Hulu boasts an extensive collection of captivating movies, ranging from uproarious comedies and heartwarming romances to spine-chilling horror flicks. With such a vast array of options, sifting through the extensive catalog to uncover the most exceptional films can be a daunting task. Don’t worry, though; we’ve got you covered. Below is a meticulously curated compilation of the finest movies available on Hulu, catering to both aficionados of timeless classics and those seeking thrilling new discoveries.
Here are some other suggestions, peruse our compilation of top picks on Hulu including the best shows, documentaries, and horror movies.
Editor’s note: The piece has been revised on October 27th to feature Monster Inside: America’s Most Extreme Haunted House.
The Boogeyman – 2023
Run Time: 1 hr 38 min | Director: Rob Savage
Cast: Sophie Thatcher, Chris Messina, Vivien Lyra Blair, David Dastmalchian
Drawing inspiration from Stephen King‘s iconic short story, director Rob Savage brings us an exhilarating supernatural horror film, The Boogeyman. Delving into the chilling world of creatures lurking in the shadows, closets, and beneath beds, this spine-tingling tale weaves a narrative of grief, employing striking cinematography to intensify the fear factor. Stellar performances by Sophie Thatcher (Yellowjackets) and Chris Messina are complemented by the remarkable talent of young star Vivien Lyra Blair (Obi-Wan Kenobi), making The Boogeyman a must-watch for horror enthusiasts. – Yael Tygiel
Monster Inside: America’s Most Extreme Haunted House – 2023
Run Time: 1 hr 27 min | Director: Andrew Renzi
Cast: Russ McKamey, Melissa Everly, Gabi Hardiman
Unveiling the Horrors Within: A Bone-Chilling Look into America’s Most Extreme Haunted House is a spine-tingling documentary that delves deep into the dark abyss of a genuine monster. Director Andrew Renzi fearlessly delves into the unsettling world of Russ McKamey, a Navy Veteran, horror fanatic, and a cunning mastermind behind an immersive horror experience that blurred the lines between entertainment and unfathomable torment. With firsthand testimonies from survivors, the documentary, ‘Unveiling the Horrors Within: A Bone-Chilling Look into America’s Most Extreme Haunted House’, exposes the shocking reality of McKamey’s atrocious conduct, along with the disturbingly loyal following he managed to amass through his ghastly endeavors.
Theater Camp – 2023
Run Time: 1 hr 32 min | Director: Molly Gordon, Nick Lieberman
Cast: Ben Platt, Molly Gordon, Noah Galvin, Jimmy Tatro, Ayo Edebiri
The uproarious mockumentary “Theater Camp,” directed by Nick Lieberman and Molly Gordon of “Booksmart” fame, features the duo alongside the esteemed Ben Platt, known for his award-winning performance in “Dear Evan Hansen.” As the curtains threaten to fall on a dilapidated theater camp, the resilient staff and spirited campers band together in a bid to salvage their cherished program. Delving deep into the heart of the theater world, “Theater Camp” unravels the idiosyncrasies of these artistic souls, showcasing their resilience when confronted with the burdens imposed by societal norms. Boasting a remarkable ensemble cast, the film showcases outstanding performances by Ayo Edebiri from “Bottoms,” Noah Galvin, Nathan Lee Graham, and Jimmy Tatro from “Home Economics.” – Yael Tygiel
Appendage – 2023
Run Time: 1 hr 34 min | Director: Anna Zlokovic
Cast: Hadley Robinson, Emily Hampshire, Brandon Mychal Smith
Penned and helmed by the emerging talent Anna Zlokovic, Appendage stands as a chilling thriller that revolves around the character of Hannah (Hadley Robinson), a budding fashion designer whose sinister inner musings begin to materialize within her own body. With Hannah’s life taking a tumultuous turn, she discovers a support system that urges her to embrace the pandemonium. Alongside the stellar performances of Emily Hampshire (Schitt’s Creek) and Brandon Mychal Smith (You’re the Worst), Appendage transcends the boundaries of your typical demonic or parasitic possession horror film. It fearlessly delves into graphic violence and gore, artfully managing to uphold a beautifully eccentric metaphor for anxiety.” – Yael Tygiel
The Banshees of Inisherin – 2022
Run Time: 1 hr 54 min | Director: Martin McDonagh
Cast: Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Kerry Condon, Barry Keoghan
The Banshees of Inisherin,” a critically acclaimed movie directed and written by Martin McDonagh, is an exceptional piece in the realm of dark comedy. McDonagh himself drew inspiration from his personal experiences, lending an authentic touch to the narrative. This outstanding film was recognized with eight Oscar nominations, solidifying its position as a notable cinematic creation. Delving into the gradual decay of a long-standing camaraderie, the story revolves around Pádraic Súilleabháin (played by Colin Farrell) and folk musician Colm Doherty (portrayed by Brendan Gleeson). With a simple yet captivatingly eccentric plotline, “The Banshees of Inisherin” intricately examines the intricate dynamics of adult friendships and the profound pain of loss.
Renowned critic Brian Formo extolled the movie, noting that it presents “an aspect of the human condition that other films have rarely touched.” – Yael Tygiel
No One Will Save You – 2023
Director: Brian Duffield
Cast: Kaitlyn Dever, Ginger Cressman, Jack Duhame, Geraldine Singer
Brian Duffield, known for his work on “Cocaine Bear,” steps into the director’s chair once again for his spine-chilling creation, “No One Will Save You.” Departing from her usual dramatic roles, Kaitlyn Dever, recognized for her performance in “Dopesick,” takes on the lead in this ambitious science-fiction horror movie. Dever’s portrayal of Brynn, a young woman grappling with anxiety while relishing the seclusion of her childhood home, is nothing short of dazzling. However, her peaceful existence is shattered when she must confront unearthly adversaries.
Although the premise revolves around a straightforward alien invasion, “No One Will Save You” mesmerizes audiences by expertly leveraging the rural setting, intensifying the suspense through strategic play with light and shadows. Dever’s exceptional talent shines through, infusing the film with a captivating allure. Critic Samantha Coley lauds the movie as “a blend of sophisticated concepts and timeless genre elements that hinge on Dever’s compelling and enthralling performance.” – Yael Tygiel
The Menu – 2022
Run Time: 1 hr 47 min | Director: Mark Mylod
Cast: Ralph Fiennes, Anya Taylor-Joy, Nicholas Hoult, Janet McTeer
Seth Reiss and Will Tracy’s “The Menu” serves up a delectably inventive visual delight. Anya Taylor-Joy, known for her role in “The New Mutants,” delivers a stellar performance, effortlessly matching the talent of two-time Oscar nominee Ralph Fiennes (famous for “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”). The film serves as a darkly humorous exploration of wealth and societal class, offering a refreshingly unique narrative experience. Director Mark Mylod‘s astute guidance captures the absurdity of the setting, intricately weaving in tantalizing plot twists. Against this vibrant backdrop, Nicholas Hoult (from “The Great”) and Hong Chau (featured in “The Whale”) shine brightly alongside the rest of the cast. – Yael Tygiel
Beautiful Disaster – 2023
Run Time: 1 hr 45 min | Genre: Romance Comedy | Director: Roger Kumble
Cast: Virginia Gardner, Dylan Sprouse, Austin North
Adapted from Jamie McGuire‘s widely acclaimed book, Beautiful Disaster, the uproariously alluring romantic comedy features the spirited Virginia Gardner, known for her role in Runaways, alongside the charismatic Dylan Sprouse from After We Collided. Beautiful Disaster revolves around the story of Abby (Gardner), a seemingly naive college student guarding a clandestine past, whose life collides with that of the rebellious, fighting enthusiast Travis (Sprouse). Despite her efforts to resist his undeniable charm, a tempestuous bond unfolds between them. Director Roger Kumble masterfully captures the sizzling anticipation characteristic of a romance novel, skillfully translating it into a visually compelling narrative that allows the scorching-hot cast to showcase their talent while seamlessly complementing the enthralling storyline of Beautiful Disaster.”
Vacation Friends 2 – 2023
Director: Clay Tarver
Cast: John Cena, Lil Rel Howery, Yvonne Orji, Meredith Hagner, Steve Buscemi
Clay Tarver, the creative force behind the original Vacation Friends, reunites with the dynamic cast comprising John Cena (Peacemaker), Lil Rel Howery (Free Guy), Yvonne Orji, and Meredith Hagner for an electrifying sequel, Vacation Friends 2. This highly anticipated follow-up delivers an adrenaline-fueled narrative, complemented by the delightful and uproarious appearances of Ronny Chieng (Joy Ride) and Steve Buscemi (Miracle Workers). Building upon the foundations laid by its predecessor, Vacation Friends 2 skillfully weaves together elements reminiscent of The Hangover, Girls Trip, and Blockers, elevating the franchise to new heights. Prepare for a rollercoaster of laughter and unpredictable escapades in this undeniably entertaining sequel. – Yael Tygiel
Miguel Wants to Fight – 2023
Director: Oz Rodriguez
Cast: Tyler Dean Flores, Dascha Polanco, Andrea Navedo, Christian Vunipola, Imani Lewis
Miguel Is Ready for Battle introduces the audience to the emerging talent of Tyler Dean Flores in the lead role of this endearing tale of self-discovery. Under the skillful direction of Oz Rodriguez, the film presents a refreshing take on the concept of machismo. It delves into the world of Miguel and his companions, portrayed by Christian Vunipola, Imani Lewis, and Suraj Partha, as they navigate a series of whimsical escapades that challenge the norms of toxic masculinity. With a nod to the stylistic essence of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, the movie ingeniously weaves together a medley of cinematic influences from various genres, resulting in an entirely distinctive and innovative cinematic experience.”
The Quiet Girl – 2022
Run Time: 1 hr 36 min | Director: Colm Bairéad
Cast: Catherine Clinch, Carrie Crowley, Andrew Bennett
Inspired by Claire Keegan’s novel “Foster,” The Quiet Girl tells a poignant tale of a young girl’s journey into adulthood against the backdrop of rural Ireland. Directed and scripted by Colm Bairéad, the film captures the life of a 1981 Irish girl, Catherine Clinch, as she navigates the complexities of familial bonds while residing with distant relatives on a farm. With an ensemble cast including Carrie Crowley and Andrew Bennett, The Quiet Girl mesmerizes audiences with its exquisite cinematography, skillful portrayal of Dublin and the picturesque countryside, and a storyline that delves into the universal themes of maturation, sorrow, and the quest for belonging. Notably, film critic Emma Kiely hailed it as “undoubtedly one of the most genuine, immersive, and aesthetically captivating Irish films to date.” – Yael Tygiel
Tiny Shoulders: Rethinking Barbie – 2018
Run Time: 1 hr 32 min | Director: Andrea Blaugrund Nevins
Tiny Shoulders: Rethinking Barbie serves as an enlightening documentary created by filmmaker Andrea Blaugrund Nevins. This insightful production delves into the intricate world of the Barbie doll, offering viewers a peek behind the curtains. With the inclusion of interviews featuring renowned feminist figures like Gloria Steinem and Roxane Gay, the documentary delves deep into the history and development of the iconic Barbie doll. Furthermore, through candid conversations with Mattel, the company behind Barbie, Tiny Shoulders: Rethinking Barbie provides an authentic portrayal of the doll’s transformation over time. Offering a retrospective perspective, the documentary sheds light on the journey ahead, showcasing a remarkable and profound reinvention of this beloved toy. – Yael Tygiel
The Estate – 2022
Run Time: 1 hr 31 min | Genre: Comedy | Director: Dean Craig
Cast: Toni Collette, Anna Faris, David Duchovny
In his latest creation, writer and director Dean Craig, known for his work on “Death at a Funeral,” constructs a compelling dark comedy that delves into the extreme measures individuals are willing to take for a shot at an inheritance. Headlined by the talented Toni Collette from “Knives Out” and Anna Faris of “Mom” fame, the film revolves around two sisters fervently attempting to secure their ailing estranged aunt’s favor, all in the hopes of securing a last-minute spot in her will. Alas, the sisters soon realize that they’re not alone in the family’s fierce competition for the affection of their affluent relative. With its farcical escapades, the film offers a riotously entertaining experience, aided by the razor-sharp writing that expertly convinces audiences to embrace even the most ludicrous scenarios as the characters maneuver their way towards a potentially life-altering fortune. — Tauri Miller
Wildflower – 2022
Run Time: 1 hr 45 min | Genre: Comedy, Drama | Director: Matt Smukler
Cast: Kiernan Shipka, Dash Mihok, Alexandra Daddario, Brad Garrett
Wildflower, a compelling teen coming-of-age dramedy, delves into the life of a young girl named Bea as she navigates the complexities of the world alongside her neurodivergent parents. Kiernan Shipka, renowned for her role in “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina,” takes on the lead role of Bea, a high school graduate grappling with the daunting decision between pursuing her own future and prioritizing the care of her intellectually disabled parents. While following the typical Hollywood trajectory of portraying disability and neurodivergence on screen, the film’s brevity somewhat limits its ability to delve deeply into these complex themes, yet the cast’s commendable performances adeptly compensate for this narrative challenge. – Tauri Miller
Chevalier – 2022
Run Time: 1 hr 47 min | Genre: History, Drama | Director: Stephen Williams
Cast: Kelvin Harrison Jr., Samara Weaving, Lucy Boynton, Ronke Adekoluejo
Chevalier, a cinematic marvel, harmonizes remarkable performances, exquisite period attire, and a poignant, transformative narrative. Headlined by the talented Kelvin Harrison Jr. (renowned for his role in Waves) in the role of the determined composer Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges chronicles the true-life saga of how this exceptional French-Caribbean prodigy harnessed his musical genius to challenge the entrenched French aristocracy and ignite a movement of change. Samara Weaving (from Ready or Not) and Lucy Boynton (known for her role in Bohemian Rhapsody) deliver equally captivating performances as Marie-Josephine and Marie Antoinette, serving as pivotal catalysts in Bologne’s quest to embrace his true self. This narrative of triumph against all odds, fueled by love, a sense of belonging, and the power of self-empowerment, stands as a compelling testament to individuals of color, urging them to preserve their resilience in the face of oppression.
Prey – 2022
Run Time: 1 hr 40 min | Genre: Action Sci-Fi | Director: Dan Trachtenberg
Cast: Amber Midthunder, Mohammad Albaaj, Dakota Beavers, Michelle Trush, Stormee Kipp, Julian Black Antelope, and Dane DiLiegro
In the latest installment of the Predator series, titled Prey, director Dan Trachtenberg delivers a refreshing take on the classic hunter-versus-hunted theme. Set in the year 1719, the film portrays the gripping confrontation between the iconic antagonist and Naru, portrayed brilliantly by Amber Midthunder, a resilient Comanche woman. Trachtenberg’s approach in Prey sets a new standard for the franchise, skillfully weaving moments of quiet introspection within the intense action sequences.
By returning the franchise to its roots, Trachtenberg and his exceptional cast elevate the film to new heights, reinvigorating the series in a way that hasn’t been seen in years. Critic Carly Lane praised the movie, emphasizing how Prey successfully reverts to the fundamental essence of the Predator franchise. Lane highlights the deliberate shift away from excessive technology and explosive spectacles, opting instead for a character-driven narrative focused on the struggle and eventual triumph of the protagonists. The film expertly balances this with exhilarating action sequences, demonstrating the potential of such narratives on a more intimate scale.
According to Ross Bonaime, Prey emerges as a testament to the franchise’s renewed prowess in storytelling. With its emphasis on character development and a well-crafted narrative arc, the movie not only captivates the audience but also redefines the Predator franchise for the better.
Anthem – 2023
Run Time: 1 hr 37 min | Director: Peter Nicks
Cast: Kris Bowers, D.J. Dahi, Joy Harjo
Anthem, under the masterful direction of Peter Nicks, serves as an exquisite portrayal of history, culture, and music. Backed by the creative prowess of Ryan Coogler (renowned for Black Panther), this documentary embarks on a remarkable expedition led by music producer D.J. Dahi and composer Kris Bowers (known for Brigerton). Their journey traverses the length and breadth of the nation, delving into the tapestry of diverse sounds that shape our collective identity.
Traversing various states and engaging with artists hailing from different cultures and backgrounds, Bowers and Dahi strive to weave together a musical opus that encapsulates the true spirit of our people. Embracing an ethos of openness and receptiveness, Anthem bears witness to the birth of a resonant musical composition, one that seeks to authentically reflect the interconnectedness of the American populace. With sincerity at its core, Anthem stands as a testament to the discovery of a novel national anthem, one that echoes the heartfelt voices of a nation. – Yael Tygiel
The Old Way – 2023
Run Time: 1 hr 35 min | Director: Brett Donowho
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Ryan Kiera Armstrong, Noah Le Gros, Clint Howard
Nicolas Cage takes charge in The Old Way, marking his debut in the Western genre, in a timeless tale of vengeance directed by Brett Donowho (known for Acts of Violence). The Old Way tells the story of a retired yet dreaded gunslinger who has now embraced family life (played by Cage), as he returns to his origins of merciless retribution, accompanied by his young daughter (portrayed by Ryan Kiera Armstrong), to track down the outlaws responsible for his wife’s murder. Comparable to the emotional intensity of Logan, this thrilling journey of father-daughter retribution in The Old Way is packed with poignant sincerity and an abundance of gun-slinging excitement. Despite its predictability, The Old Way effectively highlights the remarkable talents of Armstrong, Cage, and the entire ensemble. – Yael Tygiel
Jagged Mind – 2023
Run Time: 1 hr 28 min | Genre: Thriller | Director: Kelley Kali
Cast: Maisie Richardson-Sellers, Shannon Woodward, Rosaline Elbay, Kate Szekely, Jimmy Jean-Louis
“Jagged Mind, the captivating queer psychological thriller by writer Allyson Morgan and director Kelley Kali, presents a mesmerizing tale of suspense. Starring Maisie Richardson-Sellers (DC’s Legends of Tomorrow) as Billie, the film delves into her enthralling yet perplexing journey as she navigates a new relationship with a mysterious girlfriend (Shannon Woodward). However, her world is upended by sudden blackouts and unexplainable visions, forcing her into a disorienting time loop that continually replays their initial date.
Jagged Mind skillfully weaves a path through unexpected twists, all set against a backdrop of stunning visual aesthetics, employing vibrant colors and strategic lighting to unravel a chilling narrative centered on love, trust, and the grip of the unknown. With its unsettling implications and a standout ensemble cast, Jagged Mind emerges as an essential viewing experience.” – Yael Tygiel
Flamin’ Hot – 2023
Run Time: 1 hr 39 min | Genre: History, Drama | Director: Eva Longoria
Cast: Jesse Garcia, Tony Shalhoub, Dennis Haysbert, Emilio Rivera
Adding to the growing roster of what we can dub the “Corporate Origin Story” genre, Flamin’ Hot presents the captivating narrative of Richard Montañez’s rapid ascension from the factory floor to an executive position at Frito-Lay. Jesse Garcia (known for his role in Snowfall) infuses a dash of zest into this comedic depiction of the creation of the legendary Flamin’ Hot Cheeto, embodying Montañez and infusing his Mexican heritage into the previously mundane snack brand. Despite being Eva Longoria’s debut as a feature director, she paints a vibrant canvas for this tale of going from rags to riches, infusing it with a lively and dynamic spirit. For those seeking a delectable film teeming with cultural richness, unwavering determination, and lightheartedness, Flamin’ Hot is definitely a must-watch.
Four Good Days – 2020
Run Time: 1 hr 40 min | Genre: Drama | Director: Rodrigo García
Cast: Glenn Close, Mila Kunis, Stephen Root, Chad Lindberg
Drawing inspiration from the moving piece in The Washington Post penned by Eli Saslow, director Rodrigo García skillfully brings to life a tale of addiction and familial strife in his latest film, showcasing unwavering determination. Embodying the role of a mother to a young woman grappling with opioid addiction (Mila Kunis), Glenn Close (The Wife) delivers a poignant and conflicted portrayal, serving as a poignant contrast to Kunis’s raw and anguished depiction of the challenges of recovery. With a dedicated cast and crew, the film delves deep into the far-reaching repercussions of addiction, capturing its devastating impact beyond the individual in its grip. While its unflinching portrayal of the journey to sobriety may at times be jarring, the film remains a powerful testament to the resilience of the human spirit.
The Meg – 2018
Run Time: 1 hr 53 min | Genre: Sci-Fi, Action | Director: Jon Turteltaub
Cast: Jason Statham, Bingbing Li, Rainn Wilson
The Meg elevates the shark attack genre, first popularized by Jaws, to new heights of intensity. Loosely inspired by Steve Alten’s novel, the film centers around a team of deep-sea explorers and oceanographers who come face-to-face with a colossal prehistoric Megalodon while delving into the depths of the Marianas Trench. Amidst spine-chilling moments, this thrilling aquatic expedition boasts a compelling ensemble cast, drawing viewers deeply into their quest to capture or vanquish this formidable predator. The roles are expertly portrayed by an exceptional array of talent, including Jason Statham (Crank), Rainn Wilson (The Office), Cliff Curtis (Doctor Sleep), and the delightful Shuya Sophia Cai (Somewhere Only We Know), whose portrayal of one of the most endearing kids in cinematic history is truly captivating.”
White Men Can’t Jump – 2023
Run Time: 1 hr 41 min | Genre: Sports, Comedy | Director: Calmatic
Cast: Sinqua Walls, Jack Harlow, Lance Reddick
The revamped version of the classic 1992 movie White Men Can’t Jump brings a fresh twist with Sinqua Walls (known for his role in Teen Wolf) and the talented musician Jack Harlow taking on the roles previously portrayed by Wesley Snipes (remembered for Demolition Man) and Woody Harrelson (famous for Zombieland), respectively. This time, the duo takes on the vibrant streets of Los Angeles, hustling their way through the intense and competitive street basketball scene. Walls and Harlow’s on-screen chemistry shines as they engage in lively bickering, hopping from one court to another, all the while exchanging playful banter and gradually nurturing a deep friendship. In tune with contemporary comedic tastes, the film adeptly integrates modern jokes while retaining the timeless blend of Black and white humor, a signature touch of the acclaimed writer Kenya Barris (renowned for Black-ish).
Twilight – 2008
Run Time: 2 hrs 2 min | Genre: Fantasy Romance | Director: Catherine Hardwicke
Cast: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Billy Burke, Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser
Renowned director Catherine Hardwicke, known for her work on the film Thirteen, took the helm of the captivating cultural sensation, Twilight, which draws inspiration from Stephenie Meyer’s novel series. The narrative is set in a fictitious small town nestled in the heart of the Pacific Northwest. It revolves around the experiences of Bella Swan, portrayed by Kristen Stewart, as she navigates the complexities of being a new face in town, grappling with high school dynamics, and the irresistible enigma that is Edward Cullen, played by Robert Pattinson—a character shrouded in the mystique of vampirism. Beyond catapulting the careers of Stewart, Pattinson, and numerous others, Twilight ignited a franchise that promises to endure for generations to come. – Yael Tygiel
Clock – 2023
Run Time: 1 hr 31 min | Genre: Sci-Fi Horror | Director: Alexis Jacknow
Cast: Dianna Agron, Melora Hardin, Saul Rubinek, Isabelle Du
Dianna Agron, renowned for her role in “I Am Number Four,” takes the lead in “Tick-Tock,” a brilliantly chilling science-fiction masterpiece crafted by the talented Alexis Jacknow. Marking Jacknow’s first foray into feature-length films, “Tick-Tock” delves deep into the realms of motherhood, existential purpose, and the primal instinct for procreation that drives human evolution. Through a searing screenplay that dissects the concept of bodily autonomy within the confines of the horror genre, “Tick-Tock” revolves around the character of Ella (Agron), a woman vehemently opposed to the idea of motherhood.
Joining Agron on the screen, Saul Rubinek (known for his role in “Hunters”) portrays her father, while Melora Hardin (from “The Bold Type”) takes on the role of the determined scientist, set on rectifying what she perceives as Ella’s “broken biological clock” through an enigmatic clinical trial. – Yael Tygiel
The Hunger Games – 2012
Run Time: 2 hr 22 min | Genre: YA Dystopia | Director: Gary Ross
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth
One of the most celebrated YA franchises of all time was inaugurated by a single film, propelling itself into the ranks of illustrious series such as Twilight and Harry Potter. The Hunger Games, led by the formidable Jennifer Lawrence in the role of Katniss Everdeen, is a dystopian masterpiece set in the destitute district of a nation known as Panem. Within this chilling narrative, the populace is subjected to an annual televised spectacle wherein two tributes from each of the 12 districts engage in a battle to the death, with only a lone victor emerging triumphant. As Katniss finds herself thrust into the heart of the games, she must deploy her unparalleled archery skills and unyielding bravery to navigate the perilous landscape, thereby upending the entire social order. Simultaneously, she forges an unforeseen bond with her co-tribute, Peeta (portrayed by Josh Hutcherson), adding a layer of complexity and depth to the story. The Hunger Games stands as a gripping testament to fear, ingenuity, and perpetual amusement, leaving an indelible mark on the audience. – Taylor Gates
Quasi – 2023
Run Time: 1 hr 39 min | Genre: Comedy | Director: Kevin Heffernan
Cast: Brian Cox, Steve Lemme, Jay Chandrasekhar, Adrianne Palicki
Quasi, a delightful film by Broken Lizard, known for their uproarious comedies such as Beerfest and Super Troopers, features the captivating narration of Brian Cox (Succession). Under the adept direction of Kevin Heffernan, who also co-wrote the script with the frequent collaborators Jay Chandrasekhar and Steve Lemme, Quasi presents a refreshing twist on the timeless narrative of a social outcast hunchback in search of love, all the while navigating the clash between the pope (Paul Soter) and the king of France (Chandrasekhar). True to their style, Heffernan and Lemme appear in the movie, sharing the screen with the talented Adrianne Palicki (The Orville). – Yael Tygiel
Bridesmaids – 2011
Run Time: 2 hrs 5 min | Genre: Comedy | Director: Paul Feig
Cast: Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Melissa McCarthy, Wendi McLendon-Covey
“Bridesmaids, a rib-tickling comedy penned by Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo (known for their work on Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar), delves into the complexities of female camaraderie, specifically addressing the challenges that arise when friends find themselves in different phases of life. The movie features Wiig alongside a remarkable lineup of female comedic talents, including Maya Rudolph (recognized for her role in Big Mouth) and Rose Byrne (noted for her performance in Physical). Directed by Paul Feig (famous for his work on Ghostbusters), the film cleverly highlights the synergy of the ensemble. More than ten years since its release, Bridesmaids not only continues to be a source of quotable lines and a staple in meme culture, but it is also credited with propelling most of its cast to global stardom.” – Yael Tygiel
Moulin Rouge – 2001
Run Time: 2 hrs 7 min | Genre: Musical Romance | Director: Baz Luhrmann
Cast: Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor, John Leguizamo,
Prior to its Broadway triumph, the cinematic brilliance of Moulin Rouge had already captured hearts and minds, solidifying its place as an iconic creation from the talented hands of the award-winning writer/director Baz Luhrmann (Elvis). A tale painted with vibrant hues of romance and heartbreak, Moulin Rouge unfolds as a mesmerizing masterpiece set in the early 1900s, featuring the charismatic Ewan McGregor (Obi-Wan Kenobi) in the role of a young and destitute English poet. The story takes an enchanting turn as he stumbles into the legendary Moulin Rouge nightclub, where his heart is instantly captivated by the magnetic allure of the star, portrayed flawlessly by Nicole Kidman (Nine Perfect Strangers), in the character of the enigmatic courtesan named Satine. Illuminated by the distinct artistic vision of Luhrmann, the film enchants with its playful costuming, leaving an indelible mark on the audience’s memory, while its unforgettable soundtrack sets the tone for an entire generation. – Yael Tygiel
Rye Lane – 2023
Run Time: 1 hr 22 min | Genre: Romantic Comedy | Director: Raine Allen-Miller
Cast: David Jonsson, Vivian Oparah, Poppy Allen-Quarmby, Simon Manyonda
Raine Allen-Miller helms the enchanting British romantic comedy “Rye Lane,” featuring the rising talents of David Jonsson and Vivian Oparah (Class) in leading roles. Set within the backdrop of South London, the film unfolds across a single day, delving into the lives of two individuals in their twenties (portrayed by Jonsson and Oparah) who bond over recent heartbreaks. Co-crafted by Nathan Bryon and Tom Melia, “Rye Lane” strikes a delicate balance between heartfelt emotions and laughter, delivering a poignant narrative that highlights the transformative power of a serendipitous encounter. Skillfully immersing the audience in the distinctive subculture of a specific neighborhood, “Rye Lane” manages to be both intimately local and universally relatable. Echoing the sentiments of critic Chase Hutchinson, the film remains buoyant, buoyed by its endlessly charismatic characters as they traverse the streets, allowing viewers to bask in the intricate beauty of their world.” – Yael Tygiel
Triangle of Sadness – 2022
Run Time: 2 hrs 20 min | Genre: Drama Comedy | Director: Ruben Östlund
Cast: Woody Harrelson, Dolly de Leon, Harris Dickinson, Charlbi Dean
In the league of The Menu and Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, Triangle of Sadness stands tall as a brilliantly witty satire that has won critical acclaim. The movie marks Ruben Östlund’s English feature debut as both writer and director. Triangle of Sadness takes a satirical look at the lives of a famous couple, Carl (played by Harris Dickinson) and Yaya (portrayed by Charlbi Dean), as they embark on an exclusive cruise catering to the obscenely wealthy aboard a luxurious superyacht. When an unexpected and violent storm hits the elite vessel, the survivors are forced to fend for themselves, creating an enthralling narrative of survival and human nature’s complexities. Notably, the film also boasts stellar performances by Dolly de Leon and the ever-entertaining Woody Harrelson, who plays the role of the charismatic yacht captain. – Yael Tygiel
Boston Strangler – 2023
Run Time: 1 hr 52 min | Genre: Crime Drama, History, Thriller | Director: Matt Ruskin
Cast: Keira Knightley, Carrie Coon, Chris Cooper, David Dastmalchian
In collaboration, filmmaker Matt Ruskin, known for his work on “Crown Heights,” and renowned producer Ridley Scott, famous for “Blade Runner,” have crafted an enthralling period drama that will leave audiences spellbound. “Boston Strangler” delves into the chilling narrative of the Boston serial killer, shedding light on the relentless efforts of the journalists instrumental in his eventual capture. Leading the cast is the talented Keira Knightley, celebrated for her role in “The Imitation Game,” embodying the fearless reporter Loretta McLaughlin, who fearlessly confronted the rampant sexism, pervasive police corruption, and the ever-looming threat of becoming a victim herself during the tumultuous 1960s. The film’s immersive depiction of the era, combined with the stellar performances, notably by Carrie Coon, known for her remarkable performance in “The Post,” and David Dastmalchian, renowned for his role in “The Suicide Squad,” compels viewers to immerse themselves completely in this captivating narrative, mirroring the intense dedication of the reporters of that era. – Tauri Miller
Brimstone – 2016
Run Time: 2 hr 28 min | Genre: Western, Thriller | Director: Martin Koolhoven
Cast: Dakota Fanning, Guy Pearce, Emilia Jones, Kit Harington, Carice van Houten
“Brimstone, an intense and critically acclaimed movie, portrays the story of Liz (played by Dakota Fanning), a young woman who cannot speak, living in a small Western town. Her family becomes the target of a sudden and brutal attack by a mysterious new minister (portrayed by Guy Pearce). The film’s narrative unfolds in a non-linear, time-bending, four-act structure, gradually exposing the depths of the minister’s depravity and the disturbing and enduring connection he shares with Liz.
Brimstone is not a movie for the easily unnerved, but it offers an exhilarating and immersive experience from start to finish. Fanning and Pearce deliver a compelling and distressing narrative that I am confident will captivate viewers.” – Tauri Miller
Grimcutty – 2022
Run Time: 1 hr 41 min | Genre: Horror | Director: John Ross
Cast: Shannyn Sossamon, Sara Wolfkind, Usman Ally
Entrenched in the eerie terrain of meta-modern horror, the brainchild of writer/director John Ross, Grimcutty, draws its inception from an internet meme hoax. In a daring exploration of the underlying dynamics of meme culture, Grimcutty materializes this digital phantom into a grisly and petrifying cinematic experience. With a straightforward narrative, the movie unravels the tale of a malevolent entity’s emergence, wreaking havoc upon an unsuspecting town, all the while reinventing traditional horror elements with imaginative and chilling plot twists. Headlined by the talented Shannyn Sossamon (known for her role in “Wayward Pines”) and Usman Ally (renowned for his appearance in “A Series of Unfortunate Events”), alongside Sara Wolfkind, Grimcutty delves into the disturbing themes of gaslighting, mass hysteria, and the disorienting aftermath of losing one’s sense of autonomy, leaving the audience grappling with the unsettling repercussions. – Yael Tygiel
Bruiser – 2022
Run Time: 1 hr 37 min | Genre: Drama | Director: Miles Warren
Cast: Jalyn Hall, Trevante Rhodes, Shamier Anderson, Shinelle Azoroh
Collaboratively penned by Ben Medina and helmed by director Miles Warren, the thought-provoking film Bruiser showcases the talents of Jalyn Hall (Till), Trevante Rhodes (Moonlight), and Shamier Anderson (Wynonna Earp). Offering a fresh perspective, Bruiser delves into the complex narrative of an adolescent’s atypical bond with a magnetic outsider. Warren’s directorial debut delivers a poignant exploration of fatherhood, the repercussions of toxic masculinity, and the stark reality of violence, all viewed through an unconventional and poignant lens. Through an unflinchingly sincere screenplay and compelling portrayals that navigate a challenging thematic terrain, Bruiser presents a visceral viewing experience that may be emotionally demanding, yet undeniably poignant. – Yael Tygiel
Fire Island – 2022
Run Time: 1 hr 45 min | Director: Andrew Ahn
Cast: Joel Kim Booster, Bowen Yang, Margaret Cho
Fire Island, a delightfully queer comedy, features Bowen Yang (Saturday Night Live) and is co-written by Joel Kim Booster (Loot), who also stars in the film. Under the direction of Andrew Ahn, Fire Island pays tribute to the beloved vacation destination, blending heartfelt moments with ribald humor. Booster’s sharp-witted screenplay traces the journey of a group of friends striving to recapture the essence of their past Fire Island adventures, determined to make this summer the most unforgettable one yet. Alongside Yang and Booster, the screen lights up with an exceptional queer ensemble, including Matt Rogers (I Love That For You), Conrad Ricamora (How to Get Away with Murder), and the legendary Margaret Cho. Critic Ross Bonaime lauds the camaraderie among the cast, highlighting, “The pinnacle of Fire Island lies in the effortless banter and camaraderie of this circle of friends. Matos and Rogers, in particular, deliver uproarious moments in their shared scenes.” – Yael Tygiel
On the Count of Three – 2021
Run Time: 1 hr 26 min | Genre: Drama Comedy Thriller | Director: Jerrod Carmichael
Cast: Jerrod Carmichael, Christopher Abbott, Tiffany Haddish, J. B. Smoove, Henry Winkler
Jerrod Carmichael makes an impressive directorial debut in the poignant dark comedy On the Count of Three. This compelling narrative delves into the story of two best friends bound by a suicide pact. Joining Carmichael in this morbid yet captivating tale is the talented Christopher Abbott (Catch-22). As the plot unfolds, the audience witnesses the duo navigating a day filled with both reckless and selfless actions, aiming to sort out their affairs and bid their farewells. Ari Katcher and Ryan Welch have crafted an engaging screenplay that serves as the foundation for this remarkable film. On the Count of Three boasts a stellar ensemble of comedic actors, including Tiffany Haddish and Henry Winkler, with a standout performance by J. B. Smoove. – Yael Tygiel
The Mummy – 1999
Run Time: 2 hr 4 min | Genre: Fantasy Action-Adventure | Director: Stephen Sommers
Cast: Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, Arnold Vosloo, John Hannah, and Kevin J. O’Connor
“The Mummy stands as a pinnacle of exhilarating blockbuster entertainment, although not to be mistaken for the 2017 Tom Cruise adaptation. Instead, the focus is on Stephen Sommers’ 1999 rendition, where the essence of the iconic Universal monster is intertwined with a riveting adventure tale. Set in 1926, the charismatic Brendan Fraser embodies an American adventurer entangled in a quest for a forgotten city, aided by the enthusiastic librarian and aspiring archaeologist, portrayed by Rachel Weisz. As the narrative unfolds, a host of treasure hunters inadvertently awaken a menacing creature, triggering a chain of harrowing plagues upon those who dared trespass into its tomb. Brimming with excitement, unexpected twists, and a delightful dash of humor, The Mummy emerges as an unadulterated source of entertainment.” – Adam Chitwood
A League Of Their Own – 1992
Run Time: 2 hr 8 min | Genre: Drama Sports | Director: Penny Marshall
Cast: Geena Davis, Tom Hanks, Madonna, Gary Marshall, Bill Pullman, Lori Petty
“Baseball is a tough sport, and according to A League Of Their Own, there’s no room for tears on the field! Even years after its release, this classic remains just as iconic and memorable as ever. Depicting the story of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, the movie not only highlights a pivotal historical moment but also keeps the audience laughing from start to finish. Director Penny Marshall skillfully portrays the unique quirks of each player without resorting to shallow stereotypes.
The raw intensity of the early scrimmages and the nail-biting final game create an unforgettable cinematic experience. While the game footage alone cements A League Of Their Own in the annals of baseball movie history, it’s the heartfelt performances by Geena Davis and Tom Hanks that truly elevate it to the status of a timeless and heartwarming classic.” – Liam Gaughan
The Drop – 2023
Run Time: 1 hr 32 min | Genre: Comedy | Director: Sarah Adina Smith
Cast: Jermaine Fowler, Anna Konkle, Jillian Bell
Chuckles might not be the expected response to the harrowing mishap of unintentionally dropping a baby, yet that’s precisely what the viewers can expect while watching the latest movie, The Drop. Featuring renowned comedic talents such as Anna Konkle from PEN15 and Jillian Bell from Brittany Runs a Marathon, The Drop follows the journey of the young couple, Lex and Mani (played by Jermaine Fowler), who are eager to start a family and set off to a tropical destination for their friend’s wedding. However, things take a chaotic turn when Lex inadvertently fumbles with her friend’s baby shortly after their arrival, triggering a series of calamitous events. Tangled in a delightful mess, The Drop promises an uproarious and unforgettable experience. – Taylor Gates
Gone in the Night – 2022
Run Time: 1 hr 30 min | Genre: Mystery Thriller | Director: Eli Horowitz
Cast: Winona Ryder, Dermot Mulroney, John Gallagher Jr., Owen Teague
“Vanished at Dawn” is a haunting enigma helmed by Eli Horowitz (known for his work on “Homecoming”), with the screenplay co-crafted by Matthew Derby. Featuring the talented Winona Ryder (famous for her role in “Stranger Things”), John Gallagher Jr., and Dermot Mulroney (recognized for his part in “The Righteous Gemstones”), “Vanished at Dawn” unravels as Kath (played by Ryder) and her partner (Gallagher Jr.) seek solace in a secluded cabin, only to find it curiously inhabited by another young couple. As the night progresses, Kath awakens to a chilling discovery – her companion and the young woman (portrayed by Brianne Tju) have inexplicably vanished, compelling Kath to obsessively pursue the truth. With spine-tingling twists at every corner, “Vanished at Dawn” emerges as a gripping and nerve-wracking thriller, leaving audiences enthralled. – Yael Tygiel
Changing the Game – 2019
Run Time: 1 hr 28 min | Genre: Documentary | Director: Michael Barnett
Cast: Mack Beggs, Sarah Rose Huckman, Terry Miller, Andraya Yearwood
Under the helm of Michael Barnett, the documentary Changing the Game sheds light on the complex landscape surrounding transgender youth participation in sports. Capturing the journeys of several high school athletes dispersed across the United States, the film delves into the myriad challenges they confront. Among the highlighted individuals are Mack Beggs, a celebrated wrestling champion hailing from Texas State, and Andraya Yearwood, an openly transitioning track star representing Connecticut. Sarah Rose Huckman, an advocate and dedicated skier from New Hampshire, also finds her narrative woven into this intricate tapestry.
Throughout Changing the Game, these student competitors navigate their own distinct paths, grappling not only with the demands of their chosen sports but also with the weight of discriminatory policies. Despite their geographical dispersion and varied personal circumstances, they find common ground in the shared struggle against pervasive obstacles. – Yael Tygiel
Darby and the Dead – 2022
Run Time: 1 hr 40 min | Genre: Supernatural Teen Comedy | Director: Silas Howard
Cast: Riele Downs, Auli’i Cravalho, Chosen Jacobs, Asher Angel
Titled Darby and the Dead, this unexpectedly delightful film is a comedic gem that follows the story of a teenager named Darby (Riele Downs) with a unique ability to see and communicate with ghosts. As her after-school side gig, she takes on the task of aiding spirits in their journey to the next realm. The plot takes an intriguing turn when the most popular girl in school meets an unexpected demise, leading Darby to be haunted by her ghost. Reluctantly, Darby agrees to help her fellow student cross over.
Asher Angel (Shazam) and Auli’i Cravalho (Moana) co-star in this supernatural comedy, with Cravalho portraying Capri, the charismatic head cheerleader. Darby and the Dead effortlessly weaves together elements of teen comedy, complete with classic tropes like a memorable makeover and clever fourth wall breaks. It is an absolute joy to watch, as the film beautifully combines elements of the supernatural with charming and endearing storytelling. – Yael Tygiel
The Worst Person in the World – 2021
Run Time: 2 hr 1 min | Genre: Romance Drama | Director: Joachim Trier
Cast: Renate Reinsve, Anders Danielsen Lie, and Herbert Nordrum
In his mesmerizing third installment of the Oslo Trilogy, Joachim Trier delves into the transformative power of love in shaping our identities. The Worst Person in the World opens with a poignant prologue, introducing us to Julie, portrayed brilliantly by Renate Reinsve. Julie’s evolution is portrayed as she grapples with pivotal decisions in her youth that ultimately shape her future. Trier crafts Julie’s narrative through distinct chapters, each illustrating how her choices serve to define her journey – for better or for worse. Employing inventive and enthralling filmmaking techniques, Trier masterfully balances quirkiness without crossing into the realm of being overbearing. Central to the film is the fear of navigating the complexities of adulthood while grappling with an ambiguous sense of self and life’s trajectory. Through The Worst Person in the World, Trier poignantly captures the essence of life as a continual process of reinvention, characterized by the choices we make and the loves we embrace, underscoring the simultaneous beauty and trepidation that life inherently embodies. – Ross Bonaime
Fresh – 2022
Run Time: 1 hr 57 min | Genre: Horror Thriller | Director: Mimi Cave
Cast: Daisy Edgar-Jones, Sebastian Stan, Jonica T. Gibbs, Charlotte Le Bon
In the realm of contemporary dating-themed films, few push the boundaries as boldly as Fresh does. Making her directorial debut, Mimi Cave introduces us to Nora (portrayed by Daisy Edgar-Jones), who grapples with the complexities of online dating, only to stumble upon a delightful encounter with the charming and attractive Steve (played by Sebastian Stan) at a local supermarket. However, what initially appears to be the catalyst for a romantic comedy swiftly veers into darker territory as Steve’s true nature is unveiled. He is not simply a chance encounter in the produce aisle; he is a purveyor of the most taboo of meats: human flesh. Stan’s portrayal as a cannibal who abducts women, keeping them alive while harvesting various body parts from their breasts to limbs, is remarkably captivating.
For those seeking an unconventional choice for a date night movie, Fresh offers a distinctive perspective. However, it’s advisable to save dinner for after the screening. “The film’s concept provides an exhilarating twist on familiar tropes, rejuvenating them for contemporary audiences,” remarked Therese Lacson in her critique.
Fruitvale Station – 2013
Run Time: 1 hr 25 min | Genre: Drama Romance | Director: Ryan Coogler
Cast: Michael B. Jordan, Octavia Spencer, Melonie Diaz, Kevin Durald, and Chad Michael Murray
Before making waves with Creed and Black Panther, Ryan Coogler and Michael B. Jordan first garnered attention with their impactful Sundance hit, Fruitvale Station. Despite receiving stellar reviews, the release mismanagement by The Weinstein Company prevented the movie from reaching the audience it deserved. However, now is an opportune moment to catch it on Netflix. The narrative is based on the tragic true story of Oscar Grant, a young man fatally shot by a BART police officer in Oakland in 2009. Jordan’s portrayal of Grant once again showcases his exceptional acting prowess, solidifying his position as one of the foremost actors of his generation. Coogler’s sensitive and purposeful direction makes the film a profoundly moving experience. – Adam Chitwood
Nightmare Alley – 2021
Run Time: 2 hr 30 min | Genre: Drama Thriller | Director: Guillermo del Toro
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett, Toni Collette, Willem Dafoe, Richard Jenkins, Rooney Mara, Ron Perlman, Mary Steenburgen, David Strathairn
Upon the release of Edmund Goulding’s rendition of Nightmare Alley in 1947, the film softened some of the more challenging aspects of William Lindsay Gresham’s preceding book. However, this is far from the case with Guillermo del Toro’s adaptation, which offers a somber, desolate, and often unsettling glimpse into the life of a traveling carnival. Cooper delivers a powerful performance as Stan Carlisle, transitioning from the circus to his own psychic act, embroiling himself in a web of greed, deceit, and falsehoods that threaten to consume him. Del Toro infuses Nightmare Alley with an exceptional ensemble cast and a brooding atmosphere steeped in premonition. Del Toro’s emphasis lies in unearthing the hidden monsters within ordinary individuals, and in Nightmare Alley, these monsters are arguably more haunting than ever before. — Ross Bonaime
Spencer – 2021
Run Time: 1 hr 51 min | Genre: History Drama | Director: Pablo Larrain
Cast: Kristen Stewart, Sally Hawkins, Timothy Spall, Jack Farthing, Sean Harris, Stella Gonet
Kristen Stewart delivers a compelling portrayal of Princess Diana in the latest adaptation, Spencer. Amidst a multitude of Princess Di renditions, Spencer distinguishes itself by infusing elements of gothic horror, underscored by Stewart’s poignant depiction of a woman ensnared in a loveless marriage and frigid familial dynamics. Drawing parallels to the ill-fated English queen Anne Boleyn, Diana grapples with increasing isolation within the chilling walls of Balmoral Castle, while the residents gradually adopt an antagonistic stance. Although Spencer takes liberties with historical accuracy, it excels in cultivating an immersive atmosphere and mounting tension. While Stewart’s Lady Di impersonation isn’t flawless, it comes remarkably close, and her on-screen chemistry with Sally Hawkins and Sean Harris adds an additional layer of depth to the film. – Therese Lacson
Pig – 2021
Run Time: 1 hr 32 min | Genre: Drama | Director: Michael Sarnoski
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Alex Wolff, Adam Arkin, David Knell
In 2021, an exceptional piece of work emerged, serving as a testament to the unparalleled talent of Nicolas Cage. “Pig” not only showcased Cage’s prowess but also served as a poignant reminder that extraordinary cinematic experiences often arise when least anticipated. The narrative follows the journey of Rob, portrayed by Cage, a once-renowned chef turned recluse in the Oregon woods, accompanied by his cherished truffle pig, coping with a profound personal loss. His tenuous connection to his former life remains through his truffle transactions with Alex Wolff’s character, Amir. However, when his beloved pig is stolen, Rob is compelled to re-immerse himself in his former life in Portland, aided by Amir. The film transforms into a compelling exploration of loss and redemption as Rob grapples with reconciling with his past. Remarkably, “Pig” marks the directorial debut of Michael Sarnoski, capturing the intricacies of grief through beautifully crafted cinematography, defying expectations and leaving an indelible emotional impact on its audience. – Chase Hutchinson
Flee – 2021
Run Time: 1 hr 29 min | Genre: Animated Documentary | Director: Jonas Poher Rasmussen
Writer: Jonas Poher Rasmussen, Amin
Rarely does a film encapsulate the profound devastation endured by refugees as profoundly as Flee. Documentarian Jonas Poher Rasmussen weaves a poignant narrative, aiding his childhood friend, Amin, in recounting the harrowing tale of his escape from Kabul. From the perilous journey to Russia, a nightmarish attempt at entering Western Europe within a shipping container, to the eventual arrival in Copenhagen, Flee remains a deeply intimate portrayal. The animated elements seamlessly transport viewers into Amin’s past, effectively capturing the intense highs and lows of his experiences. Beyond merely chronicling Amin’s hardships, the film also celebrates his triumphs. Having left a lasting impression since its screening at the Sundance festival, this award-winning masterpiece is bound to reshape your perception and empathy toward the plight of refugees. – Therese Lacson
I, Tonya – 2017
Run Time: 2 hr | Genre: Drama Sport | Director: Craig Gillespie
Cast: Margot Robbie, Sebastian Stan, Julianne Nicholson, Bobby Cannavale, Allison Janney
Craig Gillespie exhibits a profound understanding of a polarizing character from the 90s. For those engrossed in the saga of the 1994 Lillehammer Winter Olympics, the clash between figure skaters Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan was no secret. Despite the widespread tendency to cast Harding as the antagonist in Kerrigan’s narrative, Gillespie prompts us to reassess our preconceived notions and directs our attention to a woman whose life has been far from simple compared to her peers. In an enthralling portrayal, Margot Robbie breathes life into the resilient Tonya, while the ensemble cast, including Sebastian Stan and Allison Janney, adds layers to their adversarial roles, unraveling the complexities of Tonya’s challenging upbringing. – Therese Lacson
Another Round – 2020
Run Time: 1 hr 57 min | Genre: Comedy Drama | Director: Thomas Vinterberg
Cast: Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Lars Ranthe, Magnus Millang
Winner of the prestigious 2021 Academy Award for Best International Feature Film, Another Round is a compelling tale that commences as a comical concept among four companions but swiftly evolves into a contemplative exploration of life’s complexities. At its heart is the captivating portrayal of Mads Mikkelsen as Martin, an ordinary teacher leading an ostensibly normal life. Despite this facade, Martin grapples with discontent and a yearning for something more profound. In an attempt to break free from the mundane, he embarks on a relentless drinking spree alongside his fellow educators, propelling themselves into a perpetual state of inebriation as a personal experiment to gauge its impact on their existence.
Beneath the surface, the narrative offers a poignant depiction of camaraderie that gradually unravels into a sobering depiction of the characters’ gradual descent into chaos as they tread a precarious path. The collaboration between Mikkelsen and the adept writer-director Thomas Vinterberg, previously acclaimed for their work on the gripping drama The Hunt, once again yields outstanding results. Notably, this production showcases Mikkelsen’s remarkable versatility, highlighted by a captivating and therapeutic dance sequence, rendering Another Round an indispensable cinematic masterpiece in its own right. – Chase Hutchinson
Brothers – 2009
Run Time: 1 hr 45 min | Genre: War Drama | Director: Jim Sheridan
Cast: Tobey Maguire, Jake Gyllenhaal, Natalie Portman, Sam Shepard, Carey Mulligan
While numerous films have tackled the issue of post-traumatic stress disorder, Brothers stands out as one of the most compelling portrayals. Rather than delving into the political intricacies of the Afghanistan war, Brothers maintains a sharp focus on its characters. Tobey Maguire takes on the role of Captain Sam Cahil, a staunch patriot deployed overseas, in a departure from his typical casting. When Sam goes missing in action, his brother Tommy (played by Jake Gyllenhaal) steps up to support Sam’s widow Grace (Natalie Portman) and their children. However, the story takes an unexpected turn as Tommy and Grace find themselves drawn to each other. This burgeoning relationship sets the stage for an emotional showdown when Sam reemerges, alive, and returns to his family. – Liam Gaughan
The Bob’s Burgers Movie – 2022
Run Time: 1 hr 42 min | Genre: Comedy Musical | Directors: Loren Bouchard and Bernard Derriman
Cast: H. Jon Benjamin, Dan Mintz, Eugene Mirman, Larry Murphy, John Roberts, Kristen Schaal, Zach Galifianakis, and Kevin Kline
Certainly, the Bob’s Burgers Movie serves up a generous helping of the beloved Belcher family charm, bundled into a cinematic experience that may feel like an amalgamation of individual episodes but nonetheless satisfies the cravings of any dedicated fan. Encompassing all the elements that make the Belcher family so endearing, this movie adaptation boasts an assortment of musical numbers, a captivating mystery for Gene, Louise, and Tina to unravel, and the trademark hijinks that ensue as Bob and Linda valiantly endeavor to rescue their cherished restaurant once more.
Surprisingly, amidst the laughter and chaos, the Bob’s Burgers Movie manages to evoke genuine sentimentality, largely attributed to the poignant exploration of the origins behind Tina’s distinctive rabbit ears. While one might question the necessity of this family’s transition to the silver screen, no viewer can deny the delight derived from indulging in an extended, feature-length escapade alongside these lovable, comedic personas. – Ross Bonaime
Good Luck to You, Leo Grande – 2022
Run Time: 1 hr 37 min | Genre: Drama Comedy | Director: Sophie Hyde
Cast: Emma Thompson, Daryl McCormack
In the film “Good Luck to You, Leo Grande,” Emma Thompson takes on the role of Nancy Stokes, a widowed mother with grown children, who has yet to experience an orgasm. Despite her belief that this pleasure is beyond her grasp, she longs for a night of thrill and adventure. To fulfill this desire, she engages the services of a sex worker named Leo Grande, portrayed by Daryl McCormack. Their encounter in a hotel room sets the stage for a series of nights filled with heartfelt conversations, nervous energy on Nancy’s part, exploration of new experiences, and the gradual unraveling of her inner self to a complete stranger.
More than just a tale centered around sexual encounters, “Good Luck to You, Leo Grande” is a contemporary narrative that embraces a sex-positive outlook. Thompson and McCormack’s on-screen chemistry effortlessly propels the entire storyline, infusing the film with both humor and heartfelt moments. Through its humor and warmth, the movie encourages viewers to embrace life’s opportunities, no matter how late they might seem, and to accept oneself unconditionally, without any sense of shame. – Emma Kiely
Cast Away – 2000
Run Time: 2 hr 23 min | Genre: Adventure Drama | Director: Robert Zemeckis
Cast: Tom Hanks, Helen Hunt, and Nick Searcy
Certainly one of the most ambitious productions in the history of cinema, Cast Away was filmed intermittently across a span of two years, featuring a significant year-long hiatus. The storyline revolves around a diligent analyst portrayed by Tom Hanks, who finds himself marooned on an uninhabited island for an extensive duration. The initial segment of the movie was filmed before director Robert Zemeckis strategically paused the production. This break allowed Hanks to undergo a physical transformation, shedding weight and altering his appearance, to accurately depict a time jump for the latter part of the film. It is worth noting that during this hiatus, Zemeckis directed the compelling thriller What Lies Beneath. Cast Away resonates profoundly with its audience, underscoring the unparalleled acting prowess of Tom Hanks, cementing his position as one of the most exceptional actors in the annals of cinematic history. – Adam Chitwood
O Brother, Where Art Thou? – 2000
Run Time: 1 hr 46 min | Genre: Comedy Musical | Directors: Joel and Ethan Coen
Cast: George Clooney, John Turturro, and Tim Blake Nelson
“O Brother, Where Art Thou?” stands as a multifaceted masterpiece, marking the eighth cinematic gem from the creative minds of the Coen Brothers. Originating as an adaptation of Homer’s Odyssey, the film ingeniously weaves its narrative despite the filmmakers’ lack of direct exposure to the original classic. Serving as a captivating blend of crime-comedy, musical, and drama, the movie adds a dash of magical realism to create a truly captivating viewing experience. In its essence, it represents a profound work of satire, effortlessly portraying the essence of an old American tall tale. It’s almost as if it could be perceived as a gripping disaster movie in its own right.
The storyline follows the adventures of three fugitive convicts endowed with a prophetic charge. Embarking on an epic quest across the rural landscapes of Mississippi during the challenging era of the Great Depression, their primary aim is to unearth a buried treasure. Along their tumultuous journey, they cross paths with a spirited bank robber, a musician entangled in a Faustian bargain, enigmatic and possibly mystical women, and a set of prejudiced politicians. Remarkably, amidst all the chaos, they manage to record a rendition of a beloved folk song, adding another layer of depth to their odyssey. — Remus Noronha
The Sixth Sense – 1999
Run Time: 1 hr 47 min | Genre: Thriller Horror | Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Cast: Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment, Toni Collette
M. Night Shyamalan’s timeless creation, The Sixth Sense, introduced audiences to the incomparable talent of Haley Joel Osment, now known for his work in Future Man. The film’s unforgettable dialogue and iconic lines have etched themselves into the annals of pop culture history, forever marking pivotal moments. This eerie and gripping thriller, featuring Osment alongside the renowned Bruce Willis of Die Hard fame, revolves around the tale of a nervous and socially awkward young boy who firmly believes in his ability to perceive and communicate with the deceased. Willis takes on the role of a doubtful and cautious psychologist determined to assist the troubled child. Crafted both in script and execution by Shyamalan, The Sixth Sense stands as a testament to riveting storytelling and haunting visuals, weaving together a bone-chilling narrative filled with twists that remain etched in memory. – Yael Tygiel
Titane – 2021
Run Time: 1 hr 48 min | Genre: Horror Thriller | Director: Julia Ducournau
Cast: Agathe Rousselle, Vincent Lindon, Garance Marillier, and Laïs Salameh
Indeed, Titane is the movie that features an unconventional scene where a woman engages in a sexual act with a car, leading to her unexpected pregnancy. However, what sets Julia Ducournau’s film apart is its ability to seamlessly transition from a provocative and shocking narrative in the first half to an incredibly heartfelt and poignant exploration of the concept of family in the latter half. Ducournau’s dexterity as both a writer and director is evident in her adept handling of these contrasting themes. Headlined by the performances of Agathe Rousselle and Vincent Lindon, Titane offers an unparalleled cinematic experience that seamlessly blends the outrageous with the poignant, showcasing the director’s remarkable talent. – Ross Bonaime
Nomadland – 2020
Run Time: 1 hr 48 min | Genre: Drama Western | Director: Chloé Zhao
Cast: Frances McDormand, David Strathairn, Linda May, Swankie
Despite its acclaim during the Oscars, the 2020 Best Picture awardee remains an evocative and poignant portrayal of post-recession America. It successfully captures the allure and compassion of a nation where, for various reasons, we have grown apart. Nomadland’s narrative revolves around Fern (Frances McDormand), who endured the loss of her husband, her job, and her hometown in the wake of the Great Recession. Determined to adapt, she embraces a nomadic lifestyle, traversing the American West while living out of her van.
Director Chloé Zhao’s brilliance lies in her ability to present Fern’s circumstances without glorifying them, all the while steering clear of the misconception that anything beyond the confines of the American Dream signifies defeat. The film’s finesse stems from Zhao’s insightful direction and McDormand’s powerful portrayal, which collectively weave an intricate and heartfelt storyline. – Matt Goldberg
Punch-Drunk Love – 2002
Run Time: 1 hr 35 min | Genre: Romance Comedy | Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Cast: Adam Sandler, Emily Watson, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Luis Guzmán
When Paul Thomas Anderson, known for his directorial works in movies like Hard Eight, Boogie Nights, and Magnolia, took on the challenge of casting Adam Sandler as the lead in his fourth film, it raised more than a few eyebrows. However, Punch-Drunk Love not only revealed Anderson’s ability to craft smaller, more focused narratives but also showcased Sandler’s remarkable acting talent. In the film, Anderson skillfully hones in on the subtle, smoldering anger that underlies many of Sandler’s previous performances, making it a central element of his character, Barry Egan, a small business owner who experiences a whirlwind romance while grappling with relentless scammers.
Punch-Drunk Love shattered the preconceived notion of Sandler as merely a zany comedian and demonstrated Anderson’s prowess in creating a more intimate cinematic experience compared to his previous sprawling ensemble films. The end result stands as one of the finest works in the careers of both Anderson and Sandler. – Ross Bonaime
Looper – 2012
Run Time: 1 hr 59 min | Genre: Sci-Fi Action | Director: Rian Johnson
Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Paul Dano
Rian Johnson’s mind-boggling pursuit thriller is among the most innovative science fiction movies in recent years. Crafting a time travel narrative that avoids drowning in explanations and logical inconsistencies is no small feat, but Johnson accomplished it by centering the story on a compelling moral quandary. Consider this: what if you were confronted with your own doppelganger? Joseph Gordon-Levitt delivers one of his most intense performances to date, while Bruce Willis turns in his most impressive work in years. Looper also marked Emily Blunt’s entry into the action genre, a precursor to her roles in Edge of Tomorrow and Sicario. — Reviewed by Liam Gaughan
Collective – 2019
Run Time: 1 hr 49 min | Genre: Documentary Thriller | Director: Alexander Nanau
A gripping documentary thriller unfolds through the lens of Alexander Nanau, revealing the shocking realities that transpired in Romania. The narrative commences with a devastating fire at the Collectiv nightclub, but the true scandal emerges when the investigation uncovers that victims who could have survived succumbed to infections in several hospitals. Thus, the spotlight turns towards the Romanian healthcare system, exposing the insidious profiteering at the cost of people’s well-being.
While “Collective” showcases the valiant efforts of journalists determined to uncover systemic corruption, it also portrays individuals either evading accountability or striving to overhaul the flawed system, only to encounter formidable barriers set by their predecessors. It presents a remarkable portrayal of the resilience needed not only to expose societal flaws but also to undertake the monumental task of instigating meaningful change for the society’s betterment. – Matt Goldberg
Possessor – 2020
Run Time: 1 hr 35 min | Genre: Sci-Fi Horror | Director: Brandon Cronenberg
Cast: Andrea Riseborough, Christopher Abbott, and Jennifer Jason Leigh
Possessor stands out not just as one of the finest cinematic offerings of 2020, but also as an unequivocal masterpiece in the realm of body horror over the past decade. Brace yourself, though, as this one might churn your stomach a bit. Brandon Cronenberg, clearly inheriting his father’s knack for the macabre, deftly steers the narrative of Tasya Vos (Andrea Riseborough, exhibiting her trademark chameleon-like talent), a top-tier assassin endowed with a rather peculiar skill set.
Tasya carries out her lethal missions by commandeering the bodies of others, manipulating their thoughts and actions to swiftly execute her targets. However, the toll of inhabiting different vessels for each job has taken its toll, leaving her own identity fractured and obscured with each new host. Cronenberg skillfully crafts a series of grisly and unsettling visuals, portraying Tasya’s splintered psyche as akin to a melting plastic mask.
Yet, it is the existential queries that Possessor thrusts upon its viewers that linger long after the final credits have rolled. The film forces us to confront profound questions about the essence of one’s self. What truly defines our identity? And if one were to suddenly lose their sense of self, would they even realize it? It’s a movie that has a way of haunting your thoughts, leaving an indelible mark that refuses to fade away. – Vinnie Mancuso
Palm Springs – 2020
Run Time: 1 hr 30 min | Genre: Sci-Fi Fantasy Romance Comedy | Director: Max Barbakow
Cast: Andy Samberg, Cristin Milioti, and J.K. Simmons
Palm Springs, a 2020 masterpiece, emerges as a frontrunner in the realm of movies. Its charm lies in the element of surprise it holds, making it imperative for viewers to approach it with minimal prior knowledge. Nonetheless, for those seeking a glimpse of the plot, the film revolves around two seemingly unremarkable individuals (depicted by Samberg and Milioti) trapped in their mundane lives and inevitably tied to each other through extraordinary circumstances. Stranded in the same space, they gradually come to the realization that they might rely on each other more than they initially thought. The narrative is a blend of wit, tenderness, humor, and introspection, leaving audiences appreciative of having experienced this gem.
Adam Chitwood praises the film, expressing, ‘This is a movie that begins as one thing, but then very quickly becomes something entirely different — and it’s downright brilliant,’ encapsulating the essence of its brilliance.” – Matt Goldberg.
The Painter and the Thief – 2020
Run Time: 1 hr 42 min | Genre: Documentary | Director: Benjamin Ree
“Benjamin Ree’s documentary provides an enthralling exploration of a complex, interdependent relationship, prompting profound reflections on the roles of both artist and subject. In the narrative, Karl Bertil-Nordland’s theft of two paintings from Barbora Kysilkova initiates a series of events, leading to their poignant interaction during his trial. Confessing under the influence, Karl claims a lack of recollection regarding the theft and the fate of the artworks. Despite the legal consequences, a remarkable bond between Karl and Barbora blossoms, characterized by mutual reliance and a subtle undercurrent of mutual utilization. The documentary provocatively challenges the conventional notions of the artist and the subject, compelling viewers to contemplate the intricate dynamics at play. Prepare to be captivated as you navigate the intricate web of their relationship.” – Matt Goldberg
Parasite – 2019
Run Time: 2 hr 12 min | Genre: Satire Thriller Drama | Director: Bong Joon-ho
Cast: Sang Kang Ho, Lee Sun Kyun, Cho Yeon Jeong, Park So Dam, Lee Jung Eun, and Chang Haye Jin
Bong Joon-ho, the renowned South Korean filmmaker, has once again mesmerized audiences with his latest cinematic creation, “Parasite.” From its opening scenes to the final credits, this movie stands as an absolute masterpiece. Centered around a destitute family that ingeniously infiltrates the lives of a wealthy household by posing as skilled workers, the narrative takes unexpected and thrilling turns that captivate viewers. Bong Joon-ho skillfully navigates through various tones and genres, maintaining a precarious balance that keeps audiences on the edge of their seats.
“Parasite” is not just a film; it’s a thought-provoking commentary on the prevalent issues of income inequality and class disparities. While Bong has fearlessly delved into complex societal dilemmas in his earlier works such as “Snowpiercer” and “Okja,” with “Parasite,” he delivers a more incisive and cutting critique wrapped in a delectable satire.
Recognized with four Oscars, including the prestigious Best Picture award, “Parasite” stands as an undeniable cinematic gem that demands attention. With its critical acclaim and widespread recognition, there is no longer any excuse to miss experiencing this cinematic triumph. – Matt Goldberg
Portrait of a Lady on Fire – 2019
Run Time: 2 hr 1 min | Genre: Romance Drama | Director: Céline Sciamma
Cast: Noémie Merlant, Adèle Haenel, Luàna Bajrami, Valeria Golino
If not for the cultural phenomenon that is Parasite, Portrait of a Lady on Fire would have undoubtedly claimed the title of the international film sensation in 2019. And this distinction is well-deserved, as Céline Sciamma’s captivating tale of love is a breathtaking and hypnotic masterpiece that envelops viewers in a discreet yet compelling romance, characterized by its quiet intensity, clandestine glances, and hushed confessions. It’s a beautiful cinematic experience, enriched with poetic dialogue and visually sumptuous scenes, immersing you completely in its brief, enchanting world situated on a windswept island. Here, two women explore the possibility of true love in an era that forces such emotions to remain hidden, making their forbidden connection all the more exquisite. – Haleigh Foutch
Shaun of the Dead – 2004
Run Time: 1 hr 37 min | Genre: Horror Comedy | Director: Edgar Wright
Cast: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Kate Ashfield
Edgar Wright’s Cornetto Trilogy was kick-started by the cult classic Shaun of the Dead, a film that many consider the pinnacle of the series. Even before the resurgence of zombie-themed entertainment like Zombieland and The Walking Dead, Shaun of the Dead breathed new life into the genre, offering audiences a unique and uproariously funny take on the undead. The story revolves around Shaun, a salesman in the electronics industry (played by Simon Pegg), and his flatmate Ed (Nick Frost), as they navigate their way through a zombie apocalypse in London. While they journey across the city, rescuing both loved ones and adversaries, pandemonium ensues, leaving our protagonists with no option but to rely on their own wits. As is typical in the Cornetto Trilogy, seeking refuge in a pub might just be their best bet. — Elisa Guimarães
Philadelphia – 1993
Run Time: 2 hr 6 min | Genre: Legal Drama | Director: Jonathan Demme
Cast: Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington, Jason Robards, Mary Steenburgen, Antonio Banderas
Tom Hanks clinched his inaugural Oscar for his portrayal of Andrew Beckett in the 1993 legal thriller Philadelphia. The movie delves into the story of a lawyer who takes legal action against his firm for terminating him upon discovering his homosexuality and AIDS diagnosis. Seeking aid, Beckett turns to his former adversary Joe Miller (Denzel Washington), a personal injury lawyer initially harboring homophobic sentiments, who hesitates to take up his case. Over time, Miller confronts his biases and joins forces with Beckett to combat the dehumanizing discrimination perpetrated by Beckett’s former employers.
Philadelphia marked one of the pioneering mainstream films to tackle AIDS, homophobia, and the LGBTQ+ community, earning it a significant place in cinematic history upon its release. Renowned for its impeccable acting performances, the film’s message and themes, albeit somewhat tailored for the “mainstream” audience of 1993, remain praiseworthy and resonate strongly even after nearly three decades. — Tom Reimann
Apollo 11 – 2019
Run Time: 1 hr 33 min | Genre: Documentary | Director: Todd Douglas Miller
In commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing, Todd Douglas Miller presents an enthralling documentary that effortlessly transports viewers back to the remarkable year of 1969, when the world bore witness to the pinnacle of human achievement. While the historical event had been extensively documented, Miller and his team embarked on an incredible journey of restoration, rendering the footage to appear pristine and undeniably immediate. By skillfully omitting the conventional talking heads and narration, Miller relies solely on expert editing and precise time stamps to recreate the intensity of the mission, allowing audiences to experience an unparalleled closeness to the awe-inspiring journey. Apollo 11 stands as an electrifying odyssey from its inception to its culmination, delivering an intimate perspective that, although not as extensive as other documentaries, captures NASA’s historic feat with unparalleled immediacy. – Matt Goldberg
Minding the Gap – 2018
Run Time: 1 hr 33 min | Genre: Documentary | Director: Bing Liu
Bing Liu masterfully constructs an intimate, poignant, and eye-opening documentary chronicling the lives of himself and his two companions in Rockford, Illinois, a town nestled in the heart of the rust belt. United by their shared passion for skateboarding, Bing, Zack, and Keire’s journey in Minding the Gap lays bare the profound impact of abuse and the constraints of limited opportunities on their existence. While the film presents a challenging narrative, it defies being labeled as a mere “downer” due to its raw authenticity and unwavering portrayal of the friends’ diverging paths. Serving as a genuine depiction of the trials and triumphs of growing up, Minding the Gap offers an utterly immersive experience. – Matt Goldberg
The French Dispatch – 2021
Run Time: 1 hr 48 min | Genre: Comedy Drama | Director: Wes Anderson
Cast: Benicio del Toro, Adrien Brody, Léa Seydoux, Frances McDormand, Timothée Chalamet, Jeffrey Wright, Owen Wilson, Tilda Swinton, and Bill Murray
Wes Anderson’s latest film, ‘The French Dispatch of the Liberty, Kansas Evening Sun,’ delves into the world of storytelling, portraying an incarcerated artist, student unrest, and a gripping kidnapping narrative. The anthology format allows Anderson to experiment while paying homage to beloved writers. Notably, Jeffrey Wright’s portrayal in “The Private Dining Room of the Police Commissioner” delivers a powerful reflection on art and the motivation behind writing. ‘The French Dispatch’ stands as one of Anderson’s most poignant works, characterized by its intimate, heartfelt moments. – Ross Bonaime
Let the Right One In – 2008
Run Time: 1 hr 54 min | Genre: Horror Romance | Director: Tomas Alfredson
Cast: Kåre Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson, Ika Nord, and Peter Carlberg
In the realm of vampire stories, countless narratives have emerged, yet Tomas Alfredson’s cinematic rendition of John Ajvide Lindqvist’s novel stands out as a pinnacle of the genre. Let the Right One In delicately weaves the narrative of Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant), a tormented young boy, who forms an unlikely bond with Eli (Lina Leandersson), a seemingly ordinary girl who conceals the secret of being a vampire. The film delicately balances the ambivalence surrounding Eli’s motives, leaving the audience to ponder whether her affection for Oskar is genuine or merely a part of her larger, manipulative scheme that spans ages. Let the Right One In delivers a haunting and unparalleled vampire saga, capable of being interpreted as both a sinister tale and a poignant portrayal of an extraordinary friendship between two young souls. — Ross Bonaime
Akira – 1988
Run Time: 2 hr 4 min | Genre: Sci-Fi Action | Director: Katsuhiro Ôtomo
Cast: Nozomu Sasaki, Mami Koyama, Mitsuo Iwata, Tesshô Genda, Yuriko Fuchizaki, Johnny Yong Bosch, Cam Clarke
For those seeking an entry point into the world of anime, Akira stands out as an exceptional choice. This film serves as a bold initiation, owing to its mature themes and captivating animation derived from the manga. If you’re accustomed to the light-hearted offerings of Disney or Pixar, prepare yourself for a riveting experience. Akira seizes your attention from the very beginning and refuses to let go.
Set in the post-apocalyptic city of Neo-Tokyo in 2019, this cyberpunk/biopunk masterpiece, adapted from Katsuhiro Ôtomo’s own manga, streamlines the storyline and focuses on a select group of characters. It revolves around the endeavors of Shōtarō Kaneda, leader of a biker gang, as he tries to prevent his newly super-powered friend Tetsuo Shima from triggering the devastating powers of the psychic entity, Akira. Although the titular character assumes a more subdued role in the movie, the enigma surrounding Akira’s past remains a compelling undertone throughout.
Akira represents a crucial milestone in the popularization of Japanese anime in the Western world, contributing significantly to the global recognition of this distinctive art form. Its visceral impact, poignant references to Japan’s tumultuous history, and exceptional artistic prowess firmly establish Akira as a must-see for movie enthusiasts everywhere. – Dave Trumbore
Unsane – 2018
Run Time: 1 hr 38 min | Genre: Horror Psychological Thriller | Director: Steven Soderbergh
Cast: Claire Foy, Jay Pharoah, Joshua Leonard, Amy Irving, Juno Temple, Colin Woodell
Unsane represents an intense assault on the senses, utilizing the immediacy of an iPhone to delve into the deep-seated history of female subjugation over the centuries, ultimately crafting a psychological thriller that digs its claws far too deep into one’s psyche. The performance of Claire Foy, renowned for her breakout role in The Crown, adds an element of unpredictability and excitement to the film. The story follows a survivor who, after relocating, finds her stalker haunting her every glance, eventually leading to her involuntary confinement in a mental institution. Steven Soderbergh seamlessly merges with the realm of psychological horror, exploiting the experimental nature that arises from shooting an entire film on a phone.
Delving into the history of female institutionalization and weaving in contemporary statistics on assault, the director emphasizes the very palpable and genuine terror associated with the manipulation and exploitation of women’s bodies. Simultaneously, the film universalizes this theme by tapping into the primal fears of losing control and questioning one’s own sanity. Additionally, the movie interlaces a critical perspective on the American mental health system and presents stark instances of violence, culminating in a psychological horror experience that is bound to leave a lasting impression.
Although Unsane received a lukewarm response upon its initial release in theaters in early 2018, it’s quite possible that time will prove to be exceedingly kind to this riveting piece. – Haleigh Foutch
About Time – 2013
Run Time: 2 hr 3 min | Genre: Romance Fantasy | Director: Richard Curtis
Cast: Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy
In a delightful blend of romance and time-travel intrigue, About Time proves to be an unexpected gem, surpassing expectations with its heartfelt storytelling. The narrative revolves around Tim, portrayed by the talented Domhnall Gleeson, who stumbles upon his newfound ability to journey through time. Initially grappling with his uncertain aspirations, Tim uses this power to whimsically sculpt a flawless existence for himself. However, as the plot progresses, the movie evolves into a poignant exploration of the intricacies of existence, effortlessly weaving a rich tapestry of emotions without missing a beat. Love is undoubtedly at the core of the story, not confined merely to romantic entanglements but also encapsulating the profound bonds of family, along with the bittersweet struggles of letting go. Enhanced by an affectionate score, About Time is a surprising cinematic marvel that tugs at the heartstrings and lingers in the mind long after the credits roll. — Chase Hutchinson
Micajah McGregor, Editor in Chief of FanFest.com and renowned entertainment journalist, graduated from USC with a focus on Journalism and Film Studies. With an MBA from The Wharton School, he began his career at “PopCulture Pulse” and has been instrumental in shaping FanFest into a prime entertainment news source. Known for his financial analysis of celebrity net worths, Micajah received the ‘Digital Editor of the Year’ award in 2018. He’s also an active blogger, sharing his passion for superhero films and ’90s TV. Contact him at [email protected] for engaging entertainment insights.