also operating within a patriarchal system.”

Where to Watch: Theaters (May 14)

6. Riders of Justice (Anders Thomas Jensen)

The ascension of Mads Mikkelsen continues. The Another Round star and forthcoming Indy 5 player once again returned to Denmark to lead a new film from writer-director Anders Thomas Jensen, reteaming after Men & Chicken a few years back. Tim Brinkhof said in his Rotterdam review, “Opening the 50th International Film Festival Rotterdam is Anders Thomas Jensen’s entertaining rollercoaster of a film Riders of Justice, following a soldier named Markus (Mads Mikkelsen) who risks it all to take revenge on the criminals that may or may not have had something to do with the untimely death his beloved wife.  Although this film is neither genre-defying nor age-defining, its touching message is executed methodically.”

Where to Watch: Theaters (May 14) and VOD (May 21)

5. Spring Blossom (Suzanne Lindon)

Directed when she was just 19 years old, based on a screenplay when she wrote when she was 15, Suzanne Lindon’s acclaimed debut Spring Blossom was an official selection at Cannes and TIFF last year. Also starring the burgeoning talent (who is the daughter of Vincent Lindon), the coming-of-age story now arrives this month. Christopher Schobert said in his TIFF review, “It takes great maturity and confidence to make a film about the emergence of a young woman’s sexuality that also dares to ask complex, provocative questions while understanding there are no simple answers. Suzanne Lindon is such a filmmaker, and her brisk, entertaining debut Spring Blossom is such a film.”

Where to Watch: Virtual Cinemas (May 21)

4. Oxygen (Alexandre Aja)

Mélanie Laurent is trapped and oxygen is running out. That’s all you need to (or should) know about Alexandre Aja’s incredibly thrilling, inventive new genre outing. Doubling down on the small-scale entertainment of his previous film Crawl, Oxygen has more than a few tricks up its sleeve and unlike something like the rather one-note Buried, Aja knows precisely how to keep his audience engaged every step of the way. It may be kicking off the summer movie season, but it’ll be hard for Hollywood’s studio output to top the creativity of this French-language thriller.

Where to Watch: Netflix (May 12)

3. Swimming Out Till the Sea Turns Blue (Jia Zhangke)

Returning to documentary feature filmmaking for the first time since 2010’s I Wish I Knew, Jia Zhangke’s Swimming Out Till the Sea Turns Blue charts a changing China as he interviews three prominent authors—Jia Pingwa, Yu Hua, and Liang Hong—born in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, respectively. Rory O’Connor said his review, “Of all the monumental parts that tend to constitute the films of Jia Zhangke–the shifting socio-economic landscapes; the departing mountains; Zhao Tao–none has been as prevalent or essential as time. He is a director with one eye on the then and one eye on the now (and occasionally one on the future).”

Where to Watch: Theaters (May 28)

2. The Killing of Two Lovers (Robert Machoian)

One of our favorites from last year’s Sundance Film Festival, Robert Machoian’s The Killing of Two Lovers is a vivid portrait of a marriage in disarray and not the gruesome tale the title may hint at. John Fink said in our Sundance review, “Directed by Robert Machoian, who is known for working with frequent collaborator Rodrigo Ojeda-Beck on naturalistic portraits of parents and children–including When She Runs and absentee parents in God Bless The ChildThe Killing of Two Lovers is an evocative character study with notes of vintage Terrence Malick. Arriving in the Sundance Next category, the picture also recalls the festival’s glory days as it feels dated but, then again, David and Nikki have also peaked in high school.”

Where to Watch: Theaters and VOD (May 14)

1. There Is No Evil (Mohammad Rasoulof)

After taking home the Golden Bear at last year’s Berlin Film Festival, Mohammad Rasoulof’s politically defiant, acclaimed Iranian drama There Is No Evil finally arrives this month. Ed Frankl said in his review, “With There is No Evil, Rasoulof has secretly filmed an anthology film of four stories–apparently because Iranian authorities are less concerned with short films than features. And yet even with those difficulties, the director has produced a work of clarity that should rank him alongside Golden Bear winner Panahi as a chronicler of the livelihoods of those under Iranian repression.”

Where to Watch: Theaters and Virtual Cinemas (May 14)

Also Arriving This Month

The Paper Tigers (May 7)
Silo (May 7)
The Water Man (May 7)
Fried Barry (May 7)
Monster (May 7)
Undergods (May 7)
US Kids (May 14)
The Djinn (May 14)
Profile (May 14)
The Woman in the Window (May 14)
The Dry (May 21)
Seance (May 21)
Two Gods (May 21)
Final Account (May 21)
When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit (May 21)
Five Years North (May 28)

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