Two of the year’s best films to date and a pair that fall just outside the current Top 10 arrive in disc form this week. Leading the way is Norman, Joseph Cedar’s well-rounded followup to Footnote about a New York City fixer (Richard Gere) whose ambitions of becoming friendly with famous figures have serious consequences.
Close behind is James Grey’s beautiful Amazonian drama The Lost City of Z, Lone Scherfig’s Blitz-set British film propaganda dramedy Their Finest and Terence Davies’ Emily Dickinson biopic A Quiet Passion, featuring a career-best turn by Cynthia Nixon. Also available is the pleasant swing dance documentary Alive and Kicking, the occasionally tolerable The Fate of the Furious and the surprisingly somewhat amusing Smurfs: The Lost Village.
While I was largely immune to the charms of the Oscar-nominated immigrant weepie and feature-length Google Earth advertisement Lion, it was many local moviegoers’ favorite film of 2016. It’s available July 9 on Netflix and will soon be joined by Chasing Coral (7/14), the streaming service’s original documentary about why coral reefs are vanishing, narrated by Kristen Bell.
If you love Andy Samberg in mockumentary mode, it’s your lucky day: HBO just added the so-so Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping and, in the vein of summer 2015’s tennis comedy 7 Days in Hell, the 50-minute Tour de Pharmacy, centered on doping in professional cycling. Also be on the lookout for Keeping Up with the Joneses (7/15), in which Zach Galifianakis, Isla Fisher, Jon Hamm and Gal "Wonder Woman" Gadot make a strong case for all doing more comedies together.
Going for quantity and quality, Hulu loops in Lynn Shelton’s memorable (in a good way) bromance Humpday (7/12), starring Mark Duplass and The Blair Witch Project’s Joshua Leonard; my favorite Lars von Trier film, Melancholia (7/12); and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (7/12), marking its NASCAR comedy territory before the Aug. 18 release of Steven Soderbergh’s Lucky Logan. Also soon to be available is Da Sweet Blood of Jesus (7/14), Spike Lee’s sexy take on Ganja & Hess, and the Oscar-winning Wall Street Crash of ‘08 documentary Inside Job (7/16), narrated by Matt Damon.