‘My First Summer’
Katie Found wrote and directed this film about the bond between two teenage girls, who find each other right when they’re on the precipice of emotional maturity and caught between love and friendship. The accomplished young Australian actresses Markella Kavenagh and Maiah Stewardson play Claudia and Grace, who try to keep their relationship hidden away from anxious adults and their prying questions for as long as possible. With its striking visual style and its rich performances, “My First Summer” captures the beautiful fragility of adolescent romance.
Elisabeth Moss plays the reclusive author Shirley Jackson in the disturbing and moving period drama “Shirley.” The story is told largely from the perspective of a young faculty wife named Rose (Odessa Young), who becomes an aide and confidant to the acerbic and depressive Jackson, slowly becoming overwhelmed by the writer’s cynicism. The director Josephine Decker and the screenwriter Sarah Gubbins adapt a Susan Scarf Merrell novel, which is mostly fictional yet heavily influenced by Jackson’s life and work — capturing her sour, soulful take on human weakness.
‘Bill & Ted Face the Music’
The long-awaited third movie in the “Bill & Ted” series re-teams Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter — for the first time since 1991 — as the fun-loving, dimwitted, time-traveling best buds Theodore Logan and William Preston. In “Face the Music,” the boys have grown into middle-aged men, but still believe they’ll one day change the world through rock ’n’ roll. When they hear reality itself will be destroyed if they don’t get their act together immediately, Bill and Ted (and their daughters, Thea and Billie) have another adventure across the timeline, with the help of some of humankind’s greatest musicians.
‘She Dies Tomorrow’
Written and directed by Amy Seimetz, this arty horror film takes an unusual approach to a post-apocalyptic story, dramatizing the eerie premonitions that herald the end of everything. Kate Lyn Shell plays an ordinary woman who becomes convinced she’s living through her last day on Earth. Her strange behavior proves infectious, passing from friend to friend, leaving them either devastated, agitated or oddly calm. “She Dies Tomorrow” has the quality of a dream, but it’s a disturbingly realistic one.