Friday Film Roundup: Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, Ruby Gillman: Teenage Kraken, and More

EntertainmentBy 2023-09-08T16:53:23-04:00June 30th, 2023|
  • Credit: Disney

This weekend belongs to good ol’ Indiana Jones, who returns for one last time in James Mangold’s “The Dial of Destiny,” which hits theaters 15 years after the franchise’s previous installment. Although it is Harrison Ford’s last outing as the legendary character, it’s the first Indy movie not directed by Steven Spielberg. Elsewhere, we have another animated release about a shapeshifting teenager just one week after last week’s “Nimona,” and a documentary about the hugely underrepresented intersex community.

“Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” (In Theaters June 30th)

When we talk about franchises that refuse to die, “Indiana Jones” should be at the top of the list. Following the acclaimed trilogy released between 1981 and 1989, 2008’s “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” felt like an odd retread of a trilogy that’s often considered to be near perfect. Now, the fifth (and final) entry to star series mainstay Harrison Ford, subtitled “the Dial of Destiny,” is the second Indy outing in a row that exactly zero people are clamoring for.

However, what separates the “Indiana Jones” franchise from almost any other is that it isn’t studio “cash-grabbiness” keeping the character alive — it’s Harrison Ford. He famously said he would sign on for three Indy movies upon reading the script for “Raiders of the Lost Ark” after even more famously complaining about having to play Han Solo. For some reason, the actor who seems to hate acting more than anything in the world just loves making these things.

And oddly enough, that seems like as good a reason as any to check out “The Dial of Destiny.” The fifth installment, and the first that isn’t directed by Steven Spielberg, co-stars “Fleabag” star and creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Antonio Banderas, and Mads Mikkelsen. Although Spielberg isn’t behind the camera on this one, James Mangold is. After a run of releases that includes “Logan,” “Ford v. Ferrari,” and “3:10 to Yuma,” Mangold is a jack-of-all-trades type director who rarely, if ever, disappoints.

Will it be the best “Indiana Jones” movie ever? No, definitely not. But, as far as “one last ride” legacy sequels go, this one looks like it’s worth the price of admission.

“Ruby Gillman: Teenage Kraken” (In Theaters June 30th)

It’s a shame that “Ruby Gillman: Teenage Kraken” is coming out just a week after “Nimona,” Netflix’s latest animated release that follows a shapeshifting sidekick with a penchant for evil. Mostly because “Nimona” is soaking up the praise while “Teenage Kraken” is barely getting any attention at all. The films share a passing similarity, with Gillman relegated to Kraken duties while Nimona can do just about anything she wants, but there just isn’t a ton of hype with this one and we’re pretty sure we know why. Like Pixar’s latest release, “Elemental,” there doesn’t seem to be a lot going on here that we haven’t seen before. The most we can say for it at this point is…meh?

“Every Body” (In Theaters June 30th)

As we approach the end of Pride Month, we can’t forget about the one of the more underrepresented groups within the LGBTQI community — the I, intersex. The intersex community gets very little visibility in the public eye, but a new documentary, “Every Body,” wants that to change. Through the eyes of three different intersex people, “Every Body” gives viewers a firsthand look at the trials and tribulations this community faces, including the longtime practice of forced surgery that imposes a gender on people without giving them a chance to decide for themselves. Veteran documentary director Julie Cohen helms this project, which is sure to be one of the most important and enlightening queer-centric releases of the year.

“Millie Lies Low” (In Theaters and On Demand June 30th)

Panic disorders, career insecurity, and the lies we tell on social media are just a few hot button issues that director and co-writer Michelle Savill is tackling in her feature debut, “Millie Lies Low.” The film follows an aspiring architect who misses a highly-anticipated flight to New York for an internship after she has a sudden panic attack. Instead of coming clean, the titular character pretends she successfully boarded the flight as she tries to convince her friends and family that she is, in fact, in New York. “Millie Lies Low” is a product of our time and looks like a hilarious and heartbreaking indie film about the lengths to which we’ll go just to appear like success is within reach.

“The Passengers of the Night” (In Theaters June 30th)

In 1981, France elected François Mitterrand, a member of the country’s Socialist Party, as president. Amid the widespread celebrations across the country, Elisabeth Davies (played by Charlette Gainsbourg) is having just about the worst time of her life. Not because of anything to do with Mitterrand, but because her longtime marriage is falling apart, forcing her to re-enter the workforce with no traditional skillset. However, when she gets a job at her favorite radio station and meets a free-spirited young woman who she invites into her home, Elisabeth has an opportunity to start over that she never saw coming. By telling a fictionalized story with a historically accurate setting, “The Passengers of the Night” doubles as a potent political parable and a humanistic, emotionally resonant story.

Josef Rodriguez is a writer, filmmaker, and film critic living in New York City.