21 Movies Like Red White & Royal Blue (2023) (Page 2)

Staff & contributors

Unknown's next documentary installment takes us to the stars following the construction and deployment of the James Webb Space Telescope. The documentary centers on the behind-the-scenes of launching the telescope, which eradicated all possible errors as it was the most expensive operation to enter space without human intervention. Explanations are palatable, and the highlights of their successes and failures are enough for casual viewers. Packed with emotion from NASA's scientists and engineers (and global spectators during Covid), the investment in this project and journey carry the film even though the concepts are too large to condense. 

Genre: Documentary

Actor: Joe Biden

Director: Shai Gal

Rating: G

For those familiar with the movie In Time, this German Netflix thriller has a similar premise, but with a few changes. Time is exchanged for money, instead of entirely replacing it. Time donation also acts more like blood donation – there needs some DNA compatibility to do so and more prominent individuals are prioritized for these exchanges. Paradise’s world also hasn’t figured out how to completely stop aging. These changes come with a side of more overt anti-capitalist commentary, so the movie could have had a more focused and critical approach to the time donation. However, like In Time, Paradise quickly devolves into the sci-fi thriller shenanigans we’re all familiar with, but without any of the spectacle.

Genre: Action, Science Fiction, Thriller

Actor: Aistė Diržiūtė, Aleyna Cara, Alina Levshin, Andreas Windhuis, Clovis Kasanda, Corinna Kirchhoff, Dalila Abdallah, Eglė Lekstutytė, Gizem Emre, Haley Louise Jones, Iris Berben, Kostja Ullmann, Lisa Loven Kongsli, Lisa-Marie Koroll, Lorna Ishema, Lucas Lynggaard Tønnesen, Lukas von Horbatschewsky, Marlene Tanczik, Matthias Ziesing, Numan Acar, Simon Amberger, Tom Böttcher

Director: Boris Kunz

Rating: R

To The Hottest Summer's credit, it doesn't shy away from its title; as an erotic romcom, it gives us more sexual content than you'd expect, while still keeping away from anything too explicit. There's an undeniably exciting quality to how much the film is willing to show in its forbidden romance, and lead actors Nicole Damiani and Gianmarco Saurino have chemistry to spare. But while the film can be refreshing in how undaunted it is by the supposed taboo at the center of its story, its desire for simple, carnal thrills means the characters are much flatter than they probably deserve to be. Deacon Nicola's complicated relationship to his faith is never quite explored until it's too late, and Lucia's friendship with Valentina (played by Alice Angelica) seems to be of little consequence, even as the story tries to create drama between their competing affections for the young priest-to-be.

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance

Actor: Alberto Rossi, Alice Angelica, Balkissa Souley Maiga, Barbara Tabita, Gianmarco Saurino, Giuseppe Paternò Raddusa, Luca Capuano, Mehdi Meskar, Michela Giraud, Nicole Damiani, Nino Frassica, Stefania Sandrelli

Director: Matteo Pilati

The Perfect Find follows Jenna (Gabrielle Union), a fashion editor trying to make a comeback after a public breakup and a high-profile firing. She lands a job at a new fashion magazine, but this is complicated when she falls for her charming and much younger coworker, Eric (Keith Powers), who just so happens to be the son of her boss. Admittedly, the plot is as cliche as can be, with a few shenanigans, quirky best friends, and an ex or two popping up in the third act. But it's also easy to fall for, especially with Union as the charismatic lead. The jokes about her character and Eric's age gap land well most times, and many parts of the film are beautiful enough, most notably: the talent, the color grading, and the eye-catching New York landscape. 

Genre: Comedy, Romance

Actor: Aisha Hinds, D.B. Woodside, Gabrielle Union, Gina Torres, Godfrey, Janet Hubert, Keith Powers, La La Anthony, Leigh Davenport, Numa Perrier, Remy Ma, Shayna McHayle, Sterling 'Steelo' Brim, Ts Madison, Winnie Harlow, Yrsa Daley-Ward

Director: Numa Perrier

Rating: R

A movie based on a theme park ride is always going to be a marketing exercise, but what’s remarkable about Haunted Mansion is how uninterested it is in even pretending to be anything more. Amazon, Yankee Candle, CVS, Baskin Robbins, Burger King: you could fill a mall with the list of brands shamelessly name-dropped in the movie. Gallingly, the cast are even forced to do double duty as brand ambassadors during some of the movie’s most determined efforts at poignancy — oof.

Not even an ensemble featuring the comedic-dramatic chops of LaKeith Stanfield, Rosario Dawson, Tiffany Haddish, Danny DeVito, Owen Wilson, and Chase Dillon (the best of the bunch) can make such naked cash-grabs feel organic. What’s more, though, Haunted Mansion depressingly asks so little of its cast that there aren’t really any opportunities for them to counterbalance these embarrassing moments with anything approaching compelling. Adding to its struggles are the mansion’s sludgy color palette (which renders every scene unremarkable, no matter how moving or spooky it’s supposed to be) and the fact that it somehow feels rushed even at an overlong two hours. Though you can appreciate director Justin Simien’s efforts at elevating the material into something coherent, Haunted Mansion feels as lifeless as the ghosts that fill it.

Genre: Comedy, Family, Fantasy, Horror

Actor: Alisa Harris, Amy Parrish, Andrew Morgado, Anthony Burrell, Arielle Prepetit, Ashley John, Ayane Azevedo, Ben Bladon, Bryan McClure, Chad Crumley, Charity Jordan, Charles Black, Chase W. Dillon, Chenise Johnson, Christopher Winchester, Clarence White III, Creek Wilson, Cruz Abelita, D. Jerome Wells, Dan Levy, Danny DeVito, Derrick James Moss, Don Stallings, Edward Zhu, Elisabeth Lagrande, Erika Coleman, Erion Brandon WIlliams, Fedor Steer, Glendon Ray Hobgood, Gralen Bryant Banks, Hasan Minhaj, Hector Machado, Helene Henry, Ian Covell, J.R. Adduci, Jamie Lee Curtis, Jared Leto, Jared Simon, Jo Koy, John Curran, Joseph Miller, Julie Nalibov, Kailie Sanders, Kamran Shaikh, Kat Montes, Kathi Callahan, Kay Galvin, Keiko Bell, Kurt Yue, Lakeith Stanfield, Lindsay Lamb, Lorenzo Beronilla, Lumar Christopher Leblanc III, Manuel Perkins, Marcus Otis Hubbard, Marilu Henner, Mike Benitez, Nico Gomez, Owen Wilson, Paul Michael Robertson, Rachel Pitner, Raianna Brown, Rick Andosca, Rosario Dawson, Rowan Joseph, Sebastien Soudais, Steve Zissis, Terence Mathews, Terence Rosemore, Tiffany Haddish, Tony Paone, Tracy Goode, William Calvert, Winona Ryder

Director: Justin Simien

Rating: PG-13

Unfortunately, it isn't enough to have cartoonishly attractive people do silly things in the name of love for an entire feature film. This premise is undeniably fun at first: the pace is snappy, the locations are pretty, and there are more than a few intentional laughs buried within the film's fast-paced dialogue. But the longer Love Tactics 2 goes on, the more idiotic its characters seem and the more it feels like they don't actually deserve the love they supposedly earned in the previous movie. It greatly underestimates how frustrating it is to watch people fail to communicate over and over again, not out of any goodwill, but out of pure pride and jealousy. Sure, the leads provide plenty of eye candy, but after seeing how little they actually get to work with, watching them becomes an act of secondhand embarrassment.

Genre: Comedy, Romance

Actor: Atakan Çelik, Bora Akkaş, Ceyhun Mengiroğlu, Demet Özdemir, Deniz Baydar, Hande Yılmaz, İpek Tuzcuoğlu, Kerem Atabeyoğlu, Melisa Döngel, Şükrü Özyıldız

Director: Recai Karagöz

Rating: PG-13