This Week at the Movies: ‘Okja,’ ‘Baby Driver,’ ‘The B-Side’

There are many new theatrical releases of note this week — just, for God’s sake, don’t go see 'Transformers.'

No one complains more about the lack of quality movie-going options in these dog days of summer, so I’m more than a little embarrassed to note that this week is kind of a stunner: one of the year’s best narrative films, one of the year’s best documentaries, and a mainstream action flick that offers about the best time you can have at a multiplex. Here’s what’s waiting for you:

  • The week’s best movie is also the easiest one to see: Bong Joon-ho’s Okja, which is playing in limited release and streaming on Netflix this very second. It’s a gloriously bizarre, frequently thrilling, and occasionally heartbreaking story of corporate maleficence, animal activism, and outright adventure; it’s also exciting evidence that the streaming service could be the last, best hope for distinctive film artists. More on that, and the movie, here.
  • Documentary fans should head to the art house now for The B-Side: Elsa Dorfman’s Portrait Photography, the latest from legendary filmmaker Errol Morris (The Thin Blue Line, The Fog of War). It’s a more modest and personal film than his norm, focusing as it does on his longtime friend who happens to be a gifted practitioner of large-format photography; we talked to him about the film, and the state of documentary cinema at the moment, here.
  • And for straight-up shits and giggles, it’s hard to beat Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver, a heist/car chase movie set to music – like, seriously, set to music, with every door slam, car horn, tire squeal, and gunshot landing in glorious rhythm with an A-plus soundtrack. Our review is here.
  • And among the smaller limited-release offerings, we recommend The Little Hours, an uproariously funny and super-dirty comedy with Alison Brie, Aubrey Plaza, and Kate Micucci as horny medieval nuns (our Sundance review), and The Reagan Show, an ingenious archival-only documentary that frames the 40th president as a multi-media presentation (more in this month’s indie guide). And still out there – and going wider – are The Big Sick, The Beguiled, and Nobody Speak: Trials of the Free Press. Point is, there are options! Just, for God’s sake, don’t go see Transformers.