Summer is upon us, and there sure are a lot of options! And many of them do not look very good! “Summer counter-programming” really is the oldest trick in the book, but it works; if you’re maybe not that into another superhero movie, soulless music biopic, or Godzilla flick, well, here are a few smaller titles that are well worth your time.
The Last Black Man in San Francisco
RELEASE DATE: June 7
DIRECTOR: Joe Talbot
CAST: Jimmie Fails, Jonathan Majors, Danny Glover
Every once in a while, you encounter a film where you can just feel a new-ish director pushing themselves in every direction, challenging themselves and their audience with provocative ideas, elegant compositions, graceful camera blocking, and sui generis energy. This is one of those movies. Co-writer/director Joe Talbot finds, in his Bay Area setting, the same gonzo vibrancy that powered last year’s Sorry to Bother You and Blindspotting; in stars Fails and Majors, he introduces a post-modern Laurel and Hardy, laid-back schemer/dreamers whose wild scheme is powered by their deep affection for one another. And like those films, it’s a valentine to the Bay, best summed up by the exasperated “What a city!” that’s voiced, late in the film, by a fully nude man at a bus stop. But despite all these echoes and contemporaries, this is a distinctive, unique piece of work, from a filmmaker and cast I expect we’ll hear much more from in the future.