Opening Wednesday, July 4:
The First Purge When a franchise resorts to prequels just four installments in, it usually isn't a good sign – especially in the case of the Purge series, which really didn't need to depict how the titular marathon of state-sanctioned violence came to be. (At least not to those of us who have already had Sister Mary Ignatius and Clarissa explain it all for us.) And with James DeMonaco, creator of the property, ceding directorial duties for the first time (to Gerard McMurray), one could get the impression nobody's heart is really in this anymore.
But Purge Uno intrigues me nonetheless, specifically because DeMonaco – who continues to shepherd things from the writing end – has elected to show the first Purge experiment taking place on Staten Island. I myself spent a peaceful albeit lonely four years living on the Island at the end of the aughts, and I can absolutely testify that, were its inhabitants to wipe one another out in a single night, no one in any of the other four New York boroughs would mind a bit. Come to think of it, they probably wouldn't even notice, which is a plotting conundrum I'm eager to see DeMonaco write his way out of. How you doin'? (R)
Opening Friday, July 6:
Ant-Man and the Wasp In which we learn just what the heck Scott Lang was doing during Infinity War. Maybe. Ordinarily, my guess would be "hanging back with Hawkeye to show everybody what a real hero looks like one short year from now"; but given that the plot of this Peyton Reed-directed sequel sees Lang (Paul Rudd) and Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) attempting to rescue the latter's mother (Michelle Pfeiffer) from the Quantum Realm, a safer response might be "exploring a multiverse that's going to come in mighty handy when we have to figure out how to really get rid of the guys who aren't going to sign new contracts." Poor little Ant-Man, forced to be the fulcrum for the MCU's descent into the same relentlessly retconned morass that has been SOP in the comics since Gwen Stacy came back from the dead. (Editor: She didn't come back from the dead, that was a clone and/or an alternate univer– oh, I see what you mean.) In the meantime, enjoy the Ant crew's miniaturized, carry-along headquarters, because that thing's a North Face product tie-in if I've ever seen one. (PG-13)
Sanju Ranbir Kapoor stars in a biopic of Indian actor Sanjay Dutt, who claims to have had 308 girlfriends and spent several years behind bars for accepting weapons from known terrorists. Yes, you read that right: Three hundred and eight! (NR)
Woman Walks Ahead Jessica Chastain plays Caroline Weldon, the portrait painter turned confidante of the great Sitting Bull. Sam Rockwell is in the cast too, but he doesn't play Sitting Bull – because come on now, that would be whitefacing (no matter how much you'd kinda like to see it). In the role instead is Michael Greyeyes, who is in fact Plains Cree. (No, not the guys Captain Marvel is going to fight – don't you ever think about anything important?) (R)