Four new films to stream this weekend

Dating Amber, A Rainy Day in New York, Miss Slavic 7, Echo in the Canyon

Lola Petticrew and Fionn O’Shea in Dating Amber

Lola Petticrew and Fionn O’Shea in Dating Amber

 

DATING AMBER ★★★☆☆
Directed by David Freyne. Starring Fionn O’Shea, Lola Petticrew, Barry Ward, Sharon Horgan, Simone Kirby, Lauryn Canny, Emma Willis. Amazon Prime, 92 min
One could teach a class on romantic-comedy structure using Freyne’s agreeable second feature as sole template. The trick here is that Eddie (O’Shea) and Amber (Petticrew) are not really a couple. The two students are gay and – the original, better title was Beards – fake a relationship to deflect the bullies’ attention. The film, set in the 1990s, is a little tonally insecure, but the delightful performances spark the action throughout. A lively entertainment that is sure to find an agreeable audience. DC

A RAINY DAY IN NEW YORK ★★☆☆☆
Directed by Woody Allen. Starring Timothée Chalamet, Elle Fanning, Selena Gomez, Jude Law, Diego Luna, Liev Schreiber. VOD, 92 min

Timothée Chalamet and Selena Gomez in A Rainy Day in New York
Timothée Chalamet and Selena Gomez in A Rainy Day in New York

We are back in Woody’s beloved Upper East Side, among literary types that never existed outside the director’s milieu. Even in this affected fantasy world, it’s hard to account for 20-somethings using “milquetoast” as an insult. It is, moreover, difficult to imagine a more unsuitable ersatz Allen than young Timothée – struggling with a slipshod script composed of lines that should only exist in the mouth of, let’s be kind, a sexagenarian character in a Woody Allen film. More of the familiar same. TB

MS SLAVIC 7 ★★★★☆
Directed by Sofia Bohdanowicz, Deragh Campbell. Starring Deragh Campbell, Elizabeth Rucker, Aaron Danby, Mariusz Sibiga. Mubi, 66 min

Deragh Campbell in MS Slavic 7
Deragh Campbell in MS Slavic 7

The title may sound like a Soviet-era action heroine. In fact, it’s the library number of an archived series of letters between Bohdanowicz’s great-grandmother, the poet Zofia Bohdanowiczowa, and the Nobel Prize-nominated author Józef Wittlin. The third collaboration between Toronto filmmaker Bohdanowicz and actor Campbell (who co-directs) mark the Canadians out as the pre-eminent producers of contemplative documentary hybrids. It will not be for everybody, but the rigorous representation of writing and research is a marvel for those on the appropriate wavelength. TB

ECHO IN THE CANYON ★★☆☆☆
Directed by Andrew Slater. Featuring Jakob Dylan, Brian Wilson, Tom Petty, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Stephen Stills, Roger McGuinn, Michelle Phillips, David Crosby. VOD, 83 min

Jakob Dylan and Tom Petty in Echo in the Canyon
Jakob Dylan and Tom Petty in Echo in the Canyon

So-so documentary on the Laurel Canyon music scene of the 1960s. We regret to say that Slater builds the film around a tribute concert that Jakob Dylan curated in 2015. Not all the new recordings are bad, but we are really here for archive and conversations between Dylan Minor and the likes of David Crosby and Brian Wilson. It passes the time. But you’ve heard all the stories before and the total exclusion of Joni Mitchell is as baffling as it is outrageous. DC

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