13. Revisit Batman
The Michael Keaton years.
Implausibly, the film that reinvented superhero dramas—establishing a new form of dark seriousness—is 25 years old this month. Given how high-style the sets and costumes are, it’s not too badly dated, either.
On Netflix and Amazon Prime.
14. See BAMcinemaFest
Clunky name, great lineup.
The BAMcinemaFest has evolved into one of the region’s best showcases for indie American (and world) cinema. The 2014 edition features Richard Linklater’s nearly three-hour, 12-years-in-the-making Boyhood, which centers on the actual aging of an actual boy. Among the other promising films: Approaching the Elephant, Amanda Rose Wilder’s laudably ambivalent documentary about an untraditional school, and Bingham Bryant and Kyle Molzan’s Kickstarter-aided quasi-horror film For the Plasma, in which two women isolated in a Maine cabin … analyze the surrounding forest to predict shifts in the global financial market. Eeeeek!—David Edelstein
June 18–29. Full schedule at bam.org.
15. Read Arts and Entertainments
A funny novel about bad fame.
Fast-moving satire by Christopher Beha about the semi-accidental creation of a contemporary two-bit celebrity: sex tape, social networks, and subsequent media circus. There’s even a cameo (lowbrow-despicable) of “The Approval Matrix.”
Ecco, July 1.
16. See Alec Guinness 100
We meet again, at last.
He was among the oddest of movie stars, Alec Guinness—an almost private actor capable of registering infinitesimal but vivid shifts in feeling. Film Forum’s centennial 25-film retrospective predictably features those Ealing black-comic gems Kind Hearts and Coronets (Guinness plays multiple murder victims) and The Man in the White Suit along with rarities like Ronald Neame’s Tunes of Glory in which a military rivalry between Guinness and John Mills leads to tragedy. And yes, there is his Obi-Wan in Star Wars seen in a 35-mm. print of the “Special Edition.” —D.E.
Film Forum, through July 3. Lineup at filmforum.org.
17. Listen to 5 Seconds of Summer
Boy band, punk band, good or bad? All of the above.
Five Australian cute boys who desperately, desperately, would like to be Green Day but are a lot closer to One Direction. Hook from the first single: “She looks so perfect standing there / In my American Apparel underwear.” At once incredibly cheesy and just great, and certainly a discussion point for hanging around with your 15-year-old niece this summer. Pro tip: They’re called “5SOS,” pronounced “five-soss.”
Hi or Hey/Capitol Records.
18. Hear I Was Here I Was I
The ensemble Alarm Will Sound has spent the better part of a year invading and intervening in various Metropolitan Museum galleries, staging musical events that harmonize with the art. The group’s residency ends with Kate Soper’s opera about a Victorian woman’s trip down the Nile, performed in the Temple of Dendur. —J.D.
Metropolitan Museum of Art, June 20.
19. Read The Vacationers
While you’re on vacation, even.
Buzzy second novel by Emma Straub, riding in on the buzz built by 2012’s Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures and a very good short-story collection, is the tale of a Manhattan extended family’s Mediterranean beach vacation gone way off the rails. Funny but not trifling, poignant but not depressing. Perfect for a week away.
20. Read My Salinger Year
The ’90s in literary New York.
If you’re about 40 and were paying any attention to books and writers when you were young, Joanna Rakoff’s memoir has it all: the coziness of the late-typewriter-era publishing world, a vague sense that big business was about to bring it to a shuddering halt, and the fading but potent aura of mid-century authorial giants.
21. See Ace in the Hole
About time this one got the full Criterion Blu-ray treatment: The great Billy Wilder’s dark, dark satire of pack journalism and the manipulation thereof, all built around the story of a man trapped in a cave out West. Kirk Douglas stars as a guy who’s working every angle, and was never better.
Criterion Collection Blu-ray.
22. Read Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam Trilogy
Be ahead of the crowd.
Why now? Because Darren Aronofsky has signed on to develop the three books into an HBO series. And don’t you want to be able to be that person, when it comes around in maybe 2017, who can say, “Oh, those books are great—I read them years ago”?
Nan A. Talese.
23. Listen to On the Threshold of Winter
From the other solstice.
Michael Hersch is the classical-music world’s leading spreader of elegant gloom. It’s fitting, somehow, that he should greet the summer with a work that invokes short, chilly days—a one-voice, two-act, two-hour setting of poems about dying of late-stage cancer. Still, Hersch is so sincere in his darkness, and so sophisticated in his expressivity, that he can make the morbid magical. —J.D.
BAM Fisher Fishman Space, June 25.
24. Consider The Fearless Roman Polanski
A comprehensive retrospective of a problematic talent.
Whatever our divided feelings about Roman Polanski, he’s a major director whose demons are exorcised on-camera. Leading up to his new film Venus in Fur, the IFC Center presents a comprehensive retrospective, featuring of course the comedy The Fearless Vampire Killers (with Polanski and the doomed Sharon Tate), his rarely seen (and barbarous) Macbeth, and his claustrophobic masterpieces: Knife in the Water, Rosemary's Baby, Chinatown, and The Pianist—for which he won an Oscar he couldn’t collect, being a sex criminal in exile. —D.E.
IFC Center, through June 19.
25. Read The Madwoman in the Volvo
Sandra Tsing Loh, continued.
The messily brilliant The Atlantic essayist on menopause and other assorted adventures in post-divorce middle age.