This past Labor Day weekend might be the new standard-bearer in the annals of cinematic renunciation, because here were our only new – or rather, “new” – cineplex options: the 40th-anniversary release of Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind (a magnificent work, to be sure, but a 1977 one); Marvel's Inhumans (the pilot for a TV series); and Tulip Fever, a period drama shot in the summer of 2014 originally scheduled for release in November of 2015. Since then, the latter title – one boasting a quartet of Oscars winners in Alicia Vikander, Christoph Waltz, Judi Dench, and co-screenwriter Tom Stoppard – has had its release postponed an additional four times before being blithely tossed at the masses on Hollywood's least-favorite weekend of the year. You'd actually feel terrible for director Justin Chadwick's abused outing if the movie itself weren't quite so stupid.

Written and directed by Hell or High Water author Taylor Sheridan, Wind River is another regionally specific crime saga – this one set in a Native American reservation in Wyoming – and it stars Jeremy Renner as a federal wildlife officer and Elizabeth Olsen as an FBI agent. The casting alone makes Sheridan's latest, like, one-tenth of an Avengers movie. But this fantastically smart, supremely entertaining thriller proves that Hawkeye and the Scarlet Witch can perform super-heroics even without the benefit of colorful monikers, otherworldly abilities, and CGI. Sheridan clearly can, too.

I hope I'll be forgiven for not wanting to review the movie so much as hug it, because this thing absolutely made my month. Ceaselessly engaging, subtly hilarious, unexpectedly exciting, and, in the end, almost embarrassingly moving, Soderbergh's latest is just what I needed – and maybe what we all need – in the wake of so much recent, national horribleness.

David F. Sandberg's horror prequel isn't terrible. In truth, it's considerably better than the creepy-porcelain-doll antics of 2014's dreadful Annabelle. It's even an improvement over last summer's The Conjuring 2, whose 2013 precursor gave us our first look at the franchise's titular “character”: a house-dressed Chucky with dead eyes and blond braids. But while it would be easy to over-praise this genre outing merely for not sucking, Annabelle: Creation still emerges as only moderately effective at best – a late-summer chiller that finds a demonically possessed plaything the only truly believable thing about it.

While I’m generally averse to movies whose only apparent goal is to make audiences feel like crap, I’d almost make an exception for Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit, a relentless bummer so well-executed that I found myself riveted even when I was aching to flee.

Domestic box office may be comparatively down and aging franchises (and franchise stars) may be showing their whiskers, but if 2017’s movie summer is remembered for anything else, it may be for its habit of turning showcase action sequences into retro music videos.

At an hour and 46 minutes, Christopher Nolan’s World War II thriller Dunkirk is the director’s shortest feature film since his 69-minute 1998 debut Following. It may also be his most wholly satisfying. I’d suggest that maybe there’s a lesson to be learned here, but who gives a damn about lessons when confronted with a work this masterful, powerful, and emotionally overwhelming?

When, exactly, did romantic comedies become extinct? I’m not even talking about “classic” rom-coms such as When Harry Met Sally... or Sleepless in Seattle, or that exceptional Julia Louis-Dreyfus/James Gandolfini charmer Enough Said from 2013 (the most recent example of a truly topnotch one I can think of). I’m talking about the genre as a regular staple of moviegoing, with headliners such as Sandra Bullock and Jennifer Lopez and, God help us, Katherine Heigl falling for lesser stars in vehicles that were once as abundant as Blumhouse horror flicks or crap reboots of ’80s TV shows. For anyone missing such offerings, I would direct you to director Michael Showalter’s The Big Sick, which just might stand as the most hysterical, moving, swoon-worthy rom-com of the millennium. For anyone not missing such offerings, I’d direct you to The Big Sick even more quickly, just so you can see what this genre is capable of when everything – and I mean everything – goes magically right.

<em>Spider-Man: Homecoming</em>

The first joke of Spider-Man: Homecoming is the prologue’s arrival of the U.S. Department of Damage Control to tidy up a mess made by the Avengers. Damage Control has apparently been part of the Marvel Comics universe for nearly three decades, but this is its first movie appearance, and the name is amusing for its unusual bureaucratic bluntness.

The last joke is a multifaceted nugget in the final seconds before the end credits roll – part intentionally premature cut, part nod to the movie’s PG-13 rating, and part capper to the teenage trials of poor Peter Parker. (He’s repeatedly called “Penis Parker” by one of his classmates, which was probably a major contributor to the MPAA’s decision.)

In between, Homecoming is an almost-constant steam of minor marvels contributing to a shapely whole brimming with pleasure. Like its protagonist when he’s Spider-Man, the movie has an infectiously exuberant youthful zing.

The opening shot of writer/director Sofia Coppola’s meticulously sumptuous The Beguiled shows a young girl carrying a basket and singing without a care in the world – her steps providing the tune’s rhythm – in a tunnel of trees. It’s sunny out, but the converging crowns mean she’s walking in the dark wood. When she happens upon an injured Union soldier (Colin Farrell) while picking mushrooms, it’s impossible to avoid a single thought: Big Bad Wolf.

The girl helps the man back to her secluded Virginia boarding school for girls – which just happens to have seven female residents. They’re not dwarves, but Corporal John McBurney (once his wounded leg is mostly healed) does help with some groundskeeping. So he’s also Snow White.