OPENING THIS WEEK
Free State of Jones Well, here we are again. Just as the release of a picture as innocuous as Zoolander was considered risky in the aftermath of a life-changing event like 9/11, we're now left to wonder what, if any, filmic entertainment is appropriate post-Pulse. I tend to give the benefit of the doubt to Free State of Jones: Though it hardly sounds like a laugh riot, I can see audiences with stronger constitutions responding to a history lesson about American resistance to American divisiveness. Matthew McConaughey plays a Mississippi farmer who declares himself independent of the Confederacy and sets up his own territory based on less bigoted principles. At any other time, I would snark that the movie seems Oscar-bound, since it has plenty of white contributors to honor and plenty of black ones to ignore. But right now, I'd rather focus on other details, like the fact that McConaughey's Newt Knight eventually married a former slave and founded a groundbreaking mixed-race community. This seems like a good time to be reminded that love is love is love is love is fuck you. (R)
Independence Day: Resurgence Here's where we get into trouble. It took Hollywood 20 years to mount a sequel to the sci-fi resistance opera Independence Day – just in time for us all to be reminded that the greatest threat to our way of life comes from within. Director Roland Emmerich was on Colbert last week talking up the inclusion of a gay couple in Resurgence's cast of characters, so I guess that's the angle they're going to emphasize. Still, I wonder if it's too late to add an 11th-hour catchphrase: "Welcome to Earth. You can have it." (PG-13)
The Neon Demon Nicolas Winding Refn of Drive directed this satirical shocker about Hollywood fashion models whose mutual jealousy extends all the way to literal cannibalism. Purportedly includes a scene of one such model masturbating with a corpse in a funeral home. On second thought, maybe that Independence Day picture isn't such a bad idea for Orlando right now. (R)
The Shallows Since 1975, every studio that has opened a movie in the summertime has hoped it would become Jaws for a new generation. But few of them have had the balls to actually use the tagline "It's Jaws for a new generation." Very little gray area there, except for the hide of the shark in question. Blake Lively is the bikini-clad heroine fighting for her life against a vicious man-eater that wants her dead. See, I knew Scarlett Johansson would seek her revenge sooner or later. (PG-13) ALSO PLAYING
Dark Horse A documentary about a bunch of Welsh villagers who attempt to breed a champion racehorse. As in the old joke, "Did you know our horse comes from Wales?" "Interesting. Mine is of normal parentage." (PG)
Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.