27 Movies Like Cassandro (2023) (Page 2)

Staff & contributors

Chasing the feel of watching Cassandro ? Here are the movies we recommend you watch right after.

As biopics go, Cassandro skews towards the conventional. It follows a template familiar to anyone who has seen a life-story movie about the underdog climbing up the ranks thanks to their unmatchable heart and talent. But it’s also a template that’s elevated by Bernal’s wonderful performance and Roger Ross Williams’ careful and naturalistic direction. Save for a few melodramatic moments, many parts of Cassandro feel fresh and authentic, not least of which is Saúl's heartwarming relationship with his mother Yocasta (Perla De La Rosa). It’s unapologetic joy is another element that sets it apart: instead of being punished for his flamboyance and cheer, Saúl is rewarded for it. This seems like a rare triumph in LGBTQ+ stories, and on that merit alone Cassandro deserves to be seen. 

, 2023

Golda Meir was Israel's only female Prime Minister and that's already reason enough a biopic celebrating her historical importance would be made. Oscar-winning Israeli director Guy Nattiv rose to the task and Meir's own grandson requested British actress Helen Mirren to play the role of his grandmother (a decision that was not left undisputed). However, Miren is a virtuoso of stoic, physically confined acting and delivers a strong performance as the elderly Golda in the wake of a militarized attack on Israel coming from Egypt and Syria. Instead of being caught in the web of global politics between the Arab world, Russia, and the United States, she navigates the terrain with sustained empathy, although not without failings. The film itself describes Golda as a hero outside of Israel and controversial in her own land, and it does well enough in embodying that very same controversy.

 

 

Genre: Drama, History, Thriller, War

Actor: Ben Caplan, Camille Cottin, Daniel Ben Zenou, Dominic Mafham, Dvir Benedek, Ed Stoppard, Ellie Piercy, Emma Davies, Helen Mirren, Henry Goodman, Jaime Ray Newman, Jonathan Tafler, Kit Rakusen, Liev Schreiber, Lior Ashkenazi, Mark Fleischmann, Muneesh Sharma, Ohad Knoller, Olivia Brody, Rami Heuberger, Rotem Keinan, Sam Shoubber, Sumit Chakravarti, Zed Josef

Director: Guy Nattiv

Rating: PG-13

Set in the British colonial era, Captain Miller is more unapologetically violent than its counterparts, but it’s not mindlessly so. Sure, the film has plenty of spectacle with numerous battles between townsfolk versus British colonialists, some scenes having gruesome, gory deaths. But in between these battles is Dhanush as the central character, contemplating the oppression from his fellow countrymen, the dignity denied to him from both the colony and more privileged locals, and the choices he chooses to make in spite of this. It’s not a straightforward bad versus good anti-colonial film like RRR, and it may not be as emotionally compelling, but Captain Miller is certainly a unique take on British colonialism with all of director Arun Matheswaran’s signature style.

Genre: Action, Adventure, War

Actor: Abdool Lee, Aditi Balan, Alexx O'Nell, Ashwin Kumar, Bose Venkat, Dhanush, Edward Sonnenblick, Elango Kumaravel, Jayaprakash, John Kokken, Kaali Venkat, Mark Bennington, Nivedhithaa Sathish, Priyanka Arul Mohan, Shivaraj Kumar, Sumesh Moor, Sundeep Kishan, Swayam Siddha, Viji Chandrasekhar, Vinoth Kishan

Director: Arun Matheswaran

Though it only really serves as a recounting of events from 1971 rather than a much thorough analysis, Attica is a great example of that type of documentary that can be incredibly difficult to pull off well: that is, the archival documentary mainly told with already existing material. Thanks to plenty of detail (and the good instinct to know how to deploy these details), this documentary avoids feeling like a mere history lesson and begins to feel almost as dramatic as a radio play. And the film knows better than to be detached from its subject; it makes sure to characterize the inmates of Attica as an intelligent, passionate group that set aside their differences to stand up for their rights—and were summarily punished for it.

Genre: Documentary

Actor: Clarence Jones, Elizabeth Gaynes, Herman Schwartz, James Asbury, John Johnson, Nelson Rockefeller, Richard Nixon

Director: Stanley Nelson, Traci A. Curry

Although limited by the timeframe in which it was released—that is, before its characters really got to finish organizing themselves in response to the film's subject matter—Aftershock still provides a detailed primer on the ways the American healthcare system has been manipulated to take advantage of the underprivileged. The documentary can get technical but since it grounds its reporting on two tragic stories of preventable loss, there's more than enough reason to pay full attention. It definitely isn't meant to answer every question about pregnancy care, but it definitely compels deeper inquiry into the ways we've been socialized into perceiving romantic notions about childbirth.

Genre: Documentary

Director: Paula Eiselt, Tonya Lewis Lee

Part sci-fi and part psychological horror, No One Will Save You is an impressive outing that serves as a vehicle for Dever’s one-woman show. She is a powerhouse, a nonstop show of talent that doesn’t seem to run out of fuel. The scenes are grueling and excruciating, they involve a lot of physical, mental, and emotional turmoil, but somehow, Dever rises to the challenge with unbelievable ease. Sure, sci-fi lovers will find much to discuss in these unearthly creatures, and cinephiles will appreciate how the film relies almost solely on sound design and a single line of dialogue. But it’s Dever who does the heavy lifting here, and it’s especially apparent when the film tries, weakly, to delve into Brynn’s psyche and the town’s sociological workings. It’s not as impressive in those regards, but Dever is strong enough an actress to make you forgive the movie’s frailer parts. 

Genre: Horror, Science Fiction, Thriller

Actor: Bridget Malbrough, Dane Rhodes, Dari Lynn Griffin, Elizabeth Kaluev, Emani White, Evangeline Rose, Geraldine Singer, Kaitlyn Dever, Lauren L. Murray, Zack Duhame

Director: Brian Duffield

Rating: PG-13

The main subject that Hold Your Fire promises to be about—negotiation tactics first used in resolving a New York City standoff at a sporting goods store—is ultimately its most least interesting aspect. These supposed tactics aren't too well, and they end up putting a damper on all the human drama that comes before it, which proves strikingly three-dimensional. As the film revisits the details of the hostage situation from the perspective of those who were actually there, it also complicates the situation by compelling us to think of it in a dense, sociopolitical sense rather than a reductive lens of crime and punishment. It's this build-up to the actual negotiation that may actually hold more insight into these kinds of crises.

Genre: Documentary

Director: Stefan Forbes

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

A Million Miles Away sticks so closely to the Hollywood biopic template that it threatens to be less about José Hernández as a person with his own complexities and more about the idea of him as a one-size-fits-all inspirational figure. This isn't to say the film isn't effective when it really counts; Hernández is worth admiring not necessarily because of his ultimate success, but because how much he failed and got back up again. Director Alejandra Márquez Abella keeps the film's tone light and bouncy, flattening some of its more serious moments, but also helping make Hernández's long, hard road to space more of a process of discovery. It's easy, inspiring viewing that quietly tiptoes past harder questions about poverty and NASA's potentially discriminatory practices.

Genre: Drama, History

Actor: Ashley Ciarra, Blake Webb, Bobby Soto, Constantino Caso, Dylan Hall, Emma Fassler, Eric Johnson, Francisco Barreiro, Garret Dillahunt, Gerardo Trejoluna, Isaac Arellanes, Isabel Aerenlund, Jordan Dean, Jorge Briseño, Julio Cedillo, Julio Cesar Cedillo, Marilyn Uribe, Mercedes Hernández, Michael Adler, Michael Peña, Michelle Krusiec, Peter Theis, Rosa Salazar, Sam Harrison, Sarayu Blue, Steve Kisicki, Veronica Falcón, Xochiquetzal Martínez

Director: Alejandra Márquez Abella

Rating: PG

You don’t come into a Tyler Perry movie expecting to be dazzled, but you do expect to be entertained. Mea Culpa evokes neither of those feelings, at least not in the first half of the film. Between the predictable plot and Rhodes’ bewilderingly flat performance, it’s a mighty challenge to stay awake. Rhodes is, of course, the lead in the award-winning film Moonlight, where he gave a soulful and lived-in performance. So it doesn’t make sense why, in Mea Culpa, despite playing a perennially horny man, he’s as exciting to watch as paint dry. We’re supposed to believe that his charisma (or lack thereof) seduces Rowland’s character, but there’s no chemistry to be found. For her part, Rowland is a delight to watch. The many turns she experiences fit her range, and she is effectively the heart of the film. Mea Culpa, to be fair, revs up and gets thrilling by the second half, when the chips start to fall and the twists unfold. But it’s too little too late, and they barely shock you at that point, that is if you’re still awake.

Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller

Actor: Angela Robinson, Connor Weil, Kelly Rowland, Kerry O'Malley, Nick Sagar, RonReaco Lee, Sean Sagar, Shannon Thornton, Trevante Rhodes

Director: Tyler Perry

Rating: R

In terms of the quality of the material delivered in Son I Never Had, this special is really just okay at best. Heather McMahan has charisma and personality, but she has a tendency to run directly into the set-ups for her jokes, without the kind of build-up between segments that would make the whole hour flow better. And the comedy here is pretty standard, lightly raunchy fare that's often amusing but never really cuts deep into the various topics McMahan brings up. Where she's really successful, instead, is in the way she uses humor to contrast the lingering but gentle grief she feels over her father's passing. Son I Never Had, in its own roundabout way, becomes a sort of extended eulogy, emphasizing how our loved ones remain with us in our every memory.

Genre: Comedy

Actor: Heather McMahan

Director: Jen Zaborowski

Rating: R

Plenty of missing people stories don’t get resolved, so understandably, all their loved ones can do is contemplate the potential horrors that could have happened to them, like being lost and needing to survive, or being kidnapped, or, of course, being dead. Primbon is a story where a missing girl returns home, though her return seems suspicious, at least, according to Javanese superstition. So much could have been made with this premise. They could have delved into Rana’s possible trauma from the reason she was lost, or the way these superstitions hinder these victims from receiving help from others. The film at least shines during the moments between Dini, her mom, and Rana, as they try to get back to normal. But in prioritizing the family, Primbon is torn between being a family drama versus being a supernatural horror film, and ultimately fails at being both.

Genre: Horror

Actor: Azela Putri, Chicco Kurniawan, Flavio Zaviera, Happy Salma, Jajang C. Noer, Nugie, Whani Darmawan

Director: Rudy Soedjarwo

Though it'll likely have more to offer for those who enjoyed the original Nickelodeon series that ran from 2014 to 2018, The Thundermans Return still does mournfully little with its feature length. There are some promising ideas here relating to what one's responsibility should be as members of a family, but any heart in the story is buried underneath weak attempts at action and painfully stilted humor—which is only made worse by the laugh track running through much of the film. Even in the oversaturated arena of American superhero movies, this one doesn't have relatable enough characters for teenagers and older kids to relate to, nor does it have enough mindless, poorly shot action for the younger kids.

Genre: Action, Action & Adventure, Comedy, Family, Kids, Science Fiction, TV Movie

Actor: Adam Kulbersh, Addison Riecke, Anushka Rani, Aubrey K. Miller, Audrey Whitby, Brady Amaya, Brandon Papo, Brittany Bardwell, Chevonne Hughes, Chris Tallman, Christina Correll, Christina Offley, Dana Snyder, Daniele Gaither, Diego Velázquez, Fletcher Sheridan, Guy Moon, Harvey Guillén, Helen Hong, Jack Griffo, Jake Borelli, James Hong, Jamie Kaler, Jamieson Price, Jeff Meacham, Jennifer Hale, John Sanders, Kenny Ridwan, Kira Kosarin, Laura Louise, Malcolm Foster Smith, Maya Le Clark, Michael Wayne Foster, Paul F. Tompkins, Robin Atkin Downes, Rosa Blasi, Tanner Stine, Valerie Loo

Director: Trevor Kirschner