The Season of the Witch

With the arrival of each summer comes a new band of bro-courting, testosterone-fueled movies, often starring Will Smith or Zac Efron’s torso. And while Baywatch did recently splash across the silver screen, the more interesting offerings of the season have refreshingly set their sights on women—ass-kicking, name-taking, nasty women. In Sofia Coppola’s hothouse thriller The Beguiled, set in a southern boarding school during the Civil War, a host of Venuses (including Nicole Kidman, Elle Fanning, and Kirsten Dunst) entrap Colin Farrell’s lustful Union soldier. In Ana Lily Amirpour’s follow-up to A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014), the postapocalyptic love story The Bad Batch, a freckle-face double-amputee (Suki Waterhouse) goes on the attack to survive a cannibal-infested dystopia. And in the knock-down-drag-out spy thriller Atomic Blonde, directed by David Leitch, it is Oscar winner Charlize Theron—much more than her co-star James McAvoy—who cracks skulls first and asks questions later.