This Week in Cinemas & Streams: Juliette Binoche and Kristen Stewart in ‘Clouds of Sils Maria’

 

Juliette Binoche (Maria Enders) and Kristen Stewart (Valentine) in Olivier Assayas’ CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA.  © Carole Bethuel / CG Cinema.  A Sundance Selects Release.

Juliette Binoche (Maria Enders) and Kristen Stewart (Valentine) in Olivier Assayas’ CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA. © Carole Bethuel / CG Cinema. A Sundance Selects Release.

The summer blockbuster season is officially underway with Furious 7, the seventh and latest installment in street racing franchise Fast and Furious, doing gangbuster business and holding the majority of cinema screens for the next three weeks.

If you’re an action fan, chances are you’ve already experienced Furious 7 and its pitch of “One Last Ride.” If your tastes lean towards the artful, well, this may be a good week for movie watching before summer movie season truly takes hold.

IFC Films opens in select cinemas the art house drama Clouds of Sils Maria, starring Juliette Binoche as Maria Enders, an experienced movie actress coming to terms with her ageist industry. Chloë Grace Moretz plays Maria’s youthful co-star and Kristen Stewart, a César winner for her role, plays Maria’s personal assistant. Olivier Assayas (Demonlover, Clean and the TV miniseries Carlos), directs from his screenplay.

In Ex Machina, which begins its platform release this weekend from A24, writer/director Alex Garland riffs on the longstanding sci-fi theme of artificial intelligence as transgressor. Domhnall Gleeson plays a young programmer collaborating with a game-changing technologist (Oscar Isaac) on a top-secret A.I. project. Alicia Vikander plays Ava, the female A.I. who takes matters into her robot hands.

Ex Machina expands to additional markets next week.

In select art houses this weekend, as well as iTunes and VOD, Simon Pegg headlines Kill Me Three Times, a comic crime thriller from Magnet Releasing about a hit man (Pegg) facing unexpected competition when hired to kill a woman (Alice Braga) in a sleepy beach town.

Teresa Palmer, Sullivan Stapleton, Bryan Brown and Braga round out the cast for director Kriv Stenders and writer James McFarland. Understandably, it’s Pegg who’s attracting all the attention.

Iranian-born actress Nazanin Boniadi (Homeland) brings her growing spotlight to Desert Dancer, in limited release from Relativity Media. Richard Raymond directs the art drama, based on the life story of Afshin Ghaffarian (Reece Ritchie), a Tehran native risking his life to start an underground dance company despite his government’s ban on dancing. Jon Cocker is the screenwriter.

The 48th WorldFestHouston International Film Festival opens tonight with Leaves of the Tree, an indie drama from first-time director Ante Novakovic and featuring Sean Young. In town for the Houston premiere, Young will also receive the festival’s Remi Achievement Award.

 

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