By Joey Nolfi
July 05, 2019 at 12:38 PM EDT
Sony Pictures; Gabor Kotschy/A24; Janus Films

Fireworks aren’t just exploding in the sky this holiday weekend; From superhero blockbusters to critical darlings, sparks are flying at the megaplex, too. With titanic studio offerings, indie gems, historic documentaries, and genre fare playing nationwide, theaters are packed with a wide range of options to satisfy your summer movie cravings. Below, check out 10 must-see movies to watch over the Fourth of July stretch.

Spider-Man: Far From Home

Starring: Tom Holland, Jake Gyllenhaal, Samuel L. Jackson, Zendaya, Marisa Tomei, Cobie Smulders

Director: Jon Watts

Rating: PG-13

EW’s review: “I wound up liking Far From Home more than any Spider-Man film this decade. There’s something eerie in the constant assertion of Tony Stark as Tycoon SuperJesus — but don’t underestimate the shifty layers of the final act. The hero worship has a slippery quality here, with a less cheerful purpose than the sincere devotion of Homecoming or Into the Spider-Verse. The teen characters really are a blast, even if one key person skips a whole movie of development between scenes. Some digital effects look good in a boring way, and then some digital effects look bad in a perfect way. “Is this real?” asks Spider-Man. In the end, I really didn’t know. Far From Home succeeds with an unusual, troubling virtue: The best parts are the most fake.” B

Where to watch: In theaters, wide release

Midsommar

Starring: Florence Pugh, Jack Reynor, William Jackson Harper, Will Poulter

Director: Ari Aster

Rating: R

EW’s review: “You can’t be afraid of the dark in Midsommar, because darkness never comes. Everything that happens in writer-director Ari Aster’s cornea-searing, fantastically unnerving folk-horror reverie unfolds in the dazzling glare of June-bright sunlight — a waking nightmare nestled cozily within the clapboard barns and verdant valleys of the Swedish countryside…. And like the fretful violins that stagger raggedly over the soundtrack, the skin-pricking pleasures of Midsommar aren’t rational, they’re instinctive: a thrilling, seasick freefall into the light.” A–

Where to watch: In theaters, wide release

Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love

Starring: Leonard Cohen, Marianne Ihlen

Director: Nick Broomfield

Rating: R

EW’s new interview with Broomfield: “To the very end, Leonard remained the person that Marianne had the most love for…. Leonard had a deep love for her to the end as well.”

Where to watch: In theaters, limited release

Toy Story 4

Starring: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Annie Potts, Tony Hale, Keanu Reeves, Jordan Peele, Keegan-Michael Key

Director: Josh Cooley

Rating: G

EW’s review: “Woody’s story in Toy Story 4 is an emotional, if familiar, journey towards self-realization. Bo Peep offers him, and us, a stranger perspective. She shows him the glorious horizon of the outside world. “Who needs a kid’s room,” she asks, “When you can have all of this?” She’s a toy who wants to tell her own story. And yet, the grand world Bo yearns for is kinda boring: Meticulous trees on videogame-background mountainscapes, a freeway programmed for order, a small town square as glistening and generic as Main Street, USA. It looks more plastic than any spork. Cast your googly eyes, instead, back to Forky. It took Pixar decades of technological innovation, but they finally made a beautiful piece of trash.” B

Where to watch: In theaters, wide release

Paris Is Burning (restored re-release)

Starring: Dorian Corey, Pepper LaBeija, Venus Xtravaganza

Director: Jennie Livingston

Rating: R

EW’s new interview with Livingston: “What’s exciting about this restoration is that, back in the day in 1986 when I started shooting, documentaries were 16mm, and there weren’t digital formats…. there was no such thing as distribution in 16mm because most theaters didn’t have 16mm projectors, so you had to do a blow-up and when you make a blow-up, you turn a 16mm film into a 35mm to make the shape right. You had to cut off either the top, the bottom, or the top and the bottom on a per-shot basis. It was an intensive process [and] you’re then able to have a print that could go into theaters, but you were missing part of the frame that the DP shot. Now, as a digital asset, in this print, you’ll be able to see the whole frame we shot in the ballrooms or people’s homes or on the piers! You’re seeing more than what you saw back in the theater in 1991!”

Where to watch: In theaters, limited release (expanding in the weeks ahead)

Annabelle Comes Home

Starring: Mckenna Grace, Madison Iseman, Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson

Director: Gary Dauberman

Rating: R

EW’s review: Annabelle Comes Home is only a little scary, and too religiously dedicated to its own ongoing cash-printing megafranchise for big laughs. But the best moments in this low-key domestic horror film have a tossed-off quality, like the whole production cycle was a fun weekend for everybody.” C+

Where to watch: In theaters, wide release

Yesterday

Starring: Himesh Patel, Lily James, Kate McKinnon, Ed Sheeran

Director: Danny Boyle

Rating: PG-13

EW’s review: “I suspect all involved with this movie would declare it a “fairy tale” — the plot is not overly interested in pinning down the nature of its fantasy, and nothing about Jack’s rockstar lifestyle would offend the churchy elders who once viewed rock so suspiciously. But fairy tales edge toward strangeness, and the sanded edges of Yesterday ultimately feel more like a flashy commercial — one of those recent music documentaries commissioned by the people on screen, propaganda with feels. The music’s good, duh, and it’ll be just as good when your local high school performs Yesterday. Which lucky kid gets to play Ed Sheeran?” B+

Where to watch: In theaters, wide release

Aladdin

Starring: Will Smith, Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott, Nasim Pedrad

Director: Guy Ritchie

Rating: PG

EW’s review: “The new Aladdin is hardly the folly that the advance bad buzz prepared us for. The candy-colored costumes and production design are stunning, Alan Menken’s songs are as infectious as ever, the dance numbers have an electric Bollywood flair, and some of the bazaar chase sequences have a Young Indiana Jones sense of rollicking, Rube Goldberg fun. But mostly it all feels too dutiful, too familiar. This is where we are in 2019. The ever-quickening half-life of pop culture has gotten so short that we’ve now officially entered the era of diminishing returns. It’s the new normal. What’s old is new again — but not quite as good as you remembered it. Aladdin is…fine, but it has no real reason for being beyond, you know, capitalism. A whole new world, it’s not.” C+

Where to watch: In theaters, wide release

The Last Black Man In San Francisco

Starring: Jimmie Fails, Jonathan Majors, Danny Glover, Tichina Arnold, Rob Morgan, Mike Epps, Finn Wittrock, Thora Birch

Director: Joe Talbot

Rating: R

EW’s review:“There are friends and family (including Danny Glover and Tichina Arnold), and non-friendlys too (like Finn Wittrock’s unctuous real estate agent), all shot so gorgeously by cinematographer Adam Newport-Berra that nearly every frame could be paused, printed, and hung on a wall. But it’s not a movie for admiring in freeze frame; it’s the kind you fall into with your whole heart and emerge from feeling, for two hours at least, what it is to fully be transported by the magic of film.” A

Where to watch: In theaters, limited release

Ophelia

Starring: Daisy Ridley, Naomi Watts, Clive Owen

Director: Claire McCarthy

Rating: PG-13

EW’s interview with Watts: “That’s often how women have been portrayed in storytelling — as the damsel in the distress. If their mind is powerful, it must be madness. And now there’s this shift that’s taking place, and that’s reflected in this storytelling.”

Where to watch: In theaters, limited release. Also available to rent via On Demand, iTunes, YouTube, Vudu, Amazon Prime, Google Play.

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