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The Top 10 Movies of the Year So Far, From 'Thelma' and 'Babes' to the Horror Film I’ll Never Watch Again

Plus, Starbucks and Cirque du Soleil launch their own entertainment studios, and Hollywood mourns Robert Towne.

Happy Friday, folks! I hope everyone had a wonderful time celebrating the 4th of July with their friends and loved ones.

I feel very lucky — and grateful — to have spent the holiday with my brother, my two beautiful nieces, and my sister-in-law at her family’s home in New Seabury on Cape Cod, where we witnessed a truly epic fireworks display last night and I crashed into the net while playing pickleball. Whoops!

I’m flying back to LA tonight, and I’ll be returning a different man, as my heart took another pounding while I was out of town. But as they say, it’s better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all…

I didn’t watch too many movies this week, as I either spent my free time with family or catching up on some pleasure reading — Shari Lapena’s whodunit Not a Happy Family was a real page-turner. But speaking of “family,” I did make time to check out A Family Affair on Netflix, which I enjoyed. Nicole Kidman and Zac Efron have solid chemistry together, and Joey King continues to impress me, though I suspect this film worked as well as it did because of director Richard LaGravenese. He may not have written the script — that would be Carrie Solomon — but the veteran screenwriter is a skilled storyteller, and for what A Family Affair is, I thought it was well done.

Elsewhere, I was left disappointed by the Eric Bana-Sadie Sink thriller A Sacrifice, though I was impressed by Luke Rynderman and Adam Kamien’s true-crime docudrama The Speedway Murders, which examines a fascinating crime — the murders of four teenage fast-food workers in Indiana — by presenting several different theories that are interspersed with scenes of actors recreating their last shift. For those who can’t get enough true-crime stories, The Speedway Murders was definitely better than I expected, and it’s now available on VOD.

Meanwhile, I’m behind on my new releases, so I still haven’t seen MaXXXine yet, though I’ve heard very mixed things, to be honest. I definitely plan to check it out this weekend along with Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions’ Indian action film Kill. By the way, Lionsgate recently tapped John Wick filmmaker Chad Stahelski to produce an English-language remake of that acclaimed Hindi-language movie.

In tonight’s newsletter, you’ll read my Top 10 Movies of the Year So Far. Plus, items on the Aussie band Air Supply, Ridley Scott’s new partnership with Cirque du Soleil, Michael Sugar teaming with Starbucks, the latest additions to Season 2 of The Sandman, the cast of Jillian Bell’s feature directorial debut, a new release date for Brian Tyree Henry’s sports drama The Fire Inside, the cancellation of Josh Brolin’s Amazon series, the sad death of legendary screenwriter Robert Towne, and my thoughts on the trailer for Sony’s AI-themed horror movie Afraid.

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