Star Trek Into Frances Ha
We haven't hit Memorial Day Weekend yet, but it's official: Summer Blockbuster Season is underway. Between comic books, Michael Bay's latest flick, a Tom Cruise vehicle, and summer dalliances in the Hamptons, the second installment of the rebooted "Star Trek" franchise almost seems superfluous. Almost. Still, there's plenty of other delightful fare at the cinemas: another "Taken" imitation, a New-York-set coming-of-late-20s-ager, a B-horror movie set in Maine, a Korean thriller that may or may not feature Oedipal urges, and plenty of engaging documentaries. So enjoy the early onset of summer, faithful readers! And tell us what you want to see to celebrate it in the comments below!

"Star Trek Into Darkness" opened Thursday. Directed by J.J. Abrams. Starring Chris Pine, Benedict Cumberbatch, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, John Cho, and Anton Yelchin. Our review: "For the first hour or so, it's just as enjoyable as the original, but by the time the credits roll, there's a sense that you're undernourished and unsatisfied; you've been on a decent ride, but not one that really adds up to anything by the time you're done. 'Star Trek Into Darkness' is a long, long way from a disaster, but it's hard not to feel that Abrams' mystery box turned out to be a bit empty this time out." Metacritic: 73 Rotten Tomatoes: 87% The Playlist: C+

"Erased." Directed by Philipp Stolzl. Starring Aaron Eckhart, Liana Liberato, and Olga Kurylenko. Our review: "Zealots may deem Eckhart damn near un-American for starring in a film that is so openly critical of American intervention. But maybe that's us reading way too much into what turns out in the end to be a solid VOD release, with Eckhart lifting his leading role out of anonymity and claiming it with a driven if not outstanding performance." MC: 35 RT: 19% PL: B-

"Frances Ha." Directed by Noah Baumbach. Starring Greta Gerwig, Mickey Sumner, Adam Driver, and Grace Gummer. Our review: "Loose, limber and driven by a fierce energy and staccato/pause rhythm we haven't seen previously from this filmmaker, Noah Baumbach's sublime 'Frances Ha' is a fresh and vivacious near-reinvention of the director/writer's comedic milieu." MC: 81 RT: 91% PL: B+

"The English Teacher." Directed by Craig Zisk. Starring Julianne Moore, Michael Angarano, Greg Kinnear, Lily Collins, and Nathan Lane. This unfunny, possibly even tragic "comedy" is rambling and trite, boasting little beyond its notable cast. MC: 30 RT: 38%

"Black Rock." Directed by and starring Katie Aselton. Also starring Kate Bosworth, Lake Bell, Will Bouvier, Jay Paulson, and Anselm Richardson. Our review: "Some more strident and narrow-minded horror fanatics -- not fans, but fanatics -- will possibly find 'Black Rock' too talky, or not violent enough...but if you like your scares smart, and like them to happen to people you actually care about, then Aselton's island of friendship and fury is a nice place to visit." MC: 46 RT: 39% PL: B-

"Pieta." Directed by Kim Ki-Duk. Starring Lee Jung-jin and Cho Min-soo. Our review: "The film contains some memorable moments, and a pair of fine performances, but it's hard not to feel that it would have proved more successful if it had stayed on the path it was heading down for the first forty minutes or so." MC: 68 RT: 73% PL: C+

"Augustine." Directed by Alice Winocour. Starring Vincent Lindon, Soko, Chiara Mastroianni, and Olivier Rabourdin. A contemporary perspective infuses this evocatively acted drama about a Victorian Era psychoanalyst and his female patient. MC: 79 RT: 87%

"Bidder 70." Directed by Beth Gage and George Gage. This documentary paints a conscientious and tempered portrait of one citizen's fight to preserve 1000 acres of Utah wilderness from devastation by the energy and mining industries. MC: no score yet RT: 80%

"State 194." Directed by Dan Setton. The facts about Palestine's struggle for statehood are presented clearly enough, employing a more local framework than any previous coverage. However, the doc suffers from numerous digressions that don't contribute enough to the central message. MC: 61 RT: no score yet

"Becoming Traviata" opened Wednesday. Directed by Philippe Beziat. An account of a French opera singer readying herself for a role that is both beautiful and passion-filled, but may require a certain familiarity with the titular production to sustain engagement. MC: 66 RT: 75%

"Old Dog" opened Wednesday. Directed by Pema Tseden. Starring Drolma Kyab, Lochey, Tamdrin Tso, Yanbum Gyal. Our review: "'Old Dog' is a true gem and the mark of an especially skilled director -- mark our words, Pema Tseden is a name you'll be seeing in contention for the Palme d'Or in the not-too-distant future." MC: 74 RT: n/a PL: A