1481 Best Movies to Watch From United States of America (Page 95)

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In a time where the Metaverse feels more and more a looming presence, hoping to crown our complex realities with its utopian promise, it's only natural to expect a film set precisely there. Director L.E. Staiman took a chance with Love Virtually, but his attempt to make a zany, absurdist rom-com (riffing off the title of your aunt's annual Christmas rewatch) simply fails. The premise sees a few couples on the brink of breaking up reconnect with the help of VR headsets, challenging each other's commitment, or cheating with each other (without knowing it of course). A rather funny gambit gets sucked into a vortex of dullness when the characters speak, their dialogues irksome to the point of second-hand embarrassment. Instead of exploring the possibilities of VR relations through an ironic lens, the film seems to not even care enough to look for the genuine comedic potential of the Metaverse as a concept-turned-space. Even the three separate references to Timothée Chalamet don't make a difference to how surprisingly retrograde and somehow banal all of this feels.

Genre: Comedy, Romance

Actor: Adam Ray, Cheri Oteri, Danielle Krivak, Henry Dittman, Nikki Alexis Howard, Paul F. Tompkins, Peter Gilroy, Ryan O'Flanagan, Stephen Tobolowsky, Tom Virtue, Vincent Washington

Director: L.E. Staiman

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Whether you're already deeply familiar with Jason Kelce, his family, and the podcast he runs with younger brother and fellow player Travis Kelce—or if you only have cursory knowledge about American football—this documentary doesn't provide many meaningful insights beyond the obvious. Eagles devotees should still enjoy spending time with their equally passionate and vulnerable hometown hero, but there's still a missed opportunity here to create a stronger and more thought-provoking story concerned with bigger ideas beyond the titular player. It's okay for a documentary like this to be on its main character's side, but when the film tries too hard to frame Kelce as an underdog, it just begins to look like generic PR—which Kelce neither needs nor deserves.

Genre: Documentary

Actor: Aaron Eanas, Jason Kelce, Mike Quick, Travis Kelce

Director: Don Argott

Known best for his horror films, writer-director Christopher Smith’s latest stint in the genre has dropped on Hulu. Consecration is one of many supernatural horror films set in convents and churches, as the Catholic Church’s notorious silence is easy fodder for potential fears. There’s some of that here, as Grace, portrayed by the excellent Jena Malone, tries to uncover the truth, not just for her brother’s murder but for her own past. However, there’s no secrecy in this murder mystery with the dialogue holding no subtlety at all. Even as the cast makes the most of it, Consecration drags down any possible tension or intrigue with its painfully straightforward dialogue and incoherent timeline shifts.

Genre: Horror, Thriller

Actor: Alexandra Lewis, Angela White, Charlotte Palmer, Danny Huston, Ian Pirie, Janet Suzman, Jena Malone, Kit Rakusen, Marilyn O'Brien, Steffan Cennydd, Thoren Ferguson, Will Keen

Director: Christopher Smith

Rating: R

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The new stand-up special from Pete Davidson won't win over any skeptics, but there's something to admire in how the comedian heads straight towards edgy material, tells us he's going to go there, and still manages to surprise when he follows through. Which is to say Davidson's audacity might be more impressive than any of his actual writing in this special, with a good number of his jokes highlighting the bizarre situations his fame leads him into, but little more than that. It's stoner comedy for better or worse—observations about a strange world from a hazy point of view that may not always be coherent.

Genre: Comedy

Actor: Pete Davidson

Director: Jason Orley

Rating: R

The American Christian film industry hasn't been terribly successful at crossing over to general audiences, and Journey to Bethlehem still succumbs to corny attempts at humor and performances that can still feel too self-conscious. But not unlike a musical such as Jesus Christ Superstar, this movie finds moderate success at balancing its faith-based elements with a focus on individual characters. Creative license has obviously been taken here to varying results: the songwriting is generally uninspired and lacks a unified style, but the songs add much-needed shades of humanity to a story that most people probably know as a Sunday school summary.

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Family, Music

Actor: Alicia Borrachero, Antonio Banderas, Antonio Cantos, Antonio Gil, Fiona Palomo, Geno Segers, Joel Smallbone, María Pau Pigem, Milo Manheim, Omid Djalili, Pedro Aijón, Rizwan Manji, Stephanie Gil

Director: Adam Anders

Rating: PG

Horror likes to take a human fear and personify it. It's a winning move, materializing our worst nightmares, but what does a woman's self-doubt look like? In this case, extremely ugly and somewhat laughable, but surely not scary. The special effects team dropped the ball on this one, and the appendage's physical presence is more distracting than anything. Its concept and its aura, though, go a long way, and there are a few admirable twists and turns that make a curious point about female psychology and social expectations. Their interdependency then translates into the film's sparse backstory, tracing a journey of trauma that's surprisingly relatable. Interestingly enough, director Anna Zlokovic made a short of the same name in 2021 which teased the idea of a monster sucking your confidence in secret, but her latest feature film lacks that punch. 

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Horror, Mystery, Thriller

Actor: Annie Pisapia, Brandon Mychal Smith, Daniel Chioco, Deborah Rennard, Desmin Borges, Emily Hampshire, Hadley Robinson, Kausar Mohammed

Director: Anna Zlokovic

Rating: R

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To Catch a Killer feels like a limited series shrunken down to fit a movie’s runtime: its many ideas, though potentially compelling on their own, are so underserved by the breezy treatment here that they lose all value. The film wants to hit every hot button — misogyny in the police force, demagoguery on TV news channels, high-level corruption, white supremacy, and the mental health crisis — but its frantic box-ticking makes it feel like a speed-run of topical issues rather than anything genuinely reflective. 

The characters feel similarly underdeveloped, not least star Shailene Woodley’s, a Clarice Starling wannabe who winds up delivering emotional counseling to the film’s bafflingly motivated serial killer in just one of many implausible scenes. Add to that the cringe-inducing dialogue, which is crammed to bursting point with clunky metaphors, and you can call off the manhunt —  the script is the real killer here.

Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller

Actor: Alain Chanoine, Arthur Holden, Ben Mendelsohn, Benz Antoine, Christian Jadah, Daniel Brochu, Darcy Laurie, Dawn Lambing, Dusan Dukic, Frank Schorpion, Jason Cavalier, Jovan Adepo, Karine Dion, Luc Morissette, Marcello Bezina, Mark Antony Krupa, Mark Camacho, Mark Day, Maurizio Terrazzano, Michael Cram, Michael Dozier, Nabil Khatib, Patrick Émmanuel Abellard, Patrick Labbé, Ralph Ineson, Richard Zeman, Rosemary Dunsmore, Sean Tucker, Shailene Woodley, Ted Pluviose, Teneisha Collins

Director: Damián Szifron

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Less homage to Star Wars than it is a pastiche of that cultural juggernaut, a strong sense of déjà vu hangs over Zack Snyder’s Rebel Moon. Unfortunately, in plainly appealing to the memory of its vastly superior inspiration so many times, it inadvertently reminds viewers of how much better its muse is. There are far too many direct copycat scenes here for Rebel Moon to craft anything like an identity of its own, but its derivativeness might be forgivable were it not so self-consciously, humorlessly straining for epicness.

Rebel Moon rises with narration from Anthony Hopkins and an operatic score — a promise of grandness it never lives up to. At two-hours-plus, this dreadnought announces its lofty ambitions for future franchise status at every turn, but never once earns it: the dialogue is creakingly expository and the acting is spotty, ultimately making it feel like the film has lazily assumed it's already secured all the interest it needs to justify a potential two further sequels and a galaxy of tie-in media. Though there are bright spots that suggest an actual movie lurks somewhere deep within its 134 minutes, Rebel Moon instead feels like a laborious couple of hours of scene-setting that arrogantly banks on you returning for more, despite doing little to deserve any more of your time.

Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Science Fiction

Actor: Adam J. Smith, Alexander Ward, Alfonso Herrera, Anthony Hopkins, Bae Doona, Ben Geurens, Bonnie Morgan, Brandon Auret, Caden Dragomer, Carolyne Chen, Cary Elwes, Charlie Hunnam, Charlotte Maggi, Christine Kellogg-Darrin, Christopher Matthew Cook, Cleopatra Coleman, Colby Lemmo, Corey Stoll, Danielle Burgio, Derek Mears, Djimon Hounsou, Dominic Burgess, Douglas Tait, Dustin Ceithamer, E. Duffy, Ed Skrein, Fra Fee, Francis Ngannou, Greg Kriek, Ingvar E. Sigurðsson, Isabella Brenza, James William O'Halloran, Jena Malone, Josefine Lindegaard, Kayden Alexander Koshelev, Kingston Foster, Mark Steger, Matt Nolan, Michael James Bell, Michiel Huisman, Napoleon Ryan, Patrick Luwis, Ray Fisher, Ray Porter, Rhian Rees, Richard Cetrone, Robbie Jarvis, Rory Gibson, Samantha Win, Scott Subiono, Simon Potter, Sisse Marie, Sky Yang, Sofia Boutella, Staz Nair, Stuart Martin, Tony Amendola

Director: Zack Snyder

Rating: PG-13

Yet another drama designed to be emotional without actually doing the heavy lifting to get us invested, Prisoner's Daughter takes the easy way out at every turn, mistaking its use of capital-I Issues and dramatic plot points for substantial writing. This doesn't mean that the film itself isn't still watchable and competently performed (by a typically strong Brian Cox, but especially by Kate Beckinsale); it just fails to make a statement about any of its disparate parts mashed together. At the end of the day, it feels as if the film doesn't have enough faith in the already complex and difficult relationship at its center, so it attempts to dress it up with prison, cancer, drug addicts, and epilepsy—which only cheapens what's already there.

Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller

Actor: Brian Cox, Christopher Convery, Chuti Tiu, Cinthia Moura, Ernie Hudson, Jon Huertas, Kate Beckinsale, Mark Kubr, Mark Oliver Everett, Tyson Ritter, Yonel Dorelis

Director: Catherine Hardwicke

Rating: R

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Sometimes, after a demanding work week, you want to watch a low-stakes, enjoyable movie with just enough plot to enjoy. Heist comedy Lift tries to be that film, with Kevin Hart as a smooth criminal who steals art in order to keep art from undeserving owners and improve the artist’s revenue from their work. It’s an interesting twist to the Robin Hood stereotype, one that could have hinted at concerns of screen artists last year when its release date was originally scheduled for. That being said, the film throws this idea away when Kevin Hart and his team are now forced to participate in a risky heist due to the Interpol. The events that play out amount to a fairly generic caper, but there are far better heist films to spend your weekend watching, with far better plots and stunts.

Genre: Action, Comedy, Crime

Actor: Amit Dhut, Andrew Wilson, Billy Magnussen, Burn Gorman, Caroline Loncq, David Proud, Erol Ismail, Gary Fannin, Gerard Monaco, Gordon Alexander, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Jacob Batalon, Jean Reno, Jess Liaudin, Kevin Hart, Kim Yun-jee, Oli Green, Paul Anderson, Ross Anderson, Roy McCrerey, Russ Bain, Sam Worthington, Úrsula Corberó, Vincent D'Onofrio, Viveik Kalra

Director: F. Gary Gray

Rating: PG-13

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Family Switch is a film clearly built to give its ensemble fun acting opportunities, with Jennifer Garner and Ed Helms being given excuses to loosen up more than expected, and Brady Noon and Emma Myers (arguably the movie's MVP) moving beyond mere imitation into more full-bodied performances as adults seeing through their kids' eyes. Unfortunately, the rest of the film saddles them with uninteresting situations that never take the body-switching aspect to more clever territory. Whatever mutual understanding that's learned by the end feels contrived, with the Christmas setting feeling especially tacked on—leaving these otherwise talented actors little to anchor their performances on.

Genre: Comedy, Family, Fantasy

Actor: Adam Lustick, Andrew Bachelor, Anwar Jibawi, Austin Boyce, Bashir Salahuddin, Benjamin Flores Jr., Bob Stephenson, Brady Noon, Carl McDowell, Chloé Wepper, Connor Finnerty, Cyrus Arnold, Dan Finnerty, Ed Helms, Emma Myers, Fortune Feimster, Hannah Stocking, Helen Hong, Howie Mandel, Ilia Isorelýs Paulino, Jason Rogel, Jennifer Garner, Lauren Ash, Mark McGrath, Matthias Schweighöfer, Naomi Ekperigin, Ned Bellamy, Paul Scheer, Pete Holmes, Preston Galli, Punam Patel, Ravi Kapoor, Rita Moreno, Rivers Cuomo, Ryan James, Scott Shriner, Sebastian Quinn, Vanessa Carrasco, Xosha Roquemore

Director: McG

Rating: PG

Playing the lead in an addiction drama has long been shorthand for “I’m a serious actor,” but that’s not something Florence Pugh needs to convince us of, especially not when the drama is as contrived as A Good Person is. Though it has a solid foundation from which to explore worthy subjects — Pugh’s character Allison begins abusing painkillers after accidentally causing the death of two people in a car accident —  writer-director Zach Braff overstuffs the film with too many distractingly histrionic happenings for a compelling reflection on guilt and forgiveness to really emerge.

What’s more, any potential A Good Person has is squandered by the film’s frequent and bizarre tonal swerves from tearjerking sincerity to generational comedy, a jarring effect mimicked by the soundtrack’s wild veering from moody melodies to bright piano music in a single cut. Though Pugh does her customary excellent work here, she’s ultimately undermined by all the overlong, transparently manufactured, and downright whiplash-inducing melodrama around her.

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Actor: Alex Wolff, Brian Rojas, Celeste O'Connor, Chinaza Uche, Drew Gehling, Florence Pugh, Ignacio Diaz-Silverio, Jackie Hoffman, Jessie Mueller, Lauren Yaffe, Molly Shannon, Morgan Freeman, Nichelle Hines, Oli Green, Ryann Redmond, Sydney Morton, Toby Onwumere, Victor Cruz, Zoe Lister-Jones

Director: Zach Braff

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