33 Movies Like The Marvels (2023) (Page 2)

Staff & contributors

While not having world-ending stakes or large-scale operations, Sixty Minutes just works as an action movie. Sure, the plot is familiar and a little far fetched, but the film maximizes the potential of its premise, with excellently choreographed fight sequences working in tandem with the cinematography to reflect the MMA fighter leading the movie. Each moment isn’t wasted, with the action escalating each time Octa finds out about the hidden information kept from him about the match he’s planned to skip, and the film easily keeps track of his journey through neon-lit stopwatch faces and maps. And when we (and Octa) feel tired from all the fighting, the film ends right on time after sixty (and twenty nine) minutes.

Genre: Action, Drama

Actor: Alain Blazevic, Aristo Luis, Balázs Megyeri, Bettina Hoppe, Bruno Salgueiro, Dennis Mojen, Emilio Sakraya, Eniko Fulop, Florian Schmidtke, Georg Blumreiter, Harry Szovik, Janna Striebeck, José Barros, Laurent Winkler, Livia Matthes, Ludger Bökelmann, Marie Mouroum, Mehmet Ateşçi, Morik Heydo, Nyamandi Adrian, Paul Wollin, Philipp Droste, Steffen Jung, Tatjana Šojić, Tayssir Khalfallah, Vassilis Koukalani, Wanja Valentin Kube

Director: Oliver Kienle

Rating: R

Family is one of the bonds we don’t really get to choose, and for better or for worse, they’re the bonds that form the foundation of our lives. Familia depicts this bond faithfully, as Leo’s remaining family, his three adult daughters, all travel back to the family’s olive orchard to decide on its fate. The way the bond is depicted feels realistic, as each of the family members can confront each other with their choices in the one time of the year they can do so. The film is able to make it work with its excellent cast, and carefully written dialogue that makes the conversation flow naturally. While Familia isn’t a holiday film, it’s a fairly realistic depiction of a family gathering and a timely film to watch before heading home to your family for the holidays.

Genre: Drama

Actor: Ángeles Cruz, Brian Shortall, Cassandra Ciangherotti, Daniel Giménez Cacho, Ilse Salas, Maribel Verdú, Natalia Solián, Vicky Araico

Director: Rodrigo García

Rating: R

It’s easy to classify Destroy All Neighbors as B-movie schlock; it unabashedly pays tribute to the low-budget comedy horror movies that pervaded the ‘80s. But it also feels too good for that. Elevated by funny bits, easy chemistry, solid production design, and a lightweight but easygoing script, Destroy All Neighbors never really wastes your time. It may confuse and drag at times, but there’s always an element that delights. As the straight man anchoring all the absurdity and gore surrounding him, Ray is also surprisingly likable. He connects easily to the colorful ensemble of characters in the film. 

Destroy All Neighbors is stylish, trippy, nonsensical, and quite commendable in its creativity (the practical effects and prosthetics are the highlight). In all, it’s harmless good fun, just beware of the overflowing blood and guts! 

Genre: Comedy, Horror, Music

Actor: Alex Winter, Chase Kim, Christian Calloway, Deanna Rooney, DeMorge Brown, Franco Vega, Jon Daly, Jonah Ray, Kiran Deol, Kumail Nanjiani, Madara Jayasena, Pete Ploszek, Phil Hendrie, Randee Heller, Ryan Kattner, Thomas Lennon

Director: Josh Forbes

Besides the futuristic tech that pops in and out, there’s not a lot about The Kitchen that signals it as a sci-fi film. Neglected housing projects and violent raids have become too common to count as dystopian, so it often feels like The Kitchen could’ve gone without labeling itself as part of the genre (the real world is bad enough). But underneath those layers is a subtle but sublimely tender story about father and son finding each other amid the rubble of real life. First-time directors Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out, The Black Panther) and Kibwe Tavares delicately balance the personal and the political, never undermining the former as many socially aware films do. If Kaluuya and Tavares had fleshed the world it built a little more and removed the parts, such as the sci-fi elements, that did not work out, then Izi and Benji’s story would have been memorably devastating, instead of just affecting.

Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Science Fiction, Thriller

Actor: BACKROAD GEE, Cristale, Dani Moseley, Demmy Ladipo, Ewart James Walters, Fiona Marr, Henry Lawfull, Hope Ikpoku Jnr, Ian Wright, Jedaiah Bannerman, Kane Robinson, Karen Williams, Lola-Rose Maxwell, Neville Watson, Rasaq Kukoyi, Rhys Yates

Director: Daniel Kaluuya, Kibwe Tavares

Rating: R

Two months after its premiere in TIFF, Quiz Lady arrived on streaming this November. The comedy film has a sort-of buddy cop dynamic, with an anxiety-ridden, tightly-wound Awkwafina as Anne, and a chaotic Sandra Oh that lets loose with free-spirited Jenny. The film does take its time to get to the good part, and in certain scenes, it feels like it’s torn between the heartfelt and the humorous, but the leads’ acting smooths over some of the awkward writing. Quiz Lady still leads up to a fun watch, though better pacing and writing could have made this charming comedy a classic.

Genre: Comedy

Actor: Al Bayan, Alan Heitz, Ammie Masterson, Amy Tolsky, Angela Trimbur, Annie Boon Karstens, Atul Singh, Awkwafina, Betsy Holt, Camrus Johnson, Charles Green, Charlie Talbert, Choppy Guillotte, Christine Lin, Davina Reid, Derek Roberts, Eddy Lee, Holland Taylor, Jane Yubin Kim, Jason Schwartzman, Joe Chrest, Jonathan Park, Jophielle Love, Justiin A. Davis, Larry Weissman, Maria Bamford, Martin Yu, Matt Cordova, Ned Yousef, Nicole Marie Appleby, Paul Reubens, Phil LaMarr, Sandra Oh, Shirley Chen, Summer Selby, Tawny Newsome, Tony Hale, Will Ferrell

Director: Jessica Yu

Rating: R

Nuovo Olimpo is stunning, atmospheric, and the very concept of the film – where lost love intersects with Italian cinema – is an interesting one. Starting the film’s relationship at a specific movie theater feels reminiscent of Cinema Paradiso, especially as Enea’s path mirrors Salvatore becoming a famous director. However, the film doesn’t really dive deep into this concept, nor does it add much to say with its gay romance. There’s something here about the relationship between the creator and the viewer that is undeniably interlinked, and there’s a hope that they can meet in the middle. But when the film doesn’t care about the couple’s individual paths, there are times it feels like it’s just going through the motions.

Genre: Drama, Romance

Actor: Aglaia Mora, Alvise Rigo, Andrea Di Luigi, Aurora Giovinazzo, Damiano Gavino, Eugenio di Fraia, Federico Mancini, Giacomo Colavito, Giacomo Stallone, Giancarlo Commare, Greta Scarano, Loredana Cannata, Luisa Ranieri, Priscilla Drag

Director: Ferzan Özpetek

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

The big ideas swirling at the center of The Creator are about human heartlessness versus AI compassion, man’s coldness versus robot warmth. Unfortunately, the movie winds up being an unwitting example of the former: visual effects take precedence over emotion here, meaning you rarely feel any of the intended poignancy of this story about a soldier driven between warring sides by love.

Part of that effect might be because the premise is an iffy one to swallow, as The Creator drops during a time when the once-theoretical threats posed by AI start to become disconcertingly real. But mostly, the sterile feeling of the film is a product of the writing, as a shallow script prevents most of the cast from ever making their characters compelling. Though its lifelike effects are something to marvel at, The Creator never quite convinces us that any of its humans are real — a pretty gaping flaw for a movie that wants to sell us on the idea that robots might one day be sentient.

Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Science Fiction

Actor: Allison Janney, Amar Chadha-Patel, Anjana Ghogar, Brett Bartholomew, Brett Parks, Chananticha Chaipa, Charlie McElveen, Dana Blouin, Eoin O'Brien, Gemma Chan, Ian Verdun, Jeb Kreager, John David Washington, Karen Aldridge, Ken Watanabe, Leanna Chea, Mackenzie Lansing, Madeleine Yuna Voyles, Marc Menchaca, Mariam Khummaung, Mav Kang, Michael Esper, Monthatip Suksopha, Natthaphong Chaiyawong, Niko Rusakov, Pat Skelton, Pongsanart Vinsiri, Rad Pereira, Ralph Ineson, Robbie Tann, Sahatchai Chumrum, Sawanee Utoomma, Scott Thomas, Sturgill Simpson, Syd Skidmore, Teerawat Mulvilai, Veronica Ngo

Director: Gareth Edwards

Rating: PG-13

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

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

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

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

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