Scott Marks 12:30 p.m., July 26
Rebel in the Rye
Writer-director Danny Strong’s JD Salinger biopic stands rather unfortunately to last year’s Coming Through the Rye as the Truman Capote biopic Infamous stood to Capote. That is to say, it’s not without its charms and solid observations about the perils and passions of the writerly life, but it’s too blunt, too neat, and entirely too starry-eyed about both the creator and his creation (in this case, the coming of age classic The Catcher in the Rye). The casting doesn’t help much: Nicholas Hoult is simply too smooth-faced and sturdy to portray a war-wrecked neurotic, and Kevin Spacey’s hard-drinking mentor feels more tired than tragic. The writing helps even less, all text and no subtext, always ready to take the easy shot. (Unsupportive Dad after son finally succeeds: “Now all you have to do is write another one even better!”) But the direction is not without its virtues: the depiction of the artist encountering his endlessly needy public for the first time is appropriately dread-soaked and haunting, with streetlights as spotlights and a nervous exit stage left. 2017.