Capsule reviews for July 14


A noteworthy cast is squandered in this woefully absurd redemption story from rookie director Michael Mailer (son of Norman) that indulges heavy-handed melodrama at the expense of any realistic exploration of contemporary relationships. It centers on a blind writer (Alec Baldwin) still bitter after losing his sight in a car crash that killed his wife. Then he finds an unlikely connection with the wife (Demi Moore) of a corrupt executive (Dylan McDermott) serving jail time for a deal gone bad. Their subsequent affair proves therapeutic for both, although not for moviegoers, who must endure an aggressive parade of pretentious clichés while wondering who to root for. (Rated R, 105 minutes).


Lady Macbeth

It’s not Shakespeare, but rather a 19th century Russian novel that provides the inspiration for this chilling low-budget period drama of female empowerment run amok. In a rural British estate, teenager Katherine (Florence Pugh) is trapped in a subservient marriage to an impotent older husband. When he’s away on business, she starts a passionate affair with a servant (Cosmo Jarvis) that prompts vengeance against the men who have suppressed her. And indeed, hell hath no fury like this scorned woman during a riveting final act of psychopathic rage. The gritty result is an uneven exploration of gender politics and socioeconomic class, but Pugh is a powerhouse. (Rated R, 89 minutes).


Lost in Paris

There are perhaps worse problems to have than the titular quandary, which in the case of this breezy French romance — marking the latest collaboration of married filmmakers Dominique Abel and Fiona Gordon, who also star — finds a happy ending for all of those astray. Gordon plays a Canadian librarian summoned to Paris by her aging aunt (Emmanuelle Riva). Among her ensuing quirky encounters, Fiona meets an outspoken homeless man (Abel) who changes her life in unexpected ways. Slight but amusing, the innocuous film takes advantage of its surroundings, highlighted by a throwback style of slapstick and vaudeville-style comedy accompanied by a charming dose of romantic whimsy. (Not rated, 83 minutes).


Swallows and Amazons

Celebrating childhood innocence and the power of imagination, this old-fashioned charmer might ultimately appeal more to nostalgic adults than kids in the social-media age. It takes place in 1935 at a remote British lake, where five siblings, while their mariner father is at sea, convince their mother (Kelly Macdonald) to let them sail to a nearby island, which leads to an adventure involving fake pirates, possible real-life spies, and strange new lands. The film, adapted from a series of children’s books, overdoses on cuteness and might peeve cynics with its anachronisms and twee tendencies. Yet it captures the mischievous sense of discovery for its wide-eyed youngsters. (Not rated, 97 minutes).


The Wrong Light

If only some manipulative filmmaking hadn’t gotten in the way, this documentary exposing the unethical tactics of a Thailand charity could have been more impactful. Nevertheless, it offers a compelling glimpse into Mickey Choothesa, who founded an organization as part of a crusade ostensibly to stop sex trafficking of underage girls. However, what starts as a celebration of those efforts veers in a different direction once his stories don’t check out. Some eye-opening revelations spark the appropriate outrage. Yet eventually, the film isn’t about Choothesa or the innocent children as much as it is about the directors, whose journalistic motives likewise invite scrutiny for their authenticity. (Not rated, 78 minutes).