7 Movies Like The Marvels (2023) On Amazon Prime

Staff & contributors

Of all the Christmas-set films to have come out over the last couple of months that were, inexplicably, about grief and regret (you'd be surprised by how many there are), The Holdovers easily outdoes its contemporaries by being confident enough to just sit with its characters. Like the best of director Alexander Payne's other films, there are no melodramatic crescendos or overcomplicated metaphors; there are only flawed individuals going about their lives, occasionally noticing the things that bind them together. Payne's gentle touch means the characters (and the audience) aren't forced to "solve" their grief, but allowed to come to terms with it in their own way, with each other.

Payne evokes the film's 1970s setting through a muted color palette and analog—almost tactile—sound design, giving warmth to this New England despite all its snow and chilly interiors. It's understandable that these characters are similarly cold to each other on the surface at first, but they manage to thaw the ice simply by taking the chance to listen to each other's pain. It's the kind of film in which relationships develop so gradually, that you hardly notice until the end how much mutual respect has formed between them when they return from their dark nights of the soul back to their status quo.

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Actor: Alexander Cook, Andrew Garman, Bill Mootos, Brady Hepner, Carrie Preston, Carter Shimp, Cole Tristan Murphy, Colleen Clinton, Da'Vine Joy Randolph, Dakota Lustick, Dan Aid, Darby Lee-Stack, David J. Curtis, Dominic Sessa, Dustin Tucker, Gillian Vigman, Ian Dolley, Ian Lyons, Jim Kaplan, Joe Howell, Jonathan von Mering, Kelly AuCoin, Kevin Daigneault, Kevin Fennessy, Melissa McMeekin, Michael Malvesti, Michael Provost, Naheem Garcia, Oscar Wahlberg, Osmani Rodriguez, Pamela Jayne Morgan, Paul Giamatti, Rena Maliszewski, Stephen Thorne, Tate Donovan

Director: Alexander Payne

Rating: R

While it might not be the most inspired story featuring the titular caped crusader—nor is it a particularly Christmas-y tale—Merry Little Batman still stands out just for how bright and warm its versions of these characters are. In this Gotham, crime is literally pushed aside for once, and that odd sense of holiday isolation takes over for the heroes and villains of the city. It's all pretty silly when you give it more thought, but the film wholeheartedly embraces its tone, resulting in a Home Alone-esque adventure that moves briskly and is loaded with great visual gags and throwaways zingers. It could stand to have a more substantial emotional center, but for what it is, this is consistently entertaining holiday viewing for all ages.

Genre: Action, Animation, Comedy, Family

Actor: Brian George, Bumper Robinson, Chris Sullivan, Courtenay Taylor, Cynthia Kaye McWilliams, David Hornsby, Dolph Adomian, Fred Tatasciore, James Cromwell, Keith Ferguson, Luke Wilson, Michael Fielding, Natalie Palamides, Reid Scott, Roger Craig Smith, Yonas Kibreab

Director: Mike Roth

, 2023

Director Garth Davis (who worked with Jane Campion on Top of the Lake) adapts Iain Reid's novel Foe with little concern about realism and veracity. The psychologically dense event at the film's centre—an impending separation of husband and wife—renders the whole world around them meaningless. Saoirse Ronan stars as the self-assured Henrietta (Hen) and Paul Mescal, as the belligerent Junior, two of the last remaining people in rural and farm areas. The year is 2065 and Earth is unrecognizable (peak Anthropocene) and life can be reduced to the impossibility of letting go. One fine day, a stranger comes to visit (Aaron Pierre), informing the couple that Junior has been drafted not to the military, but to a space colonization mission. A most curious triangle forms when Pierre's character decides to stay in the family guest room: there is no telling where Foe will take you, but it will be a long, hard fall; either to the pits of despair or desire, ambivalence galore. 

Genre: Drama, Mystery, Romance, Science Fiction, Thriller

Actor: Aaron Pierre, David Woods, Jordan Chodziesner, Paul Mescal, Saoirse Ronan, William Freeman, Yesse Spence

Director: Garth Davis

Rating: R

Fairly atmospheric, visually creepy, and with a unique premise, A Thousand Days had the potential to be a downright terrifying Indonesian horror film. There’s something here about how rich families are willing to sacrifice impoverished young women in order to save one of their own, especially with the way the Atmojo family hasn’t given the full job details to the three girls in this film. There’s something here as well about how various Indonesian ethnic groups treat each other. However, the way the film arranged its scenes, as well as the film’s casting, fails to match the terror of the original Twitter thread that inspired the film. These choices take away some of the scariness that would have made Sewu Dino totally terrifying.

Genre: Horror, Mystery

Actor: Agla Artalidia, Gisellma Firmansyah, Givina Lukita, Karina Suwandi, Marthino Lio, Mikha Tambayong, Pritt Timothy, Rio Dewanto

Director: Kimo Stamboel

Centered on a unique marriage, Satyaprem Ki Katha could have reinvented the romance genre with its depiction of women’s trauma. The film does care about the issue, as it sides with the victim in this regard, and there’s a certain sweetness in the relationship being portrayed. Kiara Advani’s performance feels believable and she clearly makes the best of her existing scenes. However, the film is too afraid to be critical of the men in this film, especially as it’s too concerned with Sattu as a savior. On top of this, it relies too much on the standard Indian song-and-dance, which, while spectacular, takes away too much time from the issue at hand. Because of this, Satyaprem Ki Katha feels like a missed opportunity.

Genre: Drama, Romance

Actor: Anuradha Patel, Gajraj Rao, Kartik Aaryan, Kiara Advani, Nirmiti Sawant, Rajpal Yadav, Shikha Talsania, Siddharth Randeria, Supriya Pathak

Director: Sameer Vidwans

Surrounded has the bones of a revenge-style Western. It turns the table on the white cowboy hero and gives us (on paper, at least) complex leads in Mo and Tommy. Mo is a young Black woman whose experience as a Buffalo Solider lends her not only the skills of an expert gunslinger but also the anger and motivation to push through any obstacle, while Tommy is the enigmatic thief who Mo reluctantly relies on in her quest for freedom. With all this pent-up tension, the film should work, and it does occasionally thanks to Wright and Bell’s deft performances (Bell is especially exceptional), the stunning mountainous terrains, and the worthy attempts at race and class commentary. But for the most part, the film's ambitions fall flat. The monologues are overlong and too evocative of modern speech to be historically believable. The action scenes, while exciting, only sputter here and there and never gain the momentum the film needs to genuinely thrill. And the thin backstories of Mo and Tommy raise more questions than answers. More often than not, Surrounded looks like a couple of good scenes strewn together on a lousy string; the foundations are off but there’s some enjoyment to be found.

Genre: Action, Drama, Western

Actor: Austin Rising, Brett Gelman, David Manzanares, Jamie Bell, Jeffrey Donovan, Keith Jardine, Kevin Wiggins, Letitia Wright, Luce Rains, Lyle Sandoval, Mark Dalton, Michael Kenneth Williams, Nathaniel Augustson, Peter Diseth, Tatanka Means

Director: Anthony Mandler

Rating: R

At least you can't accuse this holiday film of being generic. Combining the incredibly incompatible elements of drug busts and figure skating (and still failing to justify this crazy idea, though not for a lack of trying), Dealing with Christmas eventually begins to feel more like a series of comedy sketches making up the rules as it goes along. This definitely leads to moments of both excitement and effective humor, but its lack of consistency ultimately makes the awkward outweigh the good. Still, the audacity on display is something to be admired, and the film is just well-made enough to keep its constant experiments worth the curiosity.

Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy

Actor: Alex Lutz, Alice Moitié, Bruno Sanches, Catherine Hosmalin, Élise Hobbé, Eric Judor, Etienne Guillou-Kervern, François Vincentelli, Guy Lecluyse, Jean-Yves Tual, Jonas Dinal, Kim Higelin, Laura Felpin, Lison Daniel, Monsieur Poulpe, Nicky Marbot, Paul Deby, Philippe Lacheau, Ragnar Le Breton, Tom Dingler

Director: Arthur Sanigou