Scott Marks 12:30 p.m., July 26
The Brand New Testament (Le tout nouveau testament)
A lighthearted/darkhearted romp through modern misery, frontloaded with imagination and light on the finish. Theodicy — the contrasting of a supposedly all-good, all-powerful God with the manifest evil in the world — is a matter for theologians (or at least Lex Luthor in Batman vs. Superman). Jaco Van Dormael’s cuddly-caustic fable is content to tell its story from the ground up, and so imagines a God who is neither all good nor all powerful; he’s just a grumpy Dad in a ratty bathrobe sitting at a particularly powerful computer. It’s bad enough that he utterly oppresses his poor wife, but when he takes the belt to his precocious 10-year-old daughter Ea, the tyke decides to follow her big brother JC’s lead and head to Earth to round up some disciples. The twist: her Gospel will be all about them — or rather, their sorrows and sufferings and serpentine searches for salvific love. Her contribution involves listening to the (mostly classical) music in their hearts and playing matchmaker. The more exciting part: before she sets off, she screws up God’s game by telling everyone their date of death. (Even so, no one seems to consider repenting, because this is modern Europe: even when He exists, God is dead, or at least irrelevant.) He follows her to earth, only to find himself oddly powerless and utterly disrespected. And while He may be a petty bastard, he makes a compelling character. (And from a storyteller’s perspective, a more compelling world.) 2015.