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15 Films to See in May

Written by on May 1, 2017 


When it comes to moving pictures this month, in terms of anticipation, there’s no films that match up to new work from Wachowskis and David Lynch on the small screen, but there’s still plenty of promising options to go around. From alien attacks to European adventures (both pleasant and harrowing), some of the year’s best documentaries, the final film from a late master, and more, there’s something for everyone.

Matinees to See: Julian Schnabel: A Private Portrait (5/5), Last Men in Aleppo (5/5), Chuck (5/5), A Woman’s Life (5/5), Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (5/5), Folk Hero & Funny Guy (5/12), King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (5/12), Wakefield (5/19), The Commune (5/19), and The Here After (5/26)

15. War Machine (David Michôd; May 26)


Synopsis: An absurdist war story for our times.


Why You Should See It: Brad Pitt has gone back to World War II a handful of times in the last decade or so, but this summer he’ll be taking on a more modern battle with War MachineDavid Michôd‘s follow-up to The Rover is based on Michael Hastings‘ novel The Operators, which depicts the rise and fall of General Stanley McChrystal, the commanding general of international and U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Also starring Tilda Swinton, Sir Ben Kingsley, Anthony Michael Hall, Topher Grace, Will Poulter, Lakeith Stanfield, Emory Cohen, John Magaro, RJ Cyler, Alan Ruck, Scoot McNairy and Meg Tilly, this satirical comedy will hopefully flex a new muscle for Michôd after his previous films.

14. The Lovers (Azazel Jacobs; May 5)


Synopsis: Debra Winger and Tracy Letts play a long-married, dispassionate couple who are both in the midst of serious affairs. But on the brink of calling it quits, a spark between them suddenly reignites, leading them into an impulsive romance.


Why You Should See It: As I said in my review from Tribeca, The Lovers isn’t entirely successful, but it is worth seeing for Debra Winger and Tracy Letts alone. Counterbalancing Jacobs’ accentuated approach, both Letts and Winger are in top form. The former, with his vanity-free, frame-filling presence, is a pleasure to watch as he navigates the tricky, uncomfortable waters of satisfying both his demanding mistress and renewed marital bond. The latter, although underwritten compared to Letts, delivers the film’s most emotionally honest performance, conveying a sincere indecisiveness when it comes to where her heart lies.

13. Hounds of Love (Ben Young; May 12)


Synopsis: Vicki Maloney is randomly abducted from a suburban street by a disturbed couple.


Why You Should See It: We said in our review from Venice, “Director Ben Young’s feature debut is the kind of film you wish you could un-see – except not really. Sure, its extended depictions of physical and psychological abuse will upset/offend many. At the same time, there’s no denying the level of craft and performance involved that probes human depravity so compellingly, you’re left with much more than just rattled nerves and a taste of bile.”

12. Paris Can Wait (Eleanor Coppola; May 12)

Paris Can Wait 1

Synopsis: Anne (Diane Lane) is at a crossroads in her life. Married to a successful but inattentive movie producer (Alec Baldwin), she unexpectedly finds herself taking a car trip from Cannes to Paris with her husband’s business associate (Arnaud Viard).


Why You Should See It: One of our favorites from TIFF last year, we said in our review, “With her last feature directorial credit being contributions to 1991’s Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s ApocalypseEleanor Coppola is perhaps better known as Francis Ford Coppola’s wife than a filmmaker. Yet, she triumphantly returns this year with one of the sexiest and most joyful road movies in some time with Paris Can Wait.”

11. The Survivalist (Stephen Fingleton; May 19)


Synopsis: In a time of starvation, a survivalist lives off a small plot of land hidden deep in forest. When two women seeking food and shelter discover his farm, he finds his existence threatened.


Why You Should See It: “Post-apocalyptic thrillers don’t come much leaner or meaner than Northern Irish director Stephen Fingleton’s gripping debut feature The Survivalist,” we said in our review. “The world’s population has polluted the earth to the point of extinction – a fact snappily brokered by an opening graph comparing increasing oil production to a rapid decline in the worldwide population – with the few survivors living off the scraps that the land provide. Our rugged unnamed hero (Martin McCann) lives in a rural shack surrounded by woodland, spending his days growing crops in his garden and whiling away his time looking over photos of his past, presumably long dead, wife.”

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