Helmut Newton: The Bad and the Beautiful
Available through the North Park Theatre
The documentary Helmut Newton: The Bad and the Beautiful might not be as provocative as the work of the photographer, but it is nevertheless a wildly entertaining, conversation-starting study of a master artist. The late Newton was known for his nudity-filled photos of women for magazines like Vogue, and the work still packs a punch. The Bad and the Beautiful is appropriately celebratory but also explores the controversies of Newton’s work. A TV exchange with Susan Sontag is particularly compelling. Featuring interviews with an array of fascinating figures — among them, Anna Wintour, Grace Jones, Marianne Faithfull, Isabella Rossellini, and Charlotte Rampling — and interview footage of Newton himself, Bad is as colorful as its subject.
John Lewis: Good Trouble
Available through Dipson Theatres and the North Park Theatre, and VOD
Congressman John Lewis passed away on July 17 after a lifetime of advocacy and service. That life is chronicled in detail in the documentary John Lewis: Good Trouble, a must-see film — now more than ever. The sight of Lewis as the film begins, walking slowly but with great purpose through Washington, D.C., is tremendously powerful. So is the film, which explores his important role in the fight for civil rights and his continued efforts for the greater good. Good Trouble is a fitting tribute to a legendary figure.
Available on VOD
Relic, the debut film from writer-director Natalie Erika James, is a haunting story of an elderly woman’s strange disappearance and even stranger reappearance. The woman’s daughter (Emily Mortimer) and granddaughter Sam (Bella Heathcote) come to help, but both are soon drawn into the mystery of the family home. It culminates in a genuinely moving finale, one that might not thrill all horror fans but, with contemplation, feels remarkably bold.
The Beach House
Available on VOD
The Beach House, the feature directorial debut of Jeffrey A. Brown, is just as gripping as Relic. The story involves a young couple visiting a seaside home, the sudden appearance of an older couple, and an icky contagion. Just wait until you see what happens to the foot of the protagonist, nicely played by Liana Liberato. With a dash of Cronenberg and a touch of COVID paranoia, The Beach House is a legitimately strong horror film.
Available through the North Park Theatre and on VOD
British comedy Fisherman’s Friends is the kind of audience-pleaser Miramax Films and Fox Searchlight once excelled at — consider the likes of Brassed Off and The Full Monty. While Friends is not as memorable as those 1990s favorites, it’s a sweet, enjoyable effort about a London music exec who — as a joke — signs a group of sea shanty-singing fishermen in a small town.