32 Movies Like Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (2023) (Page 2)

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A very cool documentary about old ladies living in a forbidden zone near Chernobyl. They just came back to their homes in the "stalker zone" few years after the accident and kept living their lives care-free for a staggering 30 years. All of them seem healthy and they love telling jokes. It's a completely different view on this zone and you just find yourself full of admiration for these old ladies for their will and humorous way of living despite the circumstances. Home is home after all.

Genre: Documentary

Director: Anne Bogart, Holly Morris

Rating: Not Rated

Champions is as formulaic as it gets, but it’s impossible not to smile watching it. It’s based on a 2018 Spanish movie of the same name, but it feels a lot like the 2023 Korean movie Dream too. In both (and indeed a lot of other) films, we follow a sad sack antihero who, by virtue of being exposed to less fortunate people, is magically transformed into a good guy who gets all the glory he wished for by the end of the story. You know where it’s headed and you even know how it gets there, so it’s devoid of genuine twists and thrills. But the ways in which it gets there, however familiar, are sometimes funny and heartwarming. If you can stomach the cheesiness and predictability of it all, then Champions comes as an effectively hopeful and feel-good film that’s worth tuning into if you want a light laugh. Otherwise, it's all familiar fluff you can skip for better fare.

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Actor: Aaron Hughes, Alex Hintz, Alexandra Castillo, Alicia Johnston, Ashton Gunning, Barbara Pollard, Champ Pederson, Cheech Marin, Clint Allen, Cory Wojcik, Eddy Norman, Ernie Hudson, Heath Vermette, Jacob Blair, Jalen Rose, Jean-Jacques Javier, Joshua Felder, Kaitlin Olson, Kevin Iannucci, Lauren Cochrane, Lois Brothers, Madison Tevlin, Matt Cook, Mike Smith, Ryan DeLong, Ryder Dueck, Scott Van Pelt, Seán Cullen, Stephanie Sy, Vance Halldorson, Woody Harrelson

Director: Bobby Farrelly

Rating: PG-13

After the critical and commercial success of Concrete Utopia, it makes sense for Lotte Entertainment to turn it into a franchise. Badland Hunters is a more action-focused spinoff, with that dystopian world looking like a wild, wild Seoul and Ma Dong-seok as its lone ranger. Compared to its predecessor, the commentary is scant, the plot is thin, and the only thing that connects it is the apartment. But even with the B-movie mad scientist plot, long-time stunt coordinator Heo Myung-haeng makes his directorial debut wildly entertaining, with solid action that doesn’t depend too much on CGI. Human reptiles aside, Badland Hunters is just so fun to watch.

Genre: Action, Drama, Science Fiction

Actor: Ahn Ji-hye, Ahn Seong-bong, Hong Yi-joo, Jang Young-nam, Jeong Gi-seop, Jung Young-ju, Kim Young-sun, Lee Han-joo, Lee Hee-jun, Lee Jun-young, Ma Dong-seok, Park Hyo-joon, Park Ji-hoon, Roh Jeong-eui, Seong Byeong-suk

Director: Heo Myeong-haeng

Rating: R

What seems like The Good Mother's biggest asset is actually its downfall. Yes, the three main actors (Swank, Cooke, and Jack Reynor as the civil servant son, Toby) are all good at what they do, but they're incapable of resuscitating a script that's never truly come to life. These casting choices, obviously made to give some clout to a very mediocre project, feel even more disappointing because the disconnect between actor and character is way too big. For example, Swank is not the alcoholic, fed-up mother we need her to be in this case, and its hard to see this as something else than a derogatory take on her previous more tender and glam roles. Director Miles Joris-Peyrafitte's Sundance-winning As You Are carried a whiff of fresh air, The Good Mother is drained out of all its energy, avoiding reflective depth at all costs, not to mention skirting around the ambivalences of motherhood. 

Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller

Actor: Cliff Ware, Dilone, Frank Alfano, Hilary Swank, Hopper Penn, Jack Reynor, Karen Aldridge, Larry Fessenden, Laurent Rejto, Norm Lewis, Olivia Cooke

Director: Miles Joris-Peyrafitte

Rating: R

Made to commemorate Toei Studio’s 70th anniversary, The Legend & Butterfly seemed like a good choice for this purpose. As a historical epic about the first Great Unifier of Japan, the film could have enabled the production company to show off their studio’s best in production design, set pieces, costumes, and score, through a familiar story Japanese audiences would care about. And with Nohime having a near blank slate in history, it gives enough creative freedom for the team to craft a heartrending romance. While the design aspects definitely succeeded, the romance did not. On top of this, the film’s focus on the romance takes away time, effort, and emotional resonance from the large-scale spectacular war battles that epics like these are known for.

Genre: Drama, History, Romance

Actor: Ai Mikami, Daisuke Honda, Haruka Ayase, Hideaki Ito, Hio Miyazawa, Hirotaro Honda, Ichikawa Somegorō VIII, Jun Hashimoto, Kinya Kitaoji, Kokoro Morita, Manabu Hamada, Mansaku Ikeuchi, Masato Wada, Miki Nakatani, Shuichiro Masuda, Takuma Otoo, Takumi Saitoh, Takuya Kimura, Toshinori Omi, Tsutomu Takahashi

Director: Keishi Otomo

With phone scams becoming more elaborate, it’s easy to understand and empathize with the wrath Jason Statham as The Beekeeper has when his elderly friend gets drained out of her entire life savings. It’s thrilling to see him punch his way into the scammers’ headquarters and burn the whole place to the ground. And when director David Ayer uses his extra hour to dial up the low stakes tech scheme into a nationwide scandal that implicates the entire U.S. government, it’s ludicrous, sure, but it’s somehow wildly entertaining. That being said, your mileage of the film highly depends on your tolerance for randomly dropped bee facts and silly bee puns, but The Beekeeper isn’t a terrible choice to watch.

Genre: Action, Drama, Thriller

Actor: Adam Basil, Arian Nik, Bharat Mistri, Bobby Naderi, Dan Li, David Witts, Derek Siow, Don Gilet, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Enzo Cilenti, Georgia Goodman, Jason Statham, Jay Rincon, Jemma Redgrave, Jeremy Irons, Jonathan Cohen, Josh Hutcherson, Kevin Golding, Kojo Attah, Martin Gordon, Megan Le, Michael Epp, Minnie Driver, Peter Brooke, Phil Hodges, Phylicia Rashād, Rebecca Hazlewood, Reza Diako, Rocci Williams, Sophia Feliciano, Sunny Dhillon, Taylor James, Valentina Novakovic

Director: David Ayer

Rating: R

Ijogbon is a straightforward thriller centered on a pouch of uncut diamonds, which bring chaos to the four teenagers that find it. With the film’s young cast, the ensemble, understandably, makes poor decisions when given a stack of cash. The way they and their families handle difficulties, like deciding who to get the gun, or deciding what to do when they find random dead bodies, actually feel humorous – there’s something to be said about how, given the right circumstances, both kids and adults make the same mistakes. Thematically, there’s also something here about how natural resources in Nigeria are made for high end technology they can’t afford. However, the film doesn’t really delve into its themes, or play up the comedic potential it has shown, deciding instead to play out the same way similar stories do.

Genre: Drama

Actor: Bimbo Manuel, Fawaz Aina, Ruby Akubueze, Sam Dede, Yemi Solade

Director: Kunle Afolayan

Pain Hustlers is based on a 2018 New York Times article of the same name exposing a drug company that marketed a fentanyl-based drug. Zanna, the on-screen pharmaceutical start-up, is modelled after Insys: the actual company who pushed a fentanyl-based spray for pain management with the help of sales reps who particularly appeal to a certain male gaze. A DIY scheme of bribing doctors through "speaker programs"—or recurring, debaucherous parties—gets Zanna off the ground, catapulting stripper-turned-manager Liza Drake (Emily Blunt) to a much-yearned financial stability. Together with the coked-up COO (magnificently played by Chris Evans), Liza puts her street smart potential to work; she goes all in, until it all crashes and burns. It's cynical how predictable the plot of such a film can be, mainly because the only character development we see is in Liza's sudden moral spark at the sight of drug abuses and overdoses. Pain Hustlers tries really hard to build a hero, tear her down, and then rehabilitate her status, but to what end? The film ends up using the fentanyl crisis as a narrative drive, a highly dubious move when you're supposed to be spreading awareness. 

 

Genre: Crime, Drama

Actor: Adrian Eppley, Alex Klein, Amit Shah, Andy Garcia, Aubrey Dollar, Avis-Marie Barnes, Becca Breitfeller, Brian d'Arcy James, Britt Rentschler, Catherine O'Hara, Chloe Coleman, Chris Evans, Emily Blunt, Erin Ownbey, Greyson Chadwick, Jay Duplass, Josh Ventura, Mandi Christine Kerr, Mary Ann Hagan, Michael Kosta, Michael Lowry, Nicholas Christopher McNeil, Omer Mughal, Pat Dortch, Quinn Bozza, Rowan Joseph, Samantha Kacho, Selena Anduze, Sharon Conley, Tris Marie, Valerie LeBlanc, Willie Raysor

Director: David Yates

Rating: R

Proof that even the most tired tropes (which the holiday genre is arguably entirely made up of at this point) can still be warm and enjoyable with above-average craft and a fun cast, Candy Cane Lane avoids the monotony that tends to plague other Christmas movies. Which isn't to say that the film is a new classic—it still concludes too easily and doesn't give its more emotional side the space to breathe. But with an entertaining fantasy premise (specifically, a sort of scavenger hunt based on The Twelve Days of Christmas) bolstered by strong visual effects and supporting actors who have been given free rein to improvise, the movie stays dynamic and lightly humorous, if a little lacking in substance.

Genre: Comedy, Family, Fantasy

Actor: Aidan Kennedy, Ali Astin, Amanda Schoonover, Amy Johnston, Anjelah Johnson-Reyes, Catherine Dent, Chris Redd, D.C. Young Fly, Danielle Pinnock, David Alan Grier, Eddie Murphy, Genneya Walton, Iman Benson, James DuMont, Jenly Crespo, Jillian Bell, Kelly Younger, Ken Marino, Kevin Olusola, Kimberly Christian, Kirstin Maldonado, Lombardo Boyar, Madison Thomas, Matthew Sallee, Mitch Grassi, Nick Offerman, Preston Galli, Reginald Hudlin, Riki Lindhome, Robin Thede, Scott Hoying, Stephen Tobolowsky, Tallie Brinson, Thaddeus J. Mixson, Tiago Roberts, Timothy Simons, Tracee Ellis Ross, Trevante Rhodes

Director: Reginald Hudlin

Rating: PG

Air Mata di Ujung Sajadah tugs at the heartstrings because it recognizes the pain of losing one’s child, whether that be to elopement, death, or to their biological parent. This, with a stirring score, and the tears of Titi Kamal and Citra Kirana, makes Aqilla and Yumna easy to root for, as they try to settle who would best be Baskara’s mother. It’s not an easy decision, and the film thankfully refrains from turning either woman to be an antagonist. However, all the sorrow, pain, and suffering hinges on Halimah’s decision, that, in the first place, shouldn’t have been possible. As the film plays out into its inevitable conclusion, the journey there is heartwarming, maybe even tearjerking, but it doesn’t feel as satisfying as it could have been if Halimah dealt with the consequences of her actions.

Genre: Drama

Actor: Citra Kirana, Dendy Subangil, Fedi Nuril, Krisjiana Baharudin, Mbok Tun, Muhammad Faqih Alaydrus, Titi Kamal, Tutie Kirana

Director: Key Mangunsong

To be fair to this visibly low-budget adaptation of H. G. Wells' seminal science-fiction novel, it doesn't always settle for the cheap way out. Though it still leaves much to be desired in its visual effects, awkward action scenes, and generally unimaginative direction, Fear the Invisible Man makes a valiant effort to deepen its story by placing a strong, unlikely protagonist at its center (played in all seriousness and with admirable resolve by Mhairi Calvey). Since the titular villain isn't actually the star of the show—nor is he made out to be an ever-present threat, like in the modern 2020 adaptation—this version of The Invisible Man is able to circle relatively newer ideas about a woman's "invisible" place in the world, and how she's tempted to go down a path of pride and violence. If only the rest of the film could keep up with the script's ambition.

Genre: Horror, Science Fiction, Thriller

Actor: David Hayman, Delroy Brown, Emily Haigh, Grahame Fox, Joe Tucker, Marc Danbury, Mark Arnold, Mhairi Calvey, Mike Beckingham, Simon Pengelly, Wayne Gordon

Director: Paul Dudbridge

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, Drama, Fantasy, Science Fiction

Actor: Adam J. Smith, Alexander Ward, Alfonso Herrera, Anthony Hopkins, Bae Doona, Ben Geurens, Bonnie Morgan, Brandon Auret, Brett Robert Culbert, Caden Dragomer, Carolyne Chen, Cary Elwes, Charity Witt, Charlie Hunnam, Charlotte Maggi, Christine Kellogg-Darrin, Christopher Matthew Cook, Cleopatra Coleman, Cody Banta, Colby Lemmo, Corey Stoll, Danielle Burgio, Derek Mears, Djimon Hounsou, Dominic Burgess, Douglas Tait, Dustin Ceithamer, E. Duffy, Ed Skrein, Elise Duffy, Elizabeth Martinez, Fra Fee, Francis Ngannou, Gary Nohealii, Giovanni Lopes, Greg Kriek, Ingvar E. Sigurðsson, Isabella Brenza, James William O'Halloran, Jena Malone, Jordan Coleman, Josefine Lindegaard, Kayden Alexander Koshelev, Kendall Wells, Kingston Foster, Mark Steger, Matt Nolan, Max Pescherine, Michael James Bell, Michiel Huisman, Mingus Johnston, Napoleon Ryan, Patrick Luwis, Raphael Corkhill, Ray Fisher, Ray Porter, Rhian Rees, Richard Cetrone, Robbie Jarvis, Rory Gibson, Sam Bass, Sam Stinson, Samantha Win, Savanna Gann, Scott Subiono, Simon Potter, Sisse Marie, Sky Yang, Sofia Boutella, Staz Nair, Stella Grace Fitzgerald, Steven Allen, Stuart Martin, Thomas Ohrstrom, Tony Amendola

Director: Zack Snyder

Rating: PG-13

, 2024

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

The latest installment of Ly Hai’s Face Off franchise has an entertaining premise with some terrible plot twists. With this premise, it’s almost expected to see the worst of the worst of people when given a jackpot, and it’s easy to feel distraught when this happens, because the initial dynamic between the six friends feels genuine. However, the fun and wacky hijinks devolve into seriously messed up plot twists. Some of these work, but certain scenes feel like it was just added for shock value at the expense of other characters. The film couldn’t choose between vilifying some characters and celebrating their friendship. Because of this, Face Off 6 feels like it missed its mark.

Genre: Action, Drama, Thriller

Actor: Huy Khánh, Huỳnh Thi, Lý Hải, Quốc Cường, Tiết Cương, Trung Dũng

Director: Lý Hải

Amid energetic lights and obnoxious airhorns, Katt Williams makes his way to the stage and quickly greets you with the gospel of crass. His descriptions and premises aren’t anything to write home about as his style is more a boisterous NSFW style that resembles a night of gossip. But for most of this set, you’ll just be thinking about how his performer voice sounds like a cartoon grandma, a southern Spongebob, and “Macho Man” Randy Savage preaching to you all at once. The set had a touchy mental health bit that sucked the life out the room for a moment, but would take an empowering turn in its final third as Williams talks about racism in 2024. It’s a mess, but it finishes strong, at least.

Genre: Comedy

Actor: Katt Williams

Director: Troy Miller

Rating: R