34 Movies Like The Marvels (2023) (Page 3)

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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

After a strong first act that has lots of fun playing with fake identities donned by its characters (and with a particularly entertaining supporting turn from Bill Nighy), Role Play slows down significantly and only ends up spinning its wheels. In its attempt to inject some more drama into the central relationship between Anna (who goes by Emma with her family) and Dave, the film articulates itself awkwardly, overemphasizes the obvious, and loses precious time for the plot develop in interesting ways. By the third act, Role Play practically teleports itself into entirely new circumstances, where the emotional stakes are neither high enough or clear enough to begin with.

Genre: Action, Comedy, Romance

Actor: Angus McGruther, Bill Nighy, Connie Nielsen, Cornell Adams, David Oyelowo, Dominic Holmes, Erkan Sulcani, Jade-Eleena Dregorius, Jonathan Failla, Julia Schunevitsch, Kaley Cuoco, Lucia Aliu, Moritz Berg, Reagan Bryan-Gudgeon, Rudi Dharmalingam, Simon Delaney, Sonita Henry, Stacy Thunes, Steffen Jung, Stephanie Levi-John

Director: Thomas Vincent

Rating: R

There’s no way to escape it– the plotline of One True Loves feels like the other side of Cast Away (2000), but instead of focusing on the survival aspect, it focuses on the wife trying to move on with grief. The original novel portrays Emma moving on through reclaiming her past, and learning to appreciate the roots she’s tried to forget with her lost husband. However, the film adaptation falters in depicting the personal, inner world of Emma, as it bungles through the timelines with Hallmark-esque quotes and disarranged scenes. It tries to save the film through its star-studded cast, but their decent performances can’t save the way the film is structured.

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance

Actor: Beth Broderick, Christina Bach, Cooper van Grootel, Gabriella Garcia, Gary Hudson, Jacinte Blankenship, Jay DeVon Johnson, Jessi Goei, Kelvin Hodge, Lauren Tom, Luke Bracey, Michael OKeefe, Michaela Conlin, Oceana Matsumoto, Oona Yaffe, Phillipa Soo, Simu Liu, Tom Everett Scott, Victoria Blade, Wil Deusner

Director: Andy Fickman

Rating: PG-13

Locked In is the latest in a long line of B-movie psychological thrillers that seem to place much more importance on the kind of twisty structures they can pull off, rather than the actual content of their stories. Formal experimentation is just as valuable of course, but when a story like this—that relies on the shock of how these various character relationships turn against each other—can't give us characters with any sort of real interiority, the flashback-heavy narrative just begins to seem like unnecessary noise. Trying to keep up with basic emotional beats shouldn't be this complex, and after a while you begin to realize that these people are simply doing things outside any proper context, suspended in a world with no weight or specificity.

Genre: Thriller

Actor: Alex Hassell, Anna Friel, Famke Janssen, Finn Cole, Karl Collins, Rose Williams

Director: Nour Wazzi

Rating: R